Every month, the Equity and Inclusion Advancement Committee at MESD sends out a newsletter that includes relevant information on factoids; key figures in diversity, equity and inclusion; local restaurants and cafes owned by people of color in the community; and articles of interest. This page includes relevant information shared in newsletters sent during the 2018-19 and 2019-20 school years.
Why is the EIAC so Important?
Equity and inclusion is a central part of Multnomah Education Service District's focus. Here are some facts that show why doing this work at MESD and in our state is so important:
- In 2009, the annual incomes for white families nationally and in Multnomah County were $70k whereas Black families averaged $34k in Multnomah County, compared to $41k nationally. Source: The Atlantic
- According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the US (18.1% of the population), making them the most common illness.
- Portland is one of the least diverse big cities in the United States, with a population of around 75% of people identifying as white-only according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
- According to DoSomething.org, 97% of low-income students rely on school for internet access, but 40 million students do not have high-speed Internet in school.
- According to Pacer and the National Center for Educational Statistics, One out of every five (20.2%) students report being bullied. The reasons for being bullied reported most often by students include physical appearance, race/ethnicity, gender, disability, religion, sexual orientation
Key Historical Events
- On February 12th, 2022, the NAACP marked its 113th anniversary. Spurred by growing racial violence in the early 20th century, and particularly by 1908 race riots in Springfield, Illinois, a group of African American leaders joined together to form a new permanent civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Source: ksnt.com/hidden-history/black-history-month/naacp-celebrates-112th-anniversary/
- Oregon was the first state to pass hate crime legislation into law, in 1981. Source: Alongi, Brianna. “The Negative Ramifications of Hate Crime Legislation: It’s Time to Reevaluate Whether Hate Crime Laws are Beneficial to Society.”
- Indigenous Peoples' Day was first proposed in 1977 by a delegation of Native Nations to the United Nations. The Oregon state legislature passed a bill on May 18, 2021, declaring the second Monday of October to be Indigenous Peoples' Day, replacing Columbus Day.
- Oregon repealed its law prohibiting interracial marriages as recently as 1951. The supreme court took 16 more years to do this nationally, declaring the prohibition of interracial marriages unconstitutional in 1967. Source: oregonhistoryproject.org/articles/historical-records/act-to-prohibit-the-intermarriage-of-races-1866
- Women’s Day was first celebrated in Germany in the year 1911. Now known as International Women’s Day, March 8th is a day for celebrating and honoring women’s economic, political, and social achievements. Source: internationalwomensday.com/Activity/15586/The-history-of-IWD
- In 1873, following a visit from national suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Oregon women founded Oregon Woman Suffrage Association to advance their right to vote. In 1908, Lola Greene Baldwin was sworn in as Portland’s first policewomen - and the first official female law enforcement officer in any US city. Sources: sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/explore/exhibits/woman-intro.aspx & oregonencyclopedia.org/articles/baldwin_lola_1860_1957_/
Key Historical Figures
- Haben Girma: The first Deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School, Haben Girma is a human rights lawyer advancing disability justice. President Obama named her a White House Champion of Change. Haben believes disability is an opportunity for innovation, and she teaches organizations the importance of choosing inclusion. HabenGirma.com
- Barbara Ehrenreich: 1941-2022. Ehrenreich was born into a blue-collar family in Butte, Montana. She was an author and political activist, writing on subjects such as women’s rights, labor, poverty, and health care. Ehrenreich was known for writing about the myth of the American Dream in her book, “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America.” The book, originally published in 2001, was inspired by welfare reform. As well as how people are able, or not, to survive on minimum wage.
- Sonia Sotomayer: Appointed by Barack Obama in 2009, Sonia Sotomayer became the first hispanic (and third woman) to serve as a Supreme Court Justice. She is known for her calls for reform to the criminal justice system and her dissents on issues regarding race, gender, and ethnic identity.
