Our mission is to contribute to local, state, and national efforts to dismantle the policies and practices, collectively known as “the New Jim Crow,” that have resulted in the mass incarceration of people of color, in fractured families, and in disenfranchised communities.

We believe these policies and practices have:

  • dramatically increased the number of people who are incarcerated or otherwise under the control of the justice system;
  • disproportionally impacted people of color and also people living with economic hardship or mental illness;
  • contributed to serious prison overcrowding, further threatening the dignity, human rights, security, and physical and mental health of those incarcerated;
  • consumed resources that could have been used to strengthen our families and communities and to address the root causes of crime;
  • raised almost insurmountable barriers in the paths of those trying to transition from prison, limiting access to employment, housing, and even family reunification;
  • denied people their basic rights as citizens;
  • increased recidivism rates; and
  • traumatized children, condemned families to poverty, and torn the fabric of whole communities.

To further our mission, we will continue to learn and to teach others about New Jim Crow practices and about alternatives that are more humane, just, and equitable.  We will join hands with other groups at First Unitarian Church and with organizations in our community to advocate for:

  • greater access to economic, educational, mental health, medical, and housing services, the absence of which have led to higher rates of poverty, crime, homelessness, and recidivism;
  • alternatives to the punitive and exclusionary discipline practices that sustain the school-to-prison pipeline, such as the restorative justice strategies that reduce the chances of our youth being incarcerated;
  • restorative justice and alternative sentencing practices that have proven to be effective alternatives to juvenile detention and adult incarceration for nonviolent crimes;
  • policing reforms that improve hiring/training/supervision, accountability, and community trust;
  • the repeal of mandatory minimum sentencing, which has resulted in the loss of judicial discretion, prosecutorial abuses, denial of a trial by one’s peers, and exaggerated sentences for nonviolent crimes;
  • the early release of prisoners who received mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes and who are not deemed to be a threat to public safety;
  • healthcare, education, and social services for the incarcerated, including life and employment skills, addiction and mental health treatment, and reentry transition support;
  • changes in policies, rules, and laws that make it easier for the formerly incarcerated to reunite with their families, find housing, get a job, obtain medical services, reintegrate themselves into their communities, and build lives based on hope; and
  • the continuing development of a more understanding, just, and inclusive community.

“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.  We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality tied in a single garment of destiny.  Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”  Martin Luther King, Junior

Contact: Kathryn Scotten (Kathryn@withyscott.com)

FEBRUARY NEWSLETTER: UPCOMING EVENTS

There are so many things going on this month, we decided not to offer a February program ourselves.  Instead, we encourage you to review the many options listed below, with special attention to this upcoming workshop at First Unitarian Church.

WHITE ALLY TOOL KIT: TOOLS FOR TALKING WITH WHITE PEOPLE ABOUT RACISM

Workshop with Dr. David Campt

Tuesday, February 20 (6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.)

Buchan Reception Room, First Unitarian Church (SW 12th & Salmon, Portland)

Sliding scale tickets $15-45: https://www.universe.com/events/white-ally-toolkit-pdx-tickets-portland-YD9Z6T

“The White Ally Toolkit Project focuses specifically on helping white folks have more effective encounters with white friends, coworkers, and family who are skeptical that racism is a problem.  Applying current research on persuasion, this three-hour interactive workshop leaves participants with concrete skills for using your own racial background as a tool to advance racial equity…  Dr. David Campt worked for the White House on the Clinton Administration’s Commission on Race.  He was called to Charlottesville after the violence there last summer to help begin the healing process.  He leads workshops nationally to equip more people with essential skills for building beloved community.”

 

CROSSING OVER: TRANSGENDER PEOPLE OF COLOR  

Tuesday, February 13 (doors 6:00 p.m.; 7:00 program 7:00 program)

McMenamins Kennedy School (5736 NE 33rd Avenue, Portland)

FREE

A panel discussion featuring Alexxis Woods, Adem Cardona, and Peter Dakota.  Presented by Race Talks.  For more information: http://racetalkspdx.com/

 

PORTLAND BLACK FILM FESTIVAL

February 11 – 24

Hollywood Theatre (4122 NE Sandy Blvd., Portland)

For films and show times: https://hollywoodtheatre.org/events/2018-portland-black-film-festival/

 

 RACE AND PLACE: RACISM AND RESILIENCE IN OREGON’S PAST AND FUTURE 

Thursday, February 15 (6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)

Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods (4815 NE 7th Avenue, Portland)

For more information: https://www.facebook.com/events/165739880870199/

 

MULTNOMAH COUNTY LIBRARY HONORS BLACK HISTORY MONTH

The library has put together a variety of information, programs, and events to celebrate Black History Month: https://multcolib.org/blog/20180130/black-history-month-more-martin-luther-king-jr-and-rosa-parks

 

THINK & DRINK ON CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM 

Wednesday, March 14 (6:30 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.)

