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Climate Control: Portland Public Schools Turn up the Heat in Efforts to Resolve the Race Base Disparities Within their System

48 Blazing a Trail of Hope: Michael Harper Leads the Way to Prosperity in the 21st Century

50 A Bronx Tale: President of Portland

Community-Cascade Karin Edwards Where the Rubber Meets the Road:

52 Meet D’Wayne Edwards of Pensole Footwear Design Academy

Economic Development

On the Cover Seattle Artist Brian Culpepper Shares his Visions of Black Lives Matter


Investing in our Youth: Loretta Smith leads

56 the Charge in Developing the Next Generation of Entrepreneurs



in Session: Jaymes Winters Schools Us 57 Class on Wealth Creation and Income Inequality

The People Who Make Flossin Magazine

NW Carpenters Union Community Benefit Increasing Diversity on Portland's Construction Projects

Letter from the Editor in Chief


John Washington

Health and Wellness



Moda Health’s Superman: Dr. William Johnson


Staying Alive with Dr. Alisha Mooreland-Capuia: Health Tips for a Brighter Tomorrow


Oregon Health Science University: Pathways for Minorities to Careers in Health Care


Learning for a Lifetime with Dentist Dr. Edward Ward

Travel & Adventure

58 Agreements:



a Claim with Chris Guinn 60 Staking of DR Commercial Realty

Hot Topics


Burned Out: History of Weed and Oppression in America


Tracking Afrovivalist Sharon Ross


Tuned in, Tapped in Turned On: Pacificorp’s Energy Update


BlackTopia: Tourism for African Americans in Oregon



You had me at Merlot: Growing Wine with Bertony Faustin of Abbey Creek Vineyards

Lives Matter: Do They? 40 Black Show me the Equity.

{4} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

Re-Investing in the Soul: PCRI Addresses Involuntary Displacement with Affordable Housing


Bridging the Digital Divide:

34 Addressing Technological Inequity Black to the Future: Ben Berry and his Fantastic Flying Machines


The Economic Portals: Connecting Minorities with Wealth Opportunities Through the Port of Portland


Blacklandia: Green Lighting African American Film-Makers in Portland

Arts and Entertainment



Creative Revolutionist: Renee Mitchell shares the Multidimensional Artistic Talents of Painter, Dancer and Poet (Jesse, Kemba, Charlene )


Africans in Oregon: DJ Solo is Using Music to Make Afrikon Konections


Tamara Stephens Black Female Songstress Getting Her R.E S.P.E. C. T.

Higher Consciousness


72 Brand Jordan: Most Successful Clothing Brand Celebrates 30 Years



Joelle Rankins Goodwin. Portland native, Lincoln grad. Retired United States Army Major. Directs the Duck Alumni Recruitment Team to bring new students to the flock. Also a Duck herself, in the wearing-greenwigs-to-games sense and in the Class of 1986 sense.

In Joelle’s words “The University of Oregon has come a long way since I was a student. Then, the African American community was smaller. Now, it’s grown and still mighty. Faculty and staff are welcoming, we have support programs and advisors—the resources that help students succeed. I returned to make this great place even better. I was welcomed as a leader. I’m trusted to get things accomplished. I’m asked how we can improve the UO community and grow the number of African Americans on campus. I’ve never been so proud as when I stood on the Good in the Hood festival stage in Portland this summer, telling people about the UO, and connecting people to become part of us. That made my heart soar.”

I’m going to keep moving forward and doing this work because here, I make a difference. At the University of Oregon, my life matters and black lives matter.

FLOSSIN Magazine Volume 15-1: Black Lives Matter The People Who Make Flossin

Editor in Chief CEO Flossin Media John Washington

Senior Editor Executive Director Flossin Media Fawn Aberson

Associate Editor & Contributing Writer Michele Darr

Graphic Design Pamela Dayne, Emee Joy LLC

Contributing Graphic Designer & Account Assistant Kyrell Bishop


Peter Kim Photography

Hailei Aberson-Holford

Contributing Photography

Courtesy African American Outdoor Association Courtesy of Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia Courtesy Ebony Rose Ski Club Courtesy of JBJR Productions Courtesy Jordan Brand Courtesy Leisure Hour Golf Club Courtesy Multnomah County Courtesy PCRI Courtesy Pensole Footwear Academy Courtesy Tamara Stephens Courtesy Teaching with Purpose Conference

Marketing & Advertising Sales Flossin Media Staff

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Guest Writers Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia A native Oregonian, Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia is a physician, scholar, educator and orator who works at Oregon Health Science University. Her thought leadership mobilizes our community to respond to critical social needs of the day. Jaymes Winters Jaymes Winters is the CEO of Blue Leopard Capital, LLC a Portland, Oregon based Venture Capital and Private Equity Fund. He is also the Adjunct Professor at Portland State University teaching business strategy to outgoing seniors. Maxine Fitzpatrick The Executive Director of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiative Maxine Fitzpatrick is a dynamic leader who has been at the forefront on the fight for affordable housing. Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith Commissioner Smith has more than two decades of experience in the federal government. She has been a passionate advocate for youth workforce and has been providing game changing leadership in eradicating barriers of economic growth for low income youth. Renee Mitchell S. Renee Mitchell, MBA, is an award-winning writer and author, multi-media artist, teacher/facilitator and creative revolutionist. She is also the author of seven books, including a children’s super hero book about bullying and cultural pride. Renee’s more than 25 years of journalism experience has groomed her exceptional communication, analytical and presentation skills.

About Flossin Media

FLOSSIN Media is an integrated marketing & communications company specializing in reaching multicultural demographics. Our platforms of production include Print &Video Production, Event Planning, Production & Fundraising, Street Team & Digital Distribution, Social Networking & PR and Diversity & Equity Consulting. If you have a production need within this scope, please call us at 971-388-3117 or email: info@flossinmedia.com

The Flossin Mission To bring to light formulas for successful

living. It is an awakening, spiritual in nature, whose essence is to educate, inspire & motivate our readers, viewers & event attendees through highlighting the diversified lifestyles of successful people.

Flossin Defined A reflection of your inner self demonstrated in your outer world. It simply means To Shine

Current and past issues of FLOSSIN Magazine are available online at www.flossinmedia.com or upon request by emailing: info@flossinmedia.com or call 971-388-3117.


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Letter from the Editor

Hey, you... Yeah, you... The one who picked up this magazine, checked out the cover art, “Black Lives Matter”, then decided to flip through our pages and get a look at the stories inside. Let me invite you to sit down with me and consider these stories that are propelling a renewed civil rights movement to the forefront. Who we are, where we are going and what we are doing collectively, defines what it means to be Black in America at this moment in time. I intend to have a seat at the table and a voice in the discussion. How about you? For more than a decade, our magazines have been culturally focused and exciting to compile, but this one, for me, has had the deepest emotional impact. It invited me to be more self-aware of my blackness, aware of my people and aware of our condition as expressed internally and externally. Recognizing the external conditions was the easy part. Painful, but at least easy to recognize, these conditions are becoming more widely known thanks to social media and the internet exposing rampant, unchecked racism, economic inequity, prison-industrial oppression and racially motivated violence. Once seen, the current bleak conditions and trail of devastation experienced by a disproportionate percentage of Black Americans, cannot be unseen. I find myself raging, seething and sad at the realization that things have gotten so bad for so many of my people. Economic inequity has resulted in a disparity of wealth that is staggering. The U.S Census Bureau Survey of Income and Program Participation cite that the typical white household has OVER 16 TIMES more wealth than the typical black family. Though we make up 14% of the country’s population, we claim ownership of only 2.7% of the country’s wealth. How does this happen? Where is OUR equity? And where is OUR Justice?? What systems are in place that account for the fact that, currently, black people constitute nearly 1 million of the total 2.3 million of the U.S. incarcerated population? Numbers show that unless something drastic changes and current trends reverse, one in three black males born today can still expect to spend time in prison during his lifetime. Do I have your attention yet?

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Despite these sobering statistics, the hardest part, for me, was upon critical examination of our conditions as expressed internally. The sad truth of the matter is that sometimes our worst enemy is within our own ranks, working and propping up the very systems that contribute to the down fall of our people. Jim Crow attitudes creep even amongst influential black power-players, centers of influence and within institutions that seem almost conveniently implanted to suppress the growth of all of Black America. The monopolization of resources meant to advance the whole, subsequent gatekeeping for systems and organizations not interested in advancing the black community or the causes of humanity, has also had a devastating impact. What then, do we ask, does one person or group of people, do to address the inequity facing Black America? How can we confront and change these systems from the inside out?

While I can’t speak for everyone, I can certainly speak for myself. I have spent the better part of 6 decades on this earth, the first two growing up in the New Jersey projects, seeing images of crushing poverty and violence as my daily reality. It was only by sheer force of will that I lived to even tell about it. But will wasn’t enough. It took self-reflection and me revisiting the source of my anger and frustration, to lead me to my ultimate work. That work is to motivate and agitate, to confront and challenge both external and internal factors that block us from our prosperity, our birthright. It is with this focus that I intend to deploy Flossin Media’s platforms, in order to help inspire mobilized action through recognition and exposure of systemic corruption embedded within public and private institutions. Everyone is holding pieces of the solution to our shared challenges. In seeking inspiration for the cover of this magazine, I was visiting Seattle when I came upon a young Black artist on the Pier, who was painting and selling his finished pieces. I watched him for a while, observed his street style, observed his way of SEEING the subjects that he painted and was struck by the inspiration to talk to him. I found myself commissioning him to lend his artistic expression to Flossin Magazine’s cover art, by creating a piece that reflected the images that came into his twenty-something-year-old mind when he heard the words, “Black Lives Matter”. When he was finished, it was the downcast eyes of Treyvon Martin, tears streaming down a face framed against the background of the iconic hoodie, looking over scenes of black devastation that seared through my soul, renewing my commitment to this subject matter and the liberation it represents. Liberation through education and inspiration is the ultimate reason we will continue to use this platform to convey and acknowledge not only what needs to change but what is possible in terms of achievement, what is possible when one selflessly gives for the betterment of humanity.

For me, hearing the term Black Lives Matter, invokes the lives of those profiled within these pages. Luminaries like, D’Wayne Edwards, Commissioner Loretta Smith, Dr. William Johnson and Michael Harper, take their place amongst the way-showers of our time. Additionally, we captured the voices of the black journalists, activists, artists, creatives, healers, community philanthropists, educators and entrepreneurs, all whom strive towards the future against the currents of hatred, ignorance and oppression. Their lives matter because they chose to matter. They are freedom guides, propelling us forward, around, over and through the obstacles in our path, shining as bright as the Northern Star that our ancestors followed out of the bondage of slavery. I want to usher you forth into this book with these final thoughts. It is most critical that we do not allow the specters of the suffering we witness and experience all around us to weigh us down or become the seeds of our disempowerment. I realize, however, that the statistics can seem insurmountable at times. But, my friends, don’t you ever forget that it is YOU, it is ME who defines who we are and what we are made of in this brief moment in our collective story. We all matter and we all are amazing. And don’t you dare forget who and where you came from either. You come from warriors. You come from survivors. You come from ancestors that beat all odds. And do you know why they did it? Because YOU. You’re the seed of their hope for a better world. Your life matters. ALL Black Lives Matter. Don’t you forget it. You and me, we are still in the game and as long as we have Heart for our people, the Capacity to love one another and the Courage to rise to the struggle, we are going to make it. In the end all lives will matter ONLY when all lives matter equally. See you on the other side of the book.

John Washington, Editor in Chief

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By Fawn Aberson

Damian Lillard calls him “Little Dr. J.” Colleagues call him “Superman.” We searched high (his 24th floor office) and low (courtside at a Blazers game) to uncover the real story behind Dr. William Johnson.

The U.S. Congress passed The Affordable Care Act – now better known by both friend and foe as “Obamacare”—five years ago. {12} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

Love it or hate it, one thing is clear: the new law made the health care industry go BOOM!

Recent estimates put the number of newly insured Americans at more than 16 million, including huge gains for Blacks and Latinos.

“Our healthcare system has changed so much. ” Dr. William Johnson, a thoracic (heart and lung) surgeon, stands rock solid in the center of this explosion. As the president of Moda Health, Oregon’s largest privately-held company, he leads a health plan that serves more than 2 million members in Oregon, Washington, Alaska and California. We felt compelled to meet the man willing to stand in the eye of this storm. We wanted to get his perspective on the state of our healthcare system, to understand his leadership style, and to hear about the path that guided him to his lofty perch. And so it came to pass, that on one of Portland’s signature stormy days, we ascended to the 24th floor of the Moda Tower in downtown Portland. We were greeted by a man sporting a perfectly pressed white shirt, its sleeves capped with his trademark Superman cufflinks. It was 4:30 in the afternoon and we could not help being impressed that “Little Dr. J” had made his way through the hectic work day with such a seemingly unwrinkled canvas. As we began to converse, we were quick to note an unruffled logic in Dr. Johnson’s replies, that would be his staple disposition throughout our discussion. Q – So let’s get started. Obamacare: To Repeal or Not to Repeal? A -- I always refer to it as “The Affordable Care Act”, because when people say “Obamacare”, I don’t know whether they are using the term as a positive or negative. In regard to any repealing of the ACA, I would have to say that I don’t even know what that would actually mean. Our healthcare system has changed so much.

With almost Spock-like logic he continues . . . “The ultimate goal is really holding everyone accountable for the care that is given in a community. So the question becomes -- as doctors, hospital systems, health plans and individuals -- how do we improve access to healthcare for those who need it the most and how, at the same time, do we drive down cost, remove waste and improve quality? We have to help people understand how to use the system better. And we have to help them better understand how their daily lives impact their health outcomes. One of the main things we focus on at Moda, is showing how much the behavior of individuals and families, impacts overall health. There are some good things about the Affordable Care Act and there are some aspects where I ‘m like 'Well, I’m not so sure about that.' But I do know, at the end of the day, that I look at the ACA as a good thing. It has forced us, as a society, to look at disparities in healthcare and at the way different communities have different access to care. And now at least we’re sitting down together and discussing it.” You would be hard pressed not to notice – certainly not from the floor-to-ceiling windows of Dr. Johnson’s penthouse office – the steady glow of the giant Moda sign beaming atop the arena in the Soul of Portland’s cityscape.

Q – What’s the derivation of the name Moda? A -- Moda, the company formerly known as ODS, takes its name from the Latin word “modus”, meaning “the way.” As our company was expanding from Oregon into Alaska, Washington and California, we began to think the time might be right for a new approach. The first thing we did was to look at our brand promise, at what it is that our company stands for. We engaged in a detailed process to really understand who we are. We called it an effort to uncover “our company DNA.” Once we understood that, from there came the name, Moda, “a way” each day to be more, to be just a little bit better than the day before. Then came the big play. In 2013, Moda stunned Oregonians when the company announced a 10-year partnership with the Portland Trail Blazers. As part of the agreement, the arena formerly known as the Rose Garden became the Moda Center.

Almost overnight, Moda became a household name.

“I remember traveling across country from LA to Arkansas and having restaurants close their doors on us refusing service, not really understanding why . . . but remembering.”

Q – Why the partnership with the Blazers? A -- When Blazers President, Chris McGowan, approached us about the opportunity, we thought, wow, this is coming right on the heels of us launching our new brand and the advent of the ACA and its impact on the Individual Market. It was a clear opportunity to help us get known. But, what was most important to us was not our name going on the building, but rather, what would an authentic community partnership look like? When we sat down, both organizations quickly realized that this could be the perfect collaboration for both our brands. Q – So tell us, really little Dr. J . . .the early years? A – I was born in Oakland, raised in South Central Los Angeles during the 1960s, the second of four children. Growing up in LA was great. I have a very loving and nurturing family. I had a wonderful relationship with my parents, both blue collar workers. My father worked for the Department of Water & Power. My mother worked for the US Postal Service and as a teacher’s assistant for our grade school. We went to church every Sunday and had sit-down formal dinners every evening. I had grandparents from Arkansas who owned a restaurant at which Bill Clinton ate frequently.

When I was 11 or 12, I wrote to the Food and Drug Administration because I thought science was so cool and told them so. They sent me back all this stuff. Yeah, so I guess I was just a little different. Q -- Any role models? A -- My father was very strong and very influential in my life. He would always tell me to “Learn as much as you can and try to get as much knowledge as you can because no one can ever take that away from you.” My father was 13 years old when he lost his father. He never finished high school, but entered the Marine Corps. Later, he got his GED in night school while I was a teenager. He always supported my interests, making things happen like getting me the Bunsen burners and other items that I would set up on the card table in our garage. Aside from him, I would say that almost every science teacher I ever had inspired me, especially my 10th grade biology teacher Ms. Guidry. She was one of the first African Americans I encountered in the science field and she instilled in me that I could be and do whatever I dreamed. I still think about her to this day.

Q – And the Science Bug?

Q – How do you view your world through the lens of a Black Male?

A -- I was always curious. In 5th or 6th grade it dawned on me that I just loved science. Admittedly, I was a little different. I was always the kid who was out in the back trying to discover something new, looking at plants, looking at animals. For Christmas, I wanted a microscope or a chemistry set.

A -- Race doesn’t necessarily enter my head regarding my current position. I could be purple and it wouldn’t matter. What I am asked to do, is to help individuals as they navigate the health care system and to help the community create better outcomes.

