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The Almighty

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At home in the community. Providence Health & Services is proud to support the health of communities in Oregon. Through our hospitals and medical clinics, our physicians and home health services, our health plans and our other resources, Providence cares for people throughout all stages of life. Providence.org/oregon


TABLE OF CONTENTS On The Cover Artistic rendition of the Almighty Dollar by renowned Portland cultural creative, Arvie Smith “The Almighty Dollar” is a stark and incendiary portrait of his vision of modern day religion and it’s seemingly unholy alliance with money. Masthead: The Faces Behind Flossin Magazine

PG 06

Letter From the Editor-in-Chief: John Washington

PG 08

HEALTH & WELLNESS Cascadia Behavioral Health Pays Homage to Portland’s Black Community Through the Rebuilding of the Garlington Center

PG 10

Tempering the Storm of Culture and Climate in Our Workplaces:

PG 12

Dr. James L. Mason, Ph.D, leads the charge at Providence

Utilizing Fear to Achieve Your Goals: Motivational lessons from Olaniyi Sobo

PG 16

TRAVEL & LEISURE Where Nature Nurtures the Human Spirit:

PG 18

Mudbone Grown:

PG 20

Escape to Breitenbush Hot Springs

Culturally specific community agriculture project seeks to curb food insecurity

HOT TOPICS African American Horror Story: The Truth on Canvas

PG 22

On Bended Knee:

PG 26

Pathway 1000: A bold new plan for African-American homeownership

PG 28

The Almighty Dollar: Exploring the connection between Church, State and Capitalism

PG 30

Arvie Smith on the history of racism in America

Unpacking the power and principle of Kaepernick’s last stand


EDUCATION & COMMUNITY Understanding the Cost of College:

Navigating the details of your investment in your future

PG 36

B.E.A.M. Of Light: Black Education Achievement Movement, Noni Causey, lights the way PG 42 for Black students success

Get Out...Alive: The Afrovivalist’s Get Home Bag:

PG 44

La Femmes: Enriching the experience of young African-American women

PG 46

Vault of Opportunity: Building black wealth in Portland Oregon

PG 48

Tips to prepare your home and family in an emergency situation

through community involvement, leadership and personal development

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT Universal Basic Income: Wealth for Everyone

PG 54

Cryptocurrency: Democratizing our financial institutions through digital platforms

PG 56

CBA Pilot Project:

PG 58

Understanding Dr. King’s Final Dream

Explaining Northwest Carpenters Union community benefits program

ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT David F. Walker: Creating Superheroes of Color by breathing life and giving relatable

PG 60

Control the Narrative, Control the Outcome: Black media professionals and next

PG 62

Anchorman: The Legend of Ken Boddie

PG 66

Armed with Hustle: A new clothing brand that tackles entrepreneurship head-on

PG 68

Heartbeat of the Afrikon:

PG 69

voice to the black supernatural

generation youth film-makers are shaping a new outcome for African-Americans in Portland Accurately reporting the current atmosphere in our community

Good for You:

DJ Solo grows his brand through a new lifestyle clothing line

PDX Native takes the hip-hop industry by storm

BOOK REMARKS

PG 70 PG 72

Spirit Land by Charles Langley What a City is For by Professor Matt Hern God and Money by John Cortines and Gregory Baumer Where Do We Go From Here by Martin Luther King Jr.

HIGHER CONSCIOUSNESS Afterbirth of a Nation: The Beginning of Our Country’s Fear of Racial and Economic Integration

PG 74


A reflection of your inner-self demonstrated in your outer world. It simply means “To Shine” About Flossin Media

Flossin Media is an integrated marketing and communications company specializing in strategically marketing to and for businesses and consumers in the multicultural marketplace. It is a media powerhouse that is capable of developing and managing Print, Video and Event production, Brand ambassadorship outreach squads, Online digital distribution management, and Business fund development consulting. This multi-media mix produces what is known as “Surround Sound Marketing”, based on the premise that each medium, like each speaker in a surround sound stereo system, produces the greatest impact when it works in a coordinated fashion.

The Flossin Mission:

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

Flossin Magazine Volume 18 #1 The Almighty Dollar

Flossin Magazine is Available in Hard Copy and Online To request a Hard Copy please call 866-571-1969 To subscribe online please go to https://issuu.com/flossinmedia

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Flossin Media

PO Box 12185 Portland, Oregon 97212 Phone Number: 866-571-1969 Website: www.flossinmedia.com Email Inquiries to Publisher: Johnwashington@flossinmedia.com Editorial Calendar & Advertising: Fawnaberson@flossinmedia.com General: Info@flossinmedia.com

We Want To Hear From You

Do you have a comment on one of our articles? Do you have a story idea for one of our upcoming issues? Please tell us by emailing info@flossinmedia.com with subject line “Comment or Story idea”

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Meet the people who make Flossin. John Washington

Editor in Chief & CEO I often feel more like the patriarch of Flossin Media rather than the CEO. For all that we have been at Flossin throughout the years; publishers, event producers, filmmakers, business consultants; we have also been a family. A tight knit group of individuals who have taken this journey, sometimes on separate paths, we always strive towards the same goal of bringing education and inspiration to those in search of hope. In addition to running several companies and organizations, I recently stepped out on a limb as an actor in a play produced by the World Stage Theater, where as part of the performance troupe, we seek to catapult each other and audience members into higher social consciousness.

Fawn Aberson

Executive Editor & President As one of the founding partners of Flossin Media, over the nearly 14 years we have been in operation, I have experienced, first-hand, the toils, tribulations and triumphs of a small business owner. With this lens, I focus a good deal on the economic development section of our publication, bringing the best of the resources we discover directly back to you, our readers. I also love event production, seeing when a plan comes together and celebrating victories, big and small, with my team.

Tiara Darnell

Contributing Writer After two years in Morocco, I moved to Oregon to crush grapes. Now, I budtend, crumble herb, and freelance write the written word.

Michael Munkvold Contributing Writer

I am a professional writer and my work has been featured in publications like Willamette Week, Tech Writer Today and News From the Hip. I also work as an editor, proofreader and social media copywriter. The only thing I love more than music, film and food, is writing about it.

Olaniyi Sobomehin Contributing Writer

I am a former professional football player with the New Orleans Saints, a current adviser for Peak Mindset Consulting and the CEO of I AM NOT YOU, where my purpose and mission is to show you how to become fearless and dominate your sport, your fitness goals and your life. Check me out at https://imnotyou.com/

Sydney Odell

Contributing Writer and Copy Editor I graduated from the WASP American dream 4 years ago when I moved to Istanbul, Turkey. I’ve recently returned with a new cat, husband and multicultural lens, as well as a deep love affair with Turkish yogurt. Don’t tell Trump—he may ban it.

Michele Darr

Associate Editor, Writer Who is Michele Darr? Good question. I’m still trying to figure that out myself. As a survivor of war and Mother to 7 children, ages 8 to 28, I identify as an uncompromising human rights activst. 8 years ago, I decided to channel my passion for defending human rights, equality and justice into a career as an investigative journalist, writer and editor for Flossin Magazine. It is here, within these pages, where I make my stand to contribute to the kind of world I hope to leave to my children.

Valan Primus

Creative Director

I’m the jack of all things creative. I was born on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, raised in Brooklyn, New York and have been a resident of Portland since 2014. At 16, I developed a diverse skillset for designing and coding websites, graphic design and the art of storytelling through video production. I currently produce dance music, DJ and curate dance events in Portland’s music scene, while working on my goal to one day tour the world. Learn more about my work at: http://valanprimus.com

Richard Rogers I.T Web Support

I’m a man of many hats, having worked all along the West Coast in music management, video production, web design and marketing. I’m a fierce advocate for disabled rights and even more loyal to my local Oregon community.

Hailei Aberson-Holford Contributing Writer

I’m a recent graduate from the University of Oregon. I am a lover of film, music and food, especially when I get to share those experiences with others. I am an active social network communicator. I love snapchat, wrote a blog about coffee houses I visited in London while studying abroad and recently launched an Instagram page called @CurvyGirlsGetFit2

Kyrell Bishop

Distribution & Street Team Ambassador Squad Leader, Creative Intern I’m a PDX entrepreneur, working in multimedia and design. I have a passion for fast cars, extravagant food and creating designs that give people the peace of mind to escape.

Clare Clarke

Contributing Photographer I am a high school student with big plans. I love drawing dragons, creating comics and writing stories. I am a freelance videographer, photographer and illustrator.

Cover Art: Courtesy of Arvie Smith painter Cover Story Photo: Courtesy of Dan Kvitka Photography Other: Courtesy of Flossin Media, Peter Kim Illustration Other: Courtesy of http://interactioninstitute.org/


Letter from the Editor John Washington | CEO of Flossin Media

In the nearly 15 years that I have sat at the helm of Flossin Media, no single issue of our magazine has challenged me more than “The Almighty Dollar”. Going into production during election year, we ran up against formidable roadblocks to our usually fluent, creative flow, in the form of profound disbelief, shock and depression in the days and months leading up to the inauguration of the 45th President of the United States. In the aftermath of what we had hoped was just a bad dream, we found ourselves frozen from the realization that our worst nightmare had been realized and we began the arduous struggle to recover from the ensuing emotional and cerebral constipation. However, as the warriors that we are, the will to live, grow and thrive eventually burst through the dam. We picked up our proverbial sword and shield and went back into the battle to usher forth this instrument of TRUTH to the community we are invested in serving. Since the election, I have been anxiously observing the mainstream response by religious leaders to this illegitimate “president” and his platforms, policies, tweets and soundbytes. With a few notable exceptions; some profiled within the pages of this issue; religious leader after religious leader stood by in silence, or worse, responded with hearty support. Where were those, within the majority of mainstream American churches, with the courage and unwavering fortitude to speak out, thereby upholding their professed commitments to being fearless stewards of humanity and the Earth? Where were those publicly breaking ranks from the legions who cast their lots with a candidate who was endorsed by the Ku Klux Klan, championed police brutality, rape culture, a wholesale assault on immigrants and is systematically undoing generations of efforts to heal the racial injustice tearing apart churches and our country? In light of these observations, it seems obvious to me that the majority have managed to convince themselves that economic slavery, injustice and racism are mostly a thing of the past and those who see and accept the obvious, are themselves, an active component of the problem.

“Why is equality so assiduously avoided? Why does white America delude itself, and how does it rationalize the evil it retains? The majority of white Americans consider themselves sincerely committed to justice for the Negro. They believe that American society is essentially hospitable to fair play and to steady growth toward a middle-class Utopia embodying racial harmony. But, unfortunately, this is a fantasy of self-deception and comfortable vanity.” -Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

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“You Cannot Arrive at Equity or Fairness Through the Construct of Capitalism” -John Washington

It is this self-deception and comfortable vanity that I seek to challenge in each and every one of us, especially those invested in and profiting from current systems that are riddled with white privilege, entitlement, inequality and racism. As I observe the overwhelming impact of these systems we accept and labor to support through our participation in a capitalist economy, I am also struck by the influence that religion exerts in this context. The entire conceptual reality of a divine authority to whom we must “obey”, is so insidious and so prevalent, that it’s messaging is even branded onto our primary means of economic exchange, the Dollar. Imprinted with the claim, “In God We Trust’, one must ask, do we? Seems we need to ask some questions here. Whose version of “God” is being referred to in this context and what does it mean to “trust” such an authority? The basic rules of each and every religion known to humanity seem to imply that money is far from a virtuous construct and that “God” in any of these traditions is inherently opposed to the notion of the accrual of material wealth. So exactly what IS going on here? Once again, the most plausible answer comes from the observations and insight of Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Again, we have deluded ourselves into believing the myth that Capitalism grew and prospered out of the Protestant ethic of hard work and sacrifice. The fact is that capitalism was built on the exploitation and suffering of black slaves and continues to thrive on the exploitation of the poor, both black and white, both here and abroad.” -Martin Luther King, Jr. “The Three Evils of Society” 1967. After much soul-searching, I have arrived at many of the same conclusions that Dr. King arrived at before his untimely death. Capitalism, mixed with religion and reinforced by decoys and deception, results in deadly delusions that create our shared reality. This issue of Flossin represents this journey of discovery for me. However, in navigating the omnipresent minefields, I also seek to illuminate paths to a brighter, more equitable future, by profiling and celebrating people who stay unwaveringly committed to the walk for freedom. These luminaries include former San Francisco Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who took a knee for justice on the gridiron; the artist and cultural connoisseur behind this cover of Flossin, Arvie Smith; housing justice warrior for PCRI, Maxine Fitzpatrick; Providence Health’s Chief Diversity Officer, Dr. James Mason; and more. It is this next wave of warriors who are controlling the narratives and framing new outcomes beyond the old, outmoded scripts of fear, institutionalized slavery and inequality. As one of the most impactful issues that Flossin Magazine has ever produced, rest assured. We are bringing you hot content. We are no longer dormant. We are back, stronger than ever and ready to take on any challenges that come our way. Stay tuned for the next edition when we explore historic organizations who are sequestering African American kids and mining them as if they were BITCOINS. In closing, the most potent realization at which I’ve arrived and wish to share with you all comes, once again, courtesy of one of the greatest spiritual leaders who walked the earth, Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “The man cannot ride your back unless it is bent,” King fervently stated, mere months before his assassination. So I ask you, beloved community, to stand tall, square up your shoulders and prepare for the journey ahead within these pages and beyond. Enjoy the read.

-John Washington

Editor-in-Chief


Health & wellness

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The Garlington Health & Wellness Center Holistically Improving Mental and Physical Health

Each year one in five Americans, or about 61 million people, will experience a mental health issue. Locally, Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare continues to provide support to community members who face these challenges every day. With more than 900 team members serving 16,000 Oregonians of all ages every year, Cascadia takes on some of Portland’s toughest issues – families facing eviction, chronic homelessness, mental health and addiction challenges. Driven to improve the quality of health of the community, Cascadia is building one of the state’s most innovative campuses right here in the Eliot neighborhood. The new Garlington Health & Wellness Center on NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. will deliver compassionate, integrated healthcare, bringing together mental health, addiction treatment, primary care and wellness services in one location to support a person’s whole healthcare needs. As Kalindi Kapadia, Director of Cascadia’s Garlington Health Center explains it, “We know that mental and physical health go hand-in-hand. When mental health is addressed as a facet of a person’s entire wellbeing, we more often see lasting improvements in that person’s ability to thrive.” Designed from the ground up to deliver integrated healthcare, the Garlington Center will serve as a regional model that treats each patient holistically, leading to improved mental and physical health, lower catastrophic care costs, and reduced stigma surrounding mental health. The campus will also be home to a new 52-unit affordable housing apartment building helping to meet the community’s need for more affordable housing. As of April 1, 2017, Cascadia is a Certified Community Behavioral Health Center (CCBHC), part of a national pilot program to measure the benefits of expanding the integration of mental health, substance use and physical health. Oregon was one of just eight states chosen to participate in the two–year program and Cascadia’s three participating clinics are part of only 13 selected statewide. CCBHCs operate under the principle that mental and physical health are inextricably linked and that treating one without acknowledging the other is less effective than a holistic approach. For example, people who have chronic mental health issues often receive less primary care attention than the general population. When they do see a primary care provider, they may present in more advanced stages of physical illness. Integrated services improve healthcare delivery to this population and will allow people to live longer and healthier lives. To support the development of this innovative approach to whole health, Cascadia has a community giving campaign, Building a Culture of Caring, expected to raise $3.5 million by the clinic opening in Spring, 2018. The campaign has already secured 85% of its goal. Cascadia is also raising funds to establish art murals on both buildings facing NE MLK Blvd. The Garlington Health & Wellness Center was named in honor of the late Reverend Dr. John W. Garlington, Jr. and Mrs. Yvonne Garlington, who together established a compassionate voice for Portland’s African-American community. Dr. Garlington was a leader for social justice, particularly in the areas of education, employment, policy-community relations and ministries to people living in poverty and experiencing mental illness.


Health & wellness

Dr. James L. Mason

Tempering the Storm of Culture & Climate in our Workplaces by: Fawn Aberson Nearly 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies now employ a Diversity Officer in their Executive lineup. This is up almost 50% from a decade ago, largely due to current trends that find women and people of color now constitute 70% of people entering into a workforce that, from our country’s inception, has been predisposed to white male systemology. Supporters of the diversity approach in business argue that a workforce that is infused with different perspectives tends to come up with ideas that spur growth, drive innovation and help companies become or remain competitive in an increasingly diverse marketplace. They can also help improve a company’s public image and its stock price. Dr. James Mason, Chief Diversity Officer (CDO) at Providence Health Care Systems, is helping one of Oregon’s top employers navigate their best diversity practices. We sat down to pick his Ph.D. level brain as to why this issue has become so important to a company’s bottom line. “When you look to create any system, the danger is when diversity is an afterthought; it’s hard to add on. You almost have to re-engineer the whole thing. Consider if we were to build bathrooms with only urinals in them. You’ve just built a system that doesn’t take into consideration over half of the population, women. In my role,

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I am happy to be a voice at the front end and I really hate being a voice at the back end, because then you have to second guess every step.” On stature alone, Dr. Mason may have an advantage that can subdue angst in a room. He is 6 foot 7 with a deep resounding voice, the kind that movie folks look to find in a narrator of a great story. He’s highly personable with a smile that spans ear to ear and he chuckles easily at himself and with others in his midst. Born and raised in Southern California, a ‘good vibration a happenin’ lingers in his demeanor towards those around him, an attitude that can undoubtedly come in handy when easing tension and having uncomfortable conversations. In his own words he says, “I think I was uniquely prepared to do this. I had a lot of conflict between what I was formally taught vs what I experienced in the world. This forced me to consider how a problem might play in different communities with varying socioeconomic status. I felt a need to be a champion, or a voice, for people who didn’t have a champion or voice. That seemed like what I was supposed to do to honor my father, my family, my upbringing.” Since 1985, Dr. Mason’s life’s work has revolved around consulting and analyzing how service systems work and serve their constituency with regards to diversity. He is the former Director of the Office of Multicultural Health for the State of Oregon and one of the founders of the National Association of State Offices for Minority Health. He is a founding member of the National Center on Cultural Competence at Georgetown University, where he worked in a collective impact partnership to develop a model of cultural competence with tools for assessment. He has consulted with professional bureaucracies and education, health and provider groups across the United States, Latin America, and Canada. Dr. Mason’s work often touches upon two primary diversity focuses. The first is with regards to service delivery. Striving to maintain an approach that is meaningful and responsive to the needs of the population, he cites the following example: “Take healthcare, for instance. If you are in a demographic group that we have learned is disproportionately susceptible to glaucoma, we then learn to be sensitive and cognizant of that factor when working with a certain population.” Mason’s second diversity focus is related to being an organization that works in the 21st century. “A key part of my job has been, in a very non-blaming way, to help systems work with populations that they might not know very well or whom have been historically underserved or underemployed. If you want to be a good health system in the 21st century, you’re going to need to pay attention to age, gender, race, ethnicity and sexuality of the people you serve. One size does not fit


“If you want to be a rock-star organization, if you want market share and if you want to have the most profound impact for good, then you need to have a focus on diversity”

-Dr. James Mason

all,” he explained. “For example, the male approach might not work for the Mom; the middle-class, English-speaking approach might not be appropriate for working-class, non-English speaking people. If you want to be a rock-star organization, if you want market share and if you want to have the most profound impact for the good, then you need to have a focus on diversity. When we mis-serve people, it costs us more across the board.”

approach. Do we have a lot of challenges? I think health care does, as do we. We do a great job gathering diverse information that can help us serve our patients better, however, like the STEM field across the board, we sometimes struggle with recruiting a diverse pool of doctors and professionals. So, are we where we want to be? I would say no. Do we have a plan to get there? I would say yes.”

