Portland, OR. As mutual aid organizations all over Portland have arisen in response to the Black Lives Matter protests, nationwide police brutality, and the growing awareness of social justice activism, Brown Hope has taken strides in mutual aid efforts for Portland BIPOC. Founded in 2018, by Cameron Whitten, (seen above) with their mission directly informed by the needs of “Black, Brown, and Indigenous Portlanders” through trauma-informed activism, this completely volunteer-led organization is working within the community to make improvements for those historically marginalized communities in our city.
Co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund, Salomé Chimuku, speaking with an attendee of a July event where volunteers conducted in-person intakes and distributed funds to Black Portlanders in need. (Photo, Courtney Sherwood/OPB)
One of Brown Hope’s biggest achievements comes from their Black Resilience Fund program. Launched in the summer of 2020 with the goal of providing an immediate emergency funding resource for Black Portlanders, they successfully raised over $1 million in direct donations from 11,000 Portlanders in the short time frame of a single month. These funds are allocated as direct relief for BIPOC Portlanders, an admirable goal considering the financial hardship and trauma sprouting from this last year of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since its launch last summer (8 months ago as of this article), their website donations tracker now sits just shy of $2.25 million.
As an intentionally multifaceted organization to deal with a multifaceted and complex community, Brown Hope has founded multiple other initiatives to build up our community. Power Hour is a weekly community discussion meeting in which participants can receive food, drink, and most notably, direct cash reparations of $25 (an interesting aspect of Brown Hope’s mission considering the rarity of active reparations). Featuring a 45-minute discussion based around local community happenings, news, and needs, they encourage white folks to come and participate and/or donate their time. Another is Brown Hope’s Black Street Bakery which provides work opportunities for Black Portlanders while offering the community delicious baked goods.
Brown Hope understands that community building requires mutual aid and a multifaceted outlook on what our community needs are. Further, they know that the only way to go about enacting real change is by offering an ear to the community you’re working within. Brown Hope is a “healing initiative” first and foremost. They understand that justice is a collective experience that requires all of us to put our best foot forward.
You can donate to the Black Resilience Fund here.
A bit about Brown Hope from their website:
Brown Hope is a community solution for racial justice, creating connection with Black, Brown, and Indigenous leaders through the heart, mind, and voice to inspire our collective healing.
We envision a future where the truth about this nation’s long history of injustice is self-evident. We envision the survivors of this injustice taking the lead on change. We envision love as a lived, and collective, experience.
Lake Oswego, OR. The Lake Oswego Art Council‘s public gallery is reopening to the public on February 23rd. There’s a new exhibition features photographs from four photographers called “Visions of 4.” The photo seen above is in the exhibit. It’s called Cape Kiwanda by John Lesch. The work of Reagan Ramsey, Richard Blakeslee, Kevin Felts are also featured. Organizers have are following precautions to keep the staff, volunteers, and the public safe. Face masks will be required, hand sanitizer will be available, social distancing will be enforced, and all areas will be cleaned and sanitized between visits.
Nepal Market Doors, Northern Nepal (Reagan Ramsey)
This exhibit is on view through April 2nd. Each artist’s work represents their varied and multifaceted cultural background with their personal ethos, immersion, and passion driving their art. The gallery will kick off the exhibit with a “Virtual Opening Reception & Artist Talk” on February 26 (5-6 PM). Here’s the zoom link: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/83687099581?pwd=OHhsRGJRdE5aSUM5Vys5OXYveG9EZz09
The exhibit is at the ARTspace Gallery (41 B Avenue, Lake Oswego) with visiting hours from 10 AM to 5 PM.
Old Barn Hurricane, NE Oregon (Kevin Felts)
Graffiti a la Pollock, Portland, OR (Richard Blakeslee)
About the Arts Council of Lake Oswego:
Works to ensure the arts are an integral part of life in our community now and into the future with the purpose of placement and preservation of public art in Lake Oswego, providing access to art exhibitions for residents and visitors, and advance the lifelong learning about the arts through educational programs and docent tours.