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That said, I am completely aware of the gaps in our society across the board. Growing up in the ‘60s & ‘70s, I experienced racism first hand. In the 7th grade, I was bussed from the inner city to the suburbs. I had my mind completely blown. I felt like I was being met with raw anger. And I was sort of, "Why do you not like me? I’m a kid who loves science and wants to learn just like you.” It was challenging, and yet those are the things that make you grow and understand that in spite of any obstacle you can end up OK. I remember traveling across country from LA to Arkansas and having restaurants close their doors on us refusting service, not really understanding why...but remembering. Q – And after high school? A – I was accepted into several collegiate pre-medical schools. I chose USC – I still bleed cardinal and gold -- and went on to post-grad at Harvard. I had never met, nor even seen, an African American doctor, or any person of color, who was a physician until my freshman year of college. Once you get into medical school, race isn’t as big a deal, because you are just trying to get the grades you need to get through each quarter. Even though I was one of few African Americans there, I think science is one of those disciplines where it is what you know and how you think that has the greatest impact. As long as you compete well, it evens the playing field.

Q – And when you hear people talking about Dr. Johnson, the famous Portland surgeon, they’re actually talking about . . . ? A – Dr. Nathalie Johnson. She’s a world-renowned breast cancer surgeon who leads the Legacy Cancer Institute. She’s my wife, my life partner, my best friend. She grew up in St. Thomas and danced with the Ballet Theater of the Virgin Islands, before attending Howard University. Our son is a district attorney in Washington, D.C. Our daughter is an 8-th grader who attends school in Portland. I on the other hand, am very much an introvert. I have always been very quiet and observant because I think you learn more that way. In fact, one of my favorite books is titled “Quiet.” Sometimes we think introverts can’t be great leaders, yet a lot of our great leaders are. I also think it is important to create an environment that allows everyone to be a part of the discussion. Getting to the right answer is a collective collaborative effort and I try to let people know that I value everyone’s opinion.

Q -- On your nightstand?

Q -- How about passing the torch?

A -- I like reading books around growth; I am currently reading ‘The Organized Mind" by Daniel Levitin. It’s about how to think straight in this age of information overload. It is important in life to have a certain organization regarding day to day business. I am also rereading “The 5 Levels of Leadership.” I am enjoying it again because, the one thing that you notice is that any leader that has reached level 5 has gone through something tough in order to get there.

A -- I do a lot of mentoring with young African American men and women who are anywhere from high school age to grad school students. The primary message I share is to not to just think about tomorrow but to focus on the ultimate goal. What are you really trying to achieve? I ask them to consider how to be as impactful as they can be. You can’t just be all about yourself.

Q -- How do you stay centered and balanced? A – By never forgeting that there are three elements key to any life. That is mind, body and soul. You have to take care of yourself and understand that there are certain things you can do and certain things you can’t change. Q – And when you do lose it? A -- Maybe it comes from my surgical training, but the more chaos around me, the more calm I become. That’s because, as a surgeon, if you lose it, everyone around you will lost it too.

Q- Any mistakes along the way? A -- Nobody is perfect, we all misstep every now and then. It’s not about how you make mistakes, it’s about how you rebound or regroup. I think about life as a book. Each chapter is connected to the others. Some are good chapters, some are bad chapters. But all must build upon themselves. Because, at the end, at that very last chapter, when you close that book , then you can have something you can send on to someone else. Each opportunity, positive or negative, is a learning opportunity and if you don’t capitalize on it, then how can you possibly grow? Q-- What do you hope they say about you after you die? A – He tried really hard to make a difference.

Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia 7 Key Ways to Pursue and Maintain Life Balance at all Cost: A Lifelong Endeavor “If I were to provide a visual of the 7 ways to pursue and maintain balance, identification of purpose would be the center that drives the other elements. In other words, without purpose, one’s ability to execute the other basics is nearly impossible.”

1» Identify your sense of purpose –

Purpose is a life anchor, a compass and without it, we’d all be lost. Purpose serves as motivation for waking up every morning and endeavoring to make a difference despite the difficulties. I recently read an article in the Stanford Magazine entitled: Passion begets Purpose. Pursue your passion while simultaneously reinforcing your purpose.

2» Believe in something greater than yourself – My faith has shaped my sense

of purpose. The knowing that I am a part of something bigger than me gives a sense of security and relentless inspiration.

3» Stay connected to loved ones -

All human beings seek connection and they long to be understood. Friends, colleagues and associates are wonderful and ridiculously temperamental, but at the end of the day there is nothing like family. Family/loved ones will extend mercy to you even when you don’t deserve it and will love you because of your shortcomings, idiosycrincies and human frailties. Maintain your connection with family and loved ones, no matter how imperfect they may appear. I am convinced that all things (even hard relationships with loved ones) are made perfect over time.

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4» Minimize negativity and negative energy in your life- Negativity is

like toxic waste. Make certain that you surround yourself with people, situations and causes that are life-giving. Life is too short to remain in a constant state of being emotionally drained by others’ negativity. Remain positive and surround yourself with positivity.

5» Speak into your own life, encourage yourself – Every morning,

get up, look yourself in the mirror and speak to yourself. Take command over your own personal narrative. You are somebody, you have purpose, you matter and the world is better because you and all your uniqueness is a part of it.

6» Find ways to give of yourself while simultaneously preserving self -What do I mean? Attach your

giving to your sense of purpose. If eliminating childhood hunger is an ache of yours, then giving of yourself to meet the need should also feel like preserving a part of you because your core values are intimately attached to the cause.

7» Prioritize physical activity/exercise, some form of meditation and then rest- I am incredibly selfish about

exercising. I wake up every morning at 5AM and run for 45 minutes. The air is incredibly crisp, for a moment there is silence and peace over the city and I am alone with my thoughts. The run is incredibly restorative, physically reduces the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and high blood pressure to name a few and mentally: stress levels and its impact are significantly reduced. Finally, rest. I wake at 5AM every morning, but go to bed by 9:00PM, averaging 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep per night. I urge you to get plenty of rest.

Oregon Health Science University Pathways for Minorities in Health Care Since the civil-rights era, the number of minorities entering the health and sciences industries has been on the rise. Black Americans, however, only account for 4 percent of U.S. physicians overall. Black men, particularly, have been lagging behind since their enrollment peaked during the 1990’s. A recent study done by the Association of American Medical Colleges on medical education diversity reported that in 2011, 2.5% of medical school applicants were black men, a drop from 2.6% in 2002. On the forefront of addressing this disturbing nationwide trend, is OHSU Center for Diversity and Inclusion. Chief Diversity Officer, Leslie Garcia, created and developed 2 programs aimed at increasing diversity in the biomedical field. The Ted R. Lilley CURE Program (Continuing Umbrella of Research Education) for high school students, seeks “to increase

participation of underserved and minority students in biomedical research and other health-related fields.” The program offers students a monthly stipend, hands-on research and experience, science exposure and mentoring by a Faculty Member of the Knight Cancer Institute. College students can take advantage of The Summer Equity Research Internship Program, an innovative opportunity to spend eight weeks working with faculty, scientists, and graduate students in a research setting. Equity interns gain a broad base of knowledge, new research skills, handson lab experience and the opportunity to attend weekly seminars with fellow interns, faculty and scientist mentors.

In 2014, a young black man, Donald Thomas, took advantage of this pathway. He is one of many who confirm the importance of the continuing availability of these programs. “Thus far [in the Summer Equity internship], my biggest surprises have been how much I enjoy working in the laboratory, the feedback from laboratory professionals, and hands on activities,” says Thomas. “With limited lab experiences, I have been encouraged by my mentor and lab workers to move forward with confidence.” Thomas has his sights set on applying this clinical and patient care experience to earning a Master of Public Health and in becoming a medical osteopathic doctor. “I believe the spread of knowledge will eliminate some of the health issues facing disadvantaged communities,” Thomas concluded.

Dr. Ward Lifetime Learner

By Fawn Aberson

A lifetime learner is a person that never stops hungering for knowledge, asking every kind of question, seeking a variety of answers and then finding them on roads less traveled. They are fascinating spirits to encounter. The personification of a lifetime learner is Dr. Edward Ward. Leading up to and over the course of his professional career as dentist, business entrepreneur, designer, enlisted personnel, author and teacher, he continually derives his positive outcomes from the consistent stretching of his mind. He meticulously works his way through classes, solicitously studies the behaviors of other people and never stays more than an arm’s reach from a good book on whatever subject happens to peak his interest. He is currently reading "Content Analysis" by K. Krippendorff.

“I have always been a curious person. We just don't take advantage of the knowledge around us. You have to talk to people, ask for what you want. It’s the old adage of ask, seek, knock and it saves people so many steps. Either people know what you need to know, or they can find it in a book somewhere.” Dr. Ward has been practicing dentistry for nearly 40 years and he has mastered techniques in general dentistry, oral surgery and cosmetic design. He has procured almost every degree a dentist can achieve and then some. To include them all here, would simply look like some kind of visual Morse code puzzle. {18} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

He ended up at the Oregon Health Science University School of Dentistry (OHSU) in the mid70s. Amazingly, he was only the third African-American student to have done so at the time. Reflecting on this fact didn’t seem to really evoke any memories of distress.

“As a student, you are just so focused on getting your course work done. I never really gave too much thought to being different than others. For me, it really wasn’t intimidating. I had come from a community in Texas where there were plenty of African American doctors, lawyers and business professionals. He has taught at University level and run his My own parents were entreown thriving practice in downtown Portland preneurs, running a tire rewith a staff as large as 7, to the smaller practice pair company. I had so many he has today at Interstate Dental. He says examples of others, who downsizing gives him more time for self-delooked like me, being successvelopment. He is a decorated military veterful. Although, for others at an, a community philanthropist and even a the school, my attendance was children’s book author. probably a bigger deal.” He was inspired to go into the field while doing his undergraduate degree in medicine at North Texas State University, in part, because of a classmate named Earl Mitchell. “Earl would always speak so enthusiastically about becoming a dentist and it got me thinking. I have an artsy side to me. I love working with my hands and designing things. I felt that dentistry would give me access to more of that, than my original plan of becoming a medical technician.”

He also holds an MBA from George Fox University and is currently working on his Doctorate from the same University. As a member of the American Dental Association, he has achieved the highest ranking award they offer, the Lifetime Learners and Service Recognition Award. He is also a member of the National Dental

Association, whose members have not historically been African American, because up until the civil rights movement of the 1960s, people of color were not allowed to join the American Dental Association. “When you’re in the medical field, most states require a certain amount of continual education. I barely know what that is, because I do so much more than the basic requirements. You have to stay abreast of the changes to be in conversation. The only thing separating you from the person next to you, is what you know and knowledge is the key to getting the things in life that you want. Not just material things, but mental, health and spiritual understandings, as well.” His mentors and colleagues at OHSU included, Dr. Ollie Mooreland; the man that recruited him to the school; Dr. Clarence Pruitt and Dr. Dean Louis Terkla, the first and second African

Americans to graduate from OHSU School of Dentistry. They all provided words of encouragement and countless sessions of advice. When Dr. Ward talks, he always mentions people’s names as a sign of respect for those who helped guide him along his path. “If it were up to me, I don’t know what would happen. I have always looked to people as a source to help me get what I need and they always come through. So for me, acknowledging others is so important.” As we discussed his formula for success, advice on entrepreneurism and how to set a course for a lifetime of learning, we asked him to dish out five pearls of wisdom from his experiences that he would share with others. “First, learn the language of whatever field you want to go into, because everything has its own language. Second, be around like people who are talking about the future and moving towards their goals.

Third, take some time for you. Take a day off and go to the library, or better yet, a week off and go to the beach and do a project on yourself, identifying what you want for the next 5, 10, 40 years. Write your goals down and refer to them often. Love. Fourth, read as much as you can. Suze Orman is one of the first author’s I read who got me thinking about investments and the power of compound interest. It made me seek out the advice of Melvin Coffee, an attorney and accountant in my building, who helped me set up a portfolio. Read Zig Ziglar, Ben Franklin. Just read. Fifth, enjoy and celebrate life. Everything around you is here for you. Sew your life together with love, treating yourself, others and everything you touch, with respect and love."

How do you share health? At Health Share, we believe good health is more than what happens inside your doctor’s office. Good health starts in your community and includes staying active, eating healthy food and getting regular check-ups. Share your healthy habits with family and friends. We can all have better health when we share it together.


Cuts & Checks Barbershop Blood Pressure Program / Terrell Brandon Barber Shop North by Northeast Community Health Center/ Legacy Emanuel Medical Center

Sur•viv•al•ist [ser-vahy-vuhlist] --NOUN-A person who makes preparations to survive a widespread catastrophe by storing food, weapons and survival gear in a safe place.


By Fawn Aberson

Afro•viv•al•ist [aph*ro*viv*al*ist]– NOUNSharon Ross, a black female survivalist who knows how to ‘Get ‘er Done’. On any given day of the week, you might run into Ms. Ross out on the town after her regular 9-5 and consider her a bit of a diva. It wouldn’t be uncommon to find her sporting high heels, sculpted nails and shiny red lipstick while sipping from a martini glass and hob knobbing with her cronies from a local movie production crowd. Film production is just one of her several unique areas of interest. However, come the weekend, Ms. Ross commonly sheds her city girl glam, for a considerably more rough and tumble look her friends call, “Afrovivalist”.

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“My definition of survivalist, is a person who believes that the government is no longer for ‘We the People’ and we will experience some form of man-made or natural disaster in our future.”

As the Afrovivalist, Ms. Ross has been known to trudge through the wilderness in combat boots. Hunting down deer or other wild game with her bow and arrow, she then field dresses on the spot, i.e. removing its vital organs with a knife.

She intends on using recycled tires to build an Earthship -a radical sustainable home made up of recycled materials-on the 60 acres of land she purchased in a remote area, far away from modern civilization, complete with 2 bison and a horse. There, she and a handful of her closest neighbors, have chosen to live power line free or “Off the Grid’. Her friends and family think she might be off her rocker.

“If anything big goes down today, I know that I’ve got 4 different routes to get out to my property, including one by water. Every time I go out there, I take plants with me. I’ve planted apples and pear trees and recently put in gooseberries, because they have long thorns that will work as great barrier around the perimeter of my Earthship. I’m also learning how to make wine, can food and distill liquor, so creature comforts won’t be a problem,” she laughs .

“The idea to get into the lifestyle of a prepper/survivalist first hit me while watching footage of the victims of Hurricane Katrina. It was one of those God moments, where it just hit me that I don’t ever want to be waiting on the government to come rescue me and I will not live in a FEMA camp. I decided then, that I had to seriously be in control of me and be prepared for any form of man made or natural disasters that will come our way.” Ms. Ross grew up in rural southern Oregon in the 70's. Her biological father and step-father (both former Marines) and her mother worked in the US Forest Service. “There were only a handful of black folks in the area and we all had our share of racist experiences. We were the only black family to establish roots and stay. Looking back, my stepfather’s way of preparing us for any possible ‘wind in the darkness’ type of stuff,was to put a gun in my hands as soon as I was able to do it correctly. He trained me to protect myself at a very young age. ” Today, Sharon drives around an A-Team style, 1978 van she calls her ‘Bug Out’ vehicle. The van stays packed with camping equipment, jugs of water, canned food and recycled fire starters (egg cartons filled with lint and candle drippings )used to help start her camp fires. It also acts as a mobile bunk house, where she sleeps with her pitbull close and her gun closer.

In Afrovivalist mode, she spends free time sitting at her stove waterproofing matches by dipping them into hot wax--you rub the wax off when ready to use. Other days, you might find her scouring bargain bins for hurricane lamps or used cast iron cookware, capable of withstanding high heat. “The old stuff was built to last longer," she says shrugging off the suggestion to hit up more modern sporting goods stores. She also gets excited about a blog post from other survivalists, who share the location of 5 gallon jugs of bleach on sale (used to purify water) and races to the spot before they sell out. She goes to different meetups like Bushcraft, for people who want to learn archery and goes camping with prepper groups who spend their weekends learning about firearms, wilderness survival and self-defense training. {continued on page 55}

Pacific Power:

A fair, affordable, diverse and sustainable energy future Our energy future has never before been in such a state of dynamic change. On behalf of our 730,000 customers – nearly 70,000 of whom live or run businesses in Northeast Portland -- we here at Pacific Power believe that it is our responsibility to maintain rates that are fair, reasonable and affordable for our customers, while achieving our shared goal of lower carbon emissions. Pacific Power has been moving toward a lower carbon future for nearly a decade. In 2006, long term plans called for future construction of four new coal-fired plants in the west over the coming years. Recognizing that the age of coal-fueled electricity production was waning, we chose, instead, to invest $2 billion to build 2,000 megawatts of wind power, making us the second largest utility owner of wind resources in the nation. During this time, we also invested hundreds of millions to ensure our hydroelectric plants are salmon and steelhead friendly. In 2012, we built the first utility scale solar facility in Oregon and encourage customers, both business and residential, to build their own solar arrays. Our efforts are paying off and within the last 5 years, more than 4,000 Oregonians have risen to the challenge and transitioned to solar powered electricity production.

Diversity generates more power. Pacific Power is committed to promoting diversity and economic development in the communities we serve. One way of demonstrating helping to grow opportunities this is by increasing the amount of businesses with minority-owned, women-owned, disabled veteran-owned and emerging small business enterprise suppliers. We recognize that these businesses are vitally important to the overall success of our company and community.



Š 2015 Pacific Power

To take advantage of this opportunity to grow your business and begin the process of becoming a pre-qualified vendor, complete the application form found at pacificorp.com/suppliers.

