Celebrations

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

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.

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.

Fill Your Eyes with Beauty: Beyond Celsi 2020

Some featured items from the Beyond Celsi online auction! 

This year’s auction items are exciting – from experiences and learning opportunities to yummy food and wine offerings, plus many choices among one-of-a-kind art and collectibles. 

Items are up until June 2. Get your bids in now, though: you don’t want to miss your chance!

Browse the dozens of auction items. Every bid helps us move our communities forward in 2020.

Mounted for wall hanging Japanese fan: A one-of-a-kind item to enhance your space


Necklace with bird image

Hand-crafted pendant made of repurposed materials by Linda Barker


Night With Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes. Winged female on a blue background.

Night With Her Train of Stars by Edward Robert Hughes.


Collection of photographs of Portland bridges and locations.

Get outside (virtually) and send a letter to your loved ones.

These 25 Stunning notecards by photographer Kristine Karnezis feature local images that will make you want to climb right into the pictures.

From experiences and learning opportunities to yummy food and wine offerings, plus many choices among one-of-a-kind art and collectibles: Our auction has tons for everyone.

Any many more. Browse the whole catalog!

Celsi celebrates the volunteer spirit that powers MultDems work.

Check out our awardees and give them a round of applause.

Hand an heart: Can you contribute now to help power our work?

Download the program to our cancelled annual fundraiser.

Not only did we lose this opportunity to gather and celebrate all the volunteers that make Multnomah Democrats so effective, We lost our key fundraiser for the year. Please make a donation to power our community-driven work.

Fact Check: Walkouts are very unpopular.

Some polling numbers on the Republican Walkout

A screenshot from an opt-in poll on KGW’s phone app is being shared on social media to suggest that Oregonians support the Republican walkout. The idea that a piece of clickbait would be used as a proof point is in itself pretty sad. KGW’s advertisers are the real winners there.

Would you like some real polling data on Oregonian’s opinion of a walkout?

In a way, we Democrats should be appreciative of the Republican walkout. Based on polling done with some actual rigor, this walkout is an extremely unpopular move with their constituents.

  • 74% agree: If elected officials don’t like a bill, they should show up and work to improve the bill or simply vote against it. They should make their voices heard rather than shut down the government.
  • 64% agree: The legislators who walked out were collecting a taxpayer-funded paycheck even when they weren’t showing up for work. Regular people don’t get paid when they don’t go to work, and politicians shouldn’t get paid for skipping work either.
  • 62% agree: During the walkout, the Senate couldn’t hold session and was basically shut down. That means the Senate was idle for ten working days, wasting more than 100 thousand dollars of taxpayer money. That’s simply wrong.
  • 63% agree: Good lawmaking comes from consensus and compromise – but this year a Republican Senator has already said he will not negotiate on a bill he doesn’t like, and all Republicans may walk out again to prevent its passage. This is not how to get things done for Oregonians.

MultDems Debate Watch Party February 19 at MultDems HQ

Join us February 19 for a Critical Democratic Presidential Debate

Debate Season Continues!

Candidates continue to qualify for the upcoming Democratic Presidential Debate. It is getting down to brass tacks, and you can join a lively group of Democrats to watch the action.

RSVP Now

Co-sponsored by the MultDems Climate Action Team

These folks make things happen.

Multnomah County Democrats Community Action Committee has been holding full house watch parties, co-sponsored with other committees and Democratic groups. It is a vibrant place to witness history in the making.

There will be pizza and soft drinks. Feel free to bring your favorite debate-watching snacks to share.

Click here to RSVP

Multnomah County Democrats office, 3551 NE Sandy Blvd, Portland 97232 [Map]

Doors at 5pm

See you there!

Facebook event

For public transportation options to/from the event location, visit http://trimet.org/. The Multnomah County Democrats office is wheelchair accessible. If you have any access or functional needs that you feel may prevent you from joining us at this event or that, if they can be addressed, might make the event more accessible [and therefore more enjoyable] for you, please email action@multdems.org.

Save the date: Celsi is March 21st

Nominations for Dick Celsi, Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat and Bill and Gladys McCoy Awards Are Now Open!