Dr. Mason admits that in a world where we are all learning to work, cross-culturally, on subjects of race, gender and sexuality, communications can sometimes get misconstrued as rude or invasive.

For Providence, that plan includes the work both within and outside their walls. Internally, that includes a variety of discipline-specific training modules that Dr. Mason and his team have developed to improve the service aspects of patient care in pharmacy, nursing, home health, behavioral health and chaplaincy, in order to ensure their therapeutic environments are welcoming and hospitable. They have also adopted training on how to create welcoming environments through recognizing unconscious bias and interrupting bias speech. It is based upon a curriculum called “Ouch”, by Leslie C. Aguilar.

“As I go through the world, I am supposed to be Mr. Cultural Man, right? But, it’s not like I don’t offend. I say goofy stuff all the time, but that’s not my intent. I might say something authentic to you but awkward or not so ‘politically correct’. I am willing to take a risk, however, if I offend you, don’t sit there and brood. Say something. I have to learn from that mistake and not do it again. In a professional setting, we have to learn to ask [sensitive questions] in a respectful way and without a relationship, that can be hard. Think of the health care intake process. If it’s your first time with a patient, you have to ask about their health history, including mental health, sexual background and addiction questions within the first 15 minutes. People often look at you like, ‘whoa!’ Culturally, the way I have learned to do that is to say, ‘Forgive my rudeness in how this may come across, but I need to ask you these questions, because it might help save your life or give you access to better care. If I offend you, that wasn’t my intent. Afterwards, I can discuss with you if there was a better way for me to ask these questions.” We asked Dr. Mason how Providence is showing leadership through diversity: “I think we try to lead in health care through a diversity

“We have all been in a position where we have seen someone experience a micro aggression. For example, if I insult you in front of someone else, you’re mad at me and you’re also mad at that someone else for not saying anything in your defense. Through training, we look at how can we interrupt or stop micro-aggressions. In our case, it’s how to prepare our caregivers, so that when people come into our service areas, they feel protected. Then, if somebody starts funny language around race, gender, piercings or whatever, we want our people to be able to say “ouch”, meaning “stop that”, so that we are not complicit. It also lets the offending person know that something was wrong, or that they may not have known their impact.” Internally, as they continue to look for ways to a build healthy and diverse workplace climates, Dr. Mason and Providence have come to acutely realize how this work can


be used as a resource for the community outside of their walls.

“The cool thing about Providence, is that my leaders trust me, believe in me, recognize that we are all connected and that by empowering ourselves, we empower our community,” states Dr. Mason. In an effort to further the improvement of climate and culture in the workplace, Dr. Mason speaks publicly, both locally and across the nation. As an organization, they do a lot of investing in farmers markets, green groceries and food education classes, noting that it hard to talk about healthy eating if you don’t have access to it. He also helps to plant seeds for young people to pursue medical and STEM careers by volunteering regularly at workshops and, through a partnership with Univision, to assist firstgeneration college students with filling out FAFSA and scholarship forms. “The question is, how are we going to invest in young people in a way that is going to benefit the family, community and make us all better?”, mused Dr. Mason. As with any conversation where biometric factors (i.e. gender, race) and economic opportunities for advancement (i.e. paying jobs) come into play, deploying equitable strategies will inevitably attract scrutiny and criticism. For example, the term “diversity” is still often yoked to Affirmative Action and as a result, some detractors cry out that this programming is actually a form of ‘reverse discrimination’. Adding still another complex layer, are the recent flood of reports regarding sexual misconduct in the workplace that have been ripping through Hollywood and shedding a light on how negative and exploitative office and workplace climates, if left unchecked, can destroy employee morale, a company’s reputation and the lives/ careers of those closest to the impact zone.

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“I think a lot of us were raised on information that our parents may have had and it may not have been the best information,” said Mason. “You might have been told not to play with someone or to trust someone and when there’s no contact, a lot of those myths or misinformation take root. I think once we start learning to hang out and talk to one another, once we have the relationship, our wants are pretty consistent. The secret to the world is not so much our diversity, but what we have in common. We go there first, so that now when we broach our differences, we do so while drawing upon a relationship of commonalities.” It’s these “differences” that are often responsible for striking so many emotional chords during the conversations that many of us are are struggling to have with one another in today’s politically, racially and sexually charged world. To approach these dialogues with each other in healthy ways, Dr. Mason shares some parting advice. “You have to ask each other, ‘Are we having a ‘logic and reason’ conversation, or are we having an emotional one?’ If I’m talking from a ‘logic and reason’ perspective and you tell me you are acting from an ‘emotional’ standpoint, then we are not talking the same language and I am probably going to refrain from talking to you right now. Don’t have conversations when you’re emotional or angry, because you are not the same person. Wait until you can talk in a reasonable way. This advice can sometimes be easier for me when I am advocating for others, rather than for myself, ” Dr. Mason said with a chuckle. “When I am on the road and working in a community where you see things aren’t so wonderful, I can’t abdicate a response and that’s why becoming more exacting on how communities are vulnerable is so important. I am proud with respect to Providence, beacause we are having these conversations internally and externally and I would expect the other systems to begin or continue to do the same.” he concluded.


My business. My possibility. At the Port of Portland we are committed to seeking ways to increase access and participation of small businesses in Port opportunities at our marine, aviation and industrial real estate properties. Find out more about our Mentor-Protégé Program and other small business opportunities at www.portofportland.com or contact Kimberly Mitchell-Phillips at Kimberly.Mitchell-Phillips@portofportland.com.

Clockwise from top left: Summer Gorder, EcoREAL Solutions; Alan Beane, Geograde Constructors LLC; Rosa Martinez, Professional Minority Group, Inc (PMG) and Danny Sandoval, Sandoval’s Fresh Mexican Grill.


w

Health & wellness

THE REAL TRUTH BEHIND SUCCESS by: Olaniyi Sobomehin This past summer as my daughter was gearing up for 6th grade, my wife and I decided to make sure her math skills were sharp. I whipped out a few multiplication flash cards to make sure she was on point and we began revising. I could see her tighten up as I administered the quiz, and she soon showed me why. She struggled with her 6’s, 7’s and barely knew any of the 12’s. This was a problem, so I decided to take action. I told her that if she got all her times tables down by the end of the week, she would get a $20 cash prize. Just as I expected, she got excited and I sat back with my hands on my head thinking, “that was easy.” Problem solved. I silently observed her over the next few days and on Friday, as promised, I gave her the test. The results may surprise you. She did worse than she had done before.

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I was upset, frustrated and disappointed. Not just in her results, but in my inability to get her to study. Intent on solving the problem, I switched up strategies and sought to appeal directly to her deepest fears & desires. I made a new deal. I told her, “If you don’t know your times tables by next Friday, I will absolutely not take you school shopping. No new backpack, no new clothes. You’ll go to school in the exact same threads as last year.” My tone of voice told her I wasn’t playing, and my wife looked on like I was crazy. But I was dead serious and Rylee & my wife got the point. I knew she could learn those times tables in a day if she wanted; she just needed a little push. Again, the results may surprise you. She aced the test. She knew every single times table in less than 3 seconds.


w This experience taught me something valuable about fear and its powerful inherent ability to motivate. It was not the pleasure of completing her goals that lead to her success. It was the fear of pain. In this case, the pain of not getting school clothes was a bigger motivator than anything else. This was a revolutionary find for me and here’s why.

THE REAL TRUTH BEHIND SUCCESS

The truth is this : People are driven by fear of what they don’t want. In many cases, this fear is more powerful and compelling than the thoughts of what they do want. Knowing what you want, thinking “positive” and focusing on your desired results are all important and necessary parts of the puzzle. But there is a bigger game to be played and once we know the rules we can play at a higher level. What struck me about this motivating fear, was how resourceful Rylee got as soon as the threat became real. Understanding that your own fears can play a huge part in driving you to take action is a valuable distinction that can separate you from the rest. Once you understand this, you can use this motivation strategy to be proactive and force yourself to take the action necessary to get you to where you want to go. If you see any successful person, it is because they got themselves to ACT, when others wouldn’t. Everyone wants to be happy, financially comfortable, love their job, drive a nice car, e.t.c. So, why is there such a small percentage of people actually doing, being and having what they dream? It’s because they used their own personal resources to take massive action when others did not. On a very micro level, they knew what had to get done and had enough awareness and honesty to recognize what holds them back. Many times its complacency, excuses, fear of failure and an overall mediocre mindset, all which are enemies of success.

THE FEAR FACTOR TECHNIQUE:

You are closer to these dreams than you think, but you must have a strategy to act consistently. Follow this 5-step plan to help you overcome the excuses and to take the steps necessary to utilize fear as a motivating factor and to ACT. 3. Feel The Pleasure: Envision the pleasure of your end game results • How will you feel after having taken this action? 1. Keep It Real: Identify what needs to change • What is the best possible scenario? • How can this action set off a positive domino effect in • What has been your excuse or rationale for not doing other areas of your life? it? • What have you been telling yourself and others as the 4. Plan & Commit: Identify the steps needed to make an reason why you can’t do this, or won’t? action plan 2. Feel The Pain: Imagine the pain of not taking action • What resources can you use to get this done? • What will it look like if you continue to tell this same • How can you make it easier and faster to accomplish? story, for the next 60 days? The next year? 5 years? How does it feel to have not taken action? • Who can you commit this goal to in order to raise the • If you were watching yourself in a movie, what words stakes? would you use to describe your character? 5. Do It: Stop talking and planning and just do it

Five step action Plan

THE BOTTOM LINE Take what you know you need to do and make the pain of NOT doing it very real. Exaggerate it. Experience it. Give yourself a shot of this reality in advance, then use this powerful motivator to move towards what you DO want. The power is within you. It’s always been there. Don’t let your ’story’ keep you from living the life you want to live. Commit to taking action. That means using your pain to drive you towards real action, while others make excuses and rationalize. Be the person that your future self would be proud of.


Travel & Leisure

by: Fawn Aberson If you’ve never experienced Breitenbush Hot Springs and Conference Center, you are missing out on one of the Valley’s most pristine natural environments. Just a mere 2 hour drive SE of Portland in the Willamette National Forest, Breitenbush is nestled below Oregon’s 2nd largest volcano, Mt Jefferson and within the boundaries of a 150+ acre wildlife sanctuary. According to President and Business Director, Peter Moore, the breathtakingly beautiful retreat provides more than just a soak in the second most active geo-thermal zone in the US.

“It’s a harbor in the storm, a safe zone in nature amidst cougars, bears, beavers, river otters, hawks,”-Peter Moore The rustic property now boasts 100 buildings including the lodge, a large dining and conference building, kitchen and dining space, a massage/healing arts building, staff dwellings, guest cabins, the Sanctuary, Forest Shelter, Buddha’s Playhouse and the River Yurt. Prepare to unplug for the experience. There’s no phone/Internet access or cellular signals at Breitenbush: it’s just you and the best Mother Nature has to offer. [ PG 18 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

Generating its own electricity from the river, the Center uses it’s geothermal wells to meet heating needs and the hot springs and wells provide the mineral water for the retreat’s hot tubs and steam sauna. Overnight accommodations at Breitenbush include summer camping options, all season 2 and 3 bedroom, geothermal-heated rustic cabins; some with bathrooms, cabins with bunk beds and rooms available in the historic lodge. Overnight visitors receive 3 vegetarian buffet meals daily and can opt to attend holistic yoga, EDGU and meditation programs. Breitenbush also offers a limited number of scholarships for lodging, based on financial need. After being spared the devastation wreaked by the surrounding Whitewater Fire, Little Devil Fire and the Scorpion Fire last August, Breitenbush emerged with a renewed commitment to safeguarding the healing land and to living up to their mission of “providing a safe and potent environment where people can renew and evolve in ways they never imagined.” Operating as a healing retreat and conference center, this forest-based Co-op promotes holistic health, spiritual growth and “facilitates the gathering of people in celebration of the experience of life”.


Sponsored by:

www.travelportland.com/ThatsMyPDX

They currently host 150 premier workshops a year, in addition to 3 free programs offered daily by staff members and sometimes, guests. These programs, workshops and free classes are based in Buddhist and Hindu traditions and may include dance, yoga, meditation, qigong, Tibetan throat singing, Mbira class and more. The retreat also offers workshops that involve Native American ceremonies and rituals that include sweat lodges and water pouring.

around issues surrounding race, gender and sexuality. They have also expressed their intention to invite perspectives from the African-American community in Oregon who, historically, have not taken advantage of this unique haven, nestled within some of the regions last old growth forests.   To encourage a more multicultural presence, Breitenbush plans to expand its outreach to engage populations that are notably absent from their roster of guests and presenters through development of media relationships and culturally relevant programming. The late Sobonfu Some who offered West African grief and prosperity rituals at the retreat and was a great example of the type of presenters they will be booking. In addition, the resort will provide diversity training to their staff in order to incorporate equality-focused principles and practices into their policies and procedures. “We are developing anti-oppression programming and then inculcating those values into the community as a whole,” Moore told Flossin Media.

“Our workshops are about mental health and sanity. How you eat, drink, grieve, educate, dance and love, all these things impact our wellbeing.” shared Moore. “We all want to create a world that makes sense and brings us joy. The principals we live by and share at Breitenbush, are a part of a culture that is spreading in communities all over the world. From first world to third world, communist to capitalist, we are all working to address the same questions. What makes people healthy in their minds?” For more information, or to make a reservation log onto Breitenbush, which has released statements of their commitment to equity and diversity, recently held an antioppression workshop to facilitate sensitive discussions

https://breitenbush.com or call 503.854.3320


Travel & Leisure

Wife and Husband duo Shante Johnson and Arthur Shavers Owners of Mudbone Grown, working farm and learning garden

Mudbone owners host a variety of workshops intent on engaging more minorities into the farming trade.

Sponsored by Travel Portland. Visit TravelPortland.com/ThatsMyPDX for resources, videos, insights and recommendations from leaders within Portland’s diverse communities.

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MUDBONE By Tiara Darnell

While the term “locavore” may have been coined in the Bay area, the buy local, eat local movement is practically baked into the culture of the City of Roses. Come summertime, the abundance of Oregon’s agriculture will be on full display at over two-dozen farmers markets across the Portland Metro area. And so will the reality that many of these farming operations are predominately owned and operated by aging, white farmers. Enter Unity Farm.   Adjacent to the Oregon Food Bank’s (OFB) headquarters (7900 NE 333rd Drive.), the one-acre plot of land, which was once a horse stable and training ground for Portland’s Black Buffalo Soldiers, is now a working farm and learning garden. Owned by the OFB and operated by the Blackowned enterprise, Mudbone Grown, LLC, the business’ founders, husband and wife, Shante Johnson and Arthur L. Shavers, Jr., both went through the Beginning Urban Farmer Training program offered through Oregon State University. They both have personal experience in farming: Johnson’s family grew their own produce at home on their property near Oregon City. As a young man, Shavers, a talented leather craftsman, learned about farming and working with his hands from his uncles and grandparents. A friend, who had already nicknamed him “Mudbone”, inspired the two to name their business “Mudbone Grown.” “[Art] lives in the city…but he’s country at heart,” laughed Johnson. “When we heard ‘Mudbone Grown’, we were like yep, that’s perfect.”   Initially, naysayers didn’t expect that Mudbone Grown would receive much enthusiasm or public support. “Some people, even from our own community, didn’t believe that we were actually going to be farming, because they couldn’t see it,” said Johnson. “People were like ‘you shouldn’t be doing a [community shared agriculture program] in your first year. You could mess up.There’s too much room for error.’ And yet last year, Unity Farm welcomed over 700 volunteers, partnered with local nonprofits like Hacienda and Outside In to bring fresh food to older adults in the Cully neighborhood and was awarded a $200,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to fund the Beginning Farmers of Color training program that launched this past January. The enthusiasm from the local community was bigger than they could have imagined. “When fifty-something people showed up to the first [Beginning Farmer] info session and packed the second one, I just cried,” recalled Johnson. “I knew the support was there. I just knew it!”  

A few weeks into the New Year, Mudbone Grown is already fielding requests to volunteer at the farm. Would-be volunteers will have to wait until later in the growing season to lend a hand though. Right now, Johnson and Shavers are focusing their energy on the cohort of 11 beginning farmers, most of whom are from the Portland area. Together, they’ll be preparing to lay the seed for a variety of fruits and vegetables, culturally specific to predominately Latino and African populations. Come summer ,Unity Farm and Mudbone Grown’s second farm off NE 66th and Simpson, will be thriving with food ready to nourish underrepresented communities in Portland.

“Historically, people of color in Oregon have been cut off from land usage and ownership opportunities, because of the state’s well-documented legacy of racial exclusion”. What Mudbone Grown is doing for the Portland area community, is timely and much needed, if Oregon is to maintain its current level of agricultural industry. According to a recent study by Oregon State University, Portland State University and Rogue Farm Corps, the average age of the Oregon farmer is 60 years old. As these farmers age, their farmland—more than 10.4 million acres or 64% of Oregon’s farmland—is expected to change hands in the next 20 years. Who will take control of this land once its available, is yet to be determined. In developing the training program for beginning farmers, Shavers and Johnson thought about the barriers they faced breaking into the industry and how they could make it easier for others to do so. The ability to pay beginning farmers a stipend while participating in the program, was a must.     By the end of their residency, Johnson and Shavers hope to be able to secure a modest parcel of land for each of Mudbone Grown’s beginning farmers. The idea is to equip them with the know-how and a business plan to be able to independently run their own farms the following year. “The plan is that they’ll grow their own vegetables and contribute a portion to the Mudbone CSA,” explained Shaver. “This is all about changing the narrative of what it means to be black and a farmer.”   In the coming months, visitors to Unity Farm can expect to see a new chicken coup, greenhouse and classroom on-site. The classroom will provide a space for Mudbone Grown to bring visitors onto the farm for a variety of food justice-oriented classes and workshops, thanks to existing and new partnerships. To learn more about Unity Farm and how to get involved, visit Mudbone Grown’s Facebook page. A new website and blog featuring stories from beginning farmers will launch in the spring.


