Sustaining the Momentum of Anti-Racism Work
Thank you for your efforts to support Oregon’s communities of color. I write this message the evening of the murder conviction in George Floyd’s death largely as an attempt to continue the forward momentum many of us feel as we attempt to address the systemic racism that impacts communities of color.
As you take your efforts from the streets and social media to exam rooms, I encourage you to continue to have open conversations with families about race, diversity, and the impact of individual and community-level trauma on their families. I have many recommendations regarding how to build a diverse playroom, how to provide anti-racism activities for kids, and advice for older children on Talking to children about racism, police brutality and protests.
There are many organizations working on community change across the state. For those looking for how to get involved locally, the following is a sample of some local organizations where you can get involved, take action, and affect change in communities across Oregon.
The Coalition of Communities of Color
The Coalition of Communities of Color (CCC) addresses the socioeconomic disparities, institutional racism and inequity of services experienced by our families, children and communities; and to organize our communities for collective action resulting in social change to obtain self-determination, wellness, justice and prosperity.
Portland United Against Hate
Portland United Against Hate is a coalition of more than 80 community organizations, neighborhood groups, agencies, and local governments working together for a safe, healthy, and loving community. Together, they built a rapid response system that combines reporting and tracking of hateful acts and provide support and protection to communities. PUAH seeks to combine resources, assets, and relationships to create an inclusive city that protects, embraces, and celebrates its diverse communities.
NAACP of Oregon
The NAACP of Oregon works to ensure the political, educational, social and economic equality of rights of all persons and eliminating racial hatred and discrimination, with branches in Albany/Corvallis, Eugene/Springfield, Portland, and Salem/Keizer.
The Urban League of Portland
The Urban League of Portland’s mission is to empower African-Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life.
Led by people of color, immigrants and refugees, rural communities, and people experiencing poverty, Unite Oregon works across Oregon to build a unified intercultural movement for justice, with chapters in Medford, Beaverton, and Portland.
KairosPDX is focused on delivering excellent, equitable education to underserved children, their families, and their communities. Their mission is to eliminate the prolific racial achievement and opportunity gaps by cultivating confident, creative, compassionate, leaders who exceed expectations at each milestone, ages 0-10.
Self Enhancement, Inc.
Self Enhancement, Inc. in North Portland is dedicated to guiding underserved youth to realize their full potential. Working with schools, families, and partner community organizations, SEI provides support, guidance, and opportunities to achieve personal and academic success. SEI brings hope to individual young people and enhances the quality of community life.
Keep your heads up. Use your influence to speak up for and educate your patients. People are hungry for knowledge, and you can make such a difference.
OPS member Antwon Chavis, MD, FAAP, is an Assistant Professor at OHSU General Pediatrics.