Announcements

Multnomah Democrats Join DNC Council on the Environment & Climate Crisis

DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council: MultDems join the voices in support

The Multnomah County Democrats have been added to the growing list of Democratic, NGO, faith, and Indigenous organizations that are voicing their support for the bold recommendations of the DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council. https://www.dncclimate.org/

The DNC Environment and Climate Crisis Council, a permanent entity of the DNC, was established to push the Democratic Party to take bold and urgent action addressing the climate crisis and other environmental issues. The council is recommending a sweeping set of policies for inclusion in the new four year 2020 Democratic Party platform, which will be approved at the August convention.

MultDems statement of support:

The Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee passed Res: 2019-24 declaring a Climate Emergency on Sept. 12, 2019.

The Multnomah County Democrats support the recommendations of the DNC ECCC, which are commensurate with the enormity of the Climate Emergency we face.

#DemPlatform2020 #DNCClimate

MultDems pass Resolution 2020-11 Police Brutality and the Criminal Justice System

Multnomah Democrats pass resolution calling for structural changes to policing to end police brutality

At the Central Committee Meeting on July 9, 2020, the Multnomah County Democrats passed this resolution.

Read and download the full text

Multnomah County Democratic Central Committee

Resolution: 2020 –11 Police Brutality and the Criminal Justice System

WHEREAS We affirm our support for the recent amendments to the City of Portland’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, which divests a total of $15 million from the Portland Police Bureau,

WHEREAS Efforts to address police malfeasance and brutality have been ongoing for decades, with limited success, 

WHEREAS Reimagining policing and in some cases, scaling back police departments is necessary,

WHEREAS According to the Sentencing Project, Black American men are six times as likely to be incarcerated as white men, Black Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to face stiff sentences,

WHEREAS Incarceration, cash bail, and fines generate incomes for suppliers of the prison system, corrections officers, wardens, local municipalities, and private corporations that rely on prisoner labor, 

WHEREAS Article 9, plank three of the 2018 Democratic Party of Oregon Platform states, “We believe no one should profit from criminal incarceration which creates perverse incentives to underserve inmate populations and results in increased recidivism rates,”

WHEREAS Article VII (Justice), Plank 14 of the 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Platform states, “We oppose private prisons. We believe no one should profit from the incarceration of others and decisions about prisoner conditions should not depend on the decision makers’ profit,” 

WHEREAS the medical and mental health professions exist within a system of white supremacy, and anti-Black practices within those professions have contributed to deep historical and ongoing trauma in the Black community.  

NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY RESOLVES THAT

SECTION 1. Of the $4.8 million reallocated to Portland Street Response from defunding specialty units in the Portland Police Bureau, a certain amount of those monies must be earmarked for establishing and improving anti-racist training as a job-embedded, permanent workplace requirement for all Portland Street Response staff.

SECTION 2. Financial compensation awarded from lawsuits against law enforcement officers and agencies for wrongful death, serious injury, and civil rights violations stemming from police malpractice should come out of the pension funds of the law enforcement agency in question, and not out of municipal budgets. 

SECTION 3. The legal doctrine of Qualified Immunity for law enforcement officers must be eliminated.

SECTION 4.  Oregon law enforcement officers should be stripped of military equipment and weaponry and Oregon law enforcement agencies must be forbidden from participating in the so-called 1033 Program and other schemes that provide police with military equipment. 

SECTION 5. Oregon law enforcement agencies should be forbidden from participating in schemes that provide financial incentives for officers or departments based on arrest- or conviction-based quotas.

SECTION 6. We urge all employees of our justice system, as well as public servants and employees of our government at all levels, to engage with activists demonstrating in streets across America for Black lives, and to work together to enact substantive policy changes aimed at disentangling anti-Blackness from American institutions.   

ADOPTED ON July 9, 2020

Resolution submitted by Platform, Resolution and Legislative Committee and Quinton Blanton, Anti Blackness Study Group

For More Information, See

https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/fostercare/caseworker/roberts.html

https://www.gloucestercitynews.net/clearysnotebook/2015/05/nj-news-commons.html

https://newrepublic.com/article/121186/truancy-laws-unfairly-attack-poor-children-and-parents

https://www.aamc.org/news-insights/how-we-fail-black-patients-pain

https://www.npr.org/2015/10/24/449893318/there-were-fewer-black-men-in-medical-school-in-2014-than-in-1978

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/09/03/how-st-louis-county-missouri-profits-from-poverty/

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/black-mass-incarceration-statistics_b_6682564