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AFRICAN-AMERICAN

HORROR STORY THE TRUTH ON CANVAS BY MICHELE DARR

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“YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH”. These famous words, uttered by Jack Nicholson in the movie, “A Few Good Men”, seemed to capture the moment I first laid eyes on “Strange Fruit”, a haunting depiction of a modern-day lynching brought to life on canvas by world renowned painter and Flossin cover-artist, Arvie Smith. This soulrendering painting simultaneously bleeds anguish, despair and a sense that the “Truth” of the African American experience in the U.S. is beyond the average person’s ability to fathom the reality of such atrocities.

Through stark contrasts in color and tone of this and other of his masterworks, Smith evokes iconic racial stereotypes that reflect a powerful will to resist and survive, despite generations of oppression and cultural genocide. His unrelenting search for beauty, meaning and equality began during his formative years. He spent his early childhood being raised by his Grandfather; a college history professor in an all Black college and his Grandmother; a head teacher and principal for a separate-but-equal grade school. At the age of 13, Smith was sent to Watts/South Central LA to rejoin his single mother, who worked three jobs to support himself and his siblings. Referencing his own painful experience of growing up without a father figure, Smith attributes the skyrocketing rates of absentee parents within Black families as gruesome side effects of mass incarceration backed by institutionalized racism. Recounting memories of friends on welfare whose workers would visit to check for men in the house, he remembers, with sadness, Government programs that were only structured to support single-parent households. He believes the structure of these programs and their correlating p ​ ractices to be a form of modern day slavery. “Lawfully breaking up families in order to terrorize them and break

their spirits goes all the way back to the days of slavery,” he reflected, sadness creeping into his normally dancing eyes. “It was so bad, it got to the point where some white people and lawmakers didn’t think that we could even feel pain or sorrow and that was their justification for stealing lives, stealing the lives of our people, and after that, genocide.” In his early 40’s, Smith was accepted as a student at the P ​ acific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), a move that freed him to pursue his insatiable desire to learn other cultural perspectives and put them in historical context with the Black experience. In the process of artistically bringing to life the beginnings of what has become glaringly broad-based modern day disparities, he delved into the justifications of seemingly ordinary people who accept and embrace the concept of Blacks as‘less-than-huma​n​’

“It’s cognitive dissonance,” Smith muses. “Cognitive dissonance allows racists to separate us from the human family. And, it has worked. Anyone can work a mule, or even kill a mule. It’s harder to kill a human being, so racists don’t call us human beings.” It is this widespread, virulently racist, cognitive dissonance that Smith seeks

to challenge through his paintings and through his position as a founding Executive Board member of Ko-Falen Cultural Center (Ko-Falen means gift exchange), based in Portland, Oregon and Bamako, Mali. Directed by Baba Wague Diatkie, Arvie has made numerous trips to Ghana and Goree Island, Senegal in West Africa over the past 20 years, paying grim homage to hundreds of forts that were b ​ uilt to hold A ​ frican captives destined to be slaves. Smith’s renditions of popular, iconographic images: A ​ unt Jemima, Rastus, Uncle Ben, Stepin Fetchit, Bojangles, Mantan Moreland, the Coon, the Zip-Coon and the Lawn Jockey, are based upon images that the Europeans have used to identify Black people over history. “I put these images in here and people will say, ‘Oh, that’s Mickey Mouse’,” he explains. “Well, that’s not originally Mickey Mouse, that’s Walt Disney’s impression of a Black person known as Steamboat Willie. Disney was a racist, funding big time racist causes and organizations. It wasn’t just him, though, it was the entire media of the time. I did not make up these images. I know where these images came from. I know about Currier and Ives. I know about how we were very valuable during slavery. We

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printed on porcelain enamel panels and installed on the east facing wall of Alberta Commons in late winter/early Spring 2018. He will be working on this momentous project together with another luminous local artist, Mehran Heard (creator of As one of the lucky few to escape an original masterpiece, “Our Good the grip of poverty and alienation, it Friend, Tomorrow”). Smith has spent is the image of the ‘Bad Negro’ that countless hours examining photos and Smith is passionate to challenge and documents at the Oregon Historical reverse through his work as an artist Society while meeting with business and teacher. In 2011, Smith worked owners, youth service organizations, with incarcerated youth housed at civic organizers and high school the Juvenile Detention Justice Center students in the Albina neighborhood of Multnomah County. Five ​8’ x 15’ murals resulted from his work and as where he has lived for almost 20 of September 20, 2012, three of these years. works are installed in the Multnomah Starting with the 1948 Vanport Flood, County Courthouse and two are on display at the Donald E. Long detention the Alberta Commons artwork depicts creativity, community and multiple facility. historical and anecdotal events that “When I was working at JDH, I worked are woven into a theme of dislocation and gentrification, yet dominated by a with over 1​ 00 ​children, mostly message of the strength of the people African-American and Latino,” Smith that live in Albina. Smith and Heard’s remembers. “Of these, MOST were African-Americans. I would then go to intent is for this work to be a landmark work at PNCA in my role as Professor at the core of a neighborhood that is rapidly changing structurally, and it’s all white kids. I said, ‘now, socially, and economically, while are these white kids not committing crimes and are these Black a ​ nd Brown ​ simultaneously hoping to capture kids somehow acting worse?’ No. They the rich history of Albina and inspire identity, pride and unity in the are the low hanging fruit. We, as the oppressed, have limited power to fight community. these people who oppress us, such as policemen and those who work in “Through art there is freedom,” the criminal justice system. Look at it. he mused. “The key, as Frederick It’s ​mostly w ​ hite guys in suits hurting Douglass said, is to agitate, our children and KILLING our children. agitate, agitate. Through And people want to know, where is the my own work, I expose the justice? Where is the social justice? slights, the discrimination, the Are we really expecting this to go on condescension. I speak, unfettered, forever? When do we get a chance to heal? That is what I paint about. I paint of my perceptions of the Black about feelings that a ​ rise as a result of experience. By critiquing atrocities and oppression, by creating these ongoing societal injustices.” were good Negroes during slavery. After slavery was abolished, we were ridiculed, marginalized and depicted as lazy, ineducable, shiftless buffoons in the imagery within popular culture.”

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It is through these artistic expressions that Smith’s star continues to rise. Earlier this year, he won the Governor’s Award for Lifetime Achievement and his work will be on display on the outside of the new Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare Building (Garlington Center) on Martin Luther King Blvd in Portland. Additionally, Smith was also chosen and commissioned by the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) to create a 22.5’W x 18’H artwork to be

images that foment dialogue, I hope my work makes the ongoing repetition of historical atrocities and injustices less likely to continue,” he emphatically concluded.


“PNCA provided me with the tools and knowledge to effectively communicate through the process of artmaking what it is like to exist in this world as a human being.” Dawn Nielson, BFA GFA ‘14

BFA Studio Arts Design Arts Media Arts Liberal Arts MFA Applied Craft and Design Collaborative Design Visual Studies Low-Residency Visual Studies Print Media Critical Studies

Pacific Northwest College of Art 511 NW Broadway Portland Oregon 503.226.4391 pnca.edu

PNCA

Your Creative Future Begins at PNCA


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On Bended Knee By Michele Darr

Whether you love, loathe or are indifferent about football and the NFL, it is clear that the NFL is not now, nor ever has been, JUST about football. Most of us will at least agree that it was San Francisco Quarterback, Colin Kaepernick’s simple, silent gesture of “taking a knee” during the National Anthem that has done what rampant CTE(chronic traumatic encephalopathy) amongst players, domestic violence, sexual assault, animal abuse and even murder in the League could not do: impact viewership ratings and widespread public perception of the League as a whole. The enigmatic football player was born on November 3, 1987, to an unwed, teenage mother. Adopted shortly after his birth by Rick and Teresa Kaepernick, Colin was a 4.0 GPA student and star football, basketball AND baseball player. Kaepernick saw his lifelong dream to be a starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers come to fruition when he was selected in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. After leading the San Francisco 49ers to consecutive NFC championship games and one Super Bowl, Colin Kaepernick was rewarded with a “record” seven-year, $126 million contract in 2014. It was at the height of his career and his fame when, in late August, 2016, the football player seized the spotlight. Kneeling on the field during the National Anthem in silent protest of vast, widely publicized police brutality, institutionalized racism, marginalization and economic terror against Black and Minority Americans, his actions generated unprecedented backlash. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said afterward in an interview with NFL Media. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way.” He added that he would continue to sit during the national anthem until seeing “significant change” for minorities. Immediately upon impact, these words ignited a firestorm of controversy and renewed national dialogue on race relations and police brutality in America. Kaepernick and other players throughout the NFL who took a knee in solidarity, were subject to swift and punitive consequences. Sponsors such as Papa John’s, NBCUniversal, CenturyLink and Air Academy Federal Credit Union all responded by threatening or actually withdrawing their sponsorship of players who kneeled during the anthem. Team owners, management and coaching staff scattered throughout the League responded by pressuring players to cease kneeling and, in some cases, even benched them for demonstrating. Even Kaepernick’s long-absent birth mother, Heidi Russo and the 45th President of the United States felt compelled to chime in. “There’s ways to make change without disrespecting and bringing shame to the very country and family who afforded you so many blessings,” tweeted Russo. 45 was apoplectic and dismissively insulting. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these [ PG 26 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 17 NO. 1


NFL owners — when somebody disrespects our flag — to say, ‘Get that son of a b*tch off the field right now,” the orange one tweeted. “Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’” Kaepernick was unfazed. Vowing to donate one million dollars and all of the proceeds of his 2016 jersey sales to organizations working in oppressed communities, the former quarterback had no illusions about the potential for retribution from his employers, fans and sponsors. “I have to help these people. I have to help these communities. It’s not right that they’re not put in a position to succeed or given those opportunities to succeed. I was prepared to take a financial hit. If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right,” he stated. At the end of last season, Kaepernick was released from the San Francisco 49ers, remains unsigned and continues to lose millions for the stand that brought him to his knee. Beyond the implications and impact of Kaepernick’s protest, he was by far not the first to use the NFL platform to make a statement on police brutality and race relations. Earlier that same year (2016), Beyoncé paid tribute to the Black Panthers, Malcolm X and the Black Lives Matter movement during her halftime show at the Super Bowl. Belting out the blockbuster song, “Formation”, her backup dancers wore Black Panther-style berets and posed with their fists in the air, recalling the black power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. Kaepernick was also not the first to use the platform for political statements and action. Last year’s Super Bowl commercials were dominated by political messaging and corporations such as Budweiser, 84 Lumber, AirBnB, Google and Audi, paid an average of $166,666 PER SECOND to impart uncompromising statements in support of gender equality and immigration rights. As the Nation’s largest non-profit, tax exempt organization, the League itself has a political action committee(PAC) and has wielded it’s political power in Washington to press for legislation. So, what is it exactly that sets Kaepernick’s demonstration apart from those of others making political and social commentary in the same arena? One must wonder if it is not America’s inherent racist tendencies that color it’s apparent discernment of which demonstrations it deems acceptable to be carried out upon its McFootball fields. For it certainly seems that some League team owners, corporate sponsors and a seemingly endless parade of pundits and armchair/ desktop/bleacher “patriots” have little or no trouble with players dropping to their knee to request divine assistance on the gridiron. When the very white, very devout Evangelical quarterback for the Broncos, Tim Tebow, took a knee to implore Jesus to intercede on behalf of the Denver Broncos(a signature move that was affectionately coined as “Tebowing”), his actions were met with mostly kudos, praise and, hallelujah, corporate endorsements. In stark contrast, Kaepernick’s gesture of quietly taking

a knee on the sidelines during the National Anthem to protest a broken system, police brutality, dead Black kids, lost generations and economic slavery (much like the REAL Jesus would actually DO) unleashed an unprecedented backlash of biblical proportions. Kaepernick certainly has at least as many supporters as detractors. Former professional football player and Flossin Editor-in-Chief, John Washington, was personally re-ignited by Kaepernick’s demonstration. “This isn’t about football and it isn’t about the flag,” Washington emphatically stated. “It’s about time one of these players stood up and used the platform to draw attention to the fact that the AfricanAmerican has been struggling in America ever since being brought over here on slave ships nearly 250 years ago. What makes you think he can hold that in indefinitely? Because you give him money?” His voice dropped as low as his eyes as he went on. “That’s the mentality of slave owners. On the plantation, they expected us to work indefinitely and quietly withstand the horrors and abuse they heaped on us. Modern day slavery is proven to be alive and well in every single institution that exists and we are expected to be pacified by token acknowledgements such as having had one black president in 250 years. These tokens are then used to negate the presence of very real evidence that proves that slavery STILL exists in Black America. To trivialize Kaepernick’s protest and reduce it’s content to merely being about dishonoring the flag is dishonest, for it ignores the reality that he is attempting to draw attention to, and that’s the reality that Blacks and minorities are treated as lesser-than whites. If anyone is being disrespectful, it is those who are saying, ‘Boy you aren’t standing. Get up. Who cares about your issues.’ That’s the most vile disrespect being conveyed throughout this entire situation,” Washington said sadly. Beyond the noise, criticism, character assassinations and blacklisting by the League, Kaepernick’s simple, silent gesture has done far more than forever change the way we talk and think about sports, national symbols and patriotism. By forcing his fellow Americans to think about what they’re standing for and why, he has also inspired football players and other athletes to speak up about race and police violence in such a way that media, fans, and the general public actually get the message. As a result, Kaepernick’s influence and his star continues to rise. Recently, he made Time Magazine’s list of “Most Influential People” and was named GQ’s “Person of the Year” for his unyielding position and use of his celebrity to draw attention to the plight of Black America. “I’m going to continue to stand with the people that are being oppressed”, he solemnly stated. “To me, this is something that has to change. When there’s significant change and I feel that flag represents what it’s supposed to represent, and this country is representing people the way that it’s supposed to, I’ll stand.”


Hot Topics

Bold New Plan for Pathway AAfrican American Homeownership 1000: by: Michele Darr “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will” - Frederick Douglass This famous quote by Frederick Douglass represents the same energy and relentless determination that expresses itself through the leadership style of Maxine Fitzpatrick, award-winning Executive Director and CEO of Portland Community Reinvestment Initiatives, Inc. (PCRI). Selected in 1993 to lead the newly formed Affordable Housing Community Development Corporation in North and Northeast Portland, Fitzpatrick’s fiery and persistent advocacy over more than two decades has been forged and honed by her painful awareness of the inordinate number of AfricanAmericans historically on the losing end of Portland’s ongoing housing crisis and dwindling availability of affordable housing options. “We cannot undo the harms done, but rather, must focus on restoring housing justice for those who were harmed,” stated Fitzpatrick. “One of PCRI’s goals is to support and encourage displaced African-Americans by focusing on the future.” The future for which Fitzpatrick and PCRI work relentlessly, flies in the face of a dark and tumultuous history of corruption, institutionalized racism and ongoing economic disparities that continue to result in devastating consequences, up to and including displacement. Seeking to stanch and reverse involuntary displacement of long term residents previously forced to move from N/NE Portland and to come to the immediate aid of current residents at risk of displacement, PCRI launched Pathway 1000, a Home Ownership Equity Displacement Mitigation Policy Recommendation in mid-2015. It was was recently ratified as a strategic implementation plan by the City of Portland, targeting residents who were forced to relocate due to the unholy trinity of gentrification, housing market fraud and soaring property costs. Pathway 1000 seeks to proactively address displacement and reclaim the historic heart and soul of Portland’s African-American community over the next decade through the development of 1,000 new affordable homes, 800 of which are slated for ownership.

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This development strategy is intended to spur prosperity for African-Americans and others displaced from North and Northeast Portland through education, living-wage construction jobs and creation of ancillary business growth that will feed the pipeline of wealth generation over the project’s 10-year cycle. Quarterly homeownership education forums are offered to individuals and families interested in learning about


homeownership opportunity, while industry professionals are encouraged to attend to learn more about how their organization or business can participate in the initiative.

neighborhood and attracting the return of those displaced residents.

After years of uphill struggle, Fitzpatrick and PCRI’s efforts have finally begun to pay off. On November 1st, 2017, Portland “After NE Portland gentrified, did you ever think you would own a home that City Council adopted a policy and signed an agreement with Metro would be affordable for your family? to begin accepting funds to help Or, that your family could remain with implementation of the project. in or return to neighborhoods you called home for so long?,” Fitzpatrick Portland Mayor,Ted Wheeler, added asked. “PCRI believes you deserve that his somber perspective on Portland’s well documented, damaging past opportunity – if you want it. You have a right to the neighborhood where you urban renewal practices, particularly with regards to the African-American grew up, where your parents grew community. “We eliminated several up and where your kids grew up. Yes, generations of prosperity along the there are many, many new people way,” Wheeler acknowledged. “We living in NE Portland – however, you lived here first and you should be able talk about economic disparity as some how unrelated to the housing piece. It to remain or return here.” is not unrelated to the housing piece, the housing piece is the cornerstone This “right to return” is a battle cry to the prosperity equation and the that was issued forth in 2014, when intergenerational wealth piece. multi-billion dollar land development Connecting youth to a consistent barrons, Majestic Realty, entered educational experience, connecting into negotiations with the city’s adults to consistent employment urban-renewal agency, Portland opportunities, connecting families Development Commission, to acquire to community institutions if there land in the Albina District at a steep is displacement, is important. This discount. PRCI, PAALF(Portland is a bold plan that intersects all of African American Leadership Forum) these different policy conversations,” and other outraged community Wheeler concluded. members and businesses protested the development, arguing that this PCRI continues to produce an was another glaring example of inspirational model worthy of out of control gentrification and an exposure to other struggling unconscionable attempt to profit from the displacement of AfricanAmericans in the city. Pathway 1000 was born from this debacle, arguing that the money spent on incentivizing out of state developers was better spent on affordable housing, helping locals stay in the

municipalities who are seeking to address displacement and generational poverty. Families that have successfully completed the PCRI process are often the first in their families to own their own homes, which are assets that accomplish more than any other investment towards moving permanently out of poverty. When such a family succeeds, they also become a beacon for others to break the cycles of poverty that prevent them from achieving their highest potential. “If you’re talking about stabilizing families, homeownership and business development are more effective in the poverty elimination process than providing rental housing into perpetuity,” Fitzpatrick explained. “When we think about what it costs for the government to support a family subsisting in poverty, versus what it would cost the government to help elevate a family up and out of these conditions, it only makes sense to support the most effective, cost efficient options that provide equal and maximum opportunities proven to end the cycles of chronic poverty,” she concluded. For more information on how PCRI can provide advocacy, support and home ownership opportunities, visit: www.pathway1000.org call (503) 288-2923 or drop by their offices located at: 6329 NE MLK Blvd. Portland, OR. 97211-3029


Hot Topics

[ PG 30 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


By Michele Darr In collaboration with John Washington “A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside; but that will be only an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway. True compassion is more than flinging a coin to a beggar; it is not haphazard and superficial. It comes to see that an edifice which produces beggars needs restructuring. A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.---Beyond Vietnam---A Time To Break the Silence God vs. Money is a quandary that has plagued humanity for millennia and one that eminent local Black artist, Arvie Smith, sought to address when he painted the piece that would become the cover of this edition of Flossin Magazine. “The Almighty Dollar” is his stark and incendiary vision of modern day religion and it’s unholy alliance with money. Leaders of the major faith traditions are depicted as holding up a greenback juggling Jesus dressed as Uncle Sam, while the weight of the entire structure is carried upon the back of a naked, shackled African slave. In the background, lightning wreaks havoc on a coastal landscape, invoking notso-distant memories of devastating climate catastrophes from Puerto Rico, to Haiti, to Houston. The macabre scene, which implies an inseparable relationship between Church and State, potently reflects the reality that both religion and authoritarian power are based upon the willingness

of the majority to submit to a “higher authority” and to look the other way with regards to the slavery that bears, maintains and strengthens those authorities.

