Category Archives: How we see it

More Dangerous Insidious Trash in Portland

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Columbia Sportswear Chair, President and CEO Tim Boyle’s unhealthy obsession with the garbage on the highways is not his alone. (comments at the 2023 Oregon Business Leadership Summit) Most of us hate it, too. But most don’t have the collective wherewithal to do much about it. However, I would like to suggest that while the trash on streets is a physically visible problem we can all see and commiserate about, we have deeper problems with how our most vulnerable citizens, especially Black people, are treated.

That is, the city of Portland continues to treat its Black citizens like trash. For example, how is it that the city continues to accept a 50% educational achievement gap between Black and white students? And as if we didn’t already know it, a recent State disparity study graphically shows that Blacks are continually being economically discriminated against in acquiring government contracts.

As sure as the neck bone is connected to the shoulder bone and the shoulder bone is connected to the backbone, likewise we can see why Black unemployment numbers continue to be triple that of whites. Furthermore, Black folks similarly disproportionately populate our prisons and the criminal justice system. And it is straight up ugly to realize that Blacks have the lowest home ownership rate of any ethnic group.

If you want to see some garbage, these are only a few devastating indicators of the real trash problem in Portland. Perhaps we can enlist Tim Boyle and many other successful private sector capitalists here to be more pissed off and obsessed enough to help clean up this mess.

A Veteran’s Day Why

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Why??????

On this veteran’s day, I want to remember my only brother who caught a bullet in the back in Vietnam. His wounds never healed and he died just a few years ago in a VA hospital with lingering pain and suffering.

Like a lot of young black men who went to war to serve our country, we find ourselves wondering why. So that half the country could eventually elect a clown scum bag like Donald Trump.

And they tell us he has a good chance of being elected again in 2024.  God help us.

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A Night of Pride and Inspiration

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I was so proud of the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (ORABSE) for Hosting the Black Community Science Night last Friday. I got chills thinking about how this group could be inspiring new black doctors, entrepreneurs, astronauts, bio-techs, electrical engineers, etc, etc. For sure Carlton Hart the black architect was in the house inspiring folks and so was the NAACP ACT-SO program Dr. Sheryl Means and others.

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Here again, the omnipresent Michael Chappie Grice was a participant and had this to say:

“On the evening of Friday, October 13, the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (ORABSE) convened, for the second consecutive year, a Black Community Science Night at the Oregon Museum of Science & Industry.  Guided by the vision of Kevin Bacon, president and community stalwart and executive board member, Renee Anderson, some 680 Black parents and their children and grandchildren descended on the magnificent OMSI facility from 6 PM to 9 PM.  Hundreds of children explored the OMSI exhibits and science-focused, hands-on activities. A local band provided a rich tapestry of jazz and African Music in the background while the children danced and played during excitement about the chemistry, physics, robotics, mathematics, and science wonderland. ORABSE was very proud to have such a “full house“turnout and guaranteed not only that it was worthwhile but shall be continued in future years. The rainy weather seemed to add an authentic Portland signature to the event and did not deter attendance nor mute the spirit of enthusiasm and adventure that filled the facility for the entire three hours.  OMSI sponsors and investors can’t help but see that such a partnership only amplified people’s enthusiasm to bring their children into the OMSI arena. We look forward to more collaborations between the NAACP and organizations like ORABSE for the benefit of the community and its children.  The need is great, in these times.  Of particular note was the obvious mutual benefit of encouraging access to established cultural and educational institutions as partners like the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry.  With OMSI’s leading example of sponsoring hundreds of admissions, there are dozens of “win-win” opportunities awaiting birth and nurturing in Portland and beyond that encourage diversity and equality in real-time community investment.  Thanks to all that promoted this culturally specific experience to “embrace the worth of all.”

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We all need to get RADICAL about the education of black youth.

We all need to get RADICAL about the education of black youth.

Symbolizing radicalism at any age Angela Davis was in town last Friday thanks to Karanga Crews “Teaching with a Purpose” and company aka Imani Muhammad.

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Here’s what Michael Grice who participated said about the event:

“The fall professional development day on Friday, October 13 featured “Teaching with Purpose” at the newly designed Lincoln High School in Portland, Oregon.  Conceived and delivered by Karanja Crews, the  highly regarded professional development conference showcased university professor and renowned author and intellectual, Dr. Angela Davis.  Primarily aimed for teachers and administrators, the event was attended by approximately 400 education professionals, including district level administrators as well as its featured Speaker Dr. Angela Davis who was introduced by the newly appointed Director of Oregon Department of Education, Dr. Charlene Williams, the first African-American to hold that position.  The all-day conference featured workshops in the morning and afternoon with a tasty supply of box lunches.  The afternoon concluded with a panel discussion led by Dr Charlene Williams and featuring the world-famous author and activist Angela Davis in a living room setting that was described as a “conversation” between Angela Davis and three high school student “Ambassadors” for the convention.  They presented a series of questions that gave Professor Angela Davis an opportunity to offer insight and clarity to her highly regarded career as both an activist and an author. The “Teaching with Purpose” convention guided veterans and young professionals alike a unique opportunity to expose the intelligence and mindful compassionate approach to problem solving in public education that was diverse, inclusive, equity-centered, candid, and robust.  The attendees were likewise treated to keynote presentations by Dr. Adrienne Dixon and Dr. Sandy Watson, whose articulate and incisive analyses drew several standing ovations.  in all, the attendees were as enamored with the “purpose” and content of the event as they were with the progressive architectural accomplishment of the new school facility.  In all, attendees appeared to be very proud to have shared in the celebration of the pursuit of “pedagogy” as a key ingredient in any solution to achieving the “excellence” in public education for “children with the greatest need. ”

