At Tuesday’s State of Black Oregon 2015 conference, racial disparity in Oregon was the topic of discussion. It was an opportunity for community members to hear the results of a new report released by the Urban League of Portland.
The report, also called The State of Black Oregon 2015, is the result of two years of research, which provides data on how black people in Oregon are faring at school, in urban and rural communities and in the workforce.
Two of the findings from the report:
- 30 percent of black families live below the poverty line, compared to 11.7 percent of white families.
- Black families face more than double the rate of food insecurity as well, with 44.1 percent of black families affected, compared with 18.7 percent of white families.
Those in attendance included Portland Mayor Charlie Hales, Urban League of Portland’s director of advocacy and public policy Midge Purcell and former Oregon State Senator Avel Gordly, who was the first African American woman to be elected to the Oregon Senate.
Mayor Hales spoke about societal norms that he thinks should not be tolerated within the United States, in specific reference to the African American community.
“There’s a conventional wisdom in this country, an acceptance of things that should not be accepted,” Hales said.
He added that people need to, “think about innovative ways that we can get upstream in those trends and make a difference.”
Gordly wrote the foreword for the report, which she read aloud at the conference. Following the presentation of the findings, community members were invited to ask questions of speakers.