Celsi Celebration – March 21, 2020

Get your nominations in by January 21

The 2020 Democratic Party of Multnomah County Dick Celsi Fundraising Event will be held March 21, 2020.  Three individuals will be recognized for their service and commitment to the Party.

Nominations for the Dick Celsi Award, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award, and the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award are now open. You may offer nominations by using this link to our nomination form. Nominations are due by midnight the night of January 21,2020.

The Dick Celsi Award

Dick Celsi – “Celsi” as his friends called him – served as Chair of the Multnomah County Democrats during the 1970s and Chair of the State Democratic Party during the 1980s and into the 1990s. A Democratic Socialist, he was a strong voice for the poor, homeless, and those without means.

In honor of Dick Celsi, a Precinct Committee Person (PCP) who emulates Dick Celsi’s dedication to the Party and to grassroots activism will be selected to receive the Dick Celsi Award. To be eligible for this award, the PCP must not have previously received it, must not be a State or County Democratic Party Officer, and must not have been an officer of the Multnomah County Democrats within the last six months. 

Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award

Barbara Roberts served as the 34th Governor of Oregon from 1991 to 1995. She was the first woman to serve as Oregon Governor, and was also the first woman to serve as Majority Leader in the Oregon House of Representatives. She also served as Secretary of State for two terms, and, most recently, as a member of the Metro Council from 2011 to 2013. 

In her honor, the Governor Barbara Roberts Young Democrat Award is presented to a young Democrat who has significantly contributed as a volunteer for our organization. To be eligible for this award, the recipient shall be no older than 37 as of January 1, 2020.

Bill and Gladys McCoy Award

Bill McCoy in 1972 became the first African-American elected to the Oregon State Legislature. His wife Gladys became the first African-American member of the Portland School Board in 1970, and then the first African-American Multnomah County Commissioner in 1979.

In their honor, the Bill and Gladys McCoy Award recognizes a present or past-elected official who resides in Multnomah County and who has provided significant service and support to the Party.
We thank everyone of our volunteers and we thank you for helping to choose the award recipients. Please use this form to submit your nominations.

MultDems proudly launch the 2020 platform

Multnomah Democrats 2020 Platform includes historic focus on racial justice and abuse of power

“Across the country, throughout Oregon, and within the Democratic Party of Multnomah County, the demand for racial justice is clear. The time is now to bring the demand for racial justice to the surface and for us to take action. Our platform takes that guidance from our racial inclusivity work group leaders. We must all work together for change.”

Lurelle Robbins, Chair of the Democratic Party of Multnomah County

Read the 2020 MultDems Platform: multdems.org/platform

On November 23, 2019, Democrats of Multnomah County approved a new party platform with unprecedented anti-racist articles that are unique to parties anywhere in the nation.

After all the legislative action items had been approved, one more motion was made from the floor. The articles had been arranged in the order introduced. The most recent, Tribal Sovereignty and Historical and ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, were at the end. Danelle Stevens requested revising the order, which was quickly done to honor these new articles. The proposed change passed unanimously. Throughout the room filled with paper, laptops, pizza boxes, and coffee cups, applause erupted.

You can count the number of county parties in the state of Oregon that establish a platform at all.  For the Democratic Party of Multnomah County, the platform convention is a part of an ongoing cycle of collective activism. Built from the efforts of study groups for hot button political issues, the platform speaks of topics and positions from engaged activists.

As with past platforms, the newly approved 2020 platform has articles on climate, infrastructure, labor issues, and justice — 14 articles in all this year as a focus on racial justice came to the fore. Three of the new articles have specific, groundbreaking planks and legislative action to address racism and its repercussions.

“As far as I know, these articles are unique to our party. I don’t believe that any other county or state party has articles on these topics,” said Faith Ruffing, chair of the Multnomah Democrats Platform Committee.

Tribal Sovereignty article possibly unique in the nation

The Portland Metropolitan area is the ninth-largest community of Indigenous people in the United States, with 380 tribal nations represented, including the nine with land in Oregon. Even the county name—“Multnomah”—comes from the Chinookan name for the Indigenous people of the area. Current residents are surrounded by Indigenous culture in both our history and present day, and yet tribal members remain extremely underrepresented in politics.