You can find their donation page here.
Portland, OR. During the Covid-19 pandemic, students can’t gather around the table like they used to. But Elevate Oregon staff members are working with students remotely and continue to be available around the clock. This dedication is nothing new. Launched in 2010 and inspired by a similar “Colorado Uplift” program, Elevate Oregon works with students and their schools in order to build relationships with those struggling to succeed. Largely organized and lead by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) within the Portland community, the program is aimed at benefiting BIPOC youth. With its primary goal of reaching struggling youth through interpersonal relations, Elevate Oregon’s effect on the community is inspiring to many.
In just four years the mentorship program at Parkrose High School in NE Portland, has seen the graduation rate of students skyrocketed from 55% to 90%. To attain this increase, Elevate Oregon partners with the school and offer students an “in-house” elective classroom. Rather than attempting to replace the school curriculum, they seek to build off of the school’s foundation. Within this class, struggling students work one-on-one with qualified and passionate mentors to find out what they need to be successful during high school and beyond. Paul Morris, Deputy Director at Elevate Oregon, says that this approach “allows students to fail safely” and that “Elevate is in the business of offering second chances to these youth.”
The in-school approach allows students easier access to the help they need without having to attend after-school programs, something that many students already in a chaotic state often can’t swing. Further, students are offered an incentive of end-of-the-year trips/parties for maintaining a high GPA.
Now in 2021, 11 years since Elevate Oregon had started its first program at Parkrose High School, it is serving over 600 students annually and has expanded its mentorship program to include students as young as elementary level as well as students transitioning between grades or schools. Mentors could potentially work with students for 8-9 years, building lifelong relationships with youth living within a chaotic world, who could benefit the most from the stability being offered.
Elevate Oregon’s interpersonal-focus is uplifting the BIPOC youth community here in Portland through its goal of connecting and building one-on-one relationships. Program leaders say it’s useful for a struggling high school student to have someone who cares. A listening ear and an open heart can go a long way.
Elevate Oregon functions entirely off of their mentors and donations. You can donate to this inspiring program here.
About Elevate Oregon from their website:
Elevate Oregon is an empowering, efficient, year-round mentoring program centered on raising graduation rates and post-secondary enrollment, while also striving to create “generational firsts”, offering students the tools they need to become future leaders in our region.
Portland, OR. As the toll of the worldwide pandemic climbs higher every day, so does the need for grief response and counseling for families. Porsche Beaverton and Audi Beaverton are helping the Dougy Center’s grief counseling efforts by donating $17,100. The money was raised because Porsche and Audi pledged to donate $100 for every car sold during the month of December.
Everyone responds to grief in a unique way and grief can last a lifetime, which is completely normal. Counselors explain that being grief-informed is vital now. “After listening to and supporting thousands of children, teens, young adults, and adults who are grieving the death of someone in their lives, and with pandemic-related deaths increasing, and more than 1.6 million deaths worldwide, over 300,000 in the U.S., it is time, now more than ever, to understand what it means to be grief-informed.” Here’s a link to resources addressing grief:
The Dougy Center (founded in 1982) has been helping children, young adults, and families through their grief and trauma by teaching them that grief is not only natural but that there is no “right way” to grieve. the loss of a loved one. The Dougy Center is also offering many programs remotely for easy access from home.
Dougy Turno, a 13 year old boy who inspired the founding of the Dougy Center for grieving children and familes.
Despite the social stigmas surrounding the display of grief and sadness, the Dougy Center seeks to raise awareness to break down the barriers of mental health. In a paper written by Dr. Donna Schuurman and Dr. Monique Mitchell (two directors at the Dougy Center), they explain that grief manifests itself in various ways through many social facets of our lives, leading to a complicated social web of emotional response and management with no easy answer. Further, they say that dealing with one’s grief has no time-line or direction and that it can last a lifetime. They say, during this time of pain and loss across the nation and the globe, it’s important to remember that you are not alone and that there are resources for you.