- Sylvia Mendez: As the daughter of both Mexican and Puerto Rican immigrants, Sylvia Mendez was expected to go to a school for Mexican students. But when Mendez was in the third grade, her parents sued the all-white Westminster School District after they denied entry for Mendez and her siblings. The landmark case Mendez V. Westminster, was settled in 1947, successfully desegregating schools in California. The case was the first ruling in the U.S. to rule in favor of desegregation, becoming an example for future cases like Brown V. Board of Education.
- Beatrice Morrow Cannady (1890-1974): In 1922, Beatrice Cannady was one of the first Black women to graduate law school in the country; within five years from graduating she succeeded in having some racist and discriminatory language removed from the Oregon Constitution. She also helped found the Portland chapter of the NAACP.
- Fanny Jackson: In 1869, Fanny Jackson became the first African American woman to become a school principal. She was responsible for vast education improvements in Philadelphia.
- Raffi Freedman-Gurspan: Raffi Freedman-Gurspan is one of the most vocal advocates for the LGBTQ community in U.S. government and has a history of powerful activism, especially for transgender people of color. Freedman-Gurspan, who is a Latina and Indigenous transgender woman, now serves as the primary liaison for the LGBTQ issues for the White House - the first openly trans member of staff at the White House. Throughout her time at the White House, Freedman-Gurspan has advocated for policy shifts supporting trans inclusion and beyond.
- Cecilia Chung: Civil rights activist for LBTQ+ rights and HIV/AIDS awareness. Cecilia is a trans woman and has shared her story on many platforms including ABC’s miniseries When We Rise. She is the first transgender woman living openly with HIV to chair the San Francisco Human Rights Commission. Cecilia has overcome a lot in her life and continues to provide advocacy and awareness to the LBTQ+ community. Cecilia made headlines by making San Francisco the first city in the country to pay for gender reassignment surgery for uninsured transgender patients through her appointment to the Health Commission.
Local Spotlights: Restaurant and Cafes
- Amalfi’s Italian Restaurant: Women owned restaurant amalfisrestaurant.com/
- Assembly Brewing Company: First Black-owned brewery in Portland. assemblybrewingco.com/
- Clary Sage Herbarium: Located in Chinook Indigenous territory, this apothecary on Alberta street is owned by a Two Spirit womxn, member of the Karuk Tribe. clarysageherbarium.com/
- Ding Tea: Located on Williams, Ding Tea has a variety of boba teas, juices, coffees and lattes. dingteawilliams.com/
- Dirty Lettuce: All vegan Cajun inspired food. https://dirtylettuce.square.site/s/order
- Doe Donuts: Women owned restaurant. doedonuts.com/
- La Perlita: Coffee shop, now home to Reforma Roasters. reformaroasters.com/
- Lauretta Jean’s: Women owned restaurant. laurettajeans.com/
- Mirisata: This Sri Lankan pop-up-turned-restaurant Mirisata is entirely BIPOC worker-owned cooperative and serves an all-vegan menu with many gluten-free options. https://mirisata.com/
- Po’Shine’s: A minority owned contemporary soul food restaurant with a Cajun flair. poshines.com/menu
- Red Sauce Pizza: Women owned restaurant. redsaucepizza.com/
- Shalom Y’all: Women owned restaurant. shalomyallpdx.com/
Articles & Resources
- White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack - psychology.umbc.edu/files/2016/10/White-Privilege_McIntosh-1989.pdf
- Decolonizing Thanksgiving: A Toolkit For Combating Racism In Schools- medium.com/age-of-awareness/decolonizing-thanksgiving-a-toolkit-for-combatting-racism-in-schools-5d4e3023a2f8
- The Catastrophic Effects of Mental Health Stigma - psychologytoday.com/us/blog/nurturing-self-compassion/201705/the-catastrophic-effects-mental-health-stigma
- Anti-Racist Resources - antiracistfuture.org/teacher-resources/
- 5 Ways to Build Resilience in Students - Edutopia
- Investing in Your SEL Skill Development - How 5 Minutes a Day Can Change Your Wellbeing
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