Director’s Desk: December

As we enter into the last month of what has seemed like a never ending year, we can’t help but reflect on this past year- a year that saw a global pandemic upend lives and leave millions sick and unemployed; a year that laid bare the racial, social and economic injustice that BIPOC communities experience daily. This year shined a bright light on our racist systems that continue to perpetuate inequities and that we must work to dismantle in order to build a stronger and fairer Oregon that ensures prosperity and opportunity for all.

2020 has also been a year of change including how we how we respond and show up for one another providing a glimpse of what’s possible when we respond with support and care. This year we saw communities respond to multiple crises with urgency and intention, a year where we saw expanded monetary support, where governments and funders facilitated funding to those most impacted, where mutual aid networks flourished, and a year where brave activists took to the streets to demand justice and bring the much needed recognition that Black Lives Matter. The country also voted in recorded numbers with over 80 million Americans demanding a different direction for our country. 

As we look to the future, Neighborhood Partnerships (NP) will continue to work toward ensuring financial well-being and everyone has a stable, affordable place to call home. Our Housing Justice work will continue to press our decision makers and our Legislature to act before the end of December to protect folks who rent their homes. We’re asking you to call your state lawmakers and remind them that home is a basic human need, and that people who rent their home need stability and protection. When the Legislature convenes in January, the Housing Alliance will have a Housing Opportunity Agenda that we hope you join us in advocating for. If you’re living in affordable housing, we also want you to join Residents Organizing for Change (ROC)! ROC is a powerful group of folks that are organizing in affordable housing buildings to build power for housing justice. If you work for an affordable housing agency–get the word out to your residents and invite them to join ROC.

With our Economic Justice work, NP has been helping to support, co-create, and further collective action with many of you, our partners, to advance consumer and economic justice work here in Oregon with a number of initiatives. First, the Oregon IDA Initiative will be going into the 2021 legislative session advocating for our State legislature to fully fund the Oregon IDA Initiative to support wealth building for our BIPOC and low income communities across the State. We’ll continue to send out updates and opportunities to engage with this. Second, NP has been co-convening the Racial Economic Justice RoundTable, a shared table of BIPOC-led nonprofit organizations and funders with the goal of advancing collective, sustained action for racial and economic justice. The goal is to have a hub for the economic justice conversations, to support narrative change and ultimately a racial economic justice policy agenda. Please reach out to me if you’d like to get involved.  And lastly, the Stop the Debt Trap Alliance (SDTA) is a coalition of organizations representing diverse constituents across Oregon to promote laws and business practices that equitably serve the interests of all consumers, particularly communities of color and those with the lowest incomes. Please email Loren to get involved. 

We know we have a long road ahead of us and we can’t do this work alone. We will need to be organized toward collective and sustained action for racial economic and housing justice! We’ll need one another more than ever going forward to move the needle and support meaningful change into 2021 and beyond. Here is to continuing- all of us together- to fight for an Oregon where we all have a sense of belonging, stability, and the resources that we need to work toward our dreams today, and for generations to come…creating opportunity for all Oregonians. I hope you will join us.