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Clone Colas’s DNA

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The chemistry at last night’s AFO (Architecture Foundation of Oregon) event was exploding. While Herman Colas, as usual, was classic Cool Hand Luke as he accepted the Honored Citizen award, the emotional fireworks were spectacular. I said to myself if only we could clone and replicate Herman’s DNA the world would be healed and prosperity would be the norm in the black community.

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Lisa Chan invited my beautiful wife and me to this event and she is another hidden gem employed by the Convention Center.

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I was also overjoyed to see Daryl Jones whom I trained 30 years ago to go to work at the Convention Center. He rose to the rank of Maintenance Supervisor and just retired after 30 years of service. It is nice to know your work has not been in vain and has borne excellent fruit.

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And I have to give credit to NAMC-Oregon, Nate McCoy/Cinnamon Williams and his crew who did an outstanding job highlighting the life and achievements of the Colas family.  It was all good and a signature event and night in Portland.

Stewards of Black Folks Destiny in Oregon

Our future is their hands.

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I was privileged to attend the networking event hosted by the Oregon Association of Black School Educators on Sunday (ORABSE). I had to leave early. However, I was there long enough to appreciate the awesome work and accomplishments of this group. Renee Anderson and Michael  C. Grice represented the Portland Branch of the NAACP very well.

All I can say is that unless we begin to truly recognize these folks, celebrate their accomplishments,  and the value of what they mean to our future, God help us.

These black people who are in a  position to ensure the education of black youth are the key to black prosperity and the survival of our race. All of a sudden that hit me while I was in that room.

Pay special attention to Nicole Watson, their new President. She is a superstar working on behalf of our black youth as is Paul Coakley Jr. and Dr. Charlene Williams. Everyone in this photo is a major contributor to the success of black youth and stewards of our future.

Thank God for them.

June Black Fantastic TRIFECTA

 

 

IT WAS ALL GOOD

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Fantastic Trifecta can best describe the events occurring in the last few weeks in the black community. First, came the Juneteenth celebrations and they were outstanding, That same Saturday came the 8-second Black Rodeo. That Black Rodeo thing was a surprisingly great success. Then came the Good in the Hood and Wow was it poppin’. I mean, was it just me ?, or was black people saying “Let us just be free to kick it”? It seems to me that black people were saying “Free at last, thank God almighty, Free at last from COVID and all that mask stuff.  It was such a pleasant sight to watch Black people on all occasions just enjoying themselves together.

I can’t say enough about all those who organized these events. I was so proud of Vince Jones, Ashton Simpson and their folks at the Black Rodeo, Jenelle Jack and her crew at the Juneteenth events, and Simone Carter, Deborah Roache, Angela Harris, and all their crew making the best “Good in the Hood” I have ever seen.

Of course, I was doing my NAACP thang at all events. I was soliciting my butt off but I was so proud of Black people. Did I mention unless I am mistaken, with few exceptions,  no measurable incidents of violence were reported? Hallaluha, Praise God.

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A Warrior is gone

A warrior is gone

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Jerry Tyler, Robert Andrews and Bond (Jerry’s brother)

A warrior is gone. A couple of weeks ago Jerry Tyler passed but I am not sure he understood that he was a warrior (he might have thought he was just a hard-working Black man). He was the “J” in J&R Trucking, part of the TRIAD of the Black dump trucking firms working on the NE Interstate Light Rail project (NE Urban Trucking Consortium 2001). Jerry Tyler and Robert Andrews of J&R Trucking were on the team of black truckers who endured the racist attacks by white truckers and a system that tried everything to exclude us from working in the industry. Work Horse Construction, Rock and Road Construction, and J&R Trucking were Black firms forming the base of the consortium.

They called us “Niggers” in raggedy trucks on the CB radios and tried to tear up our trucks in the loading and dumping process. They did everything to discourage us from working on that project. But thanks to Fred Hansen the TRI-Met administrator, and Bill Bruce, a white Stacey &Witbeck project manager at the time, we not only survived, but we eventually thrived. This is the point where TRI-Met becomes the region’s premier public agency promoting true economic equity and inclusion for Black contractors.

The consortium dissolved after the project and most of us are now retired but racism throughout the region remains. A new generation of Black construction businesses is now on the scene. But keep your eye on the procurement process involving the remodel of Jefferson High School if you want to see a case study of modern-day racism. More to come on that project.