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Racial Justice Council


We must change how we listen to, engage with, respond to, and support Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) and Tribal members in Oregon.

Leaders in the public sector, business community and non-profit sector must work with Black, Indigenous and People of Color to dismantle the structures of racism that have created grave disparities in virtually all of our social systems and structures, including: mass incarceration and criminal justice involvement, access to housing, health outcomes, economic opportunity and wealth creation, and educational attainment. The urgency could not be greater in this moment to channel and follow the voices of those people most impacted by historical and institutional racism in Oregon and create a system with them that fully supports us all.

Achieving this goal will require a new approach.

Establishing racial justice will take foundational reform and is why this Council will be inclusive of representatives from diverse backgrounds, while at the same time explicitly centering Black, Indigenous and People of Color. BIPOC communities have already been communicating the policies and investments that will have the most significant impact on their communities. The Racial Justice Council will ensure that prioritized recommendations are communicated to the Governor and the State Legislature to inform the next state budget and legislative agenda.

The Racial Justice Council’s charge is to:

  • Direct the collection of data from across sectors of society to support smart, data-driven policy decisions
  • Provide principles and recommendations that center racial justice to the Governor to inform the ‘23-25 Governor’s Recommended Budget and Tax Expenditures Report
  • Creating a Racial Justice Action Plan for six specific areas: Criminal Justice Reform and Police Accountability, Housing and Homelessness, Economic Opportunity, Health Equity, Environmental Equity, Education Recovery

Council Members

Council Members include:

  • Angela Uherbelau
  • Annie Valtierra-Sanchez
  • Chi Nguyen-Joyner
  • Cynthia Richardson
  • Dr. Danny Jacobs
  • Enna Helms
  • Felisa Hagins
  • Jan Mason
  • Jenny Pool Radway
  • Jesse Beason
  • Jessica Price
  • Joth Ricci
  • Khanh Le
  • Lamar Wise
  • Lauren Nguyen
  • Marcus Mundy
  • Marin Arreola
  • Dr. Marisa Zapata
  • Mark Strong
  • Michael Alexander
  • Miriam Vargas Corona
  • Nkenge Harmon Johnson
  • Patsy Richards
  • Reyna Lopez
  • Sharon Gary-Smith
  • Tiffany Monroe
  • Toc Soneoulay-Gillespie
  • Josie 
  • De'von
  • Willa Powless

Council Meetings

The Council will meet virtually twice monthly through December for 2 hours per meeting, then once monthly starting in January 2021. Meeting agendas and materials will be available and updated on the website as they become available. Committees will meet virtually 2-4 times per month.

Meeting Documents

Council Membership

  • Council Chair: Governor Tina Kotek
  • All council members are appointed by Governor Tina Kotek. Members must have:
    • A demonstrated commitment to racial equity, social and economic justice, diversity and inclusion.
    • Connections to, or experience working with, historically underserved communities, particularly tribal communities, immigrants, refugees, Black, Indigenous and People of Color.
    • Have personal and/or professional experience and knowledge in public policy, criminal justice reform, police accountability, economic opportunity, housing, homelessness, health equity, behavioral health, education or research/data.
  • Each Council member will serve on one committee.
  • Target of 30-40 high profile community leaders.
  • Council Membership Term: 1-year commitment to start.

Role of Council Members

  • Recommend changes to state policies, practices, budgets and structures to align them within a racial justice and equity framework.
  • Provide guidance to Racial Justice Council staff in creating Racial Justice Action plans for six specific areas, including reviewing plans created by each of the Committees.
  • Develop long-term strategies designed to institutionalize racial justice into the way the State of Oregon conducts business.
  • Directly communicate with other community leaders and bring feedback from them back to the Council.
  • Identify areas of potential future collaboration with the state and outside stakeholders.

Committees

The Racial Justice Council will have six separate committees, each with co-leads. Racial Justice Council members will each sit on one committee. Additional committee members with relevant expertise will be appointed to each committee as well.

In addition to the education committee of this Council, existing education committees are charged with developing statewide education equity plans for the State of Oregon and will report regularly to the Racial Justice Council and receive feedback from the Council as well.

The Racial Justice Council recognizes that existing boards and commissions have been working to address racial inequities in state government. Depending on the policy and issue areas, there may be opportunities for cross-pollination and engagement to advance racial justice collaboratively with the Racial Justice Council’s committees.

Criminal Justice Reform 

In aid of advising the Governor, the committee will:

Provide recommendations on changes to Oregon’s criminal justice system that center racial equity. Areas covered include Restorative Justice, Reentry Programs, and additional structures of accountability.

Housing & Homelessness

In aid of advising the Governor, the committee will:

Identify barriers to housing affordability and strategies for ending homelessness that center communities of color, are culturally specific and/or responsive, and result in the reduction of disparities in homelessness and rent burden among people of color in Oregon. Provide a list of identified homeownership strategies.

Economic Opportunity

Identify needs to support long-term economic success of populations who experience systemic economic disadvantages in business creation, access to traditional capital and wealth creation. Evaluate current economic development incentives, grants, tax breaks, technical assistance, and other supports in terms of racial justice, and provide recommendations for modifications if appropriate. Evaluate current public contracting opportunities for minority-owned and underserved businesses and develop strategies to dramatically increase them.

Health Equity

Recommend changes to state and agency health policies, practices, and structures to align them within a racial justice and health equity framework. The purpose is to make necessary institutional and statutory changes necessary to promote health equity, improve disaggregated data collection, and recommend interventions for racial health disparities in social determinants of health.

Environmental Equity

With BIPOC community input, updates to programs, policies, budgets and strategic plans should be proposed to environment and natural resources state agencies to center racial equity and removes unequal treatment of people of color. Priority areas include environmental justice and access to the outdoors.

Education Recovery

  • Recommending to the Governor key priorities for system improvement in response to COVID-19 and removing barriers to child and youth access, opportunity and outcomes in early care and education, K-12 and higher education.
  • Elevating sector-specific strategic plan goals, equity policy goals, and statewide equity plans as articulated through the Early Learning Council, State Board of Education, Educator Advancement Council, Youth Development Council, Higher Education Coordination, and statewide equity advisory committees.
  • Reporting to the Racial Justice Council on policy and budget priorities building on existing sector plans and equity goals across early learning, K-12 and higher education; and reports to the relevant education boards and commissions.

Staffing

The Racial Justice Council and associated Committee will be led by the Governor's Equity and Racial Justice Director, Becca Uherbelau, Racial Justice Advisor, Javier Cervantes, and the Racial Justice Council Policy Coordinator, Nolan Douglass. Additional Governor’s staff and state agency staff with domain expertise will staff the individual committees.


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