Perhaps surprisingly, we have also invested millions in helping our customers to use LESS of our energy through incentives and education programs. We encourage our customers to go to pacificpower.net/wattsmart to take advantage of cash incentives and cash savings that will result from energy efficiency tips and actions. In addition, businesses can take advantage of our Business Solutions Toolkit, or other business resources, at pacificpower.net/bus/se/tr.html .

Pacific Power wants to be your customer, too. Pacific Power and PacifiCorp believes that supplier diversity is necessary for excellence. Towards meeting this goal, we have re-energized our commitments to promoting diversity and economic development in the communities we serve. We are fostering and facilitating an inclusive contract procurement process that is accessible and fair to all suppliers, with particular focus on increasing the participation of minority-owned, women-owned, disabled-owned, veteran-owned and emerging small business enterprise (MWDVESB) suppliers. And it’s working! In 2014-2015 alone, we increased our spending with qualified diverse suppliers by 268%. Our goal for 2016 is even higher. To take advantage of this opportunity to grow your business and begin the process of becoming a pre-qualified vendor, complete the application form found at pacificorp. com/supplierdiversity. If you have any additional questions, please feel free to email newsupplier@pacificorp.com


Connecting the Black community through Travel and Adventure in the Pacific Northwest. Here are only a few of Oregon’s wonderful Black-owned or influenced destinations you need to experience firsthand.

LEISURE HOUR GOLF CLUB: It’s a game that can’t be won, only played. Founded by Vernon Gasking in the 1940s to introduce more Blacks to the sport, Leisure Hour Golf Club meets throughout the month. Peruse their site for dates, times, tournaments and events. Website: www.leisurehourgolf.org

BLACK GIRLS RUN: Are you are a runner or do you want to become one? Transition to a more active and healthier lifestyle by connecting with these Sisters here and around the country who are doin it for themselves! All levels of experience are welcome. Facebook: BlackGirlsRUN!Portland FULL TILT RIDERS MOTORCYCLE CLUB: If you prefer more horse-power, unite with FTR. This national association was birthed in Portland by a group of African American friends who love the open road. FTR’s club goals are to build brotherhood and sisterhood through the passion of motorcycle riding. Facebook Full-Tilt-RidersMC-The-Parent-Chapter AFRICAN AMERICAN OUTDOOR ASSOCIATION: Whether kayaking on Scappoose Bay, hiking through Silver Falls, trekking to Bagby Hot Springs or discovering the amazing trails of Forest Park, the African American Outdoor Association (AAOA) is your ticket for outdoor adventure. Facebook: AfricanAmericanOutdoorAssociation MAJOR TAYLOR CYCLING CLUB OF PORTLAND (MTCCP): Named for the first African American World Champion Cyclist, Marshall Taylor, these vivacious peddlers link Black with bikes and set out onto the open roads and winding trails of the beautiful Pac-West. Facebook: Major-Taylor-CyclingClub-of-Portland-MTCCP {24} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

EBONY ROSE SKI CLUB: Did you know that there are over 83 Black Ski Clubs throughout the US including Oregon? Nothing is as exciting as hitting the slopes with The Ebony Rose Ski Club, who are also members of National Brotherhood of Skiers.

Website: www.nwskiers.org/clubs

AFRICAN AMERICAN HUNTING ASSOCIATION: Whether it’s target shooting or tracking the wild prey of the Pacific Northwest, the African American Hunting Association is connecting and educating Black people who hunt.

Website: www.africanamericanhuntingassociation.com

www.travelportland.com Explore Oregon through the lenses of African American history as described by dynamic story tellers

TOURS KNOW YOUR CITY CULTURAL TOURS: This tour tells Portland’s story from the point of view of – and in the words of – the Chinese, Japanese, African American, Jewish, and LGBT communities that are often left out of mainstream conversations about Portland. Website: www.knowyourcity.org

PORTLAND PIONEERS OF COLOR WALKING TOUR: Stroll through the city while guided through tales of freed African Americans slaves who came to Portland in pursuit of liberty during 1850-1899. Facebook: Portland-Pioneers-of-Color-Walking-Tours

ABBEY CREEK VINEYARDS: Experience the craft of Bertony Faustin, the first known black winemaker in Oregon. Faustin takes precision and pride in his wine, nurturing the process from “the soil to the glass”. Abbey Creek Vineyards is a family owned winery in the heart of North Plains, minutes from Hillsboro. Learn more about his journey on Facebook: Red, White & Black A documentary about minority winemakers in Oregon. Website: www.abbeycreekvineyard.com

ART & CULTURE JP CUSTOM FRAMING : Preserve your art and memorabilia for years to come with the finest in wood and metal materials. JP Custom Framing builds frames in all shapes, sizes, colors and proudly displays a number of ethnic greeting cards, figurines, calendars, posters, and prints. Visit the frame shop today at 418 NE Killingsworth St, Portland, OR

Website: www.framinggalleryportland.com

OREGON BLACK PIONEERS: Get down with OBP! This non-profit group holds interactive presentations, bringing to life the State’s rich African-American heritage at schools, libraries and Historical sites throughout Oregon. Website: www.oregonblack-

WITH LOVE FROM PDX is a pioneers.org Portland-based gift service company THE GREEN BIKE CAB: operated by Inger Salem’s ONLY pedicab tour and transit service! Delve into the dark secrets and McDowell-Hartye. mysteries of one of Oregon’s oldest cities. The company offers personalized gifting Facebook: The-Green-Bike-Cab and curation options from locally made artisanal collections. Website: www.withlovefrompdx.com

For a truly inspiring experience in art that moves the Soul, look no further than the works of world-renowned African-American artist, ARVIE SMITH, whose paintings are showcased in the home of the late Nelson Mandela. Arvie masterfully weaves the history of oppressed and dispossessed segments of society into powerful artistic renditions of the legacy of slavery and it’s impact on the soul of America. Website: www.arviesmith.com INTERSTATE FIREHOUSE CULTURAL CENTER: Founded in 1982 by Portland’s first African-American elected official, Commissioner Charles Jordan. The center’s mission “is committed to creating an environment in which people of every ethnic/ cultural background come together as artists and audience to explore, preserve and celebrate their diversity.” Located at 5340 N Interstate Ave, Portland, Oregon—Check into their host sites for performances. Facebook: Interstate-Firehouse-Cultural-Center

Food Cart Follies 4



CLYDE’S PRIME RIB: Boasting old school elegance, the dining room is replete with plush red velvet booths, a roaring fireplace and dazzling chandeliers. Weekly live Jazz, R&B and Blues performers keep their dance floor hopping!! Website: www.clydesprimerib.com/ OLIVE OR TWIST: Located in Portland’s swanky Pearl District, this martini lounge is an ideal date night destination. Try their Blood Orange Kamikaze or their Hazelnut Chocolate Martini …De-Lish! Website: www.oliveortwistmartinibar.com/ index2.php PORTLAND PRIME: A ritzy steakhouse and cocktail lounge, Portland Prime makes a classic foreground to the downtown Portland background. Owned by restaurateur Frank Taylor, the establishment is well known for supporting black social and business groups. Website: www.portlandprime.net For a taste of Ethiopia, look no further than the QUEEN OF SHEBA RESTAURANT: Located in the heart of the Soul District, you have to experience the amazing platters of authentic Ethiopian cuisine. While you’re there, try the homemade ginger juice, thyme tea or spicy chai made by the owner Alem Gebrehiwot 2413 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd Portland, Oregon Website: www.queenofsheba.biz

For more great African cooking you can try out one of actor Danny Glovers old stompin’ grounds, the HORN OF AFRICA. They have a great lunch buffet you won’t want to miss! Website: www.hornofafrica.net

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STOOPID BURGER: After a friend told them that restoring a food cart was a stupid idea, Co- CEO’s Danny Moore and John Hunt decided to go wholehog and founded Stoopid Burger. Drop on by 3441 N Vancouver Ave or find the on Facebook at www.facebook. com/stoopidburger

FOOD World Cuisine


Headed up by 3rd generation owner, Kiauna Floyd, AMALFI’S RESTAURANT AND MERCATO was established in 1959. Famous for being one of the first restaurants to bring pizza to the city of Portland, this neighborhood Italian trattoria is famous for their Italian comfort food, paired with an array of cocktails, beer and wines. Located at 4703 NE Fremont Street, Portland, OR. Website: www. amalfisrestaurant.com

Soul Food


REO’S RIBS: Even though his location may have changed more times than Hugh Hefner’s wives, Reo, the beloved Uncle of Snoop Dogg, has been cookin’ up some mean Mississippi BBQ for more than 20 years. His current digs are on NE Sandy Blvd and 42nd Avenue. It’s worth the stop as much for Reo the character, as it is for Reo’s Ribs. Facebook: reos.ribs DUBS ST.JOHNS: This a true Meat-ery, delivering slabs of mouth-watering ribs, giant burgers and all of the good ole’ down home soul sides. This is a long and fast rising star with foodies and owner Michael “Dub” Williams III has set the BBQ bar at the next level. Located in the historic St. John’s district, this is a “musteat-while-in-PDX” kind of destination. Website: www.dubstjohns.com

ELLA’S SOUL FOOD: Down-home, Southern Style eatery known for it’s BBQ Ribs, Catfish and more. Come out and enjoy indoor and outdoor seating and affordable, comfortable ambiance at 3505 N Mississippi Ave, Portland, Oregon (503) 927-6708 CARIBBEAN KOOKPOT: Famous for their Jerk Chicken and awesome oxtail. 3503 N Mississippi Ave, Portland Facebook: Caribbeankookpot Don’t mistake the ALBERTA STREET MARKET for just another convenience store. Famous for their huge, Southern-style wings w/ a hint of spice, paired with equally famous salty jojos, this hidden treasure has a reputation city-wide as being the stomping grounds of fried chicken connoisseurs. Located at 909 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211

Coffee Houses


AJ JAVA COFFEE Owner, Eleza Faizon does more than just roast her own beans and serve up some of Portland’s best coffee, she provides workforce training to inner-city youth while supporting our local and global economies. Enjoy a cup of Java inside or cross the street for a stroll through the beautiful Peninsula Rose Garden. Located at 6425 N. Albina Ave. Portland, OR Located in the New Columbia Neighborhood of North Portland: COLUMBIA INTERNATIONAL CUP, proudly serves up organic, locally roasted espresso, teas, pastries, panini sandwiches and other scrumptious menu items. We also do catering. Drop on by at 9022 N Newman Portland, or give a call (503) 477-9716

NIGHT LIFE www.travelportland.com JUNE



SOLAE’S LOUNGE: Get Jazzy with it! Enjoy the cool sounds and relaxing vibes of amazing local talent, 7 days a week from 4pm-2am. Located at 1801 N. Alberta Street in the Soul of Portland. Website: www.solaeslounge.com BILLY WEBBS ELK LODGE: Whether you want to kick it playing dominos while listening to old school cuts or ramp it up for some dance party jams, it’ll be worth checking out Billy Webbs Elk Lodge. You can find their calendar of events on Facebook: BillyWebbElkLodge JIMMY MAK: One of the top 100 places to hear jazz in the nation, hosting the who’s who of the genre. Be sure to hit up this swank joint in Portland’s Pearl District. Website:www.jimmymaks.com

Young Adult


Come on down to the LOCAL LOUNGE on PDX First Saturdays and make the Afrikon Konection to Africans in Oregon. Hosted by Ghanaian born DJ Solo and Gambian born DJ MM, this club night will take you musically around the world in 5 hours spinning African Dancehall, Reggae, Caribbean and Hip-Hop cuts. Located at 3536 NE MLK, Portland OR, Other options popular for getting your groove on are PANIC ROOM on First Fridays, TRIO CLUB, BARREL ROOM and PANIC LOUNGE.

Annual Events To Remember


JANUARY The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King tribute, “KEEP ALIVE THE DREAM”, is put on each year by the World Arts Foundation. Website: www.worldartsfoundation.org

The GOOD IN THE HOOD FESTIVAL has been promoting the cultural aspects of the N/NE community for over 18 years. Featuring the best entertainment in the NW, a variety of cultural food vendors, an Information Village, a KidSpace arts & craft area, and an Ethnic Marketplace. Website: www.goodintheneighborhood.org


The PORTLAND JAZZ FESTIVAL is a multi-venue series of jazz events presented February 18-28 Website: www. portlandjazzfestival.org/about

Kick off the summer with a true freedom celebration!! JUNETEENTH OREGON joins cities nationwide on June 19th, hosting yearly events to bring communities together in commemoration of the ending of slavery in the United States. Community celebration includes Freedom Parade, family activities, vendors and more!! For more information call 503-764-8836 or visit www.juneteenthoregon.com



Beat the winter doldrums with the WINTER BLUESFEST, an indoor music festival which melds the rhythmical talents of Northwest favorites, as well as new Northwest talent, into an unforgettable event that you will want to come back for year after year. For more information, call 503-881-7171 or log on to the website at: www.winterbluesfest.net

APRIL Kicking off festival season here in the Great Northwest, THE SOUL’D OUT MUSIC FESTIVAL is a convergence of musical artists from across the spectrum including Jazz, Funk, Blues, Hip-Hop, Soul. Taking place amongst multiple prestigious venues in Portland, SOMF brings them all together under the banner of soulful music. For more information, go to the website: www.souldoutfestival.com

Don’t miss one of the top 10 USA Blues Festivals, THE SAFEWAY WATERFRONT BLUES FESTIVAL, happening right here in Portland every fourth of July weekend. Premier blues artists regal the crowds, who enjoy live blues music and fireworks from the shore or on the water. For more information come find us on the web at www.waterfrontbluesfest.com


Mark your calendars, THE MLK DREAM RUN is a world class, USATF-sanctioned, 5, 10 and 15K run that has become known as the largest multicultural event of it’s kind in the region. Join us every August in the Soul of Portland for this annual fundraiser for NNEBA’s Youth Entrepreneurial Internship Program. For more information, go to the website: www.mlkdreamrun.org or find them on Facebook: MLK Dream Run

Wine Making 4.0: The Hustle

By Fawn Aberson In 2008, Bertony Faustin broke the glass ceiling of Oregon’s wine culture, when he became certified as the first official African American wine maker in the State. His label, Abbey Creek Vineyard, is one of 605 wineries and 950 Oregon grape wine growers listed on record. According to Full Glass Research Group (FGRG), in 2013, these wineries contributed $816.6 million dollars in retail sales combined. FGRG also reports that “the sum of all economic activity in Oregon is related directly or indirectly to wine, totaling over $3.35 Billion.” (That’s billion, with a B). Upon initial meeting, Bertony looks more like a football player than a farmer. His build is solid and strong and his hands look like that of a grappling lineman, capable of easily tossing bodies aside. His baritone accent is a mix of influences from Haitian born parents, who raised him up in Brooklyn, New York. Yet, when you take in his daily uniform of Carhartt bib overalls, the winemaking farmer image is reset. “I often joke, I am not a wine maker who hustles, I’m a hustler who makes wine. My Dad was the original hustler, considering that it wasn’t cool to be Haitian in New York back in the 1960s. He was ostracized by whites and native black New Yorkers as an outsider. He had to hustle for everything he gave us; I’m just trying to be half of that. When friends and family heard I was making wine, they were like, what? You? Why? I guess I was grieving. My dad’s passing reminded me that today you have it and tomorrow it’s gone. My first initial challenges were not so much learning how to make wine, but breaking down the perceptions of others that a black man like me could do so successfully. I figured if my dad could prosper in his life under difficult circumstances, then I can do this, here and now.”

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It was his father’s death in 2007 that prompted Bertony’s career change from anesthesia technician, to that of Vintner, a leap that had some in his circle baffled. For Bertony, his take on being the first African American in the state to actually grow grapes and press them into wine for retail sale, was a mixed review.

If you do the background research, you will find there are other black owned vineyards, largely due to the influx of Californian and South African blacks who are making a solid footprint in the wine industry. The Atlanta Black Star published an article earlier this year called “9 Amazing Black-Owned Wineries and Vineyards You Probably Don’t Know About.” The rising popularity of wine making has also attracted African American celebrities who have attached themselves to wine labels, including actress Gabrielle Union and Rapper E-40. Oregon had its own black celebrity ties when NFL player Keyshawn Johnson bottled his XIX 2010-2012 cabernet with grapes that were grown at Echo Vineyards in Echo, Oregon.

“Early on I never wanted to associate with, or own that fact, because my wine hustle wasn’t where I needed it to be. I didn’t want people flocking to me for just that reason; I wanted to feel confident in my wine making skills and what I was bringing to the table in terms of product quality. I am there now, been there, way past gone.”

Education was key for Bertony’s own entrance into the field. He initially took a vintner class for about six months, yet started feeling that there could be no better class than experience, so he jumped into the business.

“Our first harvest was jangly, but we hustled our way through it and learned a lot.” As for the timeliness of his endeavor, Bertony reflects, “Honestly Oregon is ripe for the picking. It’s all here, you name it and if you want to make the hustle happen you can do it. I’m bothered when I see young African Americans here not taking advantage of it.” In the wine industry at least, there seems to be support for his observation. Of the 17,099 wine industry jobs in Oregon, only a small percentage of them are held by Blacks. This includes everything from growing and harvesting the crops, to the fabrication of manufacturing equipment needed in wine making, to the trucking, distribution and retail sales of the product.