Resolution pertains to the city of Portland’s fiscal year 2020-2021 budget, policing, and the criminal justice system

Send to the following legislators: All Multnomah County elected officials, as well as all state officials, Commissioner Joann Hardesty, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, Mayor Ted Wheeler, Governor Kate Brown, Congressman Earl Blumeneaur, Senator Jeff Merkley, and Senator Ron Wyden

New Resolution 2020-12 2020‌ ‌–‌ ‌12‌ ‌Accountability‌ ‌for‌ ‌Unemployment‌ ‌Compensation‌ ‌

Multnomah Democrats pass resolution calling for accountability in Oregon’s unemployment insurance compensation

At the Central Committee Meeting on July 9, 2020, the Multnomah County Democrats passed this resolution.

https://drive.google.com/drive/u/2/folders/1xActUuQoLkPB8yf7E9nggXNWzksU5BEb

Multnomah‌ ‌County‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌Central‌ ‌Committee‌

Resolution:‌ ‌2020‌ ‌–‌ ‌12‌ ‌Accountability‌ ‌for‌ ‌Unemployment‌ ‌Compensation‌

Whereas‌ ‌‌the‌ ‌continued‌ ‌delays‌ ‌in‌ ‌processing‌ ‌of‌ ‌Unemployment‌ ‌Insurance‌ ‌(UI)‌ ‌assistance‌ ‌has‌ ‌exceeded‌ ‌100‌ ‌days,‌ ‌

Whereas‌ ‌‌at the present time nearly 70,000 ‌Oregonians‌ ‌have‌ ‌been‌ ‌denied‌ ‌the‌ ‌right‌ ‌to‌ ‌a‌ ‌timely‌ ‌review‌ ‌of‌ ‌their‌ ‌UI‌ ‌applications,‌ ‌

Whereas‌ ‌‌those‌ ‌same‌ out-of-work ‌Oregonians‌ ‌face‌ ‌dire‌ ‌economic‌ ‌hardship,‌ ‌based‌ ‌on‌ ‌their‌ ‌denial‌ ‌of‌ ‌rightful‌ financial‌ ‌support‌ ‌as‌ ‌guaranteed‌ ‌by‌ ‌state‌ ‌law,‌ ‌

Whereas‌‌ ‌Governor‌ ‌Brown’s‌ ‌limited‌ ‌action‌ ‌toward Department restructuring has‌ ‌not‌ ‌gone‌ ‌far‌ ‌enough‌ ‌to‌ ‌resolve‌ ‌the‌ ‌ongoing‌ ‌crisis‌ ‌at‌ ‌Oregon‌ ‌Employment‌ ‌Department‌ ‌(OED),‌

Whereas Speaker Kotek’s one-time $500 Emergency Relief proposal is a much-needed step toward financial relief but is ultimately insufficient to the mounting financial desperation of unemployed Oregonians,

Whereas Senator Wyden’s American Workforce Rescue Act is a bold step to redefine the Unemployment Crisis, but will not take effect until August 2020 at the earliest,

Whereas‌‌ ‌OED’s‌ ‌failures‌ ‌are‌ ‌in‌ ‌violation‌ ‌of‌ the ‌Basic‌ ‌Rights,‌ ‌Economy‌ ‌and‌ ‌Equity‌ ‌Articles‌ ‌of‌ ‌the‌ ‌Multnomah‌ ‌Democrats‌ ‌2020‌ ‌Platform,‌ ‌

Now‌ ‌therefore‌ ‌the‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌Party‌ ‌of‌ ‌Multnomah‌ ‌County‌ ‌resolves‌ ‌that,‌ ‌

‌Immediate‌ ‌action‌ ‌and‌ ‌accountability‌ ‌is‌ ‌required‌ ‌at‌ ‌OED‌ ‌to‌ ‌ensure‌ ‌that:‌ ‌

‌(1)‌ ‌the‌ ‌current pace‌ ‌of‌ ‌processing‌ ‌of‌ ‌UI‌ ‌applications‌ ‌improves‌ ‌significantly,‌ with restructuring of department staff and additions from agencies such as Department of Administrative Services to assist with processing,

‌(2)‌ all ‌Oregonians‌ ‌who‌ ‌have‌ ‌filed‌ ‌for‌ ‌benefits‌ ‌with‌ ‌OED‌ ‌prior to and during ‌the‌ ‌COVID-19‌ ‌pandemic‌ ‌emergency‌ ‌and‌ ‌whose‌ ‌applications‌ ‌remain‌ ‌unprocessed‌ ‌shall‌ ‌be‌ ‌paid‌ ‌full‌ ‌benefits‌ ‌immediately,‌ ‌with ‌a‌ ‌subsequent‌ ‌review‌ ‌of‌ ‌eligibility once all claimants have been paid. Processing of these claims shall be kept to the minimum required to prevent organized fraud, focusing on confirming identity and employment status. The Department shall be directed to adopt a default position of paying benefits should there be any doubt as to eligibility. The Department shall also default to extending existing benefits wherever possible over requiring applicants to re-apply or apply for new claims or programs.