Alberta Rose Theatre (3000 Northeast Alberta Street)

General admission tickets $10 (www.albertarosetheatre.com); no-cost tickets available

“What is ‘just’ about this system of justice?  What if the justice system were focused on repair rather than retribution?  What would a system that minimizes suffering look like?  Join us… at the Alberta Rose Theatre in Portland for a Think & Drink conversation about alternative systems of justice with two people who have dedicated their careers to reforming the one we have now: David Rogers, executive director of ACLU of Oregon, and Bobbin Singh, executive director of Oregon Justice Resource Center.”  Presented by Oregon Humanities.  More information: https://oregonhumanities.org/programs/think-drink/think-and-drink-march-2018/

 

POWER, POLICE, AND PRIVILEGE WITH DERAY MCKESSON 

Thursday, March 15 (7:00 p.m.)

First Congregational United Church of Christ (1126 SW Park Avenue, Portland)

Sliding scale tickets ($25, $45, $65); meet-and-greet tickets $125; free to formerly incarcerated people

Tickets limited, purchase in advance: https://forms.donorsnap.com/form?id=e48232e7-4645-4368-a735-ac7b0958e2a0 general admission; https://forms.donorsnap.com/form?id=e976efce-e3e8-4639-9761-bd01b80bb2ff meet-and-greet

Scholarships available: awexler@ojrc.info

A fundraising event for the Oregon Justice Resource Center; ticket costs tax-deductible

“DeRay Mckesson is a civil rights activist focused primarily on issues of innovation, equity and justice…  As a leading voice in the Black Lives Matter Movement and a co-founder of JoinCampaignZero.org,
MappingPoliceViolence.org and OurStates.org, DeRay has worked to connect individuals with knowledge and tools, and provide citizens and policy makers with commonsense policies to ensure equity… [He] has become a key player in the work to confront the systems and structures that have led to mass incarceration and police killings of black and other minority populations.  He is also the host of critically acclaimed Pod Save The People…  DeRay was named one of the World’s Greatest Leaders by Fortune Magazine in 2015 and as one of the 30 Most Important People On The Internet by Time Magazine in 2016  For more information: https://ojrc.info/deray/


ACLU 2018 LIBERTY DINNER: Reimagining Justice Friday, March 9 (5:30 p.m.)
Oregon Convention Center, 777 Martin Luther King Boulevard, Portland
Tickets $175 each
Angela Davis will be the featured speaker at the ACLU’s 2018 Liberty Dinner, “Reimagining Justice”: https://www.aclu-or.org/en/events/2018-liberty-dinner

RACING TO CHANGE
Oregon Historical Society (1200 Southwest Part Avenue, Portland)
January 15 through June 24
Presented by the Oregon Black Pioneers, this exhibit “illuminates the Civil Rights Movement in Oregon in the 1960s and 1970s, a time of cultural and social upheaval, conflict, and change. The era brought new militant voices into a clash with traditional organizations of power, both Black and White.
“Visitors of all ages and backgrounds will engage in the examination of the repression and violence against African Americans that made the Civil Rights Movement necessary. The exhibit explores how racist attitudes, policies of exclusion, and the destruction of Black-owned neighborhoods shaped Oregon, as well as the unceasing efforts of the Black community to overcome these obstacles.” More information: http://www.ohs.org/museum/exhibits/racing-to-change-oregons-civil-rights-years.cfm

READING AND VIEWING

BOOKS ABOUT RACE AND POLICING

The New York Times recently reviewed several books under the headline “Three New Books Discuss How to Confront and Reform Racist Policing”: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/26/books/review/called-to-rise-david-brown-policing-the-black-man-paul-butler.html

CALLED TO RISE: A Life in Faithful Service to the Community That Made Me
by David O. Brown with Michelle Burford

POLICING THE BLACK MAN: Arrest, Prosecution, and Imprisonment
edited by Angela J. Davis

CHOKEHOLD: Policing Black Men
by Paul Butler

ADAM FOSS: Vision for a Better Justice System

If you didn’t get to hear Adam Foss’s stirring keynote at the Oregon Justice Resource Center event in December, take a look at his TED Talk: https://www.ted.com/talks/adam_foss_a_prosecutor_s_vision_for_a_better_justice_system