Out of the gate, Bertony was confident enough in his, actual grape growing and wine making skills. But, he wanted to learn more about the front of the house operations, so he took a second job at nearby Sake One, the largest American operated Sake brewery. “I worked in the tasting room, learning how to become the face of a product and represent a brand. Of course, early on you are intimidated. This wasn’t my industry and I was caught up in that whole fable about what wine is. Once I started learning, tasting other wine, going to shows and doing events, I thought, hold on. This is cake. This is a hustle. I can do this.”

Most people assume that you have to have tons of money and this whole pedigree, to make and sell good wine. This perception is the biggest flim-flam of the industry. “The reality is, that it is just wine, just grapes. Yes, you have to have a plan and a good product, but at the end of the day, people are coming to your tasting room because you are making the experience enjoyable for them. ”

The experience at Sake One was instrumental in giving Bertony the necessary skills and industry connections he would find valuable in running Abbey Creek Vineyards’ tasting room in North Plains, Oregon. Of course, there were also experiences that were unique to Bertony’s own signature style. {continued on page 63} {30} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

New Upper Scale Food Cart Pod Happy Valley Station Food Cart Facility 13551 SE 145th Ave-- Happy Valley, Oregon open 7 days a week MON-THURS 10-8 FRI-SAT 10-9 SUN 12-5 ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

4 Plumbed bathrooms Tables, heated seating area Internet connection 57 off street parking spaces Music, including live Jazz performances An ultra-cool- interactive kids play area Safe & clean environment for the whole family

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Koi Fusion • The Cajun Life • Fruit Box Esan Thai • Soup Line • I Candy Ole' Coffee... and more! Like our facebook page: www.Facebook.com/Happyvalleystation

Horse Shoes • Corn Hole • Games • 30 Tap Beer Cart • 5 large TV screens

History of Weed and Oppression Fueling the War on Drugs By Michele Darr On November 4, 2014, Oregon voters passed ballot Measure 91, joining Colo-

rado, Washington, Alaska and Washington D.C. in legalizing the use of marijuana by adults 21 and over. While the debate of, “ To be or not to be high”, will likely continue on in personal and professional circles, we should applaud this legislation from the standpoint that the deadly and deeply racist prohibition practices that have been strangling the country for nearly a century, are slowly beginning to lose their grip. As we pause to remember those who continue to suffer the fallout of the nightmare that’s come to be known as the “War on Drugs”, it is important to not be lulled into complacency by a false sense of security or blind faith that the tides of justice will continue to turn in favor of justice. Federal law still prohibits the possession, sale or distribution of marijuana and millions of “offenders” are still caught in the various dragnets of prisons and the criminal “justice” system. Once the scope of the injustice has been seen, it cannot be unseen. Once seen, the stories and ghosts of the past demand nothing less from us than the heart and courage necessary to take firm and decisive action. The lives of the ones who still bear the shackles of this and other forms of institutionalized slavery virtually depend on it. HATRED, HASH AND HYSTERIA Never before, has there been a more pressing need for a national history lesson. Prohibition got a foothold after displaced Mexican refugees began flooding over U.S. borders in the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution of 1910. As recreational and medicinal marijuana consumption became associated with the immigrant community and, by default, Black Americans, {32} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

industrial competitors of marijuana and hemp (namely the timber, pharmaceutical and textile industries) seized on the opportunity to extol the horrors behind the “Marijuana Menace”. Well-funded “research” came along, linking the use of marijuana with violence, crime and deviant behaviors, mostly committed within “racially inferior” communities. This propaganda was successful at exploiting the racism, fears and hostility of a US population on the verge of the Great Depression and new agencies were formed to pursue prohibition legislation. Leading the charge from 19301962, was Harry J. Anslinger. A notorious racist and xenophobe, he was chosen as Commissioner of the country’s brand new Federal Bureau of Narcotics, currently known as the DEA. As a prolific hatemonger, his highly charged rhetoric drew heavily upon themes of racism, fear and violence. He was a virtual font of notable quotes, unabashedly flaunting his racial disgust and bias. A few gems from the archives includes the following: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and Entertainers. Their Satanic music, Jazz and Swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, Entertainers and any others.”

“Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing” “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.” “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” His words struck a nerve within the nation and by 1931, 29 states had outlawed marijuana. The War had officially begun. AFRICAN AMERICAN HORROR STORY Over one trillion dollars and 40 million arrests later, the war on drugs has failed spectacularly to reduce drug abuse. It has, however, succeeded in meeting its bitter and hateful objectives to continue the culture of slavery within communities of color. Despite similar rates of usage among races, black people are still disproportionately arrested and prosecuted for non-violent drug offenses. Mandatory minimum sentences, such as the “three strikes you’re out” laws, have wreaked havoc on the black community, decimating families and leaving black children particularly vulnerable. These children are 9 times more likely to have an incarcerated father and, according to a report issued in 2013, nearly half a million of their fathers are behind bars and are unable to contribute to their children's lives economically, physically or emotionally. This figure represents 40 percent of all incarcerated parents. How can this deadly disparity continue to exist so blatantly unaddressed? How long will it be before enough people are willing to stand and confront the oppression?

Burned Out {cont.} Because the oppression won’t stop itself. As of 2014, fifty-three percent of black federal prisoners were convicted drug offenders and upon release, were subjected to a lifetime as a second or even third-class citizen. While we discontinued using blatantly racist language to characterize “criminals” who violate drug laws, we now use our criminal “justice” system to legalize discrimination against “criminals”. Much in the same way that it was once legal to discriminate against black people at the height of Jim Crow, laws widely exist that unfairly target and demonize them, trading one virulent form of oppression for another.

One example is that currently, blacks are disproportionately likely to be labeled as felons. Once a person is labeled a felon, they are subject to employment discrimination, housing discrimination, denial of the right to vote, denial of educational opportunites, denial of food stamps, public benefits and exclusion from jury service. Adding insult to injury, is the fact that even in states where marijuana has been legalized and “ganga-preneurs” scramble to take economic advantage, felons are strictly forbidden from entering the retail industry. This further bolsters the racial caste system and stymies the black community’s ability to share in the economic wealth of marijuana legalization.

reas, campuses zoning proposals for mixed use a a nd w ins Ne ti

The future of your neighborhood is taking shape. We listened and we heard. Portland’s Comprehensive Plan will establish new rules that affect the size, shape and location of shops, apartments, houses and places of employment.

tutio n

While the history and statistics we are drawing attention to here are staggering, they are also not meant to be seen as cause for losing hope. The coalition of people working to end the drug war, is one of the most diverse, broad-based alliances in America today and they are helping us move forward into a brighter future. By taking back their power, raising their voices and refusing to take their seats at the back of the bus, they are also refusing to be hapless bystanders in this nearly 100-year-old holocaust. It’s high time we join them in the struggle and high time to be the heroes of our own collective story. Want to make a difference? Join us in lobbying, in speaking out, in helping to educate the masses every chance you get. There is no plan B. If not us, who? If not now, when?

ing soon Com ! and residen t t land

s, employmen

ia l n eighborhoods.

Learn more about how proposed new rules may affect you and your neighborhood. y Chat with planners during drop-in hours at various locations in your community. Check the website for dates, times and locations near you. y Call the Comprehensive Plan Update Helpline at 503-823-0195. y Your testimony will be welcome at public hearings in late 2015–2016.

Want to know more? Visit www.portlandoregon.gov/bps/pdxcompplan The Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is committed to providing equal access to information and hearings. If you need special accommodation, translation or interpretation, please call 503-823-7700, the City’s TTY at 503-823-6868, or the Oregon Relay Service at 711.

In the over 30 years since computers and online access went mainstream, technology has fundamentally changed our society and nearly all of our systems of communication and commerce. Almost everyone has experienced interacting online in some capacity, from utilizing email and online banking, to surfing the web and using social media. However, due to exclusion from software development at the onset of digital technology, and despite representing the fastest growing segment of users of everything from smartphones to social media, grave disparities continue to persist with regards to African American access and participation in the lucrative software design industry. Luckily, though, there are people and organizations blazing pathways through the inequity. African American CEO, Frederick Hutson, created and founded Pidgeon.ly, the world’s most comprehensive inmate population database and developed products to efficiently connect inmates with their families through low-cost services (inmate phone and mail). Also rising to the challenges of identifying internal and external barriers to access and usage and then implementing strategies to narrow the gap, is the Intel Corporation. As the world’s biggest manufacturer of semiconductors, the company has installed Australian Cultural Anthropologist, Dr. Genevieve Bell, as their Director of User Experience at Intel Labs, the company’s research arm. In order to develop culturally relevant technology, Dr. Bell leads a team of about 100 researchers who travel the globe, studying how consumers interact with technology. She is quick to point out that on the surface, it might seem as if technology and it’s components are neutral and cross-cultural, unaffected by human attitudes such as racism and classism. The preponderance of evidence overwhelmingly indicates, however, that technology itself is rife with built in barriers to equity and justice, reflecting the racial origins, preconceptions and biases of those whom are creating and programming systems. “You don’t think about things like your wireless router making assessments about you and your life and then carrying that assessment to the planet,” Bell emphatically states. “Every other piece of technological infrastructure does the same thing, with a focus on who should use it, how it should be used, our bodily structure, such as in airbags, designed to protect you but not me, ideal body sizes, etc…I can remember that the first cameras didn’t do well with dark faces, couldn’t render the darkness of skin properly into photos,” she recalls. {34} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

Bridging the Digital Divide By Michele Darr

While far from perfecting the scope of realizing diversity in the digital world, communities nationwide are going further than ever before in addressing the gap through digital inclusion programs. In Oregon, Mary Beth Henry is the current Director of The Office for Community Technology, an agency that addresses ongoing disparities in access and opportunities to programs, through Digital Inclusion Summit workshops. “OCT is a program that catalyzes investment of resources to ensure the benefits of communications technology are available to all as part of an equitable, sustainable and economically healthy community,” Ms. Henry states. Another front runner in the race for inclusivity, is Code Oregon. As a cutting edge, statewide partnership between Worksystems and Treehouse, Code Oregon is leading the nation in providing FREE online interactive education platforms. Their stated goal is ”to create new designers and developers to fill the huge number of jobs that are being created.” To meet this lofty goal, Treehouse provides “quality online training that teaches high-demand languages such as iOS, Android, HTML, CSS, WordPress, PHP, Python, JavaScript, Ruby, and more. Top students will be identified and WorkSource will then provide them with career services, mentoring, and additional training to be vetted as job-ready.”

“Initiatives like Code Oregon help people find high-paying, rewarding jobs more quickly,” said Ryan Carson, co-founder and CEO of Treehouse. “We want to start the Code-to-Work movement, which will take someone from no experience, to job-ready, to a rewarding career – all without a degree and zero experience. The rules are all changing. You just don’t need a Computer Science degree any more to get an amazing job in the tech industry.”

Ben Berry By Fawn Aberson & Michele Darr

Flying High In our world of ever evolving technology, it may not have been a surprise to many of us when we first heard/saw demonstrations of unmanned aero vehicles (UAV), aka drones. After all, James Bond movies and military sci-fi flicks have been foreshadowing the future of technology for years. However, our fascination with how they work, their purpose and full potential of use, is being vetted and debated at the highest offices in our world. Additionally, as this technology moves from an exclusive military focus to exploring more civilian applications, the debates grow even more contentious. In the thick of this debate, stands aviation entrepreneur, CEO and Founder for AirShip Technologies Group, Ben Berry. His primary focus is on the development and implementation of the AirShip Endurance VTOL, UAVs and AirScape intelligence-as-a-service.

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These technologies have become important to the development of drone technology, particularly as it relates to emergency preparedness and many would agree that his invention and development

of Airship Endurance VTOL (Vertical Takeoff and Landing) and UAV(Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Transformer V2/V5/ V9/V17 are amongst some of his most notable achievements.

His small, unmanned drones are used by first responders such as police, fire and search and rescue and are capable of carrying out reconnaissance, surveillance and intelligence gathering missions for military and law enforcement. The larger aircrafts are capable of going on missions while carrying people who may or may not be pilots, in order to deliver personnel, supplies and conceivably to retrieve the wounded from situations where the environment might be hostile. The smaller V2 Airship weighs a mere 4.4 pounds, utilizes cutting edge “nanotechnology patented solar film array”, and is projected to stay aloft for up to two months, with solar panels on its broad area supplying energy to its super capacitors. Berry’s efforts have won him accolades such as the Linus Pauling Award for Innovative Product of the Year – 2011, and the Sustainability Summit Innovation Challenge by the New York & New Jersey Minority Supplier Development Council and InnoCentive Inc. In a field that has woefully been underrepresented by African Americans, Berry has evolved into a beacon of inspiration. He has extensive aviation related career experience, including, senior leadership technology positions with the Royal Saudi Air Force, Kingdom of

“Sometimes we think we can’t do some things we are passionate about because we don’t have enough experience or the right background,” Berry confides.

Saudi Arabian International Airports and Hughes Aircraft Company. He recently retired as Chief Technology Officer from the city of Portland, where he provided leadership for enterprise computing, analysis, design and deployment of computer applications and mobile/wireless computing services for public safety and first responders. Philanthropically, he is on the Board of Directors for the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum which houses an impressive collection of civilian and military aircraft, including the famed Hughes H-4 Hercules “Spruce Goose”. Berry credits his success to his ability to stretch his goals and dreams to accommodate his love of all things avionic, as well as to his father’s influence, support and exposure to the field.

“I look at those as stretch goals. The key is exposure. If we never get exposed to different experiences, we will never know what our passions are in life. I learned that I had a passion around science and technology and my father always encouraged that part of me. I remember looking at the want ads in the LA Times for computer jobs when I was still a teenager, determined to find out what it would take to land one. I would eventually reach that goal, landing a job as a computer programmer. From there, I began to set my sights on becoming a Chief Information Officer (CIO). Doing this would require me to leave the state of Oregon, in order to get the experience necessary to even have a chance at an opportunity to be a CIO in Oregon. I think that there are only 2 African American CIO’s in the whole State. I definitely had to stretch to reach that goal, but I did.” {continued on page 38}

Ben Berry Flying High {cont.} From an early age, Berry was steeped in African American history and technical understanding. His father, Ben Berry Sr., served his country as an elite member of the Tuskegee Airmen, becoming a strong role model for his son’s passionate pursuit in the fields of science and technology.

This legendary unit of nearly 16,000 ground personnel and pilots fought racial discrimination here and abroad to join the deeply segregated Army Air Corps in 1943. While initially rejected because of the color of their skin, these brave souls eventually won their bid for acceptance and flew with honor and distinction in World War II. After returning from the war, Ben Sr. went on to earn an aeronautical engineering degree and supported his son’s desire to follow him into the field of aviation through mentoring and provision of opportunities to further explore his burgeoning passion. Berry’s mother worked as a schoolteacher throughout his childhood and together with his father, imbued in him the discipline and drive to succeed despite the odds and exhortations of those who would discourage his lofty aspirations.

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“I think I learned early on that I had to figure out what my passion was in life, because of all of the drive-by opportunities that presented themselves. The path one ends up taking might vary, but if you can figure out what you are really excited about, really engaged with, and if you then ACT on that, as a person you can really be better off, the people around you will also be better off, and that momentum has the power to travel the world over,” Berry states.

Taking his father’s cue, Berry also works to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs by encouraging them to consider science and technology related fields. “I often speak to groups of African American kids and at the beginning of our talk I ask, ‘how many of you are interested in going into the tech sector?’ Usually, very few, if any, hands are raised. However, by the time our session is over and we have discussed all of the possibilities in the field, I ask the same question and there are always more hands then there were in the beginning.

People assume this field is too hard and although it is challenging, exposure to the realities of the industry is the key to creating pathways that inspire these young people to follow. This industry is only going to grow. For these kids to not be looking at it, or believing they can get involved, would be unfortunate. I want to help make sure that doesn’t happen.”

Berry concludes with powerful advice to young men and women of color who might bypass careers in technology, imploring them to consider technology as one of the most powerful weapons in fighting social injustice. “For people of color to be killed because of their race is a travesty. Only because of the invention of cell phone cameras are we even seeing it. People have been killed and lynched for decades because we didn’t see it. We only heard one side of the story, the side of the perpetrators and police officers, but now everyone with a cell phone, with a camera, is a media agent. They can upload their videos to the internet for the whole world to see. You can’t hide anymore.”

What comes to mind when you hear the phrase Black Lives Matter? What images, stories, feelings, come up for you? I know you have heard about it and at least, peripherally, you know what I am talking about. No matter how you came to hear the term, whether through exposure to social media, network news sources, or live demonstrations of one kind or another, you have absorbed information somewhere along the way pertaining to the Black Lives Matter movement. You have processed its significance to you and your life, even if only subconsciously. Even if you scrolled by the video and didn’t stop and watch in abject horror as one of Ferguson, Missouri’s “finest” gunned down 18-year old Mike Brown while the teenager knelt before him on his knees, with hands in the air pleading for his life, you ARE affected. Even if you are unplugged, even if you have never seen the Youtube, or heard Eric Garners' tortured voice rasping his last words, “I can’t breathe….” , or heard the police officer who had him in the chokehold that eventually cost him his life, respond by hissing, “F**k your breath”, you are affected. Even if you nervously looked the other way while this unarmed black man (whose only “crime” was selling untaxed cigarettes) was ambushed by multiple members of this elite, armed force and then crushed beneath the weight of their bodies AND their hatred, you ARE affected. {40} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

So, how do you feel? Some people of whom we have asked that question have admitted being offended or uncomfortable upon hearing the phrase, “Black Lives Matter.” How do YOU feel? Go deep here, trust me. Know thyself. Why are you feeling whatever it is you feel when you hear this phrase? This question is crucially important to the conversation because we are addressing issues of entitlement embedded within our systemic realities here. These systems are rooted within the psyches of every single one of us who works within and benefits from the collective efforts it takes to create and maintain them.