‌(3)‌ The Oregon Employment Department must address the underlying reasons for delays in processing benefit claims, and must change its focus as a Department. By the end of the 2020 legislative session, the state shall engage in a review of the Department’s technological assets and evaluate options for updating these assets to current standards. Priority shall be given to replacement systems which comply with industry standards, and preference shall be given to open source technologies as solutions. In addition, the state must also evaluate the policies, processes and guidelines of the Department on all levels. All such policies, processes and guidelines shall be evaluated from the perspective of ensuring that Oregonians receive benefits, with all other priorities being distinctly secondary.

4) We recognize that the proposed actions are not a complete solution, and that the issues with employment benefits are both far reaching and long-term. These actions are only intended as an emergency solution to an immediate problem. As such, we also direct the Multnomah County Democrats to form an ad hoc committee to formulate a permanent solution to the long-term problems faced by Oregonians needing COVID-related assistance, including economic hardship. This committee shall form a report detailing known issues and formulating suggested solutions to be presented to the 2021 Oregon Legislative Session.

Adopted‌ ‌on:‌ ‌July 9,2020

Resolution‌ ‌Submitted‌ ‌by‌ ‌Platform‌ ‌Resolution‌ ‌and‌ ‌Legislative‌ ‌Committee‌ ‌

Aaron‌ ‌Levine,‌ ‌Technology‌ ‌Officer,‌ ‌Democratic‌ ‌Party‌ ‌of‌ ‌Multnomah‌ ‌County‌ ‌

Send‌ ‌to‌ ‌the‌ ‌following‌ ‌Legislators‌:

Oregon Governor‌ Kate ‌Brown‌ ‌

David‌ ‌Gerstenfeld,‌ ‌Acting‌ ‌Head‌ ‌of‌ ‌Office of Employment D‌ivision

Katy Coba, Director, Department of Administrative Services ‌

Oregon State House Speaker Tina Kotek

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden

‌ ‌

Contact: 

Faith E Ruffing platform@multdems.org  

Resolution 2020-13 The Debt: The Case for Reparations

Multnomah Democrats pass resolution calling for reparations to American Descendants of Slaves

At the Central Committee Meeting on July 9, 2020, the Multnomah County Democrats passed this resolution.

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Hn11XHZ0k_ePIa6DCFhqxKijrKTmsaSD4QuIsuQ4o4U/edit?usp=sharing

Democratic Party of Multnomah County Central Committee

Resolution: 2020-13 The Debt: The Case for Reparations

WHEREAS the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) community’s claim for restitution anchors on the U.S. government’s failure to deliver the promised 40-acre land grants to their newly emancipated ancestors in the aftermath of the civil war,

WHEREAS today’s ADOS-white wealth gap originated with that unfulfilled promise of 40 acres. If the land allocations had been made to the freedmen and freedwomen, and had that ownership been protected ADOS would be in a much better position materially today.

WHEREAS ADOS have borne and continue to bear the undue burden of the cumulative effects of slavery, the near-century-long epoch of legal segregation in America known as Jim Crow, as well as the ongoing atrocities associated with the period following the Civil Rights Act of 1964: mass incarceration; police executions of unarmed black people; sustained credit, housing, and employment discrimination; and the immense ADOS-white wealth disparity. All of these chapters in American history must be considered for redress within a program for reparations,

WHEREAS while the 40 million eligible recipients of ADOS reparations constitute about 13 percent of the American population, they possess less than 3 percent of the nation’s wealth. This translates into an average (or mean) differential, per household, of about $800,000 in net worth,

WHEREAS, eliminating the ADOS-white (pre-tax) wealth differential should be a core objective of the redress component of a plan for reparations. We estimate that this will require an allocation between 12 trillion in 2016 dollars to eligible Black Americans.

WHEREAS, A reparations program for ADOS is a matter of national responsibility insofar that the multigenerational plunder and oppression of ADOS were and are products of the legal and authority framework established by the federal government. The federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction.

