Community Action

Hand holding Biden Harris slate card

Slate Drop 2020: Help us increase voter turnout by 5%


This is a stack of over 80,000 door hangers. 

Boxes containing slate cards. Biden Harris and "In Our America" signs.

We call these slate cards. They list all the Democratic candidates and ballot initiative endorsements specific to that physical address, making it convenient for voter reference as they vote or share with their neighbors.

Starting October 5, The Multnomah Democrats are doing what we do best: Delivering these slate cards.

You’ve told others you wanted to make a difference! The next step is yours, and we need your help. Without your help, a hundred thousand cards could be left in a useless pile, undelivered after the election.   

You can increase votes by taking a walk

Experience has taught us that if you deliver just 100 cards, your action will increase the voter turnout by 5% or more!

This COVID-safe request may take you up to three hours, over a couple of days. Yes, you need to prepare for up to three hours of exercise a week in early October.  Walk in your own neighborhood, in neighboring blocks or buildings.  No door knocking, no soliciting, just hook the card on the door of fellow Democrats. (Be sure to wear a mask!)  That’s it, you’re done! You’ll know you’ve helped Democrats win the election!  You know you committed yourself to that!

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Get involved!

If you haven’t already signed up, fill out this registration form so your district leader will know you are committed to delivering a Blue Wave this election.

Chair Lurelle Robbins speaking on Basic Income

Statement to the 26 September 2020 PDX for Basic Income Event

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County, Mission and Vision states – 

“We envision and Demand a government designed by the people and for the benefit of the people.”

At this moment we demand a return of the dividends due, we the people, who have over the past 40 years contributed our hard earned funds and delayed our profits as the money has been shifted and shared upwards to the wealthy among us.  Trickle down never trickled down – rather it provided mechanisms by which our money flowed up to the wealthiest among us.     $2000 NOW is the beginning of the return on our investment.

  • With houselessness and evictions and unemployment on the rise
  • With too many people struggling even before the current crisis as a result of 40 years of decreasing wages and increasing disparity
  • With CEO’s and the dramatically wealthy like Jeff Bezos and Amazon, like Bill Gates and Microsoft, like Google and Facebook and Home Depot and Fauci and Trump in control of our narratives

We the people are left struggling. If we are making zero or $20,000 or 50K or even 300K it is nothing compared to the trillions that of dollars flowing into the hands of Jeff Bezos and friends.

It is time to demand $2000 NOW and I call upon each of us to spread this message to our friends and neighbors across the country and to our legislators.  When an uprising of people and their demands and calls for relief truly get loud – then and only then will something happen. $2000 NOW.

Congress struggles to pass an 1800 page bill that would dole out money at the top and mollify the lobbyists, but what about, we the people who have been funding their largesse?

We believe that 1800 pages are not needed to solve this crisis.  We can say it in one sentence.

“The US Treasury will disburse $2000/ mo to every US resident for a 12 month period to provide relief to the people and to stimulate the whole economy.”

$2000 NOW    $2000 NOW    Today we are here to demand action and to spread the message of uprising for change.  But first we must recognize that the Native Americans and American Descendants of Slavery have endured this struggle far longer , for 100s of years, and let’s remember that reparations must be made to create a more equitable future for all.

The $2000 NOW dividends will repay us all for the 40 years of declining wages and theft or shift of our wealth upwards.

Let’s not forget that the 2008 crisis lead to a bailout of the banks, who then thanked us by taking many of our homes through foreclosure, only to resell them to wealthy investors like Blacstone and others.    DID WE GET OUR DIVIDEND – NO!   IT is time for $2000 NOW.

Now with covid and then the fires across Oregon and with the struggles for justice in our streets our people, our neighbors and our small businesses are shutters, houselessness increases and Bezos and the wealth get trillions of dollars in rewards.   IT IS TIME FOR $2000 NOW

With the top 3 families currently having the wealth of the bottom 50% or 1 ½ billion people we have given away our income and our wealth and we must demand a return of our investment.

Demand the 1 sentence bill.  Demand $2000 NOW.   Check out HB 6496 and SB 3784 and make them known by calling for action.   Spend your money locally, grow mainstreet and our neighbors not wall street.