There is no hiding, either.

By Michele Darr & John Washington The way you feel when you are confronted by uncomfortable truths and requests for your help in finding solutions to the inequity built into our systems, is a glaring indication of who you are and what ethics you are willing to sacrifice in order to maintain your power and position. Are you willing to unflinchingly look at the ways you not only participate in, but benefit from, the systems that have been exposed as steeply imbalanced and inherently racist? Or, are you going to recoil and look the other way once you’ve peered into the darkness and have seen the truth with your own eyes? Are you willing to risk a little, risk a lot, maybe even forfeit your systemically pre-ordained right to ill-gotten gains?

Or would you prefer to ignore the alarm, go back to sleep, passing the baton AND the birthright to your children and grandchildren to negotiate for future generations? I ask you again, friend, how do you FEEL?

I know it’s hard to look at, hard to wrap your head around. I know it’s even harder to eventually admit to the depth, breadth and brutality of the inequality built into the systems most of us spend our lives carefully tending to and nurturing. Harder still, is what the hell to do about it once you DO have a working understanding of the poisonous constructs you are helping to sustain with even your most wellmeaning endeavors. What happens after you grasp and accept that nearly every system you know, build upon and then bequeath to future generations, depends upon continually breaking the will and spirits of those whose bodies are carrying the weight of your greed?

Will you look me in the eye and be willing to discuss how you and I can collaborate to confront and then change these systems, no matter how daunting the work may appear, or will you cover your face, say nothing can, or will ever, change in our lifetimes and then go back to your business as usual?

Truth of the matter is, though, no matter where you come from, no matter where you live, your racial experience colors your perception of the issue. Face it; unless you were born black, it is highly likely that you can trace back to a moment in your life where you weren’t even aware problems existed within the hallowed halls of education, the halls of justice, the halls where decisions are made around who lives where and how and to whom resources are distributed.

Unless you were born Black, your odds of having experienced systemic economic oppression from the moment of your birth are relatively low in comparison with black people, who experience economic injustice at rates hundreds of times more frequently than white people.

Unless you were born Black, chances are, you have probably not experienced being stopped, questioned and held in custody by law enforcement simply because of the color of your skin or other racially preconceived notions. Unless you were born Black, you would likely survive an arrest and imprisonment with little more than a bruised ego, whereas, black people are three times more likely to be killed by police in the United States of America. Think it doesn’t happen here locally in our liberal bastion of Keep Portland Weird hipsters and progressives? I hate to be the one to burst anyone’s bubble, but not only does Oregon have a dismal record as being one of the most racist States in the Union, founded on principles that would make a Confederate blush, but shares in the shame of racial disparities. Don’t Shoot Portland co-founder, Teressa Raiford, reflected, “One of the things that led us to action here locally, was not only the incident that took his [Mike Brown's] life in regards to the interaction and engagement with Darren Wilson, but the outcome of that interaction,” she said. “An 18-year old son of ours, gunned down in the streets while living in poverty. That was something that was relative to us, we’ve had that happen here.”

I call it slavery. Raiford went on to cite Portland Copwatch studies, which revealed that 25% of all people shot by Portland Police or who died in their custody since 2000 were Black, despite blacks making up only 6.3% of the city’s population. It is said that we have come a long way since the days of legalized slavery. However, I urge you to be willing to look at the staggering number of ways that the scenery and props have simply been changed and updated to fit the current status quo. Just because you can’t see the chains, doesn’t mean they aren’t there. What do you call the mass incarceration of Black people, who now comprise more than half of the nation’s prison population, despite only accounting for 14% of the nation’s population as a whole? I call it slavery. What do you want to call it when police unleash brutality and death upon communities of color at a rate hundreds of times higher than that of their white counterparts? I call it slavery. What do you want to call the 1,300% economic disparity that exists between the median household incomes of blacks (about $7,000.00) and whites (about $91,000.00), a gap that has tripled in just the past 25 years?

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I could go on and on here, but you get the picture, right? Still gonna sit there and tell me ALL Lives matter? Well, then you sure as hell better be ready to tell me how you are doing the work to make it so. You sure as hell better be putting your own skin in the game to validate that assertion, better be sure as hell out there upending the tables of the merchants of fear, oppression and destruction, who are selling us all down the road to our collective doom, should we choose to take that fork in the road. If you are out there, fully awake, ready to pick up and do the work to liberate our people by helping to create opportunities for EVERYONE to prosper, then kudos to you and blessings be upon your endeavors. All Lives Matter when all lives matter EQUALLY, when our systems reflect that reality and are congruent with that lofty claim. However, the overwhelming preponderance of evidence is that our systems reflect the OPPOSITE, reflect that Black Lives matter less than White Lives. It is then imperative for anyone who dares to claim that ANY life matters, to bear some responsibility and accountability by getting off their asses, getting out of their bubbles and getting into the boardrooms of those making the decisions that become the systemic reality we all live under.

The good thing is that, we have the warriors and the way-showers. The ones who still have heart and courage for the struggle, the ones who get out there and put their lives and livelihoods on the line for the greater good. These agents of change are beating the odds and blazing pathways as pioneers in technology, education, health care and community advocacy. “We got feet to the ground, we’re breaking systems, asking for accountability,” asserts Ms. Raiford. “We are demanding a change and we are being a part of the solution within that change.” Don’t Shoot Portland holds workshops with the National Lawyers Guild and the Portland Law Collective, with the goal of educating their supporters on cop watching, know your rights and grand jury training. These forms of educating the community are critical components of empowering people to get out there and be a part of the resetting of our course. By taking charge of our of own lives and holding accountable the systems within, we have the power to rewrite the tragic ending that is only inevitable if we remain frozen by inaction and inability to unite. By getting behind the pen, the computer, the camera, by getting out in the streets and telling the stories of our lives, by uniting to change things for the betterment of all of humanity, we have the power to write a brighter ending .

Thanks to the digital age and social media platforms broadcasting to every corner of the globe via the internet, we now have the tools and means at our disposal to spotlight these stories and truths unheard of before by the majority of white Americans. We have the power to reach millions of minds and hearts with our freedom songs, unfiltered by pundits, soundbites and voiceovers. We have the ability, each and every one of us, to stop making excuses, stop passing the buck, stop burying our heads in the sand and “be the change we want to see in the world[Gandhi].” The option is to take a moment and consider the implications of continuing to live in this society where the stories and bodies keep piling up around you. Eventually, it will get to the point where you can no longer ignore the carnage, ignore the suffering, or ignore the oppression. I have a feeling that the moment when you will no longer look the other way, will be the moment when YOU are personally affected. Have you thought about who will stand for you?

When the grip of the oppression and the ensuing economic fallout hits you and your family, when the noose of the police state tightens on YOU and your loved ones, have you thought about WHO will stand for YOU? Make no mistake, it’s coming. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said it best, “A threat to justice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” In the same vein, we are stronger united than divided and we have the collective power to transition our systems into empowering, life-affirming institutions of Liberty, Justice and EQUITY for ALL. The future is in our hands. What are you going to do about it? Suit up, we’ll see you on the front lines.

倀愀琀栀眀愀礀 伀爀攀最漀渀 䌀栀攀挀欀氀椀猀琀 伀爀攀最漀渀 爀攀猀椀搀攀渀琀 愀渀搀 最爀愀搀甀愀琀攀  昀爀漀洀 愀渀 伀爀攀最漀渀 栀椀最栀 猀挀栀漀漀氀 椀渀 琀栀攀  氀愀猀琀 琀眀漀 礀攀愀爀猀 䘀椀爀猀琀ⴀ琀椀洀攀 昀爀攀猀栀洀愀渀 ㌀⸀㐀  挀甀洀甀氀愀琀椀瘀攀 栀椀最栀 猀挀栀漀漀氀 䜀倀䄀 䔀氀椀最椀戀氀攀 昀漀爀 愀 䘀攀搀攀爀愀氀 倀攀氀氀 䜀爀愀渀琀 䌀栀攀挀欀攀搀 攀愀挀栀 椀琀攀洀 漀漀㼀 䤀昀 猀漀Ⰰ 礀漀甀 愀爀攀 愀甀琀漀洀愀琀椀挀愀氀氀礀 攀氀椀最椀戀氀攀 琀漀  栀愀瘀攀 礀漀甀爀 琀甀椀琀椀漀渀 愀渀搀 昀攀攀猀 挀漀瘀攀爀攀搀 琀栀爀漀甀最栀 倀愀琀栀眀愀礀伀爀攀最漀渀℀  䄀瀀瀀氀礀 戀礀 䨀愀渀甀愀爀礀 ㄀㔀琀栀⸀ 䰀攀愀爀渀 洀漀爀攀 愀琀㨀 甀漀爀攀最漀渀⸀攀搀甀⼀瀀愀琀栀眀愀礀

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By Fawn Aberson

Portland Public Schools Turns Up The Heat In Efforts To Resolve Race Base Disparities Within Their System In 2008, President Barack Obama and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan made it clear to the nation that a serious goal had been set for the US to become the global leader in the proportion of college graduates by 2020. This announcement, aside from setting into motion ways to create pathways for more people to have access to affordable education, simultaneously sparked one of the most critical examinations of equity in our education system since the civil rights era. From 2009-2012, the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights compiled data from research and investigations of complaints in order to help ensure equal access to education. Among the more unsettling findings of their data revealed,

One of their early steps was to start a much needed dialogue on the subject. They brought in Glen Singleton, author and trainer of “Courageous Conversations about Race: A Field Guide for Achieving Equity in Schools.” He helped PPS facilitate the ‘Why’ is this happening and the ‘What’ can we do next to remove it.

Still, in order for this transformative work to take hold, there needed to be a ‘buy in’ from PPS staff at all levels. Among the most passionate of this group has been Dr. Charlene Williams, Sr. Director for the Roosevelt Cluster at PPS. She has been a rising star and key player in facilitating restorative strategies to help ensure that all students have the same opportunities to succeed, with a special emphasis on Black male students.

“There is a lot of talk about Black male students, but are we listening to them? If Black lives matter, then we should listen and respond to their stories,” says Dr. Williams.

“Minority students across America face harsher discipline, have less access to rigorous high school curricula and are more often taught by lower-paid and less experienced teachers…African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers.” Dr. Charlene Williams, PPS, speaks at "Teaching With Purpose" conference

Around that same time, Portland Public Schools (PPS), under the leadership of Superintendent Carole Smith and Chief Equity Officer Lolenzo Poe, began its own independent critical examination of eradicating race-based disparities within the PPS system.

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A recent graduate of Lewis and Clark’s Doctoral program, Dr. Williams is a passionate educator committed to creating equitable outcomes for students. In her research on this subject, Dr. Williams used tenets of Critical Race Theory, namely the telling of counter stories to explore how African American male high school students described and experienced high expectations in the classroom. The Executive Overview of her examination is eye-opening and heartfelt.

“Educators cannot be culturally responsive without truly knowing the students we are charged to teach…Responsiveness implies knowing who and what you are responding to. My research included focus groups and interviews with twelve African American males who shared their experiences, offered insights into how they negotiate through classroom environments with few high expectancy interactions and made recommendations for how teachers can effectively convey high expectations. Low expectancy interactions left participants feeling intellectually inferior, antagonized, or ignored, while high expectancy interactions fostered hope, high quality work and synergistic engagement. Participants not only experience bias in teacher expectations, but they assume and expect teachers will generally have low expectations of them until proven otherwise. Participants described paradigms and strategies they employ to navigate these experiences in the classroom. Critical racial consciousness, resistance, resilience and beliefs about learning were concepts used to analyze their responses. The implications for my study present a “call to action”, requiring a shift in professional development, paradigms, pedagogy and institutional practices, implemented with relentless intention to facilitate African American male success. Teacher expectation is a lever that creates opportunities and facilitates deeper learning. Therefore, it is imperative that educators capture more African American male perspectives and experiences to inform educator practices, systems and policies.” Having addressed some of the ‘Why’, PPS has also been diligently addressing the ‘What’ to do about it. One way, has been by supporting a ground breaking conference called “Teaching with Purpose.”

It is produced by Karanja Crews, an African American educator who has been incorporating culturally responsive pedagogy techniques into the classroom and creating a forum to help coach other educators.

“Karanja said something at the conference that echoed what I heard the young men in my study say. ‘ I am a Black man and I am invisible.’ Sup-

porting the evidence that Black males are hyper visible when it comes to discipline, they are nearly invisible when it comes to being acknowledged and honored for the intelligence they bring to the class room," stated Williams. Other external partnerships include, Resolutions Northwest, who is leading restorative conversations regarding students who are on the brink of disconnection from the system. Taking the former practice of ‘zero tolerance’ within PPS punitive system, Resolutions Northwest is helping staff recognize that no one person is 100 percent at fault and showing how balance can be restored. Additionally, The IAM Academy and the Coalition of Black Men are helping to keep African American males engaged in schooling success. Internally, it has been a lot about creating harmony in the environment.

“We have 6 school hours to impact our kids and there are a whole lot of layers we have to consider. Holding students to high standards is made easier when you create clear, healthy classrooms and overall school climates. This includes providing respectful communication and support that is preventative, rather than reactive.” Dr. Williams explains. Dr. Williams will be the first to admit that revealing weaknesses in a system often comes with criticism. “Every teacher or parent wants to see their children be successful, so it’s easy to get jaded when you don’t see the success you expected. Staying transparent is key. I am so proud that PPS is willing to do that and I am equally frustrated that people are using our transparency and vulnerability against us because truly, we are our own worst critics.” Looking to the future, Dr. Williams looks at the equity work being and ongoing process. “We have to keep having the hard conversations around race and keep teaching, reaching and revisiting the process of removing barriers.”

Michael Harper

An Elevation in Black Brotherhood: Embracing Calmness and Sincerity in a World of Madness By Michele Darr

Every generation has their shining lights, heroes who point the way to a bright future that we all inherently know we have the power to create. Michael Harper is one of Portland’s best and brightest leading the way by example.

He also maintains the distinction of being a valued team member of State Farm Insurance, a job he has held for over 20 years. He acknowledges, however, that he has been one of the lucky ones. Systemic oppression and institutionalized racism have resulted in vastly disproportionate numbers of African Americans experiencing incarceration, unemployment and subsequent economic devastation. While the statistics are sobering, Harper seeks to impart that it is not impossible to thrive and prosper.

The former NBA basketball player and current community philanthropist was born on the Southside of Chicago in 1957, the youngest of 8 children. His father served in the military and worked as a pipefitter while his mom stayed home to raise himself and his 7 siblings. His father was one of his biggest role models, inspiring him to rise through the ranks of the Most Worshipful Prince Hall Freemasons, a group Harper refers to reverently as “Builders of Men”. “The ultimate goal of the Prince Hall Freemasons is to make good men even better. The quest to understand, the quest towards maturity, is a lifelong process. I’ve been blessed to rise to the highest levels in order to be significant in this world and I’m honored to have had the opportunity to be that counselor, to be that brother in the fraternity.” Harper steadily built his own character and portfolio by attending and graduating from North Park University, leading teams to three consecutive NCAA Division III national basketball championships. He was recruited to play for the Portland Trail Blazers during the 1980-81 and 198182 seasons before going worldwide, where he spent the next six seasons playing in Italy, France, and Spain. 48} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

After his return to the U.S., Harper migrated back to Portland, renewing bonds with the city he had come to consider his home. He honored this move by continuing to do what he knew and loved: play ball and serve his community. In addition to serving as a non-profit Board member and Commissioner of the OLCC, he also sits at the helm of the Grassharper Foundation, an organization he founded in 2009 to assist children, families and the community through outreach and fundraising. In Harper’s eyes, the diminutive insect is the perfect mascot for the foundation. “The grasshopper jumps, is green, environmentally integrated, able to touch lives and not easily bogged down,” he says with a laugh. Harper strives to embody this philosophy by putting in countless hours as an athletic coach, motivational speaker and mentor to high school and college students and through community leadership.

“You can’t quit. Don’t embrace the madness of the world, but embrace the calmness and sincerity of yourself, first. Be positive and have the gift of wonder, the gift to improve, even as you make errors. Better days are ahead, so always live to see another day. Breakthrough is just around the corner and the key is to wake up, get up, stay up, live up and free up.” Harper’s methodology on life is Brotherhood. It runs through the core of his daily regiment and it’s the message he extols when addressing young black men coming up through the ranks.

“You gotta make the decision to make your life matter. Get out there and find your champion to help guide you. Finding your champions is half the battle. Then find your voice and speak out. That is where life matters. If you have something to say, say it. You have options. I have options. As for mattering in my life, I am truly vested in making a difference.”

How Dr. Karin Edwards, Portland Community College Cascade Campus President, Found Her Way to Portland. Traveling alone by subway, a slightly nervous and excited 13-year-old girl made her way from home within the Patterson Housing Projects in the Bronx, all the way to school in midtown Manhattan. It would be a nearly three hour, roundtrip commute that she would then make for the next five years in pursuit of her education. “It was truly a different world for me in every way imaginable,” recalls Dr. Karin Edwards, the newest President of Portland Community College Cascade Campus in Portland, Oregon. Edwards went to high school at Columbia Preparatory School through a program called “A Better Chance (ABC)”. ABC provides promising, low-income, first generation students the opportunity to attend some of New York’s most academically rigorous private schools. “It was a small school and I was one of only five students of color—all of us were there on scholarships,” she confided. “I was exposed to a whole lot by being around folks that were different from me, people who had a much greater income and higher education levels in their households.” Edwards’ early influences paid off. She holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island, a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY-Albany.