WHEREAS, Article 9- Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, plank 5 of the 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Platform states, “we strongly support corrective and restorative justice for past racial harms inflicted by local, city, and state governments against ADOS in Oregon

NOW, THEREFORE, THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY OF MULTNOMAH COUNTY RESOLVES AS FOLLOWS:

SECTION 1 We urge Congress to establish a Congressional Commission on Slavery Reparations, which would be responsible for addressing the questions that must be considered so that restitution can be made.

SECTION 2 We support direct cash payments to victims equal in size rather than apportioned according to families’ or individuals’ “economic value.”

SECTION 3 We support the proposal in H.R.40 to develop a commission to study and develop proposals for reparations for ADOS. A body of commissioners appointed by congress must be established to provide congress with a detailed template for legislation that will activate a comprehensive plan for ADOS reparations. This will include specifying criteria for eligibility and specifying precisely how the amount and deployment of a reparations fund will raise ADOS net worth sufficiently to eliminate the (pre-tax) ADOS-white wealth gap within a specified amount of time. Commissioners shall not be paid, but they will be reimbursed for expenses associated with the fulfillment of their responsibilities.

SECTION 4 We support the development and application of a rigorous and accurate curriculum, fully integrated into public school instruction across at least three generations at all grade levels, telling the story of America’s racial history.

SECTION 5 We support the designation of a protected group status known as ADOS or American Descendants of Slavery, not to be mixed with a general Black designation.

SECTION 6 We strongly support providing potential claimants with free genealogical services to assist them in establishing that they are the descendant of an ancestor enslaved in the US, anti-fraud guidance, and access to free financial management instruction.

SECTION 7 Establishment of a monitoring system to ensure the wealth gap is closing.

Adopted on July 9, 2020

Submitted by Platform Resolution and Legislative Committee, Quinton Blanton, Anti Blackness Study Group

Send to Multnomah County Legislators

Background

https://www.congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/40

https://rooseveltinstitute.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/RI_Report_ResurrectingthePromiseof40Acres_202005.pdf

https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1540-6237.2008.00555.x

https://www.vox.com/2014/5/23/5741294/slavery-reparations-are-workable-and-affordable

https://ados101.com

FAQ’s

What is the purpose of a reparations program?

In the book From Here to Equality, Dr. Sandy Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure.

Is it illegal to allocate funds specifically to ADOS?

No. There’s no intrinsic illegality to group specific or race specific policies. Japanese American reparations, for example, were group specific.

How will we be able to tell who is eligible for reparations vs. who is not?

Two criterion can be advanced for eligibility. First, an individual must establish that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the US. Second, an individual must demonstrate that they have self-identified as Black, Negro, or African American on an official document-perhaps making the self-report of their race on the US Census—for at least 12 years before the enactment of programs tied to the funds. This criteria was created by Duke University economist William “Sandy” Darity.

Why is the ADOS distinction necessary?

ADOS is a necessary distinction because if reparations do in fact gain traction nationally, people who are opposed to reparations could make the argument that Black immigration to the U.S. has increased significantly since the 1980’s, they were never enslaved in the U.S. so why should they be paid reparations? From a legal standpoint, a reparations claim against the federal government must be specific and requires inclusion and exclusion.

How will the effectiveness of a reparations program be measured?

According to Dr. Darity, the goal of a reparations program for ADOS should be to close the racial wealth gap in its entirety. Therefore, it is essential that the mean gap be erased, rather than setting a far less ambitious goal such as closing the ADOS-white median differential. Establishing a monitoring system to evaluate whether the ADOS-white wealth gap disparity is closing will be desirable.

How to calculate the cost of reparations?

There are a variety of strategies for calculating the size of social debt that is owed. Professor Thomas Craemer has calculated the cost of reparations through a stolen labor framework. In today’s dollars, he arrives at an estimate of $14 trillion for the cost of American slavery to the enslaved. The central argument of Dr. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, which I tend to agree with is that the elimination of the ADOS-white wealth gap should provide the foundation for the magnitude of the debt owed.

Where will the money for reparations come from

As journalist Matthew Yglesias has proposed, Congress could direct the Federal Reserve to fund ADOS reparations either in part or in total. Given the overnight transfer of 45 to 1 to $1.5 trillion without any difficulty—and this funding mechanism would not have to affect tax rates for any American. Moreover, the Federal Reserve is a public bank charged with conducting a public responsibility.

Why should I have to pay reparations? My ancestors didn’t own any slaves.

The culpable party is the U.S. government. Often, the federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction. ADOS reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt; ADOS reparations are a matter of national responsibility. Furthermore, The poverty created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system, just like the wealth created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system.

