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Commissioners
 
Chair


Chair Jamal T. Fox​
Jamal T. Fox, Portland​

Jamal Fox is the Deputy Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner with the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs. Fox’s professional experience ranges from private sector to politics to education to government. In 2013, Fox was first elected to the Greensboro City Council representing District 2 as the youngest ever elected in Greensboro, NC. In 2015, he was re-elected to the Greensboro City Council and served through 2017. Prior to being elected, Fox worked for three years at the City of Greensboro in the City Manager’s office and the Department of Planning and Community Development. He is also a former North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University Political Science Adjunct Professor, Social Studies and Leadership Teacher with Guilford County Schools, community advocate, youth mentor, and political leader in North Carolina. Fox was born in Fredericksburg, V.A. and raised in Greensboro, N.C. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and a Master’s Degree in Public Administration from Capella University. Fox’s philosophy is to always believe in yourself, your dreams and to always strive to make a difference in the lives of others.
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Vice-Chair

 
Vice-Chair Lawanda Manning​
Lawanda Joyce Manning, Eugene
 

Lawanda Joyce Manning has been actively engaged in public service since she moved to Eugene, Oregon in 2007. She is deeply involved in strengthening public education systems, and is a strong advocate of social justice reform, equity treatment, and full healthcare for all Oregonians. She co-founded the Oregon Black Education Foundation (OBEF), a nonprofit that has awarded thousands of dollars in scholarships to underrepresented and low-income students to further their education or pursue a technical or skills trade.

 
Lawanda served as President of the National Association of Professional Women, Eugene/Springfield Chapter, and continues to serve as OBEF Board of Directors/Treasurer.  She has a background in the banking industry and international engagement working with the U.S. military (South Korea, Panama, and Puerto Rico) and Department of State American Embassy, Canberra ACT Australia.
 
Lawanda holds a Master of Business Administration from Northwest Christian University and a Baccalaureate of Science, Business Studies from Southern New Hampshire University.  
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Commissioners​

 
Commissioner Angela Addae 
Angela Addae - Eugene
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Angela E. Addae is an Assistant Professor at the University of Oregon School of Law, where she focuses on Civil Rights Law, Social Enterprise Law, and Race & the Law.  Her research examines how municipal redevelopment policies affect neighborhood institutions in urban settings. Prior to joining the University of Oregon, Addae practiced as a litigation attorney, primarily representing Oregon’s small businesses and large corporations in federal court.  

In addition to her service with the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs, Addae is involved with the Oregon Chapter of the National Bar Association and the Portland Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.

Addae earned her J.D. and Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Arizona.  She is also a proud alumna of Fisk University.  ​

Commissioner ​Djimet Dogo
 
Djimet Dogo - Portland

Djimet Dogo has been the Director of Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) Africa House since it was established in 2006.
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Photo of Commissioner Ben Duncan
Commissioner Ben Duncan
 
 
Ben Duncan - Portland

Ben Duncan is the Chief Diversity and Equity Officer for Multnomah County. He has been with the county since 2004 when he began his career in Environmental Health as a community health worker. He has since worked as a health educator, policy analyst and manager of the Health Equity Initiative. In each of these roles, his work has always focused on the relationships between our social, economic, and environmental conditions and racial and ethnic disparities.

Ben Duncan was a founding board member of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, an organization that organizes people with low incomes and people of color to build power for environmental justice and civil rights in the community.He also serves on the Oregon Commission for Black Affairs, the Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force, and is Chair of Oregon Public Health Institute's Board.

Ben Duncan lives with his better half, Dr. Katherine Rodela and their son Rudolfo, in Southeast Portland.​​
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Commissioner Mariotta
Gary-Smith 
Mariotta Gary-Smith, Portland
Mariotta Gary-Smith is a native of Portland, OR; & a 3rd generation social justice activist/agitator deeply committed to working towards social justice, public health & sexual equity, in particular for communities of color/ethnic identity. 

In 2009, she helped co-found the Women Of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN; www.wocshn.org), a domestic & international online resource collective for women of color sexuality professionals.

With over 15 years of experience working with diverse/multicultural communities and organizations on reproductive/sexual health and justice, sexuality & health education and harm reduction, Mariotta continues to advocate for & provides safe spaces for open discussion/collaboration, as well as presenting at professional conferences, conducting trainings & workshops that educate women and girls of color about identity, sexual health, sexuality, safer sex behavior practices & sexual health advocacy. 

C
urrently, Mariotta serves as the ASHEP (Adolescent Sexual Health Equity Health Program) Health Educator in the STD/HIV Program for the Multnomah County Health Department in Portland, OR.
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Commissioner Musse Olol​
Musse Olol, Portland

Musse Olol was born and raised in Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia. He later immigrated to Oregon in the United States, where he would live for the next 33 years. He eventually became an American citizen.

For his post-secondary education, Olol attended the local Portland State University. There, he earned a degree in mechanical engineering.

Publicly, Olol is noted for his social work with the Somali American Council of Oregon (SACOO), serving as its Chairman and official spokesperson. His duties with the organization include volunteering as a counselor, facilitator, interpreter and co-sponsor. SACOO offers guidance to new Somali families and works closely with city, state and federal authorities to strengthen civic relations.

[see full bio]
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Oregon Legislative Assembly Representatives

Photo of REpresentative Akasha Lawrence Spence


 
Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence
Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence, D - Portland's West Side, District 36

Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence is the Founder & Principal Designer of Fifth Element—a conscientious real estate  development firm fortifying small businesses through commercial property ownership. She believes that when communities have ownership and control of their resources, they are more resilient, self-sufficient and dynamic.

Representative Lawrence Spence is also the Founder of Melanated, a womxn of color organization focused on financial empowerment, entrepreneurship, civic engagement, and community stewardship. Representative Lawrence Spence's work serves as an incubator for economic growth and the creation of generational wealth in frontline communities. She serves on the Associate Board of Business for a Better Portland, where she uses her advocacy background to serve underrepresented communities and small business stakeholders who come together to work for progressive change in public policy.

The work Representative Lawrence Spence is actively engaged in, in the legislature is congruent to the goals and mission of the work she has committed to before her appointment. She continues to strive to create a new level of transparency, engagement, and accountability in the public sphere, centering the voices of the underrepresented and marginalized, a platform she championed during her tenure on The City of Portland's Planning and Sustainability Commission.

"There is no greater purpose in life than to live in service to others," and that is the ethos Representative Lawrence Spence has built her life's work on.
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Senator - Vacant​​