A Much Needed Change
Our group will be focusing on Albina, a neighborhood in Northeast Portland that has seen its fair share of racial inequality. Since the 20th century, most of Portland’s African American community has lived in this neighborhood. Albina was close to the railroad and docks that a majority of the residents worked at, however, wealthy white neighborhoods began to inflict restrictive covenants, making it difficult for African Americans to move beyond this neighborhood. As a result, African American residents fell victim to the unfair and unjust displacement of the white industrialist’s selfish personal gains. Consequently, many problems of ethics and blatant racial inequality emerged.
It is clear that the current state of environmental affairs lacks the important perspectives of minorities. The Center for Diversity and the Environment advocates for the reconstruction of environmental movements in hopes of evenly distributing power and resources amongst all people who feel they can positively influence the health of the planet. In order to achieve this revolutionary step towards a more inclusive environmental effort, we must justly represent the voices of ethnically diverse people. CDE has long since taken part in this revolution by utilizing various forms of training such as their E42 program that helps groom fledging environmental leaders from minorities. The CDE’s programs aim to instill a dialogic approach to issues, action-based solutions, relationship building, as well as other important values. Their E42 program shapes leaders hoping to influence their communities. Our group’s proposed project would help take leaders a step further, utilizing their newly built skills to work on an ongoing project in Portland, Oregon.
Including All Voices
Our group envisions CDE leaders, fresh out of leadership programs such as the E42, taking on mediator roles within environmental discussions, possibly in a symposium like setting. Other parties involved would include other advocacy groups like OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon and government established bodies like the Environmental Justice Task Force of the Department of Environmental Quality. Another important government department to include would be the Portland Parks and Recreation. The more voices and perspectives we could include the better. Most importantly, we would be including the voices of Albina residents who experience daily afflictions due to the history and policies of Portland. It would also be important to involve other potential stakeholders and investors.
The CDE already teaches a dialogic approach that our group values. We’d want to continue with this approach, given it is the main approach of the LC Environmental Studies department as well. Our group envisions CDE leaders hosting a discussion between all mentioned parties, with the hope of eventually reaching a consensus on policy actions or building initiatives and investments. We firmly believe that it would be very beneficial for both parties to meet several times, and possibly establishing a kind of governing board that creates goals and steps to take over the course of a year or further.
- Ackerman, Lauren. “Albina, Portland, Oregon (1870- ).” Black Past , 19 Mar. 2016, www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/albina-portland-1870/.
- Tsuneta, Alexandra. “Why Portland, Oregon Is Problematic & Damaging to People of Color.” Medium, The Human Condition, 28 June 2019, medium.com/the-human-condition/why-portland-oregon-is-problematic-damaging-to-people-of-color-55fe7a6aa878.
- Williams, Kale. “Historically Racist Housing Policies Exacerbating Climate Change Effects in Low-Income Portland Neighborhoods.” Oregon Live, The Oregonian , 21 Jan. 2020, www.oregonlive.com/environment/2020/01/historically-racist-housing-policies-exacerbating-climate-change-effects-in-low-income-portland-neighborhoods.html.