White ethnics such as the Irish and Italians came here and were discriminated against by the U.S. government, yet they still rose in spite of their handicaps why didn’t ADOS do the same?

It is important to note that in some respects, the Irish were treated worse than Blacks for the most part when they first arrived in the U.S. However, they were eventually absorbed into whiteness due to their willingness to inflict violence against ADOS and by expressing anti-ADOS sentiments. The Democratic Party and early labor unions also eased the assimilation of the Irish into whiteness. Whitness is a social construct that is dynamic. It expands and changes based on its need. I suggest everyone read Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.

White people have never received “handouts” from the government, why should Black people get governmental “handouts”?

Framing reparations as a handout or a one time check rather than a debt is a conservative, right wing talking point that is untrue. A program of reparations is much more than a check. It must include multi-pronged policies and laws, protections, therapy, and training to fill the void of knowledge gaps. Also, white America has in fact recieved numerous handouts from the federal government including 160-acre land grants through the Homstead Act, access to New Deal and Fair Deal programs, the G.I. bill and much more. While white America received these handouts ADOS were denied access to them and were never given their 40-acres, which is partly why the ADOS-white wealth disparity is so vast, entrenched, and unshakeable. The wealth ADOS managed to accumulate in the nineteenth and twentitieth centuries was far too often plundered via white mob violence, lynching, redlining, and credit discrimination.

Contact: 

Faith E Ruffing platform@multdems.org  

Racial Inclusivity Work Group Open House Monday July 13

This Monday: Interested in the Racial Inclusivity Work Group?

Democrats who identify as People of Color are invited to an overview 5 – 5:30 PM on Monday, July 13th. After a screen break, you can join us for the first part of our 6 PM  monthly meeting!

Multnomah County Democrats have a Work Group (special committee) known as Racial Inclusivity Work Group. You are invited to learn more, meet active members, and decide if you’d like to join us!

Monday July 13 5pm

Zoom Video Call (link)

Questions?

Email the co-chairs at equity@multdems.org.

Reparations Resolution FAQ Resolution 2020-13 The Debt: an Argument for Reparation What is the purpose of a reparations program? Why is the ADOS (American Descendants of Slaves) distinction necessary? How will effectiveness be measured? How do we calculate the cost of reparations?

Reparations Resolution FAQ

On Thursday, June 9, 2020, the precinct committee persons (PCPs) of Multnomah Democrats will vote on Resolution 2020-13 The Debt: the Case for Reparations. The resolution’s primary author, Quinton Blanton, provided this FAQ for PCPs to read in advance of the vote.

What is the purpose of a reparations program?

In the book From Here to Equality, Dr. Sandy Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen advance a general definition of reparations as a program of acknowledgement, redress, and closure.

Is it illegal to allocate funds specifically to ADOS?

No. There’s no intrinsic illegality to group specific or race specific policies. Japanese American reparations, for example, were group specific.

How will we be able to tell who is eligible for reparations vs. who is not?

Two criterion can be advanced for eligibility. First, an individual must establish that they have at least one ancestor who was enslaved in the US. Second, an individual must demonstrate that they have self-identified as Black, Negro, or African American on an official document-perhaps making the self-report of their race on the US Census—for at least 12 years before the enactment of programs tied to the funds. This criteria was created by Duke University economist William “Sandy” Darity.

Why is the ADOS distinction necessary?

            ADOS is a necessary distinction because if reparations do in fact gain traction nationally, people who are opposed to reparations could make the argument that Black immigration to the U.S. has increased significantly since the 1980’s, they were never enslaved in the U.S. so why should they be paid reparations? From a legal standpoint, a reparations claim against the federal government must be specific and requires inclusion and exclusion.

How will the effectiveness of a reparations program be measured?

According to Dr. Darity, the goal of a reparations program for ADOS should be to close the racial wealth gap in its entirety. Therefore, it is essential that the mean gap be erased, rather than setting a far less ambitious goal such as closing the ADOS-white median differential. Establishing a monitoring system to evaluate whether the ADOS-white wealth gap disparity is closing will be desirable.

How to calculate the cost of reparations?

There are a variety of strategies for calculating the size of social debt that is owed. Professor Thomas Craemer has calculated the cost of reparations through a stolen labor framework. In today’s dollars, he arrives at an estimate of $14 trillion for the cost of American slavery to the enslaved. The central argument of Dr. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, which I tend to agree with is that the elimination of the ADOS-white wealth gap should provide the foundation for the magnitude of the debt owed.

