Prosper Portland, the City of Portland’s development agency, has released a statement in support of the Black Lives Matter movement and “redoubling our commitment to supporting Black-owned businesses and Black employees in accessing economic opportunities and achieving growth.”
One of the development agency’s five commissioners also spoke to USA Today about the impact of systemic racism on communities of color.
Alisha Moreland-Capuia, executive director of Oregon Health & Science University's Avel Gordly Center for Healing, which focuses on culturally sensitive mental health care for the African American community, told the paper:
"The persistent pandemic is racism. That's the pandemic. Recent deaths of individuals of color and the deleterious impact of COVID-19 on communities of color stems all the way from 1776.
“The emotional and psychological impact of racism means acutely, every day, being reminded that you are not enough, being reminded that you are not seen, being reminded that you are not valued, being reminded that you are not a citizen, being reminded that humanity is not something that applies to you."
Prosper Portland stands in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and the eradication of white supremacy.
As we bear witness to the grief, anger, fear, resistance and resolve the community is expressing in response to the murder of George Floyd and 400 years of systemic racism in our country, we have important work to do.
We recognize that the emotional burden of this time is much more significant for our Black colleagues, community partners and business owners and is re-traumatizing for everyone who feels unsafe because of the color of their skin. And we know that Prosper Portland’s past racist actions in the name of urban renewal, with disproportionate impact on Black Portlanders, remains a permanent stain on the history of our organization.
We believe transformational change is possible.
As we consider how our community and agency move forward, our actions must be grounded in anti-racism. We will continue to work toward becoming an organization that embodies equitable strategies and creating a culture that ensures Black lives are valued.
In line with our mission, we are redoubling our commitment to supporting Black-owned businesses and Black employees in accessing economic opportunities and achieving growth.
Our staff and programs are on hand to acknowledge these experiences, help to find community, and provide assistance.
We urge everyone to support Black-owned businesses and organizations. Please visit Mercatuspdx.com