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By Fawn Aberson

Dr. Edwards history provides a contextual backdrop to her current administrative role. She goes on to share with us about various ways that her experiences have shaped her journey.

A Tale of Two Cities “For the most part, my family and friends were supportive and encouraging, but I did have to endure a few digs. My neighborhood friends used to kid with me, saying, ‘Ha, ha, we are taking your “hang out card” because you talk /act like a white girl, so you can’t hang with us no more.’ Even though they were just kidding, I learned quickly that in the Bronx, I had to behave and speak a certain way or it would be ‘Don’t come here talking like you’re smarter then everybody’. And, when I was in Manhattan, I spoke and behaved a different way or else I would hear, ’Be careful how you speak or people will turn their heads and shun you.’ As a high school kid, who wants that? You’re so busy trying to fit in and find your place. I don’t know if I ever did. “

The Light Bulb Moment “This is what I was meant to do. I am a big promoter of the generational benefits of education. Not just how it will help you, but your children and your children’s children as well. If you want to make more money, impact change, or be more powerful, education is the way to do all of that. “

The Content of Character “So many times during my career, I was the only one in the room of my age, color or gender. For any one of those reasons, I just stood out. There was this expectation of ‘speak for your people kind of thing’. ‘What do black people like?’ or ‘What do women feel?” or worse, ‘You’re so lucky to be here, how did you get to be so smart?’

I don’t even know how I handled it. At times, I would feel a little defensive, but for the most part, I conveyed that I am in the circle because I am bringing something to the table, not just because I am woman or an African American”.

Victories “When I worked in Newberg NY, the college was in a deeply blighted community. I wanted to start a center for pregnant teens and low level achievers. We established a center for these young people and I don’t think anyone really anticipated how much of a positive impact it would have on their community. The foundation for this program is still in place to this day. I count that as a victory.” Dr. Edwards shared the goals for the campuses future explaining some basic focuses.

Honoring History While Embracing Change “Like everyone, I see newly built houses and structures in the area and I find myself asking, who is coming to Portland? What are their educational needs? Is there a new job market they are developing? I am still learning, but one of the things that is important to this campus and community, is to honor the history of this community and at the same time embrace the change.”

Building Equity and Diversity Within “We just opened our multicultural center and want more students from all ethnic backgrounds on campus. It is also important that we have a representation of the folks that we serve internally.

I would like to implement a leadership training program specifically designed for people of color and build a pipeline of home grown folks prepared to accept leadership positions.”

Work Force Training “I hear Portland is a mecca for young people that are not looking for the “yuppie- carrying-a-briefcase” lifestyle, but rather more for the performing arts and technology. We are planning to expand programs around professional music and digital media while staying true to our technical and trade programs.”

Caring for Students “We opened a beautiful new student union building; we have a great alumni circle developing and have established a Veterans resource center for students transitioning from the military. I have been meeting the student leaders as they come in for advice on their ideas. I want to make sure this campus remains welcoming and supportive, promotes culture and diversity and that nobody is made to feel that they don’t belong. “ As we wrapped up our conversation, we discussed some of Dr. Edwards’ personal philosophies. {continued on page 55}

D'Wyane Edwards Footwear Designer By Fawn Aberson If you were among the most elite footwear designers in the world, working for one of the top brands in the world and for one of the greatest athletes the world has ever known, would you be able to walk away from it, knowing that you were leaving money, power and prestige on the table? For top footwear designer D’Wayne Edwards this was not an imaginary scenario, but a reality he faced and the path he subsequently chose.

“I was happy where I was, but I wasn’t satisfied. In the corporate environment, you are only as good as your last design. Shoes come and go. I didn’t want my designs to define who I am, or be my final legacy. I have had a chance to immerse myself in the many aspects of this industry and one of the biggest things I realized is that I had acquired a platform to talk with young people about more than just selling them shoes.”

Edwards came up through the ranks of the footwear industry in the late 80s. Straight out of high school, he worked for LA Gear and later on Skechers. From 2000-2011 he worked for Nike and then the Jordan Brand in Beaverton, Oregon. Combined, they put out some of the most in demand collections of designed footwear the industry has ever recorded. Over the course of those years he worked side by side with Michael Jordan, Robert Greenburg and other top executives influencing the 68 billion dollar industry that is footwear.

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He estimates that early on in his profession, he was one of only 3 African American footwear designers in a career field of about 5,000. Today, he guesses that the number of people of color in this same field has risen to around 80. Edwards feels this number is way below the potential of what it could be.

In 2011, Edwards left his cushy perch in corporate America and using his own capital, launched Pensole Footwear Design Academy, a ‘learn by doing’ curriculum that teaches students the entire footwear design process.

“It starts with awareness. As black people, we are endorsing the shoes and we are wearing the shoes, but if this industry is serious about diversity, we need to start showing what opportunities are available behind the scenes in creating the shoes. Growing up, I never saw people who looked like me designing things, in fact, I didn’t even know this career existed. I had always considered myself an artist, but when you think of an artist you think

Pensole is located in an old building in downtown Portland, Oregon. The atmosphere is methodically designed complete with concept sketches, shelves of shoes and models of the human foot. There is a wall of memorabilia that pays tribute to Jackie Robinson and Bruce Lee, both mantra mentors for Edwards.

broke, but if you say designer people think money. So for me, I knew I needed to at least communicate to young people that there are opportunities out there."

Inspirational quotes are etched on surfaces all around including one at the entrance, “Actions speak louder than words.”

There is a small library from which he doles out reading assignments to his students. including, "Kevin Carroll’s Rules of the Rubber Red Ball." Pensole holds classes about 6 times a year and aside from himself and a small staff, he also brings in guest speakers who are designers at companies like Jordan, Nike, Under Armour, Keen, Columbia and Adidas. Consequently, graduates of his academy have been hired by these same companies. Ironically, Edwards himself never went to college. “I couldn’t afford to go to college and I think the major flaw of the current college system, is that it is about money. A lot of colleges don’t have the best students, they just have the best that can afford to attend. At Pensole, we are interested in quality not quantity. It is actually free to come here, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to get in.”

One of his most recent class sessions was inspired by the "BMe" community; a national initiative to show that black men are assets to their community. He put out the call inviting young people of color interested in design, to apply for his "BMe" soleciety class. 17 made the cut including Herbert Smith who shared some thoughts on his experience.

“Being able to learn and get advice from actual working designers from top brands, was incredible. My biggest take away was being shown the importance of practicing professional habits. I didn’t realize how many poor habits I actually had. It’s something you don’t really learn in a traditional school setting. 0ur class started at 9am, but they would sometimes take attendance at 8:30, telling us, 'If your boss walks in early and is ready to go to work, then you should be too.’ The whole class was very much structured like Mr. Edwards was our boss and we were his workers. There was no room for excuses at any phase of the process. From filling out the application, to the class work and deadlines, you need to be prepared to work harder than you have before in your life.”... Stated Smith

Edwards believes that the "BMe" philsophy could be great opportunity to put Portland in the spotlight, in the forefront of addressing the issues that young people of color face in order to get better access to economic opportunities.

“I want this to be a Portland story that could live throughout the entire industry. Over half of the dollars that stem from this industry, come from companies based in Oregon. In the middle of that, you have a city that has a low demographic of people of color, that could actually be doing something about the bigger industry problem and setting an example for others to follow.”

For aspiring designers, Pensole and D’wayne Edward are fast becoming legendary names. He prefers this word of mouth marketing to any other, because he isn’t interested in attracting the mediocre. “If you’re not serious, I can’t mess with you. It takes a certain amount of commitment and work ethic to be successful and a lot of people, especially our youth, don’t understand that. You have to want something bad enough to where you will sacrifice your next breath. And I am a lot harder on students of color, because they are already a minority in the corporate environment. When they are called upon, they have got to be way better than everyone else.

For us, we need a certain level of discipline, to bust our ass, so that when the door of opportunity opens, we not only get through it, we tear the hinges off and crush the doorway, so another door can never be put up. This is the mental state that these kids have to have, because it is not getting easier, it is getting harder.”

There was a suggestion box in the office and every day Edwards would obsessively sketch up a new design and place it in the box, hoping someone would see it.

“Statistically, I’m not supposed to be here right now. I was a young black man, growing up in a low-income, gang-violent neighborhood in Inglewood, California. I was the youngest of 6 kids, raised by our mother, never really knowing our father. I never went to college, so on paper, my chances of being dead or in jail, were much more likely than being where I am today.”

As a teenager, he would watch pro-basketball players practice at his high school gym and gravitated towards designing shoes he thought they could wear. He would sketch and mark up “white whites” with color and design. At 19, he landed a job in the accounts payable department of LA Gear, a lifestyles brand founded by Robert Greenberg, founder of Skechers.

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“I began to understand Jackie Robinson’s struggle. It wasn’t that Jackie was the best Negro baseball player. He probably actually wasn’t the best, but he was the one mature enough to withstand the pressure in order to get where he needed to go. He knew if he failed, it would take a long time for any other black ballplayer to have another chance.”

Edwards took on a similar responsibilty for his role in the industry. Feeling that if he didn't do what he was suppose to do, another young black kid might never get the chance to design at a top level. He knows that creating a pathway for others through Pensole, will be his retirement and a way to pay respect to all of those who helped launch his own design career. Greenberg himself ended up with the sketches and gave him a shot at designing shoes. During this time he started to study about Jackie Robinson who has become a lifelong hero figure for him.

“To this day, every time I see Robert Greenberg, I thank him. He was my first professional mentor. He didn’t have to give me a chance, but he did. I was grateful for the opportunity to show I could deliver, then and now. Not just for him, but for everyone else like me, who wants this.”

{cont. from page 51}

Life & Spirituality “I have wrestled with serious illnesses where they weren’t sure if I would make it. Everything I’ve been through, my faith helped me to overcome. My spirituality keeps me balanced; I pray a lot, I go to church. I believe I’m here for a reason and that God will equip me with what I need. God knows I’ve had my bumps in the road, but I am still here and there is a purpose for my life.”

Love “One of my favorite scriptures says love covers a multitude of sins. People get hurt, bad things happen, but because of love, you can conquer all that. Be able to forgive and move on. Martin Luther King Jr. is a true hero to me because of all that he did to fight for his country and his people, was in the name of love. That’s what love makes you do. It makes you go out on a limb for people.”

Death “There is no fear of death for me. Recently, I was thinking about the year you are born and the year you expire and that they put the dash in between. It is what you do during that dash that is important. Hopefully it contains a lot of love, joy and helping other people. If you have that, then the date at the end is what it is.”

Afrovivalist {cont. from page 21}

As an African American female, Ross knows that she is a rarity amongst the prepper crowd, but it doesn’t intimidate her in the least. “Black folks are behind the times with regards to emergency preparedness. We need to wake up and start prepping to be more self-sufficient. In particular, I feel it is our 21 -35 year-olds who have their heads in the “clouds” assuming everything is all good and always will be. Other cultures do a much better job at prepping for a time of inconvenience than we do. Even though we don’t always know what is going to happen next, we can prepare for a lot of it by stocking up on water and canned foods. Society and police are expecting black folks to “act a fool” because they know we do not prepare. Because if we don't, believe me, they are preparing for us by expecting us to be at our worst.” Yes, she knows some people think she is koo-koo, but she is committed to the lifestyle mind, body and spirit, even noticing that perceptions of her regime are changing.

“More and more, I have friends call or email me saying ‘OK, I want to put my emergency kit together, how do I do it?’ As a result, I am creating a Facebook page called “Afrovivalist”, so I can share a lot of what I have learned over the years, as well as other helpful links. You can also go to www.PrepOregon.org.” It seems that not only her friends are coming around, but the world as a whole is trending curiosity for the survivalist way of life. She has been approached by two different reality show producers, who want to follow her as she constructs her Earthship and fortifies her American Dream of living and creating a homestead for her family. Although she admits she loves her Afrovivalist lifestyle, she is in no hurry to toss out her stilettoes.

“I still have to be me, in heels or in combat boots. Whatever situations I find myself in, I have to be able to get out of it intact.”

SOULUTIONS FOR YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT COMMISSIONER LORETTA SMITH MULTNOMAH COUNTY SUMMERWORKS PROGRAM SummerWorks is a combined effort between the county, the city, Worksystems and several other groups to pay for youth’s wages and training for six to ten week summer internships throughout the community. The program is aimed at helping low-income and at-risk young people develop skills for future career success through real world work experience. As many as 750 young people took part in this year’s program. For the past five years, Commissioner Loretta Smith has advocated for increased funding, resulting in program growth from 50 to 250 slots, providing more opportunities for young people. The program works to decrease participants’ reliance on public assistance and to reduce youth violence and recidivism rates. Commissioner Smith states, “When only one in four young people between the ages of 16 and 19 currently have a job in the Portland area, that represents 25% of youth out of a job, or put

it another way, 36,000 young people who are out of school and out of work. Some effort must be generated to assist those young people most in need.” “When we look at the numbers for young African-American men, the employment rate is even worse with just 12% one in eight - having a job. That is shocking and so as a result, many young people are dropping out of school, quitting community programs, and getting in trouble. It is a crisis, and hearing that cry for more jobs and more opportunities for young people inspired me to increase the number of summer internships in Multnomah County,” said Commissioner Smith.

“Where I work at Multnomah County, 52.3% of our workforce identifies as the ‘Baby Boomer’ generation - close to retirement - some sooner than others. That’s more than half of our county’s workforce. Our hope is that SummerWorks will help us to establish a homegrown talent pipeline that includes increased numbers of underserved, underrepresented residents and young people to fill the workforce gap that is just around the corner at Multnomah County” the Commissioner concludes.

For additional information regarding Multnomah County’s SummerWorks Program please contact: Commissioner Loretta Smith – 503-988-5219 Email: dist2@multco.us Website: https://multco.us/loretta-smith Website: https://multco.us/district2

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Income Inequality of America

Wealth Gap for African Americans Starts at the Top By Jaymes Winters

Most of the debate with respect to wealth inequality, is centered on the sheer number of lower wage families of color versus the seemingly limitless number of individuals who are wealthy. Pundits believe that policies such as increasing the minimum wage or raising taxes on the wealthy, will “level” the playing field. This philosophy ignores the fact that very few African Americans are wealthy and those who are wealthy, actually have had the opportunity to accumulate wealth. The fact that the nouveau riche own a huge percentage of the assets in the world, is a completely different issue than income fairness and wage equality. As a person who has run a large enterprise, I submit that wealth redistribution, vis-a-vis tax increases or raising the minimum wage, would have short term, minuscule benefits for people of color for several reasons.

Second, whenever nominal wages are increased artificially, (i.e. the minimum wage), businesses usually replace the underlying labor cost with technology. This substitution, in most cases, is permanent. I saw this, first hand, as a Taco Bell franchisee in California when the minimum wage was increased dramatically. The fast food chain promptly moved the drink station from behind the counter into the dining room and installed a more efficient prep station. As a result, the total labor cost decreased, since fewer workers were needed to perform the tasks than previously. This outcome can hardly count as a solution to wealth inequality.

First, the unfortunate fact is that those

who are wealthy are more likely to invest money to make money. All most of us see is conspicuous consumption, while ignoring the fact that without putting their money to work, it diminishes rather quickly. Taxing wealthy makes less capital available in the financial system and less entrepreneurial opportunity for people of color. If anything, tax incentives should be directed at underinvested communities, as opposed to depositing these tax receipts into the US Treasury to be financially reallocated to us who are “underrepresented.”

Third, wealth inequality can only effec-

tively be addressed by opportunity. The pluralities of the nouveau riche are owners of capital, such as fund managers or technology entrepreneurs. Coincidentally, these are two fields where diversity is sorely lacking. Several prominent activists, such as Jesse Jackson, have taken notice of this and have highlighted this problem with Silicon Valley firms. While the results of his efforts have been mixed at best, at least the discussion has been brought to the forefront.

Finally, we as people of color

are not doing nearly enough. Too often, we put all of our political ammunition into the inequality that is plainly visible with our own eyes while ignoring the core cause of such which has lurked invisibly in the community for so many years. The effects of wealth inequality misguides the perceptions of law enforcement and wealth inequality is evidenced by lack of fairness, resources and opportunities. By way of example, cities such as Ferguson, Missouri, have no incentives for its residents to think as entrepreneurs and little, if any, of the city’s general funds are being utilized as an incentive for starting a business. 20 % of Ferguson’s general revenue fund is derived from parking tickets or traffic citations. It goes without saying, that if these items were not paid, your freedom would be at risk. I can’t even imagine one municipality in the United States would dare to ask its citizens to vote on a 20% local tax. Given these facts we, as people of color, must acknowledge that nothing will change until we demand that those who are educated, skilled and trouble free, have access to the highest level of capitalism as individuals who are similarly situated, but better connected. Failure to stand up can only mean we are standing down. *Jaymes Winters is the CEO of Blue Leopard Capital, LLC a Portland, Oregon based Venture Capital and Private Equity Fund. He is also the Adjunct Professor at Portland State University teaching business strategy to outgoing seniors.