Where will the money for reparations come from

 As journalist Matthew Yglesias has proposed, Congress could direct the Federal Reserve to fund ADOS reparations either in part or in total. Given the overnight transfer of $1 trillion of funds from the Federal Reserve to investment banks during the Great Recession and monthly outlays of $45 to $55 billion to conduct “quantitative easing,” there can be no doubt that the Fed has vast capacity to provide the funds required for a properly designed and financed reparations program, particularly if the funds are disbursed over the course of three to five years. The Fed certainly could manage an annual outlay of $1 to $1.5 trillion without any difficulty—and this funding mechanism would not have to affect tax rates for any American. Moreover, the Federal Reserve is a public bank charged with conducting a public responsibility.

Why should I have to pay reparations? My ancestors didn’t own any slaves.

The culpable party is the U.S. government. Often, the federal government further sanctioned racial atrocities by silence and inaction. ADOS reparations are not a matter of personal or individual institutional guilt; ADOS reparations are a matter of national responsibility. Furthermore, The poverty created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system, just like the wealth created by slavery and Jim Crow are still in the system.

White ethnics such as the Irish and Italians came here and were discriminated against by the U.S. government, yet they still rose in spite of their handicaps why didn’t ADOS do the same?

It is important to note that in some respects, the Irish were treated worse than Blacks for the most part when they first arrived in the U.S. However, they were eventually absorbed into whiteness due to their willingness to inflict violence against ADOS and by expressing anti-ADOS sentiments. The Democratic Party and early labor unions also eased the assimilation of the Irish into whiteness. Whitness is a social construct that is dynamic. It expands and changes based on its need. I suggest everyone read Noel Ignatiev’s How the Irish Became White.

White people have never received “handouts” from the government, why should Black people get governmental “handouts”?

Framing reparations as a handout or a one time check rather than a debt is a conservative, right wing talking point that is untrue. A program of reparations is much more than a check. It must include multi-pronged policies and laws, protections, therapy, and training to fill the void of knowledge gaps. Also, white America has in fact recieved numerous handouts from the federal government including 160-acre land grants through the Homstead Act, access to New Deal and Fair Deal programs, the G.I. bill and much more. While white America received these handouts ADOS were denied access to them and were never given their 40-acres, which is partly why the ADOS-white wealth disparity is so vast, entrenched, and unshakeable. The wealth ADOS managed to accumulate in the nineteenth and  twentitieth centuries was far too often plundered via white mob violence, lynching, redlining, and credit discrimination.

Pride flag waved over a blue sky.

Reflections on Pride 2020

By Rachelle Dixon and Eric Delehoy

On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bay in New York City.  They harassed and brutalized patrons, as they always had.  But this time, patrons had had enough.

Marsha P. Johnson, a Black Trans Woman, and Sylvia Rivera, a Latina Trans Woman, led patrons in resistance, and a resulting riot that lasted six days.  They stood up against the racism and transphobia leveled at them, and the anti-LBGTQ sentiment leveled at their community, so that each of us can now be safe in our own skin, no matter what skin that is.

The next year, the first Pride Parades appeared in New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.

This year is no different than others.  We understand racism, transphobia, and homophobia continue to impact many lives.  And that’s why we stand with you.  Multnomah County Democrats will continue to fight for your rights to be safe, no matter your identities.  For that reason, we are reaching out to you, to pledge that even though we can’t get together to celebrate with a parade this year, we are with you every step of the way. Pride is about embracing and celebrating difference, about taking a public stand to demand safety and enjoy the freedoms the US Constitution guaranteed for all of us.  Keep being your wonderful selves!  We hope to march alongside you, not just at Pride, but every day ahead.

PCPs of each House District elect their District Leader and Assistant District Leader

2020 District Re-org meetings are coming up

June 23, 2020

In the coming weeks, the newly elected PCPs of Multnomah County will gather (via video conference) to elect new district leaders and assistant district leaders.

Thank you all who are coming forward to make a difference in our communities. District Leadership is a wonderful way to increase that impact, working with your PCPs to connect with your legislators and the Democrats in your district.

Learn more from District Leader Superstars Lisa Morrison and Marcia Schneider.

Find your district here

Questions about elections overall? Contact Vice Chair 2 Michael Smith.

Upcoming District Reorgs

If there is no date below, the current district leadership has not yet scheduled the event.

Expect meetings to last about 2 hours.