This common depiction of a “white” Jesus has been prevalent throughout American religious history, reinforcing servitude to a privileged white race.

Looking back to the dawn of individual human experience, our moment of birth, it is undeniable that the conditions into which we are born and the belief systems of our parents serve to most profoundly impact how we perceive the world around us and the rules by which it operates. The racial, religious, social and economic status of our mother, whether or not we have a father and/or extended family and friends, our environment, quality of education, the rules for our existence and how they are enforced by governments, law and military enforcement, ostensibly exists to provide us with the context for our lived experience. As a result of often toxic programming and social parameters, the current reality we experience as a global society reflects

profound disconnection steeped in greed and cognitive dissonance, with disparities in wealth, status and power ultimately threatening all life within the ecosystems of the planet we share. To make matters intolerably worse, these current scenarios are propped up by the very religions that convey to the majority of us that we have “free will”, yet command us to ‘stay in our lane’, even if that means to suffer inordinately in comparison with others while expecting nothing in this life except for some form of reward that our respective religions promise we will receive after the death of our physical bodies. Yet, even within these religious structures, there are stark inconsistencies that challenge the current powers and economic status quo to which they preach subservience. Take Christianity for example. Despite the message and edicts of the indisputable “Christ” from which Christianity was derived, millions of modern-day Christian adherents subscribe and lie prostrate before, not the “God” known as Jesus throughout their religious texts, but governmental authority backed by mammon(money). Fear of suffering, oppression and death prevent most from “picking up the cross” and challenging these arbitrary social controls, as did the radical, middleeastern Jewish revolutionary who challenged the tyranny and oppression of the Roman Empire. Jesus Christ, who was born in a barn to homeless, dirt-poor parents and spent his life providing encouragement for the outcast and poverty-stricken, was also quite prolific in urging his followers to follow his own revolutionary example, while warning the wealthy that their prospects of entering heaven were


Rabbi Michael Cahana Congregation Beth Israel

Buddhist Reverend Yuki Sugarhara Oregon Buddhist Temple

Spiritual leaders from various faiths weigh in on the topic of the Almighty Dollar.

Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church

“Money says in God we trust. But what we forget is that on the back of that it also says, E pluribus unum, out of the many, one” -Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee

about to be “as difficult as a camel passing through the eye of the needle”. In terms of economics, Jesus was also no free marketeer. Beyond his famous act of whipping bankers and overturning their tables in a rage of historic proportions (John 2:15), Jesus also unequivocally condemned income inequality (Luke 12:15), unfettered consumerism (Luke 12:16-21), and commanded us to sell our possessions and give what we have to the needy (Luke 12:33).

congruent with biblical text. Reading from the book of Acts, chapter 2 and 4, it is stated that “all the believers were together and had everything in common. Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need… No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they shared everything they had…. There were no needy persons among them. From time to time, those who owned lands or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles feet, and it was Biblical scholar, Steven Esses, is distributed to anyone as he had need.” disturbed by what he sees as a Despite flying in the face of Jesus hijacking of biblical scriptures by commandment to “Sell everything “false prophets” who preach and you have and give to the poor”, this advocate for a nationalist agenda while economic modality changed when the promoting decidedly anti-christian church put in place what historian, economic policies and practices from Max Weber, called the preconditions the pulpit. Esses points to the only of capitalism: the “rule of law and a explicit description of early Christian bureaucracy for resolving disputes, a economics in the Bible, as evidence specialized and mobile labor force, the that socialist economics were more institutional permanence that allows [ PG 32 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

Rev Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke often & critically about economic injustice.


for transgenerational investment and the accumulation of long-term capital.”

beliefs and the reality we must live in.” As a Baptist faith leader himself, Pastor J.W. Matt Hennessee of Vancouver Avenue First Baptist “Where justice is denied, where Church in N. Portland echoes King’s poverty is enforced, where It is notable that, in addition to ignorance prevails and where any reflections. “Money says in God we Christianity, several other main trust. But what we forget is that one class is made to feel that religious traditions, including Judaism, society is an organized conspiracy on the back of that it also says, E Islam and Buddhism, historically pluribus unum, out of the many, one. to oppress, rob and degrade them, supported the economic constructs It is important for us to remember that currently reign supreme, let alone neither persons nor property is that whatever we may have, in terms safe.” -Frederick Douglass the use of slaves to procure wealth of what that dollar is, it’s not just to and resources. In fact, they all had make me better or my family better, Quite possibly the most famous edicts in their holy texts that forbade or to take care of things that are Spiritual leader who ever lived, some or all of these components. important to me, but they are also Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “Historically, the Jewish tradition was about what can I do, e pluribus unum, is known far and wide as having led supportive of socialism because of to help the one who really can’t help the Civil Rights movement for over a their recognition of the enormous themself at all.” decade. Lesser known is that, at the inequality of the western world,” reflected Rabbi Michael Cahana of the time of his death, he had set his sights “Where do we go from here? upon economic injustice as being at the Congregation Beth Israel in Portland. First, we must massively assert core of many of the issues brought “For example, in it’s pure form, our dignity and worth. We must to the fore by the movement to end Capitalism can do wonderful things stand up amid a system that still racial injustice. and as a theory, can unlock human oppresses us and develop an experience. However, Capitalism is unassailable and majestic sense of “There are forty million poor people also a zero sum concept: if someone values.”-Martin Luther King, Jr. here and one day we must ask the succeeds, it means that someone else question, ‘Why are there forty million doesn’t.” Beyond the economic systemology poor people in America?’ And when of endlessly repeating cycles and you begin to ask that question, you are To address inevitable issues of deepening inequalities of income, raising a question about the economic poverty and inequality, adherents of wealth, political and cultural power, system, about a broader distribution Capitalism spawned and incorporated there ARE inspirational and even faithof wealth. When you ask that question, systems of “charity”, which included based alternatives with the potential you begin to question the capitalistic appealing to and rewarding churches, to uplift us all. One of the most economy. And I’m simply saying that, non-profit organizations and successful and noteworthy examples more and more, we’ve got to begin philanthropic individuals to fill the of a collectivist system in action, is the to ask questions about the whole gaps. “Government has to mitigate the Mondragón Cooperative Corporation society. We are called upon to help effects of capitalism through fair wage (MCC), located in the Basque region the discouraged beggars in life’s laws and corporate responsibility, of Bilbao, Spain. Founded in 1941 by marketplace. But one day we must because capitalism doesn’t build a young Catholic priest, José María come to see that an edifice which responsibility in, at least the way it Arizmendiarrieta, MCC started as produces beggars needs restructuring. has played out in America,” mused a 24-member worker-owned and It means that questions must be the Rabbi. “In America, that means controlled factory that existed to raised.” that the interest of the shareholder is support young parishioners suffering more paramount than the needs of the from the social and economic The questions that Dr. King referred people.” consequences of the Spanish Civil to, invoke images of a vast and docile War. MCC has since grown to be the population that encompasses, not Coming from a Buddhist perspective, largest worker-owned and controlled just African-Americans and people of Reverend Yuki Sugahara agrees, cooperative in the world and the color, but tens of millions of whites noting that while current economic seventh largest corporation in Spain. also caught in the predatory grip of structures, worldwide, are at odds Growing to more than 85,000 workers economic slavery. Appealing from with the spiritual tenets and practices in 86 cooperatives throughout the a lesser to a greater authority for of the Buddhist tradition of noncountry, MCC’s enterprises are sustenance and relief from suffering attachment, spiritual communities grouped into four areas: industry, can only go so far, for the very still have to abide by the rules of finance, retail and knowledge. MCC systems designed to keep these society in order to operate. “There currently boasts 44 educational millions at or below subsistence level is no relationship between Buddhism institutions, various consumer, service creates a dangerous and volatile and economics, however, our temple and agricultural cooperatives and a dynamic when provoked by poverty, exists in society, so we have to rely on credit union with well over a billion oppression and violence. money to operate. Therefore, there exists a contradiction between our


dollars in assets. In terms of governance, co-op members collectively own and direct the enterprise. In the United States, one of the most successful, albeit controversial, community resilience endeavors was led by The Black Panther Party; a revolutionary group whose initial goal was to monitor police activities and to protect black residents from police brutality. Demonstrating that ‘Black Power’ was more than a catch phrase, the Panthers message of self-determination quickly spread to Black communities across the country. Tired of waiting to be saved or released from the prison of socio-economic hierarchies that kept them in abject poverty and despair, the Panthers facilitated the creation of a variety of cooperatively operated social services which included child care, ambulance services, health clinics, schools and a Panther-inspired USDA School Breakfast Program that feeds nearly 13 million students every single day. “I’m not talking about communism. What I’m talking about is far beyond communism,” Dr. King extolled mere months before his assassination. “What I’m saying to you this morning is that communism forgets that life is individual. Capitalism forgets that life is social. And the kingdom of brotherhood is found neither in the thesis of communism nor the antithesis of capitalism, but in a higher synthesis. It is found in a higher synthesis that combines the truths of both. Now, when I say questioning the whole society, it means ultimately coming to see that the problem of racism, the problem of economic exploitation, and the problem of war are all tied together. These are the triple evils that are interrelated.” This ‘higher synthesis’ referred to by Dr. King is an unassailable component of our humanity and ultimately, provides the very freedom we seek through in life and along our spiritual pathways.

[ PG 34 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

“In short, over the last ten years, the Negro decided to straighten his back up, realizing that a man cannot ride your back unless it is bent,” he stated fervently. “We made our government write new laws to alter some of the cruelest injustices that affected us. We made an indifferent and unconcerned nation rise from lethargy and subpoenaed its conscience to appear before the judgment seat of morality on the whole question of civil rights. We gained manhood in the nation that had always called us ‘boy.’ Now, another basic challenge is to discover how to organize our strength into economic and political power,” Dr. King concluded. The inimitable Dr. King knew that, while these steps along the road to freedom would be fraught with inevitable roadblocks and setbacks, he concluded with a message of hope for all who take on the arduous work of breaking through outmoded economic systemology, mindsets and programs. “I must confess, my friends, that the road ahead will not always be smooth. There will still be rocky places of frustration and meandering points of bewilderment,” he solemnly warned. “There will be inevitable setbacks here and there. And there will be those moments when the buoyancy of hope will be transformed into the fatigue of despair. Our dreams will sometimes be shattered and our ethereal hopes blasted. We may again, with tear-drenched eyes, have to stand before the bier of some courageous civil rights worker whose life will be snuffed out by the dastardly acts of bloodthirsty mobs. But difficult and painful as it is, we must walk on in the days ahead with an audacious faith in the future. It will give us the courage to face the uncertainties of the future. It will give our tired feet new strength as we continue our forward stride toward the city of freedom. Let us realize that the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice. Let us realize that William Cullen Bryant is right: “Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again.”


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Education & Community

UNDERSTANDING THE

COST OF COLLEGE A college education can be one of the biggest—and most rewarding—investments in a person’s life. A variety of items figure into the total cost, including some you might not expect. By understanding what outlays are involved, you can explore options for lowering expenses at the University of Oregon, and make that college degree a reality. TUITION AND FEES

TRANSPORTATION

Tuition is based on the number of credits taken each

Getting around town is a necessity. Living on or near

term; this cost can vary. In comparison, most fees are

campus, riding a bike, and using Lane Transit District

the same for all enrolled students. By planning your path

buses (free with UO ID card) are all ways to reduce this

and taking enough credits to finish in four years, you can

cost when in Eugene.

avoid paying the fees of an additional term or year.

PERSONAL EXPENSES BOOKS AND SUPPLIES

Don’t forget about clothing, personal items, or going

You can lower the cost of textbooks if you buy used

out for pizza or a movie. You need to make time for fun,

books or are able to rent them. UO Libraries also

too. This is where you’ll need to set a budget, and stick

manage course reserves—class-relevant materials set

to it. You can work part-time to pay part of your costs—

aside by instructors for easy access. If you can’t afford

there are lots of convenient, on-campus jobs available—

your own laptop or printer, take advantage of one of

but be sure you have enough time for studying.

the many computer labs located around campus. APPROXIMATELY

FOOD AND HOUSING All incoming first-year undergraduate students live on campus at the UO, which will help you make connections to other students, faculty, and staff—as well as to services that support your transition to

65% OF UNDERGRADUATES RECEIVE SOME TYPE OF SCHOLARSHIP OR FINANCIAL AID

college life. Also known as “room and board,” housing and meal plans vary in cost. Sharing a room with one or two other students can lower your cost, as will

Resources

choosing a meal plan that doesn’t go overboard.

Learn about scholarships, financial aid, and how you might qualify. financialaid.uoregon.edu UO students can learn to manage money wisely as part of the Financial Flight Plan.

[ PG 36 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

ffp.uoregon.edu


JIM BROOKS

The Art of the Assist The Office of Student Financial Aid and Scholarships is a necessary destination for more than 84% of those entering public and private institutions each year. This office and its officers are tasked with the responsibility of helping hopeful students navigate a system that can launch or derail their access to the coveted tassel moving, cap tossing moment of higher education’s most significant achievement: the title of Graduate. For many, especially first-generation, low-income minority students, visiting this office can sometimes feel overwhelming. Finding highly proficient financial aid officers who can help students navigate this system is key to helping ensure a successful college experience. For the University of Oregon, leadership in this department comes from Jim Brooks, the Director of Financial Aid and his dedicated staff. Brooks holds a Masters degree in Sociology which, initially, may ring a bit odd. Why would someone schooled in the study of social beings be put in

Jim Brooks

charge of a finance game? After all, students just need

ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID

someone to find them the bucks that can give them the biggest bang; a numbers cruncher, right? On the contrary,

HOMETOWN: San Fernando, Trinidad (subsequent years in Bloomington, Indiana)

what the University of Oregon has come to value in Brooks

YEARS AT UO: six

and his financial aid team is their ability to connect to the

FAVORITE PART OF HIS JOB: Helping students afford a University of Oregon education

consciousness and the human condition of the students.

I’m comfortable with numbers, but if I were only a numbers cruncher, I think I would be less effective. You need to understand the connection to students, be in the community, talking to people about the opportunities and helping them see that accessing higher education is possible,

continued on page 40

Brooks reflected.

WHAT HE WISHES COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS KNEW ABOUT THE UO: There are financial aid programs that make the university affordable.


THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON

A COMMUNITY FOR ALL We embrace our differences—we want cultural collisions that lead to happy accidents. Cross-pollination that leads to new perspectives. We want thousands of brilliant students from Oregon, the United States, and around the world, learning from each other. Being inclusive and rigorously equitable. Because we’re Ducks, and together our differences make us strong.

STUDENT DIVERSITY ORGANIZATIONS CENTER FOR MULTICULTURAL ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE (CMAE)

INTERCULTURAL MENTORING PROGRAM ADVANCING COMMUNITY TIES (IMPACT)

The Center for Multicultural Academic Excellence

A peer-to-peer mentoring program for first-generation

promotes student retention and academic excellence

and underrepresented students. Mentors support

for historically underrepresented and underserved

mentees through their first year at the UO by

students by empowering an inclusive and diverse

connecting them with campus resources, cultural

community of scholars who inspire positive change.

organizations, and social events.

inclusion.uoregon.edu

CEO NETWORK

dos.uoregon.edu/impact

A powerful organization for business students of color.

UMOJA PAN-AFRICAN SCHOLARS ACADEMIC RESIDENTIAL COMMUNITY

Students participate in seminars and diversity-themed

Named after the Swahili word for “unity,” Umoja

professional events, develop cohort organizations, and

cultivates a sense of belonging for students of African

bond through our residential living community in the

descent at the UO by fostering an understanding of

College of Business Residential Complex.

and respect for Black cultures, identities, and histories.

uoceonetwork.uoregon.edu

[ PG 38 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

housing.uoregon.edu/umojascholars


inclusion.uoregon.edu INTERNATIONAL GREEK-LETTER SORORITIES AND FRATERNITIES

UO Fraternity and Sorority Life currently includes five historically Black National Pan-Hellenic Council organizations: ALPHA PHI ALPHA FRATERNITY ALPHA KAPPA ALPHA SORORITY DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY PHI BETA SIGMA FRATERNITY ZETA PHI BETA SORORITY

fsl.uoregon.edu

$250K GIFT FROM NANCY AND DAVE PETRONE SETS THE FOUNDATION FOR THE

$3M BLACK CULTURAL CENTER

FUNDRAISING PASSES HALFWAY MARK FOR

UO Black Cultural Center Construction planning is underway for the UO’s new Black Cultural Center, thanks to more than $1.5 million in fundraising. A major gift of $250,000 from longtime UO donors Nancy and Dave Petrone launched the project, and additional donations followed. Groundbreaking and final construction dates for the $3 million building have yet to be determined. The new center will serve as a place of scholarship and as a cultural and social hub. It will connect black students with resources for student success and leadership, as well as serve as a site for seminars and programs that serve the UO and all of Oregon.