Yet, the Dougy Center doesn’t place sole responsibility of mental health awareness and management on health care professionals. Rather, their mission is one of mutual aid (read: reciprocal aid and cooperation) and community involvement. This is an important distinction as health care access is expensive and often inaccessible, especially when considering mental health. The Dougy Center has continually been a positive force within the community by offering training for individuals and/or organizations seeking to become grieving counselors, providing safe spaces for grieving children and their families, and raising awareness about mental health.
From the Dougy Center:
If you’d like to donate your resources or time, the Dougy Center has a plethora of options available to you. They also thrive on donations, which can be offered here.
The Dougy Center, the first center in the United States to provide peer support groups for grieving children, was founded in 1982. A courageous boy named Dougy Turno died of an inoperable brain tumor at the age of 13. In the two months prior to his death, he was a patient at Oregon Health Sciences University, where Beverly Chappell, at the request of Swiss psychiatrist and pioneer in the field of death, dying and bereavement, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, supported Dougy and his family during his treatment. Bev quickly observed Dougy’s ability to bond with other teens facing serious medical issues, how he intuitively knew he was dying, and how he helped other kids talk about their fears. After his death, Bev envisioned a place where children, teens, and their parents coping with the death of a family member, could share their experience with others who understood, who didn’t tell them to “get over it” or judge how they chose to grieve. The first grief support groups met in Bev’s home and has grown from that grassroots effort to become a sought after resource for children and families who are grieving. It is still the only year-round child-centered program offering peer support groups to grieving families in our community.
Portland, OR. With ongoing COVID-related restrictions still in place, you may be looking for some fun and fulfilling ways to pass the time. Portland’s Architectural Heritage Center (established back in 1987) has a “Virtual Museum” online series exploring the history of South Portland. Images like the one above are part of the collection. For those who’ve grown up in and around Portland, or even those new to the city, the black-and-white historical photographs and accompanying information offer an intriguing gaze back into a not-so-distant past.
The Architectural Heritage Center located at 701 SE Grand.
Part of this new online platform includes a partnership with Brian Libby’s XRAY.FM podcast. With an episode focusing on the specific Portland block of 10th Avenue and Alder Street and its 125-year history, the podcast explores the ever-changing culture here in Portland through historical records, photographs, and more. It’s free to listen to and has a whole lot of content available, including episodes on the Portland Art Museum, the Lincoln Hall, and the Portland Building.
Pictured is a c.1910 postcard of the Hazelwood Creamery, located in the Selling-Hirsch building, one of the places discussed in the podcast.
AHC’s biggest event is its annual Gala. This event, typically attracting over 250 members, aims to connect the community while showcasing the AHC’s work within Portland. While COVID restrictions will not allow this event to take place in-person this year, the Gala will still continue on to a virtual format. This will take place on February 25, 2021, and will be free and open to all who desire to attend.
Grocery and Deli in South Portland, 1958. Photo courtesy Portland Archives and Records Center.
The Architectural Heritage Center has always been a nonprofit and thrives off of volunteer work. It is currently looking for volunteers who are passionate about the mission and goals. If you don’t have the skill requirements or availability for one of these positions, they are always happy for any donations received from patrons and this can be done in a number of ways.
About Portland’s Architectural Heritage Center from their website:
The Architectural Heritage Center is a significant historic preservation education facility for the Portland region and plays an important role in celebrating and advocating for the architectural heritage of our city and region. The Center includes two exhibition galleries, two classrooms, workshop space, a library, collections storage spaces, and the Foundation’s offices.
Public historic preservation programming, begun in 1992, continues at the AHC, as well as at historic sites and neighborhoods throughout the Portland metro area. We have served the needs of more than 65,000 people. Continued progress is being made on the professional inventory and documentation of the collections.