Community Benefits Agreements:

Increasing Diversity on Portland’s Construction Projects By Michael Burch


fter years of work by the Northwest Carpenters Union, and the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity, efforts to increase diversity in the construction workforce made a giant leap forward. On September 5, 2012, the Portland City Council unanimously approved the passage of Resolution No. 36954, enacting a model Community Benefits Agreement (“CBA”) for use on City-owned construction projects. In doing so, the City recognized the CBA’s promise as a powerful tool to overcome the historical underrepresentation of minorities and women in the construction industry, both at the worker and contractor levels. The CBA was initially applied to two pilot projects: the Kelly Butte Reservoir and the Interstate Maintenance Facility Renovation. As those two projects draw to a close, it is time to acknowledge the success of Portland’s CBA in not only achieving (and exceeding) nearly all of its immediate target goals for the inclusion of women and minorities, but also its promise in the long-term process of reversing those disparities. The work of the CBA has only begun. In order to realize the promise of the CBA, it must be extended to additional projects as a tool to realize Portland’s commitment to achieving economic equity in both the construction trades and the larger economy. As Mayor Charlie Hales recently recognized in his January 30, 2015 State of the City address, equal economic opportunity is an issue of racial justice.

“To his credit, Mayor Hales has committed to

correcting the historically disproportionate impact that poverty and a lack of economic opportunities have had on communities of color.” The CBA provides a proven, effective tool to aid the City in realizing that commitment. It has not only been effective in creating opportunity, it has forged a political coalition that has the stamina and ability to carry its initial successes through the long-term The CBA will not only fulfill the initial intent as a tool for workforce and contractor diversity on City-owned construction projects, it will also help the City to meet its broader economic equity goals that ultimately will make Portland a more livable and inclusive community for all of its citizens. The Northwest Carpenters Union will continue building community support, and expanding its efforts to improve working condition for all carpenter craft workers, increasing diversity in the construction industry, and assisting Minority owned/women owned/ disadvantaged small contractors, by continuing work to expand the Community Benefits Agreement. Mayor Hales’ January 30, 2015 State of the City address, transcript available at https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517607 Mayor Hales’ Priorities and Accomplishments 2014-15 at 8-9; available at http://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/article/517850

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As a Labor Union, it is our primary goal to better the lives of all working people through advocacy, civil demonstration, and the long-held belief that workers deserve a “family wage” – fair pay for an honest day’s work. A family wage, and the benefits that go with it, not only strengthens families, but also allows our communities to become stronger, more cohesive, and more responsive to their citizens’ needs. Our family wage agenda reflects our commitment to working people everywhere.


Black Homes Matter Too: Pathway 1000 Initiative Addresses Displacement During the period from the mid1990’s to 2010, 10,000 residents— primarily African Americans—were forced to relocate out of North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods. Essentially, 3 people every day for 10 years were forced to find another place to live. To address involuntary displacement, Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives (PCRI) established a mitigation initiative: Pathway 1000. The sole purpose of Pathway 1000 is to slow—and reverse—the involuntary displacement of long term residents previously forced to move from North and Northeast Portland, and create stability for current residents at risk of displacement. In conjunction with Pathway 1000, PCRI is adding additional focus in current and future housing development efforts to increase opportunities for homeownership. Providing homeownership opportunities and housing counseling assistance ensures longterm affordability, stabilizes residents and their neighborhoods and helps families build equity and break the cycle of poverty and displacement. Through the Pathway 1000 initiative, PCRI aims to develop at least 1,000 new, affordable homes during the next ten years. The homes will be located throughout the city of Portland, with the primary focus on the North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods where displaced families previously resided.

PCRI is targeting residents who were forced to relocate due to escalating housing costs or because their rental home was sold to a homeowner. PCRI encourages interested community members to participate and learn more via PCRI’s website (pcrihome.org) and social media channels, where a forthcoming questionnaire will be posted to determine eligibility and housing needs. PCRI will conduct a series of exploratory sessions with displaced residents and residents at risk of displacement. These sessions will further determine the need as well as interest in taking advantage of the Pathway 1000 initiative. The sessions will share more information about the opportunities to move back into historically African-American neighborhoods. PCRI will build community awareness and solutions through advocacy and civic engagement to create anti-displacement policy. Gentrification and displacement issues must be discussed and addressed on a regular basis and residents have influence over planning and development in their neighborhood. Residents must remind government leaders and city planners of displacement and the reality of unintended consequences of strategic growth. Residents who are concerned and who have been impacted must get involved in their neighborhood and they must expect and encourage equitable development.

Maxine Fitzpatrick Executive Director of PCRI Champion of Affordable Housing Solutions We cannot undo the harms done, but rather must focus on restoring housing justice for those who were harmed. PCRI’s goal is to support and encourage displaced African Americans to focus on the future. Homeownership is a stabilizing solution to displacement. Investing in opportunities and assistance for low-income families ensures long-term affordability and stabilizes residents and their neighborhood. About Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI): Founded in 1992, PCRI provides affordable, scattered-site single- and multi-family housing, financial and homeownership education, and other associated resident services tailored to achieve family stability, self-sufficiency and wealth creation.

PCRI is located at 6329 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd, Portland, Oregon, and can be reached at (503) 288-2923 or online at pcrihome.org.

By Fawn Aberson

“We are each other’s harvest, we are each other’s business, we are each other’s magnitude and bond.” Gwendolyn Brooks, Author, Educator, Poet and first African American Pulitzer Prize winner of 1950.

Could Black Owned Commercial Real Estate Brokerage Firms Be A Key Factor To More Black Economic Wealth Creation In Oregon? For Chris Guinn, Principle at DR Commercial, (DRCOMM), the answer is a resounding yes.

“I don’t even have to think about it, I can give you examples of how it is already working. I was contacted by an African American family who had just inherited a building and felt more comfortable working with an African American broker to lease it out. They didn’t want to sell but were unsure of how to go about the process of maintaining ownership and making money at the same time. Working together we were able to find them a tenant, 4th Dimension Alcohol and Drug Recovering Center, to lease their space. They saw it as a win for them and their community. That’s wealth creation at its best.”

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Guinn, who just turned 50, operates one of the first, if not the first African American owned commercial real estate firms we were able to identify practicing in Oregon. His real estate career began in 1998, focusing primarily on residential sales. Over the years, he established a solid reputation of success, becoming a highly respectable contender in a vastly competitive industry. In 2009, he formed Dwell Realty with his business partner Tracy Hicks. Together they expanded Dwell Realty to its current prominence of 11 diverse agents, as well as a property management arm.

“There is an ego of elitism, or attitude of hierarchy so to speak, that commercial brokers have towards residential brokers. It’s a status I don’t agree with and I want to break the mold of thought that there is a ‘better than’ or that only certain people ‘do’ commercial real estate. I want to take my career in commercial real estate to the level I brought it to in residential, where I am supporting myself and my family. I want to mentor other African Americans on how to compete in this business, because right now, as far as I know, I am the only one in it. If there are others, I want to meet them!”

Early in 2015, Guinn decided he wanted to personally expand to another level in his career. After a deep consideration of the wealth building opportunities he saw being garnered from the commercial real estate industry, he founded DRCOMM, but for Guinn it is more than just the money driving him into the commercial arena. From what we have seen, Guinn is not only in it, he is being embraced like fresh air in a stale room, a welcoming breath in what has been a stifling undiversified playing field in Oregon. He is helping to shape some of the new developments in inner NE, working with the PCRI group, Gerding Elden and Colas Construction. Groups like these are recognizing his firm as a contender to help lease out their new retail spaces. If Guinn is one of the only African American commercial real estate brokers in Oregon, we wondered if that was also the case for any other ethnic minority groups in the state. We examined some of the bigger firms like Norris Beggs & Simpson and Urban Works. Certainly they were on top of their equitably and diversity game. Not so, we found. Their “who we are” pages of their websites are almost if all photos of White brokers. We also looked at the State of Oregon Commission on Real Estate and found that all of the 8 appointed commissioners are white. We made similar observations supporting the lack of ethnic diversity looking at the Oregon Association of Realtors Executive Committee. When you consider that the discussion these groups are having end up influencing land development, regulations, education, licensing and fees structures, it is alarming that these are being steered in a direction without the inclusion of an ethnic viewpoint. Additionally, the history of discriminatory practices in the real estate industry as a whole is disturbing. Practices such as redlining –“arbitrarily denying or limiting financial services to specific neighborhoods, generally because its residents are people of color or are poor,” and

blockbusting- “introducing African American homeowners into previously all white neighborhoods in order to spark rapid white flight and housing price decline,” made a fairly obvious case why diversity should exists in this industry. Oregon’s own history in this area is fraught with examples of displacement and land wealth oppression for communities of color. Looking at this as a bigger picture, we wondered if perhaps the lack of African Americans in the commercial real estate industry could be connected to the lack of African American businesses visible in commercial corridors throughout the state. Again for Guinn, the answer is sadly, likely. “I have seen the Latino and African American brokers at Dwell Realty, including myself, naturally connect to our communities, friends and family, who are of the same ethnic culture as us. Often times we can be the catalyst that gets them thinking about home ownership as being possible. It would only make sense that commercial real estate work similarly. However, I do think we, African Americans, also need to seriously consider the businesses we want to start and make sure they are also diverse and in line with the current trends creating a demand for higher paying jobs like technology, financial services and etc...”

For Guinn, a true balancing of the scale will come as more African Americans and other communities of color educate themselves on just how the real estate business is done. He is doing his part in this schooling process by coaching other young African Americans coming into the field, including his 23 year-old son, Chris Guinn IV. “Depending on the license you want to get, it costs only about $600 to get started in this industry. I would happily pay that for any African American young person who wants to get their foot in the door. I do them even one better, giving them access to our office space and share in their start up process by doling out the knowledge I have acquired over my 18 plus years in the business. I want to see more of us in this business because it can benefit the industry as a whole, as well as the communities we are building.”

*Chris Guinn is Principal Broker at Dwell Realty & DRCOMM. He can be contacted at: 503-208-3797 CGIII65@gmail.com

Port of Portland Makes Opportunities For Minorities a Priority

The Port of Portland is leading the way when it comes to increasing opportunities for Disadvantaged, Minority-owned, Women-owned and Emerging Small businesses. The Port has developed and implemented a

Port-wide Small Business Development Program, vesting 4 of it’s 5 programs into specifically engaging minorities and women in contracting and procurement opportunities with the Port. Kimberly Mitchell-Phillips is The Port’s Small Business Development Program manager, overseeing 5 innovative programs aimed at increasing local small business participation in Port of Portland projects and contract procurements:

1. Minority, Women and Emerging Small Business Program(MWESB) 2. Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program(DBE) 3. Airport Concessions Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Program(ACDBE) 4. Mentor-Protégé Program(M-PP) 5. Workforce Utilization Program In accordance with the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) regulations, she cites the MWESB, DBE, ACDBE AND M-PP programs as specifically targeting businesses that are certified as socially or economically disadvantaged. These regulations stipulate that in order to receive federal funding from these agencies, the Port must ensure that DBE-certified businesses have an equal opportunity to compete for and perform Port of Portland contracts.

“We have support for the program coming from the top. It’s important to get buy-in for everything we do. Not only from the top guy, but from the heads of all of the departments including construction and engineering procurement etc...Once you have that support, it gives me the ability to do some aggressive things in support for the programs like the Mentor-protégé program,” Mitchell-Phillips says.

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“The Beauty of the Mentor-Protégé program is we are helping to develop small businesses so they can work with not only the Port but with other agencies in the state and community as well,” Mitchell-Phillips stated.”We are partnered with ODOT and the City of Portland. They are also funding partners in that program,” The Port’s efforts are paying off. They recently passed a federal compliance review of the DBE program with flying colors, generating kudos on the strength of the programs and rate of demonstrable success. One of Mitchell-Phillips favorite success stories was an engineering firm that came on board with the Port after having experienced a 12 month slow down. 9 months into the mentor-protégé program they had received over 12 contracts. Even with their higher than average rate of success, The Port aims to go further in terms of assuaging the fears and concerns that might prevent small business owners from entering the playing field. Mitchell-Phillips expresses that her outreach is geared towards letting them know it’s not as difficult as it can seem and she’s there to help them in any way. Her final advice to small business owners is hopeful and succinct.

“Get involved early. Make rounds, connect and build relationships. Relationships are the key to not only helping a small business get a contract but to help them get more contracts after that. It’s not who you know internally, it’s who you know externally.”

wine making 4.0 the hustle {cont. from page 30} “Whether it be other African Americans, or folks in general, who feel they might not enjoy a wine tasting experience because it is too snobby, I show them that it doesn’t have to be that way. Yes, we are going to drink wine, but we’ll do it while listening to R&B and Hip-Hop and talking about our experiences, not only with wine, but with life. My goal is to make everyone feel comfortable.” As part of his quest for making the wine industry in Oregon more equitable for all, Bertony is making a documentary called “Red White and Black”, a film about minority wine makers in Oregon. He feels that not only African Americans, but all minorities, should feel that the wine is something they can enjoy leisurely or possibly turn into a career.

“Red White and Black is the other Oregon wine story. Everyone knows I’m black, sees I’m black but nobody really wants to talk about it. They are more comfortable sharing Oregon’s traditional wine history, instead of looking at the nuances of how minorities have made contribution and where we are today. Although it is centered on my story, we also feature perspectives from other minorities. Examples include Andre Mack, a celebrated African American sommelier who lives in New York and started his own label Mouton Noir (French for Black Sheep) but has special ties to wine growers in Oregon; Jared Sleet, a promising young black man who is the Cellar Lead at Argyle Winery and Jesus Guillen a Latino who owns Guillen Family Wine and White Rose Estate, who has been intertwined in this industry for years. Everyone thinks as Hispanics as being the crew in the field, but not actually running the whole operation. There is also the storyline Remy Drabkin of Remy Wines, who is part of the LGTQ community. We are sharing our stories as a way to inspire other people looking for their own come up.” The timing of his documentary couldn’t have been more relevantly apropos, considering the recent experience of 12, mostly middle-aged African American women on a Napa Valley Wine Train tour.

The group, all a part of the same book club, were kicked off the train for allegedly being too loud, sparking the twitter #laughingwhileblack debate. The women took to Facebook, shared their experience and it set ablaze a national debate on racial profiling. The train company has since apologized to the women, but their highly publicized experience regarding wine decorum and racial biases, may be an indication of a deeper systemic problem for the industry as a whole. For Bertony, this unfortunate bias may have also revealed itself to him through his own social networking. He has noticed that some of the “friends” he had on Abbey Creek vineyards’ Facebook page, dropped off when he shared information about the “Red White and Black” documentary.

“Some people just aren’t ready for this story. I feel like even though I knock down a lot of barriers that need to be gone, in the same instance, I’m going to shun some people who want this to continue to be about elitism, status and yes, even race. There are plenty of wineries for them, but I won’t be one of them. I think some people take wine too seriously. At the end of the day, it is just wine, it is just drink, made for breaking bread and having fun.” For now, Bertony is happy to be growing grapes, making wine, pulling in a salary and employing his trusted helping hand, Ocean.

“Our best is our next and we are concentrating on improving at least one thing from year to year. It’s not about status or how many bottles of wine we make, it is about how many we sell and we sell out every vintage every year. To me, that’s success, that’s the hustle.”

“The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else, is opportunity...You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.” -Viola Davis 2015- the first Black woman to win the Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a Drama.

The Rise of Blacklandia: African American Film & Video Creatives in Oregon Are Manifesting Their Own Roles

By Fawn Aberson

In 2005, Oregon’s Governor signed a bill to create the Greenlight Oregon program; a rebate incentive designed to strengthen the film and video (F&V) industry within the state. The premise is to offer outside film production companies rebate money to come to the state and in turn, they generate more than that amount in ancillary income dollars for wage earners and businesses. Portlandia, The Librarian and Grimm are some of the more wellknown productions who’ve taken advantage. However, diversity among full cast and crew of these productions, as it is in Hollywood overall, still remains largely underrepresented by minorities and women.

However, the study goes on to cite that the overall bottom line should consider demographic trends and consumer demand if it wants to maximize profitability.

“With nearly 40 % of the US now identifying as part of a minority group, films and televisions shows with casts that reflect the nations’ racial and ethnic diversity were more likely to post high box office figures or ratings during the study period… ” Some African Americans in the industry in Oregon (though traditionally stronger in numbers in the theatrical stage arena) are willing to challenge the status quo of F&V careers by inserting themselves into the game, becoming the creators and talent of their own productions.

According to the 2015 Hollywood Diversity Report, "Flipping the Script", the second in a series of studies by the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA, explores the relationships between diversity and the bottom line in the Hollywood entertainment industry. Findings cite; “White males continue to dominate the positions from which greenlighting decisions are made in the Hollywood…senior management positions are on average 90% white and 75% male…Part of Hollywood’s race and gender problem may lie in a latent conflict between individual and institutional interest. Industry employment can be incredibly lucrative for individuals privileged enough to have it…. individual stakeholders in the industry (typically white and male) look to surround themselves with other individuals with whom they feel they have the best prospects for producing a successful project. These latter individuals, of course, tend to think and look like the former, thereby reproducing an industry culture that routinely devalues the talent of minorities and women.” {64} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

Case in point, Jerry Bell Jr (JB)-Actor, Director, Producer,Writer and Founder of JB JR Productions. In 2007, JB, as he like to be called, a former Airforce Satellite Communications Specialist, was a Strategic Sourcing Manager at Intel, negotiating intense multi -million dollar contracts with suppliers all over the world. It was a conversation with a friend that would greenlight his career in Film. “I had a friend who was working for a talent agency. They had a last minute cancellation and asked me to be the “Big Guy”, to be in a truck commercial. When I walked onto the set, a gal with a walkie-talkie ran up to me, grabbed my arm and radioed to the others, ‘He’s here, I’ve got Jerry Bell’. They took me to make-up, gave me a massage, treated me like a star and all I had to do was drive around in a truck all day and smile. I felt like Denzel,” He laughed.

