Attending Race Talks
When I walked into McMenamins Kennedy School at 6 pm on the evening of February 12th, a burst of nerves hit me. “Who goes to a Race Talk?” I wondered, as I wandered into the gym. People of all races and classes representing many age groups filled many of the seats around the round tables taking up much of the large room. Each chair had a pile of papers in front of it.
The topic, declared by the pamphlet on top of the papers, “Race & the Housing Crisis” seemed pertinent, both in relation to my personal backyard in North Portland as well as to what we have been discussing in class on segregation in neighborhoods and schools and my own experiences volunteering at Portland Youth Builders. Donna Maxey, the organizer of Race Talks, introduced the panel as I talked to my tablemates, two lawyers, a grass roots activist and several concerned citizens, but the speakers quickly grabbed my attention. The panel varied widely from activists to politicians to lawyers.
JoAnn Hardesty started us off by breaking down the history of the Housing Crisis in Portland, touching on Urban Renewal or, as she said, “Negro Removal” as well as Redlining and Exclusion Laws. Here’s an article going into more detail about these topics:
Everyone Deserves Stable Housing
Moloy Good followed with information on the displacement of minorities from North and North East Portland into the outskirts of South East and North East Portland as well as legal information and hotlines for assistance. The Oregonian, he mentioned, did a four part series called “Locked Out” that describes the unfair housing practices in Portland. Continue reading