From the Director – June 2019

By Janet Byrd

It’s June, and Oregon is showing off all of its beauty. The Legislature is also coming into the home stretch, working hard to finish by the end of the month. It’s time for all of us to weigh in on our priorities (Individual Development Accounts! Housing opportunity!) one last time – so read on elsewhere in the newsletter for details on how to do that.

Representation has been on my mind a lot during the legislative session, as well as in our internal work at NP. This wonderful profile of Representative Janelle Bynum is a great read, and is a good example of why representation makes a difference. Stories about Senator Jackie Winters, who passed away recently, also offered glimpses of how representation shapes priorities and passions.

Representation, and inclusivity, also helps us make decisions that shape impacts and outcomes. As we grapple with extreme wealth inequality and pervasive disparities in outcomes and access to opportunity, we know who is at the table shaping solutions matters.

Here at Neighborhood Partnerships, we’re taking a hard look at representation in our Board Nominations process. Equity and inclusion has been a priority for quite a while, but thanks in large part to the training we’ve all been part of with the Center for Equity and Inclusion, our conversations in this nominating cycle are deeper, more direct, and promise to help us continue the transformation of our organizational culture. You’ll hear more of this in coming months.

Representation is also a theme of the annual RE:Conference, coming up in October. We’re excited by our emerging schedule, and do hope you’ll plan to join us. We have a new ticket structure, and hope to see an increasingly representative and diverse audience, and more inclusive sessions.

We continue to think about representation in all things – who is in our legislatures and our city councils, who represents us in Washington DC, and our board rooms. As we work to shift this dynamic, and as we, collectively, work to ensure the people who are in these roles look more like the communities we work with, we need to continue to speak up with our decision makers. We urge you to read on in the newsletter to find ways to speak up with decision makers, and then we’ll all get to celebrate an even more promising Oregon summer!