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By The Skanner News
Published: 12 July 2006

A proposed Civic Leadership Academy for people of color living in Portland will be discussed during a meeting from 3 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 19, in the Lovejoy Room at Portland City Hall.
The academy, which will aim to develop leadership skills for people of color and attempt to broaden public involvement among the city's minority populations, has received $70,000 in training funds from the Portland City Council.
During Wednesday's meeting, leaders from the Diversity and Civic Leadership Committee and Office of Neighborhood Involvement will describe the proposal for the academy and answer questions.
Participants will be invited to provide feedback and discuss the program's development. The goal is for the program to be administered by a community-based partnership including community organizations of color. Those involved would include African Americans, Latinos, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Native Americans and Native Alaskans.
For information, contact Brian Hoop, interim manager of the Neighborhood Resource Center, 503-823-3075, or write to him at [email protected].
A grassroots community group called the Diversity and Civic Leadership Committee, which included representatives from local organizations and leaders from neighborhood coalitions, told the City Council in 2003 that, when city policies are proposed that would impact their communities, minorities needed to be heard before those policies are adopted.
In 2004, the City Council adopted a budget note directing the Office of Neighborhood Involvement to explore how minorities can become more involved in the city's policy decisions.
The office determined that some barriers preventing minorities from being represented include: the lack of experience with the policy-making process; persistent institutional racism, which discourages advancement leadership positions; leaders in policy circles failing to reach out to minority participants; lack of skills, training, connections and positioning, which limits participation; the lack of access to leadership training; and conflicting cultural approaches to leadership.
The proposed academy would recruit leaders of color who are grounded in and accountable to their communities. They would work on actual policy goals in the community and create relationships and networks across the city.
In addition, mentors would provide leaders of color with access, guidance, and support. Participants would learn how to use data and information, conduct meetings with neighborhood association leaders; and identify issues to collaborate on with other policy-makers.

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