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Helen Silvis of The Skanner News
Published: 04 October 2011

Two upcoming events will shine the spotlight on race in Portland. One will feature young Portlanders asking whether the ideal of being 'post-racial' is now possible or if that's simply fiction. The other will look at Portland through the lens of the 2010 Communities of Color report, which showed wide disparities in income that fall along troubling color lines.

Is Racism dead? Is it Possible to be 'Post-Racial'?

The 'Race Talks' series, sponsored by the city's Office of Human Relations, has brought together Portlanders of all races and from all walks of life to grow understanding of our differing perspectives on race. On Tuesday Oct. 11, the program will showcase five young Portlanders, members of the Millenial generation also known as Gen. Y. The event is called: 'Post-Racial, Fact or Fiction? Millennials Speak!"

The presenters are:

Hannah Eko, an active duty officer in the US Coast Guard

Jaime Guzman-Limon, active in the Student Alliance Project and the Northwest Immigrant Youth Alliance

Nathan Holst, an employee of homeless nonprofit, Sisters Of The Road, as well as a musician, anti-racist and youth director

Caitlin Campbell, a field coordinator for NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon

Jahzeel Ormeno, born and raised in Peru, he came to the United States at age 13 to escape terrorism.

So is a post-racial society possible? Following the presentations, the audience will break into small discussion groups facilitated by trained volunteers from Uniting to Understand Racism. Listen to the presenters and make your contribution to Race Talks Tuesday Oct. 11 at the Kennedy School, 5736 NE 33rd Ave. 503.249-3983

Free and open to everyone of all ages, doors open at 6 p.m., and the program starts at 7 p.m.

Our City: Progressive for Whites Only?

Since Bush administration staffers called Portland 'Little Beirut," our city has been a byword for progressive politics. But progressive politics doesn't seem to translate into equal opportunities for people of color. The 2010 report, "Communities of Color in Multnomah County, An Unsettling Profile," showed widespread disparities between racial groups in Portland.

"Portland is known as a progressive community," said David Delk, President of the local Alliance for Democracy chapter, and one of the event's organizers, "but when we read this report, we realize that present disparities, based on race and ethnicity, tarnish that reputation."

To help bring fairness and opportunity to Portland's communities of color, the Alliance for Democracy and the Economic Justice Group of the First Unitarian Church are sponsoring a community gathering focused on achieving race equity in Portland.

The centerpiece of the evening is the report, by the Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University. Julia Meier, coalition coordinator will present the report and moderate a question and answer period.

"There is a role for government and a role for the community," Delk said, noting that the recent developments around the City of Portland's Office of Equity are very positive. "Grassroots support is always necessary for sustainable change," he said. "That's the conversation we want to have."

Race Equity Meeting: 7 p.m. to 9p.m.Thursday, Oct. 13 at Eliot Chapel, First Unitarian Church, 1011 SW 12th Ave. Donations are welcome, but no one will be turned away.

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