Please join me in thanking Chelsea Wilkinson and PDX for Basic Income and Mark Nerys, who leads our Basic Rights study group for all their efforts.  I would also like to thank Neil Goodman, Mitch Rofsky – who is taking this message to the Biden transition planning team and to Faith Ruffing, Bobbi Yambasu and our Congresspersons Bonamici and Blumenauer for co-sponsoring HB 6496 

$2000 NOW

www.multdems.org/2000now

Summary: H.R.6496 — 116th Congress (2019-2020)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.6496. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

Shown Here:

Introduced in House (04/14/2020)

Emergency Money for the People Act

This bill directs the Department of the Treasury to make monthly payments during a specified 12-month period to certain citizens and noncitizens of the United States and their dependent children. The amount of such payments shall be $2,000 each month ($4,000 for married couples filing joint returns) and additional amounts for their dependent children. The monthly amount shall be phased out for individuals whose adjusted gross income exceeds $130,000 ($260,000 for joint return filers). The payments must begin within 14 days of the enactment of this bill.

The bill allows such monthly payments for individuals who are not U.S. citizens or residents, but have been physically present in the United States continuously since January 27, 2020 (the effective date of the public health emergency resulting from the COVID-19 [i.e. coronavirus disease 2019] pandemic), and continue to be physically present in the United States throughout the duration of the payment period.

If Treasury does not have sufficient tax return information to make payments to an eligible individual, it shall consult with the Department of Veteran Affairs and the Social Security Administration and any agency making pension or annuity payments to such individual.

SB 3784 Monthly Economic Crisis Support Act

The coronavirus pandemic and the accompanying economic crisis are unprecedented challenges confronting American families. Workers across the country are losing their incomes and struggling to make ends meet. Bills are continuing to come and people are finding it impossible to pay rent and put food on the table. Families need immediate help.The single check Americans will receive from the CARES Act is not enough. As our nation continues to grapple with the effects of this pandemic, families across the country will continue to hurt. Congress a responsibility to make sure that people aren’t left behind.Senators Kamala D. Harris (D-CA), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced theMonthly Economic Crisis Support Act, 

which would establish a rebate payment program that would provide $2,000 to every individual, including children and other dependents, until this crisis is over.

TheMonthly Economic Crisis Support Act:

•Provides a monthly $2,000 check to every individual with an income below $120,000 throughout and for three months following the coronavirus pandemic.

Married couples who file jointly would receive $4,000.o$2,000 per child up to three children

Retroactive to March•Ensures that every U.S. resident receives a payment, regardless of whether or not they have filed a recent tax return or have a social security number

Uses the data from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Supplemental Security Income, (SSI), Medicare and housing assistance programs

•Forbids debt collectors from seizing the rebate payments

•Ensures the homeless and foster youth receive payments

“Governor, to help keep the pandemic under control, we ask you to release all those prisoners that do not threaten public safety.”

Contact the Governor: Safety in Oregon Prisons During the Pandemic

Help free those threatened by COVID.

Support our Resolution 2020–8 Safety in Oregon Prisons During Pandemic 

“Governor, to help keep the pandemic under control, we ask you to release all those prisoners that do not threaten public safety.”

Help bring about prisoner safety called for in the Resolution overwhelmingly passed on June 11 by MultDems Central Committee.

Please write and mail a postcard to Governor Brown or send a message through the form on her website.

Key points to cover

  • Thank you for protecting Oregon residents during the pandemic.
  • Oregon prisoners not safe because social distancing in Oregon prisons requires early release of  about 5700 prisoners.
  • The scheduled release of 400 who will finish their sentences within the next 2 months is good, but inadequate.
  • Many prisoners can be released without jeopardizing public safety.
  • Here are top categories to consider for early release:
    • People whose sentence will end within next 6 months
    • Elderly and disabled
    • People convicted of non-violent crimes
    • Those in danger of COVID due to medical conditions
  • Prisoners with mandatory sentences, who otherwise would be eligible for early release, should be furloughed until pandemic ends.

Post to

https://www.oregon.gov/gov/Pages/share-your-opinion.aspx 

Mail to

Governor Kate Brown
Office of the Governor
900 Court Street NE, Suite 254
Salem, OR 97301-4047 

Additional Information

Governor Brown did decide in June to release 57 medically endangered prisoners. But this of course had no safety effect on the rest of the approximately 14,500 Oregon prisoners, since, according to the Oregon Department of Corrections, it would take release of about 5,700 to allow for real social distancing in our 14 prisons. DOC can do only so much to keep the current environment safe. 

One prisoner died in May, and 4 more died in August. There have been at least 636 cases of coronavirus, and at least 185 prison staff have tested positive for the virus.

Finally in late August the Governor has decided to allow early release of 350-400 more prisoners, mainly about half of the individuals who are scheduled to be released anyway within the next two months, with irrational criteria used to select who is eligible. It is not based on either community safety or housing available for the released individual.

Even if you already lobbied the Governor on this, do it again, so that she will know that releasing 400 more will not be sufficient.

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.

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!