This post is a continuation of our thought process behind the proposal of an engagement project between Lewis & Clark students and the Center for Diversity and the Environment. We have proposed to culminate CDE’s E42 Leadership Program into a community project in the Albina neighborhood of Portland, Oregon. Albina has historically housed a large African American community and faced numerous racial inequities. The consequences now include environmental issues that affect Albina more heavily. We hope to establish a council involving many voices that aid in informing policy decisions and introduce more green spaces in Albina to help mediate the effects of heat waves. Our goals include:
I. Stand by the values of equity and environmental justice.
Our engagement project needs a foundational goal to guide any outcome that may come of it. CDE’s mission is to use the power of racial and ethnic diversity to change the environmental movement. The project should keep this in mind when making decisions, as well as, the history of racial inequities in Portland and their long lasting repercussions.
II. Utilize the skills of CDE leaders and connect them with local community issues and members, simultaneously learning from them.
CDE members who have completed the E42 Leadership Program have spent several months building on their knowledge and skills in action based solutions and community building. Connecting Portland residents and CDE leaders is the beginning of establishing a project and raising awareness around local environmental inequities.
III. Establish a council that represents a diverse array of stakeholders with the needs of the Albina residents at heart.
When engaging with complex environmental issues it is key to take all perspectives into account. Most issues are usually best approached through multiple lenses. To bring green spaces back to neighborhoods disproportionately affected by climate change will require people with backgrounds in equity, legislation, land development and more. A council will encourage longevity and continued goal setting.