THE UNIVERSITY OF OREGON IS A

TOP 20 PUBLIC UNIVERSITY FOR GRADUATING UNDERREPRESENTED STUDENTS


JIM BROOKS

The Art of the Assist The Office of Student Financial and Scholarships is a CONTINUED FROM PAGEAid37 necessary destination for more than 84% of those entering public and private institutions each year. This office and its officers are tasked with the responsibility of helping hopeful students navigate a system that can launch or Born in Trinidad, his birth parents were Afro-Trinbagonian. Due to his father and histassel birth moving, mothercap still in derail their being accessabsent to the coveted her teens, Brooks was adopted by a white missionary who tossing moment of higher education’s most significant raised him in internationally-influenced Trinidad. achievement: the title of Graduate. For many, especially

JIM BROOKS

The Art of the Assist

first-generation, low-income minority students, visiting this

After high school, he was encouraged to attend undergrad office can sometimes overwhelming. Finding by highly school at Anderson Collegefeel [University], followed proficient aid officersof who can help students Graduate school financial at the University Notre Dame. Forced navigate this systemin is akey to helping ensure to confront his blackness way that was verya successful different from hiscollege multicultural/ international upbringing, Brooks experience. describes experience asFinancial “soul searching” and leading Thehis Office of Student Aid and Scholarships is a For the University of Oregon, leadership in this department him to where he is today as an advocate for access and necessary destination for more than 84% of those entering fromprivate Jim Brooks, thehe Director ofteam Financial Aid and and equity. comes Throughout each year, and public and institutions eachhis year. This manage office about $170 million in federal aid dollars and they are his dedicated Brooks a Masters degree in its officers arestaff. tasked with holds the responsibility of helping acutely Sociology dedicatedwhich, to getting itmay intoring thea hands of those initially, bit odd. Why would students navigate system that can launch most in hopeful need. Brooks feels this awork is more than justora someone schooled in the study of social beings be put in derail their access to the coveted tassel moving, cap job, it’s his “calling”.

charge a finance game?education’s After all, students just need tossingof moment of higher most significant someone to who find thefinancial bucks that giveespecially them the “Like most people are in aid, I ended up here achievement: thethem title of Graduate. Forcan many, biggest bang; a numbers cruncher, right? On the contrary, accidentally and then got bitten by the bug when I realized first-generation, low-income minority students, visiting this

what anwhat impact itsometimes has. It’sofintense emotional work that Oregon has come toFinding value in Brooks officethe canUniversity feel overwhelming. highly requiresand sincerity, empathy, honesty and encouragement. his financial aidaid team is their ability to connect to the proficient financial officers who can help students As money is coming in and going out, there of becomes this consciousness and the human condition the students. navigateabout this system key to it helping successful whole science tryingisto get to theensure right astudents.”

college I’mexperience. comfortable with numbers, but if I were only a

Using an inclusive strategy focused connecting with numbers cruncher, I think Ion would be lessdepartment effective. For the University of Oregon, leadership in this lower-income Oregonians, African-Americans, minorities need toBrooks, understand the connection to students, comesYou from Jimstudents, the Director of Financial and and first-generation Brooks and his staffAid have be in the community, talking to people about the his dedicated staff.gains Brooks Masters degree in made some impressive in holds favoraof equitable access. opportunities and helping them that accessing One such example is the Pathway Oregon Program, a Sociology which, initially, may ring a bitsee odd. Why would higher education is possible, Brooks reflected. scholarship fund that covers tuition/fees and has builtsomeone schooled in the study of social beings be put in in support mechanisms that includes academic advising charge of a finance game? After all, students just need continued on pagefor recipients. Most recently, this and career counseling someone to find them the bucks that can give them the demonstrable commitment has resulted in the highest biggest bang; a numbers cruncher, right? On the contrary, enrollment of African-Americans in U of O history, the University of Oregon has come to of value in Brooks with an what incoming Freshman class comprised 31% underrepresented, minority students. and his financial aid team is their ability to connect to the

consciousness and the human condition of the students.

“It feels great. It is still not where we would like to be, but I’m comfortable with numbers, but if I were only a it is getting better,” reflected Brooks. numbers cruncher, I think I would be less effective.

Beyond the improvement in statistics, Brooks understands You need to understand the connection to students, that real college success includes connecting students to be in the community, talking to people about the empowering pathways. This means helping students like opportunities and helping them see that accessing Brianna Hayes, a Pathway Oregon Scholarship recipient higher education is possible,

[ PG 40 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1 continued on page

Brooks reflected.

and active member of U of O Black Student Task Force and Black Student Union, who was selected to spend last summer in Washington D. C. as NASFAA’s Dallas Martin Endowment (DME) Policy Intern, learning about federal aid policies and working in education. Hayes, who plans on attending law school after graduation and continuing her work advocating for student success, shared her excitement in a blog post. “My first week has been busy and full of learning experiences. From participating in meetings with NASFAA staff to discussing the potential effects of President Trump’s proposed budget cuts, the importance of advocacy continues to present itself. Outside of work, I have been taking the time to explore the wonderful features around town such as restaurants and the Washington Monument. I even stumbled upon the White House!” wrote Hayes. For Brooks, student success stories such as this provide confirmation that his department’s strategy of seeing solutions instead of problems is key to student engagement and education. “We need to get the message out there, especially to African-American students, that accessing college is possible. We need to deliver a message to them to not stop before they even start and that they have many options. We just need to keep building the bridges and Jim Brooks making the assist,” Brooks concluded. ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID HOMETOWN: San Fernando, Trinidad (subsequent years in Bloomington, Indiana)

Together.

YEARS AT UO: six

FAVORITE PART OF HIS JOB: Helping students afford a University of Oregon education

It’s how we roll. WHAT HE WISHES COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS KNEW ABOUT THE UO: There are financial aid programs that make the university affordable.

Jim Brooks ASSISTANT VICE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF FINANCIAL AID HOMETOWN: San Fernando, Trinidad (subsequent years in Bloomington, Indiana) YEARS AT UO: six FAVORITE PART OF HIS JOB: Helping students afford a University of Oregon education WHAT HE WISHES COLLEGE BOUND STUDENTS KNEW ABOUT THE UO: There are financial aid programs that make the university affordable.

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Education & Community

Noni Causey, Exec Dir of BEAM poses with Black Student Success Summit volunteers

Images from the

2017 Black Student Success Summit.

The Event attracted nearly 600 Black students from across the region.

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B.E.A.M of Light Black Educational Achievement Movement by: Michele Darr

On Saturday, April 14th, 2018, the Black Educational Achievement Movement (B.E.A.M.) will host it’s 5th annual Black Student Success Summit (BSSS) at PSU in Portland, Oregon. Designed for Black and Multiracial high school and college students. the BSSS is a full day of workshops, focused on academic success, college preparation, career exploration and general life skills. All workshops are led by local Black professionals who’ve agreed to share their lived experiences with student participants and lead discussions on topics that include financial planning, job interview preparation, greater expectations in our classrooms and exploring stereotypes within the media. Founder and Executive Director, Noni Causey, is an inimitable and enigmatic Educator who is no stranger to the trials and travails inherent in being born Black in the “Whitest City in America”, Portland, Oregon. Intimately familiar with the challenges that face an under-educated mother trying to make a living in N. Portland, Causey experienced a myriad of life challenges before returning to school at the age of 40. She eventually prevailed, going on to earn her Bachelor’s and eventually Master’s degrees in Education. “The Graduation rate of Black students in the state of Oregon is dismal,” Causey said sadly. “We should be ashamed of ourselves for failing these students. However, instead of perpetuating the narrative about the “hopelessness” of the situation facing these students, I asked my co-workers to consider that, rather than talking ABOUT the problems faced by Black students, why don’t we talk TO the students themselves?” B.E.A.M. Village began as a pilot program at Portland Community College - Cascade Campus called, “The Passage to Higher Education (2012-14)”. ”The Passage” was a network of Black academic advisers, educators and students, committed to using an informal mentoring and supplemental learning program, to increase the retention and graduation rate for African-American students at local colleges and universities. Feeling that providing co-curricular services to students would be insufficient without significant change in classroom practices and system-wide policies related to school-community relations, this new collective then planned and held the first Black Student Success Summit (BSSS) in 2014. Working to ensure that Black students have access to high quality, culturally-specific educational experiences that prepare them to compete in a global workforce for careers with family-sustaining wages and advancement possibilities, B.E.A.M. Village and BSSS are, hands down, one of the most successful programs for engaging Black students left behind by other conventional programs with similar goals. Sponsored by more than 30 organizations and educational institutions, including PSU, PCC, Chemeketa Community College and OSU, the BSSS promises to be bigger and more inclusive than ever this year. Joining a roster of luminary presenters, Keynote Speaker, Hayley Marie Norman, is an African-American film and television actress known for her numerous, big-screen movie roles, including, Top Five, Fired Up, Hancock, and Norbit. Norman was chosen to be one of the few and highly distinguished California Arts Scholars and was awarded a Governor’s medallion, the highest distinction in California for artistically talented students. She is also an avid animal rights and vegan activist. “When looking for new presenters, I always tell them, “If they can’t see you, then they can’t be you”. Please show up and share the secrets of your success with these students,” Causey concluded emphatically. The 5th Annual BSSS will take place on the PSU campus located at: 1825 SW Broadway St. Portland, Oregon. For tickets and more information, please contact Noni Causey at (971) 303-8421 or visit: www.beamvillage. org

Black Student Success Summit April 14, 2018 http://beamvillage.org


Education & Community

Get Out...Alive The Afrovivalist’s Get Home Bag by: Sharon Ross

It’s a cold winter evening and you’re at work, on the bus, sitting in rush hour traffic, shopping, or enjoying a drink during happy hour. Suddenly, you find yourself in the middle of a devastating disaster. Do you have what you need to survive the devastation? Whether it was an explosion from the surface of the Sun (Solar Flare) or an intentional attack on our grid, such as an EMP(Electromagnetic Pulse), everything that was conveniently available to us may be gone in an instant, possibly for a long time. All motorized vehicles will stop in their tracks. Semi-trucks and supply delivery vehicles will not make their deliveries. Unless you have a pre-1974 vehicle, a bike, or a horse, your only way home will be on foot. All banks will be closed for an indefinite period of time and all ATM’s will be disabled. These are scenarios that nightmares are made of and even the “almighty dollar” will not be sufficient to help us. Do you have what you need to survive the devastation? You will if you have a Get Home Bag (GHB), a customized backpack equipped with essential items you will need to get home safely. Here is a basic list to get you started. Note: When adding items to your Get Home Bag, consider the type of disaster you are preparing for, the area and environment you inhabit and the distance you must travel to get home.

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11. Whistle. To signal for help. 12. Tissue paper and Bio bag. If you have to poop, you’ll be glad you have tissue paper to wipe with and a Bio bag for disposal. 13. All-Weather Clothing. Boots and reflector vest. 14. Medications. 15. AM/FM Radio. To stay up to date on what is happening. 16. Life Straw. A Life Straw will filter up to 1000 liters of contaminated water without iodine, chlorine, or other chemicals. It removes minimum 5. Paper, Pen or Sharpie. Having a pen 99.9999% of waterborne bacteria, 99.9% of waterborne protozoan and paper for backup isn’t a bad idea. parasites, and filters to 0.2 microns You can leave messages for family members taking the same route home. which surpasses EPA filter standards.

Afrovivalist Sharon Ross poses with her dog General and the contents of her Get Home Bag

1. Cell Phone. If your phone survived the EMP, it has crucial information on it. You may still have the ability to retrieve old voice messages, pictures and texts as long as your battery is charged, so don’t forget your solar charger. There are a lot of survival apps out there, so do some research and download what you think you will need. Here are a few suggestions: • FireChat: A free messaging app for public and private communications that works without Internet access or cellular data. • Zello: Turns your phone or tablet into a walkie talkie. It’s a free PTT (Push To Talk) radio app for Android, iPhone, BlackBerry, and PC. 2. Protection. Consider self-defense and alternative weapons training. Firearms are great, but they may be illegal due to martial law in some areas. Replace with mace, pepper spray and knives, but make sure you know how to use your weapons. Also, get hand-to-hand combat training in case your weapons are not available. 3. Flashlight or Headlamp. Wear a headlamp that’s bright and carry a flashlight that’s big enough to use as a weapon. 4. Lighter/ Waterproof Matches. You never know when you will need a fire to stay warm and/or cook.

6. Money. Carry small denominations of cash. Familiarize yourself with the locations of those funny things called telephone booths, so you can call your out of town contacts to let them know you are okay. http://www. payphone-directory.org/. If you are able to purchase gold and silver, do so now. Go to https://www.ajpm.com/ for more information.

17. First Aid Kit.

7. Multi-tool. A multi-tool is a smaller, versatile hand tool that combines several individual functions in a single unit.

20. Phone Book. Specific contact information (ie: emergency, friends, and out of town contacts)

8. Watch. Without electricity you will need a way to track your time. Go old school and purchase a non-digital watch. 9. Food. Buy non-perishable food. While dehydrated food is lighter, canned or jarred food will do. Also, include protein bars, jerky, anything you like to nibble on. Make sure to pack enough to get you to your destination. To purchase dehydrated foods go to afrovivalist.com 10. Water. Remember The Rule: 1 gallon of consumable water per day, per person. To learn how to purify water, go to http://www.afrovivalist. com/how-to-purify-water/.

18. How-to-Manuals. How to start a fire without matches, How to make a Dakota Fire Hole, etc…in PDF & hard copies. 19. Important Documents. Deeds, titles, licenses, maps, etc... in PDF & hard copies.

MOST IMPORTANTLY: Transfer Numbers 18, 19 & 20 to an SD card or Flash Drive, along with any other information you may need. Remember, when packing your GHB, make sure that it is not too heavy for you to carry or run with. THE MORAL OF THIS STORY: Being prepared for a disaster is essential to saving your life. To learn more about urban preparedness or to order emergency kits, go to http:// offgridandurbanpreparedness.com. Get Prepared, Stay Prepared For More Info on Aftrovivalist Sharon Ross go to www.afrovivalist.com


Education & Community

LES FEMMES by: Renee Mitchell For 65 years, Les Femmes has been helping young African-American ladies pursue their dreams with style, grace and a heart for community service. The elaborate ball gowns and the choreographed dancing are also part of the tradition of meeting the standard of excellence required to be a part of what’s called a cotillion, a type of formal ball and social gathering.

In addition, community service is built into the structure of the programming. Les Femmes organizes several community service projects throughout the year, including, serving food to the elderly during Thanksgiving, collecting toys to give away to needy families during the Christmas season and partnering with Emanuel Hospital for Safe Kids Day at the Oregon Zoo.

“The formal gowns and dancing are only a small part, but seem to be the most visible evidence of what we offer our young ladies,” said Les Femmes President Carmen Pettiford. “The cotillion ball is certainly part of the ritual, but it comes after months and months of working with the young ladies on their leadership and development training.”

“We teach our youth the core values of community service and how important it is to give back to the community,” Pettiford said. “The young ladies in our program will always have the support and guidance from us to fulfill their dreams.”

The Portland-based Les Femmes Club started in 1951, with a group of 21 African-American mothers who saw a need for a structured program to encourage young ladies interested in black culture, heritage and social traditions, but would also teach moral codes and educational standards. “There wasn’t a lot to do in Portland for teenagers during those times,” noted Pauline Bradford, now age 88. “It’s not just for a social deal. It was also to teach them a few things to enrich their lives. You think they should teach them this in school, but they don’t.” Over the years, the range of Les Femmes classes has grown to include training to prepare young ladies for the workplace. During mandatory monthly workshops from December-June, young ladies are taught business and social etiquette, college preparation, how to fill out a job application, create a resume and hone their interview skills. The classes, taught by community role models and Les Femmes graduates, also build leadership skills and personal development, such as self-esteem, health, hygiene, and speech presentations. Most of the young ladies who go through the program end up going to college, enter a business trade school, or become entrepreneurs, Pettiford said.

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Each June, the training ends with an elegant Debutante Ball, where the graduating seniors wear long, hoopskirted white gowns and engage in a formal curtsy ceremony. They are then adorned with an armful of long, red-stemmed roses. Other traditions include a special dance between the young ladies and their fathers and a choreographed waltz between the young ladies and their escorts in front of family and friends, also dressed in their finest gowns and tuxedoes. Many of the women who have been presented through Les Femmes over the decades, have continued their legacy of service by rejoining Les Femmes as adults to train younger generations. A consistent group of volunteers, including Debora Leopold Hutchins, Andrea Stephens-Bontemps, Laverne Davis, Betty Stephens, Rena Allen, Robyn HarrisFord, Tamika Johnson, and Kai’annica Walters, contribute their time, talent and financial support, year after year, to ensure that the Les Femmes legacy continues. The oldest members of Les Femmes include, Betty Stephens, Pauline Bradford, Edwina Gonzales and Minnie Bell Johnson, one of the original 21 charter members. Les Femmes currently works with about 30 girls and is open to new youth and adult volunteers. For more information on how to get involved, call: 503-830-5732 or email: thelesfemmesdebutantes1@gmail.com


Economic Development

The Vault of Opportunity What Black Business Owners in Portland Don’t Know About The Money Earmarked Specifically for Them by: Fawn Aberson If you’re a Black owned business in Portland, Oregon, there is an abundant amount of money and resources reserved specifically for you. Sound like a joke? It’s actually true. If you fit this mold, the key to claiming these benefits lies in two specific skills: paying attention and navigating the system. Before we get to this, it may be helpful if we give some historical context to how this abundance came about. After nearly two years of planning and community input, Prosper Portland (then known as PDC), unveiled their five year strategic plan to help guide the development of the city’s work plan and investments for 2015-2020. Within this plan, they outlined five essential goals with a third goal listed as follows:“Increase equitable opportunities to foster wealth creation within communities of color and low-income neighborhoods.” The plan also included language on how the strategy would put a laser focus on businesses located in Multnomah County and N/NE Portland, in order to address the highest concentration of economic blight in communities of color. Like so many public investment strategies that can take years to come on deck, once the GO button is finally pushed, it can be tough to keep up with the flurry of cash that ultimately follows. For the “woke” entrepreneur of color, who is, at the very least, aware of the opportunities, it may feel a bit like standing in an enclosed wind tunnel with cash swirling all around while you frantically try to grab as much of it as you can. For the “unwoke”, by the time they realize there even IS a tunnel, all the cash has been shelled out, having positively impacted a select few, but leaving the many out in the cold. The powers that be behind this strategic goal insist there is an effort underway to try to change this narrative so that, instead of funds depleting, they multiply. Prior to moving to his current position as Director of Business Oregon, Chris Harder, former Economic Development Manager for PDC during the creation and launch of this plan, explained it this way back in 2016, after the initiative had rolled out.

