By Janet Byrd
In September several of us here at Neighborhood Partnerships had the opportunity to hear DeRay McKesson speak about his views on what we need now, in this particular moment in America’s story. He talked about what we need as individuals, and what we need as a community. He called on us to have hope, which he defines as the belief or faith that things will get better, coupled with the knowledge that we have to help make it so.
He also calls on us to have more creativity as we envision the change that we are pushing for. Just as leaders have created structures that create wealth for some but not for all, and leaders have created systems of oppression that keep racial injustices embedded in our institutions, we as leaders can imagine and create a system that shares wealth and access to resources and decision-making in a just and equitable way.
I hope you’ll join us this year at our RE:Conference, where we will be taking on this challenge of being more visionary, more bold, and more deliberate as we work towards a just and equitable Oregon. The schedule is jam-packed, and has something for everyone! Tuesday’s practicum sessions will build your skills in advocacy and communication, in working directly with individuals, and in moving equity work forward. Walidah Imarisha and other plenary speakers will inspire and challenge us to imagine a new future, throwing away our pre-conceptions about what is possible.
On Wednesday, we’ll dig into the details of the work ahead in the coming months and years, while still holding on to our inspiration. There are sessions on housing development, asset building with IDAs, communication, new strategies to ensure housing and services are aligned for best impact, and on the policy strategies we’ve laid groundwork for. Plenaries will inspire us to dream big and push hard in the 2019 Legislative session.
We look forward to seeing you there, and to the work ahead.