HD 27 & 36 Combined

Contact 36leader@multdems.org

July 25 10am (Completed)

HD 31 & 33 Combined

July 18 at 12pm (Completed)

Contact 33leader@multdems.org

HD 35 & 38 Combined

July 12 at 2pm (Completed)

Contact John Murphy

HD 41

July 14 at 7pm (Completed)

Contact 41leader@multdems.org

HD 42

July 19 at 1pm (Completed)

Contact 42leader@multdems.org

HD 43

July 26 at 12pm

Contact 43leader@multdems.org

HD 44

June 28 at 3pm (Completed)

Contact 44leader@multdems.org

HD 45

July 18 at 2pm (Completed)

Contact 45leader@multdems.org

HD 46

July 11 at 10am (Completed)

Contact 46leader@multdems.org

HD 47

July 16 at 6pm (Completed)

Contact 47leader@multdems.org

HD 48 & 51 combined

July 11 at 1pm (Completed)

Contact 51leader@multdems.org

HD 49

July 15 at 6:30pm (Completed)

Contact 49leader@multdems.org

HD 50

July 7 at 4pm (Completed)

Contact 50leader@multdems.org

HD 52

June 25 at 7pm (Completed)

Contact 52leader@multdems.org

Lisa Morrison holding a Health Care for All Oregon sign.

To Be a District Leader

 

Every House District (HD) in Multnomah County has a Multnomah Democrat District Leader (DL) who organizes the work of their local precinct committee persons (PCPs). 

In July of 2020, as in every even numbered July, each HD call a reorg meeting and elects their district leader and assistant district leader. We want you to know what these jobs are and consider running for this important position.

The Job Description

District leaders help convey information to and from Democrat legislators and to their PCPs and other constituents. The District Leaders are voting members of the MultDems Executive Committee. They also appoint PCPs to represent their districts on most standing committees and help coordinate outreach at events.  That’s the basic job description but what does it look like IRL to be a DL?  

Beyond meeting the basic requirements outlined in the bylaws, it’s a people-person role you can make your own.  Have fun with it!  Build community within the party,  create pathways for newcomers to find their voice, their political power, and their own style of democrating in MultDems. The job will pay you back with lifelong friendships and the satisfaction of being a participant in leaving the world better than you found it.

Organize the work of their district PCPs  

Marcia Schneider, HD 51 District Leader, contributed to this article.

It starts with the District Organizing Meeting every even year after Mult Co Elections certifies our elections.  We gather together to vote for our district leadership – District Leader and Assistant District Leader – and appoint representatives to the County Party committees that keep MultDems humming. Beyond that, organizing work means getting to know the PCPS in each precinct and connecting them to activities, events, committees, and caucuses throughout the year, as well as encouraging and supporting grassroots efforts any PCP wants to initiate that furthers the platform and mission of MultDems. Of particular importance is the Neighborhood Leader Program.  Every district should strive for an NLP Coordinator who can recruit and support NLs in each Precinct. 

Convey information between Democrat legislators and their PCPs and other constituents

If you are lucky enough to live in a district like HD 46 whose State Legislators practice regular, open communication with their constituents, you’ll 

  • Keep in touch with them on a one-to-one basis
  • Read and promote their newsletters
  • Attend their town halls and coffees to see them in action with their constituents 
  • Provide feedback on their work
  • Help to rally support for their legislative agendas.  

These are especially good opportunities to monitor how your electeds’ work and priorities mesh with the MultDems Platform. 

You’ll also stay in touch with your district PCPs. In HD46 we use several tools to accomplish this including a members-only Facebook page, a sporadic newsletter called PCP Power Lines, text alerts, and phone calls. Twice a year you’ll invite everyone together for a district meeting to share ideas, work, and camaraderie.  These meetings can include updates from your legislators, visits with candidates, updates on local campaigns or previews and recruitment for MultDems activities. 

Voting members of the MultDems Executive Committee  

District Leaders are voting members of MultDems Executive Committee which meets once a month, the week before the All-PCP Central Committee, to conduct the business of the organization. Assistant District Leaders are also voting members but only vote if if the DL is absent. Ultimately, the direction of the Party is in the hands of the Central Committee. Exec Committee is there to keep the organization functioning and oversee that together we are all implementing plans and programs that meet our responsibilities.

Appoint PCPs to represent their districts on standing committees.  

Every district helps to staff the Standing Committees that keep Mult Dems running, so DLs search out and appoint the people with the interest, time, and skills to contribute. Those committees are: 

  • Credentials
  • Fundraising
  • Platform, Resolutions, and Legislation
  • Rules

Coordinate events in-district – Most years we’re hosting booths at local street fairs, marching in parades and when we have contested races, hosting candidate forums for voters. This year with the pandemic, we’re primarily virtual – zoom forums, phonebanks and candidate meet and greets.  As DL, you’ll call on all kinds of skills from your PCPs to make your events a success.