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“We recognize that things have been going great, but for a lot of people, it is not so great and they don’t feel like they are a part of this new growth dynamic that is occurring. We wanted a strategy that would change this and from the public sector perspective, that meant honing in on how we do that for underrepresented populations.” By “going great”, he was referring, in part, to Oregon’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which grew by 3.3 percent in 2016, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis. This was more than double the pace of national growth (1.5%) and the second-fastest among all states. Entering 2018, Oregon is still among the top performing states in the country. It is now two years into the strategic plan’s launch and millions of public dollars have been invested around strategic goal number three in particular. These funds have primarily been funneled out to organizations selected for their culturally specific and focused business training modules and lending practices. Early evidence is emerging that the needle of prosperity is is moving for communities of color. Overall, the program’s effectiveness seems to be positive for women and minority owned businesses in general, but according to some of the service providers, the benefits, specifically for Black-owned businesses, is still not what was hoped for. We decided it might be helpful to take a closer look at the organizations receiving the funds to provide these services (and the programs they are implementing) in order to glean insights on what might reverse this trend over the next three years. This meant first, knowing who has the money and second, how to get into their prosperity pipeline. The first program we examined is called the Increase Project. Five to seven months in length, the program focuses on a suite of services wrapped around a small business owner to help them grow in scale and reach wealth creation opportunities. These are typically small, neighborhood businesses with growth potential.


This program is free for the selected candidates, but it is a competitive application process. Once selected, you can expect to meet, weekly, with other selected cohorts to gain technical support in everything from finance and accounting to marketing and expansion. Upon completion of the training, you get a small amount of cash and a pipeline for long-term mentorship. This program is overseen by Tory Campbell, Entrepreneurship & Community Economic Development Manager at Prosper Portland and is currently contracted out to be implemented by Portland State University’s Business Opportunities Program (BOP). The program was initially a spinoff of a program called “Streetwise MBA”, which was birthed out of Boston University and implemented by an organization called Interise, the initial group awarded City funds from 2015-2016. In their first year, Interise worked with 12 small businesses, four of which were African-American owned: Champions Barbershop, Good Green Print, Hestmark Designs and Imagination Station Daycare Center. Overall, each of these business owners shared with us that the training was helpful and they would recommend it to their peers. Also, most of them were directly approached by Prosper Portland staff to apply. Now in its second year under PSU, Project Increase recently selected 11 applicants from what they called a “very highly competitive process” and shared that only a few Black owned business applied. Of those, only two were selected. “One of our goals is to have more African-American applicants for all of our business support programs. It is a core element of both Prosper Portland and the PSU BOP to support local entrepreneurs of color. We really want and need to get the word out about the programs and support we have available,” stated Gavin D’Avanther, Business Advisor of the Business Outreach Program at Portland State University(D’Avanther can be reached by emailing gavin.d@pdx.edu)

Tory Campbell, Jamal Lane, Gustavo Cruz at Increase Project Graduation Ceremony

As a Black-owned business ourselves, Flossin Media found out about this program back in 2015, after the first round of participants had already been selected. Although the program was not necessarily promoted effectively, we accidently discovered it’s existence when we started asking Prosper Portland about which elements were being designed for the roll-out of strategic goal three. To our surprise, things were already in motion and the program was closed to new participants until 2017. We continued to watch the calendar, followed a variety of ever-changing key contacts and made regular phone calls and emails over the 2016/17 calendar year. Finally, in the fall of 2017, we heard back from D’Avanther. She told us that things would be moving forward and provided us with a link to submit our online application for consideration into the program. Victory! Or so we thought. After submitting our online application in November of 2017, we found ourselves among the rejected applicants in January of this year. However, as a consolation prize, we were rerouted into another PSU program, also supported by funds from Prosper Portland. The Long-term Business Support Program, a three-year commitment to growing business through one-on-one mentorship and connecting to other networks of business services. We will keep you posted on our progress in upcoming issues and on our Flossin Media Facebook page. A second program we examined was the Small Business Technical Assistance Support Partnerships. Prosper Portland invested about one million dollars into community based organizations through a competitive round of request for proposals process. A variety of culturally specific, business training organizations applied and finalists were selected and awarded funds in the summer of 2017. The list of selected providers were: AsianPacific American Network of Oregon, Hacienda CDC, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization, Micro Enterprise Services of Oregon (MESO), Native American Youth Nita Shah, Exec Dir MESO


2016 Graduates of Project Increase

and Family Center, Oregon Native American Chamber, Portland Incubator Experiment, Portland State University Business Outreach Program, TiE Oregon and Xxcelerate Fund. in an unusual move by Prosper Portland, after reviewing 16 initial proposals from culturally specific organizations that specialize in African-American outreach and engagement, Black Business specific and outreach serving funds were actually pulled from this funding pool. This embarrassing debacle on Prosper Portland’s part resulted in the RFP process being reopened. In the end, Microenterprise Services of Oregon (MESO); an organization who had not submitted in the first round; filed their application in the African-American specific category and was awarded the contract; their second under the SBTASP funding cycle. They will serve as the N/NE Business Navigator to cultivate relationships with business owners or aspiring business owners of color, provide culturally specific support and provide connections to resources and opportunities for those businesses to thrive. Executive Director of MESO, Nita Shah, said, “MESO will provide entrepreneurs in N/NE Portland with business services such as planning, credit and access to capital, market research, resources and referrals for your small business.” Meso has also been funded by Prosper Portland to give out micro-loans and lines of credit. We met with Shah to inquire about their plan and how they plan to reach out to Black-owned businesses to let them know about their services. She shared no specific strategy and chose to concentrate on what they were providing, rather than how they would get the word out. For more information about MESO’s resources you can contact Felicia Wells-Thomas, Business Navigator, at (503)8413351.

A third and final program we examined that is receiving funding for Strategic goal #3, is called the Inclusive Startup Fund. Here is where some of the bigger bucks for businesses of color come into play. The fund provides early-stage investment capital and mentoring to local, high-growth companies that are founded by underrepresented Nitin Rai, Managing Dir of Elevate Capital groups across a variety of industries. The fund is run by Elevate Capital, a Venture Capital firm who was awarded through a competitive RFP process back in 2015. According to Elevate’s Director, Nitin Rai, they took on two challenges-- raising money for a fund intended to elevate minority entrepreneurship in a post-Trump regime, and finding minority-owned companies with the potential to grow to the scale of 2,000-5,000 times their current financial status. Examining the first of these two challenges, Elevate received 1.5 million in initial public money to launch their fund, on the premise that they would raise an equal amount and start lending once they had secured the three million. This didn’t quite go as planned. Rai explained, “It has been very challenging to get money from private investors who, in general don’t seem to be excited about funding minority enterprise. We thought we would get an influx of Latinos and African Americans who would want to invest, but we didn’t get that. It has been very disappointing and surprising. Despite this, we are fortunate enough to have the support, both financial and influential, of two wonderful African-American female leaders, Ruykaiyah Adams of the Meyer Memorial Trust and Commissioner Loretta Smith from Multnomah County.” Regardless of challenges, Rai and his staff have recently made their funding goal and actually were able to make investments while raising money. “We were building the bicycle while riding it,” joked Rai.

Chelsea Delon, Owner of Chelsea, a line of jewelry for African American Women

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To date, they have funded 14 companies, 12 of which are in the Portland Metro and two outside of the market. (Prosper Portland gave a little leeway to invest in AfricanAmerican entrepreneurs outside of the state, as long as these companies promised to do business in Portland.) The average fund amount was between $25-$75,000, with an opportunity to access an additional $250,000 in


Entrepreneurs participate in TiE XL Bootcamp

future lending rounds. Of the 14 companies, 4 have been Black-owned, including; Bendoor -a software analytics company, Red Rezi- a data analysis firm, Hue Noir a beauty line for Black women and Chelsea, a line of jewelry for African-American women. Elevate’s website also lists GlobeSherpa, developer of the Tri-Met ticketing app. Rai was a lead investor in this Black-owned company which was started by Michael Gray. It was acquired by Daimler and now it is called Moovel, a division of the German automaker, Daimler. Moovel also owns Car2Go and mytaxi. The second of Elevate’s challenges, is in identifying more minority businesses who are actually prepared to grow to scale in the thousandth degree. Black-owned businesses, in particular, have been hard to identify. “Some businesses come in with the expectation that they can get this money and, although they are good businesses, they are not necessarily scalable (2-5,000 in returns). Instead of rejecting them, we refer them to our TiE xxcelerate program (run by TiE Oregon: www.oregon.tie.org). This way, they can better prepare for what elements investors are looking for when they consider funding a company,” explains Rai.

Chevonne James, Community Liason Elevate Capital/TiE Oregon

Rai and his team are also committed to finding more minority-owned businesses, but also knows that, with regard to Black business outreach, they need to become more thoughtful. To assist with this, they have recently hired Chevonne James as their Community Liaison(chevonne. james@oregon. tie.org). James, herself, is a graduate of the TiE program and is an entrepreneur.

“We are beginning to develop a good pipeline of companies that have a really good shot at growing their business and creating wealth, which is why we were established. We want to be intentional about investing in certain communities, because when we are, they come out in droves, proving that our thesis is both meaningful and correct,” concludes Rai. With three years remaining on the focus of strategic goal #3 and with a new strategic plan for 2020-2025 almost certainly beginning to take form, it is important now, more than ever, for Black businesses owners to get into the flow of the pipelines of prosperity. Like us, you may discover there are a lot of dead ends in the process, so we caution you to stay diligent and woke. Pushing through the barriers and the gatekeepers is key to claiming the wealth that has always belonged to you.


MERCATUS took root three years ago as a Prosper Portland initiative to elevate and connect entrepreneurs of color. The Directory:

The Mercatus Directory provides the opportunity for entrepreneurs of color to connect with new clients and gain new accounts. Businesses listed in the directory receive invitations to networking events and trade shows and introductions to industry leaders.

The Collective:

The Mercatus Collective is a storytelling platform that celebrates the determination, work and resiliency that go into running a business. It is a collective effort to reframe the business landscape of Portland to include entrepreneurs of color.

The Connections:

Mercatus brings together small business and industry leaders through strategic partnerships that help elevate minority-owned business. This includes connecting with tourism, clean tech, athletic and outdoor, and manufacturing. Mercatus convenes Portland entrepreneurs through regular community storytelling events and an annual market. This year Mercatus partnered with Travel Portland to host My People’s Market, a celebration of entrepreneurs of color. The event featured more than 100 businesses and provided a launch pad for emerging businesses in the Mercatus collective.

Join Us

Join the Directory. Share the stories. Connect with entrepreneurs.

mercatuspdx.com/flossin


Bertony Faustin, owner of Abbey Creek Vineyards, got his grit from his father. “My dad escaped from Haiti in the late ’60s,” he says. “That whole idea of just doing you, owning who you are, and being happy in your own skin… All [he] did was get his grind on. [He] wasn’t worried about anybody else.” Risa Regory, owner of Amaree and Reese: “I wanted to create something for myself where I could make an income and have a little bit of time [and] freedom.”

Instead of settling for mediocre makeup, Paula Hayes, owner of Hue Noir, spent her teenage years reading cosmetic dictionaries with a vengeance. “I fell in love with chemistry and biology. So, I started to learn about skin,” she says.


Economic Development

Universal Basic Income: Wealth For Everyone by: Sydney Odell

“Capitalism does not permit an even flow of economic resources. With this system, a small, privileged few are rich beyond conscience and almost all others are doomed to be poor at some level. That’s the way the system works. And, since we know that the system will not change the rules, we are going to have to change the system.” –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Every economic theory ever told, is a story. Economics is a story that shapes our values as a people, our priorities as a nation and our ability to effectively collaborate with foreign lands. For the past 250 years, the United States has been operating under the most financially successful story ever told. This is the story of capitalism. The story of capitalism is as old as the formal United States and is an ideology that has simultaneously co-evolved with the founding of our nation. We’ve been telling this story of Capitalism for so long now, that our collective consciousness has once again begun to refer to it as “The American Dream”, a story that can only be realized through shut eyelids, closed mouths and sleeping hearts. For the past 60 years, we’ve seen that story (of capitalism) expand into new extremes which have sent us spiraling backwards on social, political and environmental platforms. Shortly before Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, he began to lay out the plan for a new economic story. In his last book published in 1967, entitled “Where Do We Go From Here: Chaos or Community?”, Dr King postulated on a simple solution to poverty, which he referred to as the “guaranteed income”.

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“Realize that, for nearly forty years, two groups in our society have already been enjoying a guaranteed income,” Dr. King explained. “The wealthy, who own securities, have always had an assured income and their polar opposite, the relief client, has been guaranteed an income, however miniscule, through welfare benefits.” Dr. King was starting to explore a new redistribution of wealth that would expand the middle class. This economic reality was based on excess, not scarcity, at a time when there was unparalleled financial growth in America. In this new system, poverty could be eradicated, alongside false notions of meritocracy, to ensure either full-time jobs or a median standard of living for all. Today, Dr. King’s story is being explored in new depths and referred to as the Universal Basic Income—or UBI. When thinking about the UBI, Dr. King listed two conditions that needed to be met in order to guarantee the sustainability of such an endeavor. First, the guaranteed income must be levelled to the median income of society and liveable wages offered to avoid perpetuating welfare standards. Second, the guaranteed income must fluctuate with market profitability and economic success. In this way, the corporation and the individual citizen can form a more interdependent relationship and avoid the pitfalls of inflation. One of the ways we can incorporate the UBI in America, is by holding businesses accountable and increasing our corporate taxes. Another way we could utilize a UBI, is to simply give citizens a base standard of living in the form of monthly cash dispersements. This solution is currently being tested in countries like Canada, Scotland, and Finland. Today’s current project in Ontario will take 4,000 citizens, who make under 34,000 CAD a year and provide them with a guaranteed monthly basic income. Ontario participants will receive between 17-19,000 CAD a year and, as an incentive, can keep half of what they earn from working, rather than claim the deductions normally allowable under welfare. Start-up company, Y-Combinator, will also begin its own experiments in the US. Giving people from two selected states a guaranteed monthly income of $1,000.00, these experiments will last five years and offer huge ramifications if proven successful. How to best implement the theories of Universal Basic Income, is one of the biggest economic challenges of our time. These economic experiments are going to vary between communities and cultures and it’s important to understand those nuances when finding a solution for America’s Universal Basic Income. But, by asking the right questions, consulting the right experts and collaborating between groups, we can work towards identifying who we are, what we want and where we are going as a nation.

Years ahead of his time, Dr. King was especially adamant that we not view the UBI as a static and final solution to eradicating poverty. “The world of today is vastly different from the world of just one hundred years ago,” Dr King warned. “...[and] the years ahead will see a continuation of the same dramatic developments…medical science will greatly prolong the lives of men…[and] automation will make it possible for working people to have undreamed-of amounts of leisure time.” Indeed, many of our jobs today are being replaced by intelligent, automated machines which build our cars, answer our calls and even wash our dishes. So, if machines can often work faster, longer, cheaper and more effectively than humans, what is our new purpose as working citizens? Here, Dr. King continues to provide us with an elegant solution. With newly gained leisure time, Dr. King admonished that “…we need to be concerned that the potential of the individual is not wasted. New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.” With an efficiently run UBI, people are no longer plagued by fear and anxiety in meeting their basic life requirements. Instead, people have the luxury to explore jobs which they find challenging, engaging and meaningful. These kinds of work rely on creativity, emotions and relationships in order to work smarter, not harder, in their chosen fields. These new industries can then, in turn, “enhance the social good” of society by giving citizens the freedom of self-actualization. At the end of the day, Universal Basic Income is just another story. But just as communism, socialism, and capitalism once started out as simple stories—the time for a new narrative has come. “There is nothing but a lack of social vision to prevent us from paying an adequate wage to every American citizen,” Dr. King encouraged. Our greatest stories come from our biggest dreams and--for those who truly believe in realizing Dr. King’s vision—now is the chance to combine our intelligence, experience and our imagination to decide what a UBI should look like. Now is the time to stand, to kneel, to join hands together and explore the possibilities of a new American economic reality. One which reflects the desires, potentials and realities of modern day American culture. Let us echo the words of Dr. King when he said, “I hope that both Negro and white will act in coalition to effect this change, because their combined strength will be necessary to overcome the fierce opposition we must realistically anticipate.”


Economic Development

Unlocking the mystery of

Cryptocurrency by: Sydney Odell

It’s ironic that a digital currency with it’s roots in the “black market”, is now one of the biggest tools of Black economic opportunity. Cryptocurrency has taken over the airwaves with promises of immediate wealth and decentralized trading options. A byproduct of bitcoin, everyone from your grocer on Alberta Street, to the big shots on Wall Street, are taking a shot at it. But, what really is cryptocurrency? And, how can digital currency be used to encourage wealth creation within the black community? In it’s simplest form, cryptocurrency is a digital asset that works similar to paper money as a medium of exchange to smoothly facilitate transactions. However, it cuts out the middle men of banks and instead, uses cryptography to verify and regulate “units” , as well as keep an un-hackable ledger of transactions. The idea of bitcoin uses the method of selling participation in an economy, otherwise known as a “token sale.” Once a currency is successfully crowdfunded, it’s open to public trading and appreciation. Cryptocurrency takes the power of information, data and finance from a single authority, like a bank, and democratizes it for anyone with a computer and a bit of tech know-how. That means the obstacles that currently face minorities in traditional marketplaces are democratized on a new digital platform. Many are now referring to the power of cryptocurrency as being the largest transfer of wealth in human history. There are many examples of cryptocurrency balancing the playing field and improving the lives of it’s traders at all levels—especially in the Black community. Arthur Hayes claims to be the Goldman Sachs of digital trading and owns the bitcoin marketplace exchange (BITMEX), Chrissa McFarlane has started her own crowd-funded currency to create a healthcare tech platform and Niran Babaloloa at ConsenSys used his journalism experience to create a cryptocurrency platform that empowers people by giving them control over their financial success. In every field, digital currency is demonstrating its relevance to and adaptability in meeting modern day demands. Like any new field, there are lots of new terminologies to explore and markets to research before jumping into the fray. The Black Business School offers a specialized cryptocurrency course for beginners, while the Facebook page run by Dr. Boyce Watkins (called blackcryptoinvesting) is another great resource for minority entrepreneurs. Reddit also boasts a huge community in the blockchain space, with subreddits like r/ethereum, r/ethertrader, and r/cryptocurrency all offering helpful learning platforms. If you still can’t wrap your head around this new digital currency, don’t worry. Bitcoin has only been around since early 2009 and there are already 1,384 different types of cryptocurrencies today. The market is still defining itself and welcoming in new players. But, for those looking to take advantage of an unconventional market with huge investment possibilities, cryptocurrency seems to be the trend of future finance and a viable ladder towards Black wealth creation. [ PG 56 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


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Local Partnerships Propose Community Workforce Agreement

By Michael Burch The push for equality in Portland’s construction projects continues with new standards. Developed to overcome underrepresentation of minorities and women within the construction industry, the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) of Resolution No. 36954 provides a strong foundation for inclusion within City-owned construction projects. The Metropolitan Alliance for Workplace Equity (MAWE) was encouraged after seeing performance results on initial CBA pilot projects with the Kelly Butte Reservoir and the Interstate Maintenance Facility Renovation. Despite the proven successes, the City shows no plans to utilize the resources of the CBA on future projects. “It is my belief that the CBA is the most effective tool that the City has to correct longstanding historical disparity on its capital improvement projects. It is also my opinion that the CBA is an effective template for future efforts by the City in areas of purchasing and contracting.” – Union Partner.