Multnomah Democrats, led by Ruth Jensen, dedicated an article specifically to improving recognition of tribal sovereignty and disparities that continue because it is not well understood and respected. The political relationship between indigenous tribal nations and the United States government is unique. They are neither a special interest group nor a subset of counties but territories whose relationship with the federal government is defined by formal treaties and trust responsibility to protect Indigenous nations.

Calling for compliance with existing treaties, equal access to justice, and an end to disparities in services, the Platform seeks to enhance self-determination as well as the bonds of culture and family for native people.

Historical and Ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon article takes on racist heritage with an eye for healing

Infamously, Oregon entered the Union in 1859 as a “whites-only” state. Through to contemporary times, local and state governments have been complicit in anti-black policies. A group of black Democrats from diverse backgrounds came together to write an article focused on a path forward for this state and nation, with support from other members of the Platform Committee.

Through “unique and faceted” policies, the platform seeks structural change to alleviate the damage to Black Oregonians resulting from Black exclusionary history. The Democratic party of Multnomah County proposes reparations, solutions to disproportionate incarceration, and greater parity in home loans and small business loans.

Inequitable opportunity remains stark. The largest bank in the state of Oregon (Umpqua Bank) gave one single Small Business Administration (SBA) loan to a black owned business in the last ten years. Meanwhile, mega bank Wells Fargo provided less than 3 loans on average per year for the last 10 years.

Abuse of Power article

In addition to these articles focusing on particular groups of Americans, the 2020 Multnomah Democrats platform includes another new article addressing the dangers of abuse of power, particularly as it has ”the highest cost to those of us whose equal rights are still not recognized by all.”

“The new Abuse of Power article speaks to the violence, neglect, and disparities practiced under cover of institutional power. We see it as using racism to increase power, unjust incarceration, and harmful barriers to immigration. It addresses behaviors we see from Oregon to the current White House and will guide our ongoing fight for equity and accountability,” said Beth Woodward, a key author of the Abuse of Power article.

Racial inclusivity work within party raises awareness, drives change

In 2018, the Democratic Party of  Multnomah County chartered a Racial Inclusivity Workgroup (RIWG) to transform the party into a more inclusive group.

“We are learning how racism ranges from the subtle to the overt and we have made a commitment to investigate our own issues with race,” said Robbins. The RIWG organized workshops for party leadership, sponsored affinity groups, and developed a tool for identifying racial bias in policy documents such as the platform, the Racial Inclusivity Lens.

Co-chairs of RIWG, G.M. Garcia and Salomé Chimuku, and several workgroup members were active at the convention and contributed to guiding the direction of the platform. “It is time for this party to recognize racism and work together for justice. We can see that energy in this room,” said Garcia

Nature of platform

With a large, energetic volunteer base, the Multnomah Democrats maintain year-round policy and legislative action activity. All of that activity is organized around the platform. Each article is assigned to a study group of Democrats passionate about the topic. They also monitor legislation and other opportunities to influence policy.

Leading up to the platform convention every two years, the study groups draft updates of each article and solicit input from the Democratic voters of the county.

The culmination of the platform development process was the platform convention. In a day-long meeting, Multnomah County Democrats of all political stripes met face to face and drilled down into the specific wording of each legislative action item.

Jack Hanna, former treasurer and chair of the Pennsylvania Democratic Party and now a Multnomah County resident, participated in the convention for the first time.

“Party Platforms just don’t exist there (Pennsylvania). I am impressed with the time, effort and deliberation needed to create one. I truly enjoyed the convention experience and thought it helped me and all those participating to examine and obtain consensus on the major issues confronting our communities. It’s exactly what our Party should be doing right now,” he said.

After all the legislative action items had been approved, one more motion was made from the floor. The articles had been arranged in the order introduced. The most recent, Tribal Sovereignty and Historical and ongoing Anti-Blackness in Oregon, were at the end. Danelle Stevens requested revising the order, which was quickly done to honor these new articles. The proposed change passed unanimously. Applause erupted throughout the room.