For the next two years he began to advance his understanding of the Film industry. He looked for, found and was rejected before eventually being accepted by a talent agent. He got an acting coach, became a SAG member “because they help get you paid”, found some mentors and began networking within the trade. He landed “extra roles” on films and did more commercials. As more film work continued to manifest, Bell left Intel all together.

“I didn’t want to look back ten years from now and say I didn’t try. I’m enjoying acting and having fun, but I am also learning where I can help make improvements in the process. Unfortunately, many artists, although talented, aren’t as good at business as they should be, primarily because they are focused on being an artist first. So when you start talking about producing a project, many of them don’t know where to start. I have an MBA and my primary role at Intel for years was to manage projects. I’m grateful that I have been able to apply a lot of what I learned over the years to this industry.”

His skill set has taken him a considerable distance in a few years. He is currently directing and producing "Red White and Black", a documentary on minorities in Oregon’s wine industry; "Angela’s Sacred Heart", based on a true story of a women’s journey of being battered and abused and "Baby Talk", a TV talk show pilot related to raising children. He also has a strong acting career, having taken lead roles in a few Independent films like "Jive Genie", a Blaxploitation film, and "The Toymaker", a 7 minute short that also stars his 5 year-old son (Jerry Bell III) and is directed by Maurice Caldwell, another black filmmaker in Oregon. He has appeared in small roles on Grimm and has upcoming co-star roles on the Librarian and Z Nation. Perhaps one of the biggest surprises and most lucrative gigs, has been the role he plays as himself and features his son, in a nationally syndicated commercial as the Swiffer Wet Jet Dad. “This commercial has given me a ton of publicity, playing almost every hour on 78+ major broadcast networks across the US. There also have been life-size posters of me in Walmarts across the nation. The commercial connected me with Anthony Anderson, star of "Black-ish", who has partnered with Swiffer’s ‘Fathers That Clean’ campaign.” In addition to this work, Bell also organizes an event called the Portland Indie Film Networking Event, a laid back gathering where he invites people to network, collaborate, meet industry folks and watch local indie short films up to 15 minutes long. They are so well attended, that he is now organizing an award show for the event.

But even as JB makes a name for himself in the industry, he recognizes that his biggest challenge is in staying consistent, being seen and getting noteworthy work. For him and other minorities, it may mean greenlighting their own projects.

“Why wait for someone to book me for a job when I can make my own?” Maybe the future of Film will manifest a "Blacklandia", a show produced, written, directed and acted by blacks and other minorities. What is certain now, is that JB’s sentiments on the importance of visibility, take on even more meaning when considering the concluding statements of the "Flipping the Script" report,

“…Media images contribute greatly to how we think about ourselves in relation to others. When marginalized groups in society are absent from the stories a nation tells about itself, or when media images are rooted primarily in stereotypes, inequality is normalized and is more likely to be reinforced over time through our prejudices and practices. Given that our society is becoming more diverse with each passing day, media images that work against diversity also undermine the democracy we claim to be.”

R enee Mitchell Spe a k s

R enee Mitchell

By S. Renee Mitchell When The Oregonian recruited me to move to Portland 17 years ago, it was hard to find Black arts and culture. It wasn’t that it didn’t exist, I just didn’t know where to look. Nowadays, there’s so much more Black art being generated, it sometimes feels like Portland is attempting to reincarnate its own version of the 1920s Harlem Renaissance. During the 19th century, Black artists, writers, dancers and painters produced a magnificent body of poetry, paintings, plays and other forms of cultural expression that unapologetically reflected the Black experience. Similarly, Portland’s Black arts and culture scene is using creativity to voice a rebellious protest against racism, systemic oppression and police brutality, while stimulating pride in our racial identity and capturing the unique rhythms of our lives. art is fiery, flirty, deliberately dangerous, an expressive act of defiance; her politics are radical; that is, when she’s in the right mood … With gentrification having uprooted Portland’s traditionally Black gathering places, Black artists are urgently holding space for creative collaborations and contextualized alliances. {66} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

www.ReneeMitchellSpeaks.com In January, for example, members of Portland’s relatively new Black Creative Collective: Brown Hall curates an art exhibit called “Black (genus, genesis, genius)” at the downtown Multnomah County Library. The 3-monthlong display showcased paintings, photographs, drawings, books, poems and cartoons of its members, including photographer and filmmaker Elijah Hasan, poet and Reed College assistant professor Samiya Bashir; and multidisciplinary artist and dancer Lin Lucas, who displayed his comics and illustrations.

art helps me realize that my dusty imagination was tragically imprisoned until she persuaded me to set it free … When told through the lens of our cultural experiences, art speaks to us in ways that allow us to know we are finally heard, understood and acknowledged. One should expect that rallying cry to intensify, as Black culture and arts development is embedded into “The People’s Plan,” an initiative created by the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF).

In addition, national attention is again focusing on Portland after the American Music Program, led by Grammy Award-winning composer Thara Memory, recently won the top prize in a national high school jazz band competition in New York City’s Lincoln Center. And the National Endowment for the Arts granted $25,000 to stimulate a community-based conversation in Portland about how Black art can be celebrated and preserved through storytelling and the eventual creation of a permanent cultural center.


art changes u for the better; art is in our lives for good … Here are just a few examples of Black artists in Portland who are using their creativity to help us celebrate our unique cultural expressions and styles:


Darlene Solomon, aka Blacque Butterfly, was first inspired to be a poet in the sixth grade after reading a Nikki Giovanni poem. However, as the only girl sibling of five brothers, she says she didn’t dare share her words. As an adult, she discovered the courage to speak her truth out loud after attending several open mics. Since then, Darlene has recorded her poems to music and has coordinated the monthly, all-ages Soulful Showcase open mic for more than 15 years, all as a volunteer.


“As black artists in Portland, we’ve all done our share of work,” says Darlene, a founding member of the city’s only black creative collective. “We just haven’t gotten the recognition that we deserve.” Soulful Showcase is held the last Sunday of every month 6-9 p.m. at A.J. Java, 6425 N. Albina Ave.

As a kid, Jesse Brown loved to draw super heroes. Once he got to Benson High School, girls and sports captured his attention. Eventually, he found his way back to his muse.


“I knew I always wanted to do something in art,” says the 29-year-old, “but I never knew exactly what.” It was the relentlessly negative media portrayals of Black people that helped make up his mind. Once he graduated from the Art Institute of Portland, he started designing whimsical, digital illustrations of Black characters. “It’s a different generation,” Jesse said. “We have so many platforms to showcase your skills, so don’t wait.” You can find his art on Instagram, Tumblr and Facebook under Yishaii, which is Jesse in Hebrew.

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Kemba Shannon spent 20 years dancing on world stages with Pink, Rihanna, Celine Dion and Madonna, among others. She landed in Portland a few years ago to be near the relatives of her child’s father. “I just loved the atmosphere and the people and the vibe,”noted Kemba, a Baltimore native who says she was inspired to dance by watching Michael Jackson. She opened a small dance studio in North Portland, but attracted very few students willing to pay or commit to ongoing lessons. “At first, my goal was to make these famous dancers and now I’ve changed that,” Kemba said. In the fall, she plans to expand her after-school classes to include art, photography and drumming. Kemba Shannon Dance Center 2017 N Kilpatrick St. Portland • Private parties • Birthdays Events & Workshops

“Portland is a very artsy place,” she says, adding, “The community needs some loving.”

By Fawn Aberson

Yes, it is true. There is a budding populace of foreign born black folks migrating to Oregon. In fact, since the early 2000s to present day, this group has doubled in number. Recent estimates claim that of the nearly 90,000 black in Oregon, almost 20,000 were born in Africa. Moreover, the 2010 census showed that although the actual African-American born population in Oregon has declined, this particular sect of the group has increased. Paying attention?

“The African Americans that know about us, completely embrace us. They are not only having a lot of fun, but the culture exchange connects them to traditions they may have lost or never had, but are still a part of their birthright. However, there are still too many who we haven’t connected to and I think AfriKon Konection can help unite us. We need to keep reaching out to each other, because it is such a great linking when it does happen.” DJ SOLO was born and raised in Ghana, Africa, but relocated to Oregon in his early 20s to join family. His career as a DJ began simply by playing cuts at house parties. It was Alem Gebrehiwot, a long time Ethiopian restaurateur, who gave him his first big break in the public sector. Gebrehiwot had opened a new restaurant called Afrique, a place for Africans from all nations to come together with Americans and have a good time. DJ SOLO began to build crowds for the weekend nights and it took only a few short months before it exploded in popularity. Though Afrique eventually sold and disbanded, the African movement it awakened for DJ SOLO and his group remains strong.

Solomon Baah Kofi, aka DJ SOLO sure is. To him, this trend spells opportunity and enterprise. He has launched two Facebook pages; Africans in Oregon and AfriKon Konection. Both are intended to meet the demand of this growing population and are looking to connect with one another and like-minded Americans who enthusiastically embrace the culture. We wondered, were American born Blacks buying in? FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1 [68] FlOSSIN MAGAZINE •• Vol.15 No.1 {70}[68] FlOSSIN MAGAZINE Vol.15 No.1

“We are at a smooth sailing point right now, drawing big crowds of Africans, Caribbeans and Americans coming together through entertainment. It’s a very distinct international vibe. Our goal with AfriKon Konection is to expand the industry, bringing all sectors of the entertainment business together as a network."

"We are not just focusing on music and dancing, we are also connecting photographers, comedians, sound engineers and other like-minded professionals while at the same time considering the social aspects of how we can use our platform to help those in need.” Today, with the help of his DJ partners, DJ MM (from Gambia, Africa), DJ Nayiram (from Ghana, Africa) and DJ Qualifi ( from Dominica in the Caribbean), they are carving out a nice chunk of the Portland nighttime entertainment scene, filling up venues and packing out dance floors. One of their regular gigs is at the Local Lounge, located in the heart of NE Portland’s Soul District on NE MLK Jr. Blvd. Every first and last Saturday of the month, you can walk into an international crowd that represents anywhere from 10 to 20 different countries from around the world. “One of my favorite things about being a DJ for this crowd, is that we bring a diverse group of people and cultures together all under one roof. They get to hear all types of music; from Hip-Hop, to African, to Caribbean, to Reggae and Dancehall. We take them around the world in 4 hours and each and every time, we see the crowd coming together as one. It’s like one big happy family having a good time being connected.” Book DJ Solor for weddings, parties or private events Facebook :Djsolo.kofi Call 503-523-8002

Say Their Names: Black Female Artists in Oregon Command Respect By Fawn Aberson

Black female performers have made a colossal contribution to Oregon’s reputation for growing deeply soulful musical talent. Janice Scroggins and Linda Hornbuckle were two notable examples of dynamic artists who called Oregon home. When both ladies passed away in 2014, arguably during the upsurge of their legacy tours, what got brought to life was just how dynamically black females often lead the charge of Oregon’s musical talent pool. Moreover, the deep respect these ladies had forged in the industry simultaneously created an impressive wake of emerging young Black female artists.

“My work ethic comes from my passion and love for the artistry. I am constantly looking at where I can have a show, how can I please my audience and understanding who is my demographic. When you study and research your own work you are able to better capitalize on your efforts. My mindset is that my voice is a gift that was given to me. I didn’t have to be that person chosen but I am. Knowing this makes me cherish it and work at it all the more. If that means I lose a little sleep so that I can make sure that every front is satisfied, being a mom, working, performing and touring, than that’s what I have to do.”

One of those rising within this wake is beautiful soulstress Tamara Stephens

“I grew up under the wings of these ladies, they were always giving me a platform to grow and become better, always willing to share their spotlight.” She echo’s the statements of her musical peers. Former Oregonian, Liv Warfield's career has soared over the past two years. She often credits Hornbuckle and other Oregon emancipated black female performers, for coaching her on how to “Liv out loud” in the pursuit of her career.

As for Tamara Stephens, she has been singing since the young age of four. With her foundation in Gospel music, Tamara has used her background to tweak her unique sound in R&B and Soul. Her rising star comes on the heels of the "Bespeak Love" album; a compilation album which includes her solo track, “I Believe.” The album also features other well-known talent from the Northwest and has been building steam world-wide, even charting on the UK Soul Chart Top 30 list. In this sea of competition, it is impressive when your name can still stand out. Add to the fact that Tamara is a working mother of 3 young children, the RESPECT level deepens. For Tamara, balancing this schedule is a labor of love.

Tamara is presently working on her own self-titled album and is currently touring with the Patrick Lamb Band. They will be performing at the highly acclaimed Governor’s Ball for New Year’s Eve in Portland, Oregon. *You can find the "Bespeak Love" compilation album on iTunes, CD Baby, Amazon, Spotify, Soundcloud and other digital streaming sites, or connect with her through: www.TamaraStephensMusic.com

The BillionAIRe Jordan 2015 marked the 30th anniversary of the launch of Air Jordan tennis shoes, signifying the beginning of a relationship between Michael Jordan and Nike that would subsequently spin off the most profitable athletic shoe brand ever created, the Jordan Brand. The very first pair were called the Air Jordan 1 and were debuted by Michael Jordan during an NBA regular season game. They were immediately banned by the commissioner of the NBA for not meeting the on-court sneaker color code requirements. When Jordan refused to comply with the ban, he was fined $5,000 each time he wore them in a game. Nike happily paid the fine as fans went wild for what soon became known as the “rebel shoe”. Sales of the design skyrocketed. 30 years and a host of numeric brand Air Jordan’s later,there seems to be no decline in sight. Today, sneaker heads across the spectrum of all races, genders and ages, will line up for hours to buy a new or re-released pair of the J’s. 37 year-old Aaron Scott, an avid Jordan shoe collector, has had as many as 200 pairs of Jordan’s at one time. “I love the shoe. I still have retro pairs of Jordans from when I was a kid. They're as dope today as they were back then. Plus the resale value makes them a great collector’s item.” Resale indeed. It is not uncommon for certain Jordan’s to sell for twice and higher the amount of their original retail value. In 2013, a former Utah Jazz ball boy sold the pair of autographed shoes Michael Jordan gave him after the 1997 playoff game in which Jordan had the flu, yet still rallied the Chicago Bulls to an incredible comeback victory. {72} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

They were Air Jordan 12s and they netted an incredible $104,000. The latest recorded sales of the Jordan Brand accounted for about 2.3 billion dollars in sales. In 2014, Michael earned more money from the Jordan Brand than he did during his entire career in the NBA. This payout, along with money earned from other endorsements and asset dividends, got Jordan officially recognized as a billionAIRe.

AIR JORDAN VIII “AQUA” Worn originally during the 1993 All-Star Game, the Air Jordan VIII Aqua returns with fully re-mastered construction and OG materials. The classic silhouette features a black Nubuck upper, in addition to Bright Concord and Aqua highlights that brighten the back half of the shoe.

JORDAN BRAND HOLIDAY 2015 RETRO LINEUP Jordan Brand will release three colorways of this iconic silhouette during the 2015 holiday season, paying homage to historic moments during Michael Jordan’s career. Originally debuted by the legend himself during Chicago’s “threepeat” championship basketball season in 1992-93, the Air Jordan VIII was a true showstopper on the hardwood.

AIR JORDAN VIII “THREE TIME’S A CHARM” The Air Jordan VIII Three Times a Charm pays tribute to Chicago’s first three-peat championship season, while taking color cues from each of the three defeated teams. Vivid hues invigorate the white and black-based shoe, in addition to the Infrared-toned Jumpman highlighted on the new tongue label.

Featuring distinctive crossover straps atop the laces, the Air Jordan VIII was the last shoe His Airness would wear before his sudden retirement in October 1993. AIR JORDAN VIII “BLACK AND CHROME” One of the first non-OG colorways of the Air Jordan VIII, the blackand-chrome version makes its return this holiday season. Upon its first release in 2003, the shoe became an instant classic. The blackbased upper incorporates chrome-like accents throughout the shoe and pulls design details from the Air Jordan VIII “Playoffs” and Air Jordan VIII “Aqua”.

In addition to the Air Jordan VIII, the brand will release three supplemental silhouettes next winter — the Air Jordan I, the Air Jordan XIV Low and the Air Jordan VII.

AIR JORDAN VII Inspired by Jordan’s vibrant printed sweater and shorts he wore on camera in an iconic commercial, this Air Jordan VII features colorful hues, such as Bright Concord and Soar Blue, energizing the classic, white-based shoe.

AIR JORDAN XIV LOW Last released in 1999, the Air Jordan XIV Low arrives this holiday season with re-mastered construction and OG materials. The Air Jordan XIV Low draws from the sleek lines and aerodynamic design of one of the world’s fastest automobiles. The all-black nubuck leather upper is complemented by varsity royal accents and maize color splashes.

AIR JORDAN I Drafting colors from Jordan’s collegiate alma mater, this Air Jordan I features dark powder blue accents atop a white, premium smooth leather upper. {74} FlOSSIN MAGAZINE • Vol.15 No.1

support of PDC’s Green Features Grant.

The Portland Development Commission thanks the small businesses of North and Northeast Portland for their contributions to jobs and economic growth—we are looking forward to 2016 and another great year of partnership.

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