CBA pilot project goals and performance: APPRENTICE-LEVEL GOALS 18% minority work hours • Interstate performance: 38% • Kelly Butte performance: 50%

JOURNEY-LEVEL GOALS 18% minority work hours • Interstate performance: 21% • Kelly Butte performance: 29%

9% female work hours • Interstate performance: 34% • Kelly Butte performance: 28%

9% female work hours • Interstate performance: 3% • Kelly Butte performance: 6%

Building upon the successes of the CBA, MAWE has proposed a Community Workforce Agreement (CWA) to the city of Portland. Key efforts of the CWA include:

• Successful career pathways in construction for minorities, and women

• Collaboration between community partners and the City

• Goal setting, and real-time accountability vfrom all stakeholders

MAWE partners from the NW Carpenters Union, Operating Engineers, Laborers Union, construction contractors, pre- apprenticeship programs, and various community organizations look forward to working with the City on progressive movements in diversity within the construction industry. Learn more about MAWE at cbanw.org Explore training and opportunities in construction at nwCarpenters.org Barnard, Casey, & Hood, Carlyn. (2016, April). CBA Labor-Management-Community Oversight Committee Report on CBA Pilot Projects. Retrieved from www.portlandcbapilotprojects.com

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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, along with opportunities for our youth through apprenticeship, 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.

The Northwest Carpenters Union stands up for working families!

Like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/nwcarpenter Follow us on Twitter: @nwcarpenters

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Arts & Entertainment

Superheroes have long been part of American pop culture and have evolved in the last fifteen years beyond the world of printed comic books into film, television, and video games. Some of the top grossing films of the last decade started out as comic books, before becoming multi-million dollar blockbusters like Wonder Woman, The Avengers, and Guardians of the Galaxy. But, the superhero genre offers little for people of color; African-American characters are either featured in little-selling “cult following” comics, or relegated to the role of sidekick and written by white writers in ways that can border on being racial stereotypes.

“I was trying to bring a black character that had a voice that was not a white guy trying to sound like how he thinks a black person should sound,”

Enter filmmaker and journalist David F. Walker, who has spent the last 10 years contributing strong, realistic AfricanAmerican characters to the country’s most famous comic books - and making a good living at it. “I was trying to bring a black character that had a voice that was not a white guy trying to sound like how he thinks a black person should sound,” he says. For Walker, it’s all about voice. He has written for such publishers as Dark Horse, DC and Marvel and created acclaimed comics such as “The Army of Dr. Moreau” and “The Adventures of Darius Logan”. In all of them, he has created AfricanAmerican characters that reflect human beings, not stereotypes. His first contribution was a comic book starring America’s baddest private dick, John Shaft. He says he was trying to give an authentic voice to an African-American character, something that has been lacking in comics. His work has found an audience: Shaft revolutionized blaxploitation and won the 2015 Glyph Award for Story of the Year and his writings on race in film and comic books have established him as a leading scholar of African-American culture. Bridge City Comics is one of many places in Portland you can find his work. [ PG 60 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


Not bad for a poor kid from “the wrong part of Connecticut”.

interviews with legends like Fred Williamson and Jim Brown and finally released the film in 2004.

Walker was born in 1968 to an African-American father and a white mother, in a working class neighborhood in Hartford(he now lives in Portland). He was raised by his mother after his father died of an overdose and had many relatives who spent short lives in and out of jail.

He spent more than 20 years as a journalist, at one point self-publishing his own magazine, Badazz Mofo. He was an editor and film critic for Willamette Week from 2000 to 2007, when he had a midlife crisis. Realizing there were life goals he had let fall by the wayside, he decided to fulfill his childhood dream of making comics.

“I knew dope dealers and pimps because they were my family,” Walker says. “A lot of them were already dead by the time I was in junior high.” As a child, he retreated into his own world. “When you’re one of the only black kids in a mostly white school and you’re one of the poor kids from the other side of town, it creates this reality where you’re always living inside your own head,” he says. “I went to school with people who had three-car garages and swimming pools and we didn’t even have a sink in the bathroom. But, I was always creative and by the time I was seven or eight, I wanted to either make movies or comic books.” He began his career as a freelance writer and made his film debut with Macked, Hammered, Slaughtered, and Shafted, a documentary about African-American films of the 1970s. He spent nearly a decade filming

“There were no men in my family who achieved their dreams,” he says. “I was like, ‘I gotta try.’” Today, he teaches writing and is working on stories for Luke Cage and The Planet of the Apes. His work has gained a new relevance as black superheroes like Luke Cage and Black Panther gain more exposure in movies and TV. Walker says that, ultimately, his work is not about money or recognition, but helping his audience find their own voice in his stories.

“All we are is the stories that we tell and the stories that are told about us,” he says. “I’m looking to give other people permission to tell their stories, because there’s a whole lot of people out there who don’t realize that their stories are important.”


CONTROL THE NARRATIVE

Aspiring youth filmmakers examine camera settings prior to an interview shoot during the 2018 GLBLM training program.

CONTROL THE OUTCOME Black-Owned Production Companies Green Light Aspiring Youth Filmmakers of Color by: Fawn Aberson In 2015, a collective impact partnership birthed by the Soul District Business Association (formerly known as the N/NE Business Association) began to look at how they might create a pipeline for the next generation of youth entrepreneurs of color. In a city where the stories we tell about communities are generally controlled and circulated by those entities with the largest megaphones, deepest pockets and white dominant cultural narratives, it was decided that a focus on storytelling through film and video production training might make for a welcoming and impactful element of change. As a result, the Green Lighting Black Lives Matter Youth Media Program (GLBLM) was activated. The Green Lighting Black Lives Matter Youth Media program puts cutting edge film and video production equipment into the hands of aspiring young, black filmmakers, ages 16-24 and empowers them to tell their stories from the perspective of the Black experience in Portland. The program, although not directly associated the Black Lives Matter organization, did take some cues from the [ PG 62 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

movement that has sparked one of the most critical examinations of bureaucratic, systemic inequities since the civil rights movement of the 1960’s. It also evolved concepts from the UCLA study called “Flipping the Script,” which cites, “Black voices and faces are largely absent, both behind and in front of the camera. ”And“…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.” With the generous support of grant funds from several entities including MHCRC, MCCC, US Bank, Pacific Power, YDC, and Venture Portland, GLBLM officially launched in the fall of 2016. Since then, over 50 young aspiring filmmakers of color from around Portland have vied for the opportunity to receive training from a collective of ten predominately Black professionals who own successful businesses in the multi-media production industry today. Advised and mentored by entrepreneurs of color has greatly benefited program participants, who are not only receiving valuable film and video technical instruction, they are also learning what it takes to become thriving entrepreneurs, community collaborators and culturally responsive in their own right.


17 year-old Clare Clark, one of GLBLM’s first-year trainees and SDBA summer intern, shares her take-away of how the program impacted her. “GLBLM awakened me to the history about who we are, the impact of being born black and the outcomes of all of that. Being biracial ( black/white) and raised mostly by my white side of the family, this information was never part of my perception, nor ever really given to me. From what I didn’t know, to all that I know now, has been the most valuable experience I have ever had in my life...not only in how I see the world, but how I interact with it. Being able to express that through the films we made, was an incredible journey, it changed my life.” We talked with four of the lead trainers from the current GLBLM program who are taking time out of their busy workloads to help reinforce the pipeline of learning and advancement for these aspiring filmmakers. John Washington is the CEO of Flossin Media, GLBLM Cofounder, Program Director and Cultural Responsiveness Trainer. “I wanted to spend the rest of my career and my life building programs and opportunities for young people to experience the perceptions of significance, capability and influence.

“When a young person knows that by controlling the narrative, they can control their outcomes, game over.” -John Washington, CEO of Flossin Media John “Bubba” Washington has over 28 years as an entrepreneur and community advocate.

“What we do at GLBLM, is to deliver a message about who they [youth participants] are as individuals, while reinforcing their understanding of the whole historical evolution of the African-American in this country,” he said. Washington’s job titles over this time include: equity facilitator, intervention specialist, land use developer, social service provider, community activist, small business consultant and national publisher/editor/ television producer. Maybe you are thinking that he was just born with it, but the truth is that Mr. John Washington is one of those rare individuals you meet in life who has come

full circle. Born onto the mean streets of Patterson, New Jersey, he rose through the ashes and rubble of the mean streets that claimed many of his family, friends and neighbors, to become a powerhouse of inspiration and encouragement. Realizing his passion for giving voice to and empowering people of color, he decided to enter the world of media through the acquisition of Flossin Media, 14 years ago. Flossin Media is a full-service, surround sound media, marketing and production company that seeks to uncover inspirational, motivational and educational messaging, while tackling complex socio-economic issues facing communities of color. Mims Rouse, Founder of the African-American XY program, Executive Director of Coalition of Black Men and GLBLM Cultural Responsiveness Trainer

As a Portland businessman with nearly 2 decades of work experience as an Affirmative Action and Diversity Compliance Officer for Corporate and Governmental agencies, Mims Rouse was well prepared when laying down the foundation for an even greater calling: an education enhancement pilot initiative, “It Starts with Them: African-American XY Program, LLC”. Mr. Rouse pioneered this innovative educational program in response to the sobering statistics, anecdotal evidence and statistical data which starkly reveal the institutionalized presence of an insidious, cradle-to-grave incarceration pipeline for African-American males. Dedicated to the “awakening of African-American boys and men to their full potential”, the program seeks to“provide the means to closing the wealth gap between blacks and their peers.” “Conducting root-cause analysis is considered necessary in any continuous improvement process until it comes to addressing the needs of our young African-American boys and men,” Mr. Rouse revealed. “Those with the power and resources to resist this type of analysis often do so, because the results may point fingers back at the institutions responsible for issuing the root-cause analysis; the very ones charged with ensuring these students’ safety and education. Combining positive, adult mentoring, with proven educational strategies, can help keep a child from being swept into the prison pipeline at an early age, breaking a vicious cycle,” Mr. Rouse stated. It is this mission to which he has dedicated more than just his career, it is a mission to which he has dedicated his life and is the reason why he chooses to collaborate with GLBLM as a Cultural Competency Trainer. He has also recently earned the distinction of being elected as the new


Executive Director of the Coalition of Black Men(COBM). “Working with GLBLM and the Coalition of Black Men, definitely lies on my continuum of being a servant within the African-American community,” Rouse shared. “Stepping into the Executive Director role at the Coalition is a natural progression that feels a lot like breathing. Being in a position that feeds my soul, I am blessed to find fellowship amongst a group of accomplished, forwardthinking gentlemen, with an eye for mentoring and uplifting Trinity Webber, Director of Photography, Editor of Heart and Hustle Productions and GLBLM Film & Video Trainer the next generation of thinkers and influencers.” Trinity Webber grew up gravitating towards artistic endeavors. As an adolescent, he loved drawing and claymation. As a teenager, his interests morphed into creating music, making beats and holding rap sessions with his buddies. Never one to be limited by his circumstances, Webber quickly discovered that he had a knack for figuring out the technical aspects of things he felt passionate about and honed the discipline necessary to pursue it to the next level of mastery. “Because I was interested in music, I wanted to figure out how to use beat machines and recording equipment,” shared Webber. “I have the type of mind that gets how things work technically, so I figured it out fairly quickly and ended up becoming pretty good.” When his buddies and other artists started asking him to mix and master their albums, Webber opened up a small recording establishment called Momentum Studios. After years working as a music entrepreneur, Webber‘s creative genius began to morph again, this time towards video production. Originally, like many of his creative endeavors, it started out being “just for fun”, yet, with tenacity and daily practice, it also evolved into a thriving business. For nearly two decades, he has worked producing, filming and editing numerous, impressive video projects. One of his earliest productions was a reality television show for Flossin Media, entitled, “Flossin TV: The Making of a Magazine”, which aired on Comcast for two seasons. Webber now works with his new company, Heart & Hustle Productions, where he and his partners focus on sports and entertainment-related interviews and documentaries for their impressive list of clients, including Nike and Adidas. His stories have featured LeBron James, Ken Griffey Jr, Damian Lillard, Macklemore, Anthony Hamilton [ PG 64 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1

and more. However, it was filming a documentary piece for pro-football player, Ndamukong Suh, and following him to his ancestral country of Cameroon, Africa, that gave Webber a deeper perspective on his Black cultural heritage and increased his receptivity to working with the GLBLM program. “Going to Africa and seeing a whole continent filled with Black people, made me reconsider who I am as a Black person and our standing in the world,” Webber reminisced. “We are not an afterthought. There is a place in the world where we come from; our roots have a connection across the sea. I probably wouldn’t have seen that if I hadn’t been a filmmaker and I find myself feeling grateful for the relationships I have with other Black business owners and artists in my community. When we come together in our local communities, supporting and working together, it can trickle out to our nation and beyond. I want to help young people at GLBLM have ‘woke’ moments like this as well, through the telling of stories about our people from our perspective.” Ime Etuk Owner of Laugh, Cry, Love Entertainment and GLBLM Film & Video Trainer

Ime N. Etuk is a versatile Director and Producer who has worked in various stages of film and television production. He started off as a journalist, eventually working his way up from the local news assignment desk, to Field Producing for ABC NEWS shows such as World News Tonight and 20/20. His initiation to Hollywood came when he was one of the 14 finalists selected (from a pool of over a thousand applicants) for the prestigious Directors Guild of America training program. He took advantage of that opportunity to learn his craft and joined the Directors Guild of America. He worked with and learned from some of the most prolific directors in Hollywood, including, Paul Haggis, “Crash”, The Coen Brothers, “The Man Who Wasn’t There”, Antoine Fuqua, “Training Day” and David Lynch, “Twin Peaks”. His debut feature, “Hurricane in the Rose Garden”, played at both Slamdance and the Pan-African Film Festivals, before being picked up for wider distribution. As a commercial Director, he has helmed spots for the food, financial, automotive and non-profit industries and directed music videos for independent and label artists, including Hip-Hop artist, Cassidy, and international Afrobeat artist, Seun Kuti.


L to R Mims Rouse, John Washington, Trinity Webber and Ime Etuk band together to greenlight training for young aspiring filmmakers of color. Additional generous collaborators for GLBLM youth media project who are not pictured include Danny Ryel, Courtney Herman , Chris Sakr, Tony Brown, Fawn Aberson and Michele Darr.

He was raised in Portland, Oregon, under the influence of his proud Nigerian family and now has his roots firmly planted in the city where he and his wife are raising their three children. “My work has me flying around the country, but I recently decided that I also need to concentrate on spreading my wings here in my own backyard. I don’t need to be running off to L.A. if the rest of the world is coming to Portland,” states Etuk. As a result of his decision, he launched his own production company, “Laugh, Cry, Love Entertainment”. “My company was born out of a place of connecting humans through ideas and actions and around the love of people and the power of storytelling.” It was this principle of thought, that allowed Etuk to align with GLBLM as one of the program’s collective impact partners. “I have to have projects I am passionate about, or am able to line up with, and GLBLM gave me that opportunity. Dealing with young people is important to me and always has been. Too often in my industry, people will advertise themselves as being able to make pretty pictures, but having the technical skills alone without being able to tell a good story, isn’t enough. It’s the stories that have the strongest effects on people, reaching them at deeper levels. So, if you learn how to effectively tell these stories and tell your own story, that’s what separates you. This is what we are doing at GLBLM. I am beginning to understand the purpose of the kind of stories I am supposed to tell. If you put your talent or gift before the purpose, you don’t bear fruit, because the purpose is supposed to fuel the gift, not the other way around. I want to be around guys like John Washington, who are developing a pipeline for young people to advance, not only technically, but as entrepreneurs as well. It’s what I needed for myself and what I want to give back to others.” In addition to his contribution to GLBLM, Ime is an active contributor to N/NE STEAM Coalition, Aksa Ibom State

Organization and The Northwest Outward Bound School, where he serves as a board member. The GLBLM Program holds several 12-week training sessions throughout the year. It is free for the selected participants (ages 16-24), however, as a competitive process, candidates must fill out an application and then audition before a panel of industry professionals for a chance to receive training. About 10 finalists are selected for each session and at the end of these sessions, aspiring filmmakers will have produced a 5-8 minute short film on subject matters that impact the Black community. The young filmmakers then present their finished films before the public at a screening event and air them on public television networks, courtesy of Open Signal Public Television. Additionally, each graduate of the training program receives 180 hours of paid internship through the Soul District Business Association and WorkSystems Inc., where they use their newly found skills to help improve the narratives of their communities. “It’s exciting to help young people learn to tell their own stories,” concludes Washington. “When you got a camera, when you got a voice, when you got a platform, you can deliver a message and you can achieve an outcome. There is no greater thing than this. It is the promise for our future tomorrow, and I want to see a future tomorrow for my kids.” To learn more about auditioning, volunteering or donating to GLBLM, please contact the Soul District Business Association (formerly N/NE Business Association) at 503-841-5032, email Outreach@nnebaportland.org attn: GLBLM, Or mail at PO Box 11565 Portland, Oregon 97211. For photos and to view films of GLBLM youth filmmakers Follow us on Facebook and YouTube: Green Lighting Black Lives Matter Youth Media Project


Arts & Entertainment

Ken Boddie is not just the most popular African-American lead news anchor in Oregon; he’s also the only one. In a news market that often ignores communities of color, African-American journalists have little to no representation - a fact that Boddie acknowledges has had a severe impact upon his career. Working in front of and behind the camera for nearly 4 decades, Boddie has covered literally thousands of stories, including the high profile Kitzhaber corruption scandal, yet it wasn’t until only three years ago that he was promoted to the lead anchor position for KOIN 6 News.

“In this business, there’s an image of what a news anchor should be and it’s not always the image that I represent, being Black,” Boddie says. “It has enabled me to stand out, but it may have caused me to take longer to rise to the level that I am now.” [ PG 66 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


“I work for the people who watch me” “Love, for me, has been a challenge,” Boddie confided. “I’ve got a big family that I love here. But, in terms of personal love and relationships, that’s honestly still a struggle.”

Boddie’s journey to that level has been a long and rich one. He grew up in Rochester, New York and attended Cornell University, where he discovered journalism as a reporter for his campus station. After graduation, he worked as a reporter for WDKX, a small, African-Americanowned station, where he created a news department and grew it to a staff of four. He was hired by a local ABC affiliate, WOKR and for the next few years, worked “seven days a week” as a reporter and producer for both stations. His career at KOIN started in 1985, shortly after he moved to Portland. Over the years, he has covered beats from City Hall to Portland’s business community and has written, edited and produced countless newscasts. He has invested much of his life into developing his career and helping other hopefuls launch careers in media and broadcasting; a sacrifice that has exacted a grave toll on his personal life. Nearing his 60th birthday, he has weathered two divorces and has no children.

