For this month’s Director’s Desk, I wanted to be able to share some news with our partners. After much discussion among staff, this year, we have decided to transition our annual RE:Conference, and move to an every other year RE:Conference.
As you’ve read in this space previously, NP has been on a journey to incorporate racial equity, diversity, and inclusion into and throughout our work. Several of the tenets of our racial equity work has been to slow down, to be willing to do things differently and experience discomfort, and to engage multiple perspectives in our work. Together, we brought these forward to make this difficult decision about this year’s RE:Conference.
RE:Conference is always an opportunity to bring our community together, to build support and momentum for our collective work, to re-energize and to re-envision our work.
This decision to not gather this year, after now more than a year of struggle and heartbreak and not being able to gather in person was not an easy decision. The potential to see all of you – our partners – in person is such a powerful and hopeful idea. However, there is so much that makes this year’s opportunity to gather in person uncertain still.
This decision though is rooted in our agreements around our equity work. As we dig more in depth to our equity work, we know that a RE:Conference that centers the voices of those most impacted, that lifts up racial equity and inclusion, and that reflects our best hopes for this work takes time and energy. We also know how important it is at NP to do the work right. Today, with our current capacity and bandwidth, our organization like so many of yours, is stretched thin. Being able to slow down and say “not this year” to RE:Conference will help give our team a chance to re-think RE:Conference and give that work the time and energy it deserves. This plan, to hold a RE:Conference every other year, beginning in 2022, would allow us to plan the 2022 RE:Conference with more intention, to be more deliberate, and thoughtful, and to make the conference more impactful.
Rather than stretch ourselves further in 2021, we’ve chosen to focus on a few other things on our plate – renewing and expanding the IDA Tax Credit and helping to create housing opportunity in the Legislature; engaging in strategic planning; and several other events! We’re currently planning on an economic justice event, a fall summit for Residents Organizing for Change, and a day for the Oregon IDA Initiative to gather together. We are looking forward to engaging with all of you during these occasions.
In sharing this, we hoped to provide context and transparency for this decision. We hope you will continue to join us at our events, and support NP as we plan for RE:Conference in 2022.