Next steps for the platform

“We think of the platform as the heartbeat of this party. All of our messaging, our lobbying, and our support of candidates is guided by it” said Robbins.

The next steps will be a survey of attendees and county Democrats to prioritize the legislative action items. It will then be delivered to Democratic office holders and will guide our lobbying efforts during the upcoming legislative sessions.

Read the 2020 MultDems Platform: multdems.org/platform

Comparing Democratic Humor and Republican Humor

As Democrats, we own comedy. Let’s just compare.

Republican funny

Richard Nixon saying "Sock it to me."

Democrat funny

Barack Obama saying "Obama out" and dropping the mic.

So join us to flex our laugh muscles as we warm up for 2020! This is a fundraiser for your hard-working county Democratic party, but you will hardly notice.

Comedy, Candidates, and Cocktails on October 12

Comedy and politics go together. The Multnomah Democrats, with the help of some of our funniest friends, are going to celebrate that bond at our second annual Comedy, Candidates, and Cocktails.

The name says it all: along with four great comics, local politicians and will mingle and share the stage at the North Portland Eagles Club [Map]. Doors at 7pm.

Comedy, Candidates and Cocktails flyer. Tickets are on sale now, show is October 12. Hosted by Senator Shemia Fagan. multdems.org/comedynight

“Unfunny presidents only serve one term, if they win an election at all.”

– Senator John McCain, 2008 (How did that work out, Senator?)

Hosted by Senator Shemia Fagan, who is not always exactly strait laced herself.

Donate to Multnomah Democrats

Our party runs on your energy. Thank you for contributing!

Join us for the 2019 Pride Festival and Parade

Share in the celebration of the Portland Waterfront Pride Festival and Pride Parade 2019!

Here it is! On June 15 and 16, we celebrate one of the most important festivals of the year in Portland and, with the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, it is a powerful year to get involved. Participate with your local Democratic Party in the event! Join us for the parade or help staff the booth! If you can, read on about being a parade monitor.

Our booth at the Waterfront Park festival will introduce Oregonians to our policies and to the 2020 Democratic candidates.

Give people the chance to register people to vote! It’s really fun to interact with Pride-goers and important for our party to be present at this party!

Parade goers at Portland Pride festival carrying a sign reading "Love is love is love."

When: Saturday, June 15 and Sunday, June 16.

Staff the booth

Saturday choose one of these four shifts:

  • 9 to noon (includes set up)
  • 11:45 to 3:00 pm
  • 2:45 to 6:00
  • 5:45 to 9:00 (includes clean up)

Sunday choose one of these three shifts:

  • 10:30 to 1:00 pm
  • 12:45 to 4:00
  • 3:45 to 7:00 (includes take down).

March in the Parade on Sunday

Be in the center of it all, and come dressed to show your pride! Gather with us at 10am. The parade goes from 11am to 1pm.

Interested?

Reach out to volunteer@multdems.org or just reply to this email and let us know when you can help out. Please include your shift preference, and if you’ll also be marching in the parade. We will send you a confirmation email and directions to the booth and parade.

Be a Parade Monitor

All parade groups must choose Parade Monitors, responsible for knowing and communicating the parade rules.  Be a monitor to encourage a safe experience for all participants.

Let volunteer@multdems.org know if you can be a monitor. We need one monitor for every 25 marchers

Monitor training is MANDATORY, and will be held at Anymeeting.com on the following dates: 

June 11, 2019: 11 a.m. – 12 p.m.
June 13, 2019: 1 p.m. – 2 p.m.

Need Accomodations?

Anyone needing special attention because of a temporary or permanent disability that makes walking an issue to please contact me at either mearisher@gmail.com or (503) 412-9957. Please don’t hesitate to call with any questions or concerns!

Decal on car reading "House Speaker Tina Kotek" and "Disarm Hate."

The Democratic Party of Multnomah County strives to be welcoming and accessible to all. If you or someone you know require ADA or any other accommodations to attend one of our events please contact us to tell us how to make your attendance possible. admin@multdems.org