He went on to reveal that racism in the U.S. is still a powerful force, especially in context with President Donald Trump’s racially charged rhetoric. “I’m not saying that everyone who Boddie often speaks of the importance voted for Donald Trump is a racist,” he of community, both as an Africansays. “I’m saying if you’re a racist, you American and as a resident of probably voted for Donald Trump.” Portland. Boddie is quick to add, however, that “I have always felt that my value, journalism has the power to bring especially in this community, is people together through focusing on shared values, history and community. being identified as a member of this community,” he says. “I work In his quest to proactively engage the community in achieving these for the people who watch me, as positive outcomes, he has contributed opposed to the people who pay countless stories about people of me.” color throughout the history of Portland, including, the community As an outspoken advocate for the impact of Trader Joe’s pulling out of community who watches, he also Northeast Portland. observes that it is the AfricanAmerican community in Portland that Boddie astutely observes that while does not get the representation it race is still a factor in obtaining jobs in needs in the news. the news market, opportunities exist for young journalists who do the work “When I first moved here, there were and develop personal images that actually more African-Americans stand out from the crowd of hopeful on the air than there are now,” he applicants. says. “There hasn’t really been a progression in terms of numbers of African-Americans on the air over the “Get your foot in the door and figure out what media position you want to years.” claim. Stay true to your style, once Boddie also stresses the importance of you figure out what that is. Above all, stay true to yourself.” relevant news stories that reflect the current atmosphere in the community. He first encountered such a story in 1988, when he covered the murder of Ethiopian immigrant, Mulugeta Seraw; a heinous crime that was carried out by white supremacists in Southeast Portland.

Coming from one who has emerged as a luminary in his field, Boddie intends to continue setting standards that encourage and inspire people to go further and reach higher.

“I definitely look at the glass as half “That was really a watershed moment full, because I am basically a happy person. In saying that, I also believe in this community, in terms of the insidiousness of white supremacy and that for those who view the glass as half empty, know that there are still the fact that it was acted out in such a violent manner,” he disclosed. “It let opportunities to make things better. However you find and use those people know that, yes, there’s racism under the surface, but that boils to the opportunities is up to you,” Boddie concluded. surface sometimes and it has deadly consequences.”


Arts & Entertainment

ARMED WITH

HUSTLE by: Fawn Aberson

Social and multimedia climbers, Kyrell Bishop and Khayman Burton, are tackling entrepreneurship head on and they are Armed With Hustle, which incidentally, is also the name of their growing fashion brand. Their line consists of urban street wear for both men and women and is a mix of a little bit of everything from hats to sweat suits, lady tees to jackets and more. Their first online release in December of 2016, sold out all 200 units in one day and they have been going strong ever since, with pre-orders now stacking up. “Armed With Hustle (AWH) speaks to those of us who are doing what is necessary to get to the level in life we want. For me, at the time of our launch, that meant working 2 jobs, going to school and building the AWH brand,” shares AWH co-founder, Kyrell Bishop. Bishop’s business partner is his longtime friend Khayman Burton, an “instafamous” personality who gained notoriety over the past five years by making funny videos and sharing them on Instagram. He currently has 651,000 followers as KBurton_25 and another 241,266 subscribers on his YouTube channel KBURTON. Looking to monetize some of that public attention, the two partners decided that focusing on building a clothing line that embodied their spirit and drive would be just the route they needed to take in order to expand their hustle. Fashion has been a life-long passion for Bishop who was initially influenced by his sister, an apparel and design student at Oregon State. “She would always make her own clothes and design shoes all throughout middle and high school, even selling some of her work to other kids. She used to sew Burberry, Louis V and Gucci prints over the swoosh design on a pair of Air Force 1s. This really inspired me and helped to shape my sense of and appreciation for fashion. I learned how to sew by hand and by machine, customizing all of my jeans,” recalls Bishop. In 2015/16, the two partners got to work, doing research on the industry, finding some manufactures and getting samples made. They also tackled the task of building a huge following, aided by Khayman’s strategic marketing and social media expertise. “I was in school for multimedia, so, together, we worked on designing different fashions. We kept building our brand for a whole year, marketing and wearing our gear, but not selling it. Then we gave some of it to a couple of big figures in the music and social media world to wear and asked them to ‘shout us out’ and they did. We had our first online launch and sold out almost immediately. Now, we run an excellent, top of the line online boutique and all of our work is produced in-house. As a brand, Armed With Hustle is a way of life and motivation to others about the power of investing in your self-improvement,” concludes Bishop. For more information, or to order product, you can visit AWH website at: www.armedwithhustle.com [ PG 68 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


DJ Solo is a man on a mission. Born and raised in Accra, Ghana, he relocated to Oregon in his early 20’s in order to join his family. Soon after his arrival, he found his niche promoting Afro-tourism and International music throughout the AfroCarribean, Hip-Hop, DanceHall and Reggae music scene in Portland. In a passionate effort to educate the public and raise cultural awareness, Solo also founded “Afro-beat PDX” to promote African culture in the Pacific-Northwest through other genres of entertainment and by giving back to the community through charity work.

and digitized by Fynk Creatives. “I chose these symbols because are very meaningful to me and to the Ghanian people,” Solo shared. “Representing our personality, character and belief systems, I chose to use ‘Belief in God’, ‘Belief in Life after Death’, ‘Belief in Love’ and ‘Belief in Patience’ within my logo design.”

Heartbeat of the

AFRIKON by: Michele Darr

He recently expanded his outreach efforts through the creation of a clothing line called “Afrikon Clothing”, a brand that promotes African tradition and culture through incorporating 4 traditional Ghanian symbols (called Adinkra) into the main logo, which was designed by Solo

DJ Solo models a tee shirt from his clothing brand “Afrikon Clothing” The surrounding images represent the vast and beautiful African community DJ Solo serves on a weekly basis as a popular DJ entertainment personality in Portland, OR.

Through both his music and his clothing line, Solo envisions reaching an even broader audience both in the U.S. and internationally. “It is my passion to bring people from all over the world together to have a good time,” he declared. “I look forward to doing a lot of music festivals in bigger venues like sports arenas and am hoping to be doing world tours by the end of the year. As for promoting my clothing line, I hope to have distribution points on the East Coast and Europe by the end of the year.”

For more information, including upcoming events, tour dates and Afrikon Clothing, you can follow DJ SoloPDX on Facebook and Instagram and Afrobeat PDX and Afrikon Clothing on Instagram.


Arts & Entertainment

Aminé Is in Fact

GOOD FOR YOU By Hailei Aberson-Holford

[ PG 70 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


Photo: http://www.kpsu.org/

“When I say you’re beautiful, you say, I know!” That was how 23-year old rap star, Aminé, set the tone for the concert in his hometown of Portland, Oregon at the Roseland Theater. The night was filled with positive words of affirmation, along with educational statements about gentrification and race. I know that seems pretty deep for someone who is famous for singing about a hot girl named Caroline, but I am telling you, it happened. Aminé is a rising star with Pacific Northwest roots. He was born Adam Aminé Daniel and was raised in Portland, Oregon by Ethiopian and Eritrean immigrant parents. He attended Portland State University and worked as an intern at Complex, a New York based Hip-Hop publication, before breaking into the music business in 2014. Fast track to today, Amine is touring the world, performing songs from “Good For You”, his Gold selling album that features his hit song “Spice Girl”. The music video portrayal includes appearances by famous celebs such as Mel B (Spice Girls, America’s Got Talent) and Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure). I attended the Aminé concert with my 14-year old sister [her first] and her two friends, all covered in glitter, which they insisted was a requirement of Aminé fan personification. Though some of his music may have explicit lyrics, I appreciated his energy and inclusivity of all who were attending. At one point, he held up an interesting pair of pants which were covered with patches of written words [I think

he creates a new pair in each city he performs]. He asked the crowd to give him a word he could add to them. The crowd shouted out a wide variety of ideas, but the one that caught Aminé’s attention was “F*#% Gentrification!” Aminé grew up in N/NE Portland, went to Benson High School and is a part of the community who, like me, has seen rapid change in a short few years. Not all this change has been bad, but it wasn’t all that positive either and we see this mostly throughout the African-American families that have been pushed out due to increases in housing and property prices. Aminé calling this to attention, really connected with me and it also allowed me to start an important conversation, post-show, with my sister and her friends, who grew up outside the city having never really experienced the effects of gentrification. The last song of the night was Aminé’s most recognized song, “Caroline”. In this song he says the “N” word. As the lyric approached, the music got a little lower as Aminé sang, “Killa west side…., If you ain’t it don’t say it”, followed, again, by a brief pause. As a black woman, I appreciated this stand and I wasn’t alone in hearing the echo of “YAS!” spread throughout the crowd and across the venue. People of color joined in praise and support of Aminé’s acknowledgment of the often inappropriate use of this word by people it’s not meant for. This is something that I feel rappers don’t often address, so, to see a young influencer like Aminé willing to speak out on sensitive subjects, even in the most subtle ways, is refreshing. Overall, it was a really great show and our girl group left our fair share of glitter on the dance floor, jumping and shouting out the lyrical hooks during Amine’s energetic performance. I am excited to see how much Aminé will grow and evolve as an artist and hope his growing influence may help shape some clever and empowering narratives for the Black community in the Pacific Northwest.


Book Remarks Spirit Land The Peyote Diaries of Charles Langley Against Witchcraft and Evil Ones

Paperback: $14.95

ISBN Publishing

By Charles Langley In this non fictional book, you will take a journey through the Navajo Reservation in Arizona as seen through the eyes of Charles Langley. As a journalist and anthropologist, Langley becomes the apprentice and documentarian of a Navajo medicine man named Blue Horse [not his real name]. We learn, first-hand, what its like for the spirit world and the medicine world to work in tandem and some of the spine-tingling events that occur. Langley writes, “… an essential part of a Navajo medicine man’s tool kit is a hallow wooden tube that sucks “bad stuff” from the bodies of his patients that take a physical form such as snakeskin, deer horn, bits of plants, fragments of bone…”. Throughout the book, Langley often describes, somewhat grotesquely, the results of what happens when Blue Horse uses such a device. Additionally, the book details a variety of ritualistic ceremonies which include the passing around of a “medicine tea” made with peyote, a small spineless cactus with psycho active alkaloids that North-American Indians have been using in these ceremonies for well over 5,000 years. Upon drinking the peyote, which is derived from the word Nahuatl meaning “Divine messenger”, those with the skill are able to see visions in expertly stoked charcoal fires that can help give insight to the sources of what may be ailing a person. Beyond what the reader of this book may learn spiritually, it is what we learn about some of the families and the descriptive lifestyles of those who live on the Navajo Reservation that makes this book so interesting. Langley gives a captivating account of domestic relationship dynamics, living conditions and the overall splendor and perils common place for those who travel through the Navajo Reservation. About the Author: Charles Langley is the former news editor at the London Evening Standard, Europe’ best-selling evening newspaper. Raised in England, he now resides with this wife, nuclear physicist Andrea Palounek, in New Mexico.

What a City is For Remaking the Politics of Displacement By Professor Matt Hern

Paperback: $18.95 eBook: $13.95

https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/ what-city

Portland, Oregon, is one of the most beautiful, livable cities in the United States. It has walkable neighborhoods, bike lanes, low-density housing, public transportation and significant green space—not to mention craft-beer bars and locavore food trucks. However, liberal Portland is also the whitest city in the country. This is not circumstance; the city has a long history of officially sanctioned, racialized displacement that continues today. Over the last two and half decades, Albina—the one major Black neighborhood in Portland—has been systematically uprooted by market-driven gentrification and city-renewal policies. African-Americans in Portland were first pushed into Albina and then contained there through exclusionary zoning, predatory lending and racist real estate practices. Since the 1990s, they’ve been aggressively displaced by rising housing costs, developers eager to get rid of low-income residents and overtly racist city policies of gentrification. Displacement and dispossessions are convulsing cities across the globe and becoming the dominant urban narratives of our time. In What a City Is For, author Matt Hern uses the case of Albina, as well as similar instances in New Orleans and Vancouver, to investigate gentrification in the twenty-first century. In an engaging narrative, effortlessly mixing anecdote and theory, Hern questions the notions of development, private property and ownership. The book is a great read about reversing the persistent epidemic of gentrification and officially sanctioned, racialized displacement that continues to this day in Portland, OR, About the Author Matt Hern is Co-director of 2+10 Industries, teaches at multiple universities and lectures widely. He is the author of Common Ground in a Liquid City. [ PG 72 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


God And Money How We Discovered True Riches At Harvard Business School

Paperback, Hardback, Audio: $14.99- $25.99 http://www.godandmoney.net

By John Cortines and Gregory Baumer There is an excerpt in the first chapter of this book that caught our eye as we pondered on the power of the almighty dollar. It reads, “The Bible includes approximately 500 verses on both prayer and faith, but more than 2,000 verses on money! Indeed, money is the subject of roughly 40 percent of Jesus’ parables. I thought God must consider the topic to be quite important to devote so much space to the subject.” Authors and Harvard Business students, John Cortines and Gregory Baumer, describe how their dreams of attaining multi-million dollar fortunes were significantly altered from the onset of the writing of this book. Inspired by a class at Harvard Divinity School called, “ God and Money”, they explore concepts such as what it means to be administrators of wealth, considering spending and saving, versus giving and serving, They interviewed hundreds of business owners and dissected biblical verse after verse, with the intent to “begin an honest dialogue to discover the heart of Christ where our financial rubber meets the road.” . About the Authors: Both Cortines and Baumer have strong ties to the business world, Cortines within the oil industry and Baumer, a mix of health care and investments. The two met while seeking their MBAs at Harvard Business School.

Where Do We Go From Here Chaos or Community By Martin Luther King Jr.

Paperback, Hardback, Audio: $7.68 - $24.93 http://www.amazon.com

In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. isolated himself from the demands of the civil rights movement, rented a house in Jamaica with no telephone and labored over his final manuscript. In this prophetic work, which has been unavailable for more than ten years, he lays out his thoughts, plans and dreams for America’s future, including, the need for better jobs, higher wages, decent housing and quality education. With a universal message of hope that continues to widely resonate, King demanded an end to global suffering, asserting that humankind-for the first time-has the resources and technology to eradicate poverty.

Specializing in Helping Community and Individuals Find Breakthroughs of Empowerment Dr. Cynthia Harris Educator, Speaker, Author & Life Coach 971-331-5598 harris.cynthia18@gmail.com


Higher Conciousness

The Afterbirth of a Nation The Beginning of Our Country’s Fear of Racial and Economic Integration by: Sydney Odell

[ PG 74 ] FLOSSIN MAGAZINE . VOL 18 NO. 1


Since the beginning of America’s independence, the issue of slavery has been used as a political tool to leverage white colonial progress. While many people can identify race as playing a huge factor in the American Civil War, only a few remember how the birth of our nation was founded on fears of racial integration and black freedom. Let us travel back to colonial America, where white aristocratic farmers and imported African slaves created one of the most successful economies in the world. Much of the America’s early wealth came from exploiting natural resources, including, lumber, tobacco and cotton. Between 1650 and 1770, the GNP multiplied 25 times, leading to an unprecedented standard of living in the New World. However, it’s important to acknowledge the distribution of wealth at this pivotal time in our countries history. Though products were harvested using slave labor, it is primarily the white, land-owning class which hoarded much of the country’s profits. These white aristocrats would then spend their new wealth on vain material items to reinforce their class status and maintain a cultural connection to Europe. In just 100 years, the per-capita debt of Virginia nearly doubled. In an age of unparalleled economic growth, America’s growing aristocracy began to slip into a sea of gluttony and foreign debt. The accumulated debt of white colonialists was a cause for concern, but not nearly as much as the issue of their rapidly changing racial population. By the 1730’s, more slaves were being born than imported into the United States. Nearly half of all Virginia natives owned two slaves, with the wealthiest land owners owning much more. As American demographics began to diversify and the nation began to slip into economic instability, slave-owners became concerned with the threat of both slave and Native American uprisings. White colonialists became worried that if they didn’t act quickly to secure independence, all the power and money that they had stolen from forced black labor would be lost. With a narrow window of opportunity, white American elites crafted a new revolutionary rhetoric that could relieve their debt, exploit the region’s vast natural resources and protect against any future competition. On December 16, 1773, these “sons of liberty” boarded three British tea ships and dumped over 300 barrels of tea into the water—an event more commonly referred to as “The Boston Tea Party.” While heroic in theory, these rebellious white colonists held little integrity. Instead, they disguised themselves as Mohawk Indians in order to deflect blame and shield themselves from any real repercussions of their actions. However, the British caught

on and quickly responded with more taxation, which began to expose the fragility of early American economics. In response to Britain’s “Intolerable Acts”, white American elites gathered together in 1774 to form the First Continental Congress. In this meeting, they drafted “The Articles of Association of the Congress”, or a set of British imported items to boycott. Among these items was slaves, whose populations were already threatening the dominant rule of white colonists. This was the first time that the American people had ever formally gathered and signed their name to a piece of legislation against the British crown. America’s revolutionary war was as much about political freedom, as it was about white economic self-preservation. From the Revolutionary War to the Civil War, the issue of slavery has been used as a tool for economic prosperity and as justification for secession. The fear of economic integration has long been engrained in the American psyche. Terms like “life”, “liberty” and “the pursuit of happiness”, have been used as a front to pacify the masses and justify initial wealth gained by whites through land grabs and the exploitation of slavery. This is the unspoken platform on which we began to create the identity that is modern day America. The United States of America has always been built on the backs of those whose stories are lost to history. Indeed, since its modern formation, America has become a symbol for rebirth around the world; a place where immigrants can leave their customs, their past and their responsibilities behind in the face of opportunity and selfactualization. The irony of our current cultural predicament, is that many of the white fears of economic integration and subsequential retribution are still imbedded in our nation’s institutions. Current immigration policies simultaneously proclaim that immigrants are stealing “our” [white] jobs, while also claiming that these “shithole” immigrants cost us the most in welfare benefits. The common thread that binds our revolutionary history and modern reality together, is the zero-sum white mentality of distribution. But, if we are to begin tackling issues of justice and equality, we must first unravel our many romanticized interpretations of the past. We can no longer remain passive to America’s many stories, based upon omission. To become real American revolutionaries, we must dig through rhetoric which claims absolute loyalty, to find the often uncomfortable histories of truth which lie underneath.


When we all believe, we all succeed. Possibilities come to life when we work together as partners towards a better future.

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