It is what you make of it

This all sounds like a lot. The thing I found is that the work fuels me. Connecting PCPs to ways to contribute, connecting our reps to their constituents. It just feels good to be a part of it. I hope you will consider taking up the role!

Juneteenth Freedom Day June 19

Juneteenth: A Celebration of Freedom

A message from Rosa Colquitt, PhD, Chair, Democratic Party of Oregon Black Caucus

Juneteenth, (“June” plus “nineteenth”) sometimes called “Jubilee,” indicating the year of freedom from enslavement, or even more simply “Freedom Day,” is indeed a remarkable story commemorating the abolition of slavery in the United States.

It was June 19, 1865 when Union General Gordon Granger marched into Galveston, Texas with official news that the Civil War had ended and the enslaved were now free. Granger read General Order Number 3 as follows:

“The people of Texas are informed that in accordance with a Proclamation from the Executive of the United States, all slaves are free. This involves an absolute equality of rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves, and the connection heretofore existing between them becomes that between employer and hired laborer.”

Amazingly, even in an era of slow communication and a nation at war, Granger was very late with important news of freedom – almost two and a half years after Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the Confederacy, at least on paper. In knowing the dehumanization of even one day of enslavement, I’ve looked for any historical explanations for the delay in delivering and enforcing the Emancipation Proclamation. One version of the story of “freedom delayed, freedom denied” was the tale of the messenger who was murdered on the way to Texas with the news. Another is that the official proclamation was deliberately withheld by the enslavers to maintain the “free labor” force on their plantations. And still another is that federal troops actually waited for the slave owners to reap the benefits of one last cotton harvest before going to Texas. Whether all or none of these versions are true, slavery in Texas remained status quo well beyond what was statutory.

My mind can scarcely imagine the depths of the emotions and the fear of the unknown for the “newly freed” Black men, women and children of Texas. Yet, it is within this historical backdrop of delay, confusion and terror that we have the beginnings of one of the most inspiring grassroots efforts of the post-Civil War period – the transformation of June 19 from a day of new freedom into an annual rite called “Juneteenth.”

Image of Rosa Colquitt, PhD
Rosa Colquitt PhD, Chair of the Black Caucus of the Democratic Party of Oregon, is co-chair of the Oregon delegation to the 2020 Democratic National Convention.

Today, more than 154 years later, Juneteenth-centered activities are experiencing phenomenal growth and flourishing within communities and organizations throughout the country. The freedom celebrations highlight the tradition of bringing in guest speakers and the elders of the community to recount historical events of the past. Newer Juneteenth traditions focus on education and self-improvement, along with future community development, while cultivating knowledge and appreciation of African American history and culture.

What many Americans remember most about Juneteenth is that it is always a joyful celebration of entertaining the masses with parades, musical entertainment, dance, games, and always food — an abundance of wonderfully prepared food. In Portland, Oregon, Juneteenth is combined with “Good in the Hood” for an unforgettable annual community celebration of young and old, family, friends, organizations and business vendors from every corner of the state, along with southwest Washington, and reflects all of our diverse racial and ethnic groups. For sure, no matter how large the gatherings at “Good in the Hood,” I always make my way from vendor to vendor until I have my soul food dinner of corn bread, black-eyed peas, collard greens and bar-b-que, and I always bring my own bottle of red soda water, just in case they don’t have it. One can’t quite celebrate Juneteenth without this original Texas tradition. (And, unless I forget, there’s always a bottle of hot sauce in my purse.)

Among all emancipation celebrations, we are reminded that June 19 falls closest to the summer solstice, the longest day of the year when the sun, at its zenith, defies the darkness in every state, including those states shadowed by slavery. By choosing to remember the last state in the South that freedom touched, we celebrate the shining “promise of emancipation.” Still, we can never ignore or forget the bloody path America took by delaying freedom and deferring the fulfillment of the simple words in General Granger’s General Order Number 3: “This involves an absolute equality of personal rights and rights of property between former masters and slaves.”

While Juneteenth is a celebration of freedom, Juneteenth 2020 is bittersweet. The recent events of 2020, the witnessing of the wrongful deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd and Rayshard Brooks, is crushing our spirits and reminding us of the stark reality that the fight for racial justice, equality and freedom for BLACK LIVES continues.