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About OCBA

Commission Meeting: August 1, 2024 9:30am to 11:30am 
Public invited to attend. To attend, CLICK HERE

Our Vision:

We serve the people of Oregon to empower and support the African American and Black community through our special roles as policy advisors to Oregon state policy makers and leaders.   The OCBA is a catalyst that empowers partnerships between state government and our community in rural and urban areas to ensure success for all African American and Black Oregonians by addressing longstanding and emerging issues at the policy level.   

Our Mission: 

The mission of the OCBA is to work for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal and political equality for Oregon's African American and Black communities.

Our Principles and Values:

  • Equity for Oregon's African American and Black communities in jobs and the economy, education, health, safety, family stability, environment, and civic engagement.
  • Equal treatment and protection against discrimination.
  • Access to helpful information on services and available resources.
  • Working in partnership on research and policy analysis of longstanding issues and barriers to success within the African American and Black communities statewide.
  • Inclusion of viewpoints of the African American and Black communities in policy making at the state level.
  • Celebration of and education about the contributions and achievements of Oregon's African American and Black communities.
Our Statutory Goals and Strategic Priorities
  • Advocate for equitable policies assuring the success of Oregon's African American and Black communities at the state level.
  • Engage community and state partners to promote equity for African American and Black communities statewide.
  • Study and analyze issues affecting the African American and Black communities statewide and recommend policy remedies to state policy makers.
  • Grow and develop leaders in the African American and Black communities at the state level in all branches.
  • Increase the viability and visibility of the contributions and achievements of Oregon's African American and Black communities statewide.

Our Bylaws - CLICK HERE

OCBA is actively engaged in its statutory work focused on 7 Strategic Priorities each biennium:
  1. Education
  2. Jobs & the economy
  3. Healthcare
  4. Justice, safety & policing
  5. Stable families and housing
  6. Environmental Justice
  7. Civic engagement

View our Biennium Report: CLICK HERE for 2021-23 Biennium Report

Meet the Commissioners

Lagos, Nigeria
Mitchell "Buchi" Asemota is the Cofounder and Executive Director of Our Streets, a Portland-based nonprofit focused on providing resources for the underserved. Buchi and his Cofounder started Our Streets in 2020 during the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and the pandemic in an effort to fill gaps found within local communities.
Buchi was born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria. He moved to the United States from Nigeria when he was 11, settling in Indiana and going on to study business administration and accounting at Indiana State University.

He worked as a special education teacher post college. Six years ago, he moved to Oregon where he continued as an educator.

In the aftermath of George Floyd's murder, he joined the Portland protests and became inspired to do more. Our Streets began as a community effort with a group of friends and within months evolved into a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. Since then, Our Streets has become the primary meal provider for several houseless shelters in the Portland area.

In January 2022, Buchi was named the Hometown Hero by the Portland Trail Blazers for his work with Our Streets and the community. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Board for Indiana nonprofit Listen to Our Future, as well as the Chairperson of the Board for Portland nonprofit Local Grown.


Commissioner Lakayana Drury (He/Him/His) is the founder and Executive Director of Word is Bond. His inspiration behind founding the organization is a combination of his lived experience and the obstacles he overcame to discover his life path. Lakayana Drury is an educator, social entrepreneur, community organizer, and storyteller, who utilizes community engagement and various mediums of art, including poetry and photography, to uplift hidden stories and inspire others to collective action.

Lakayana has been featured on numerous podcasts including Oregon Public Radio’s Think Out Loud podcast. He was recognized as part of the 2021 class of 40 Under 40, and the 2022 Executive of the Year by the Portland Business Journal, and the 2023 Community Leader of the Year at the 38th Annual Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute by the World Arts Foundation.
Lakayana Drury was raised in Madison, Wisconsin by his hardworking mother and is the eldest of three children. He experienced adversity at an early age, most notably a learning disability diagnosis in sixth grade and his father’s absence for most of his adolescent years. He overcame these challenges and graduated from the University of Wisconsin Stout and went on to pursue a career as a teacher in both elementary and high school, which eventually brought him to Portland, OR.
Lakayana is of Sudanese and Irish ancestry and has done considerable work exploring his biracial identity. His lived experience drives his passion for culturally-grounded education, Hip-Hop pedagogy, mentorship, healthy masculinity, investment in Black communities, and reimagining community safety.
Lakayana’s leadership commitments include serving on Portland’s Local Public Safety Coordinating Committee (LPSCC) Executive Committee, the Center for Black Student Excellence (CBSE) Guiding Coalition with Portland Public Schools, and the Black Male Achievement Steering Committee. In 2023, Lakayana was appointed to the Oregon Commission on Black Affairs which works for the implementation and establishment of economic, social, legal, and political equality for Black Oregonians.
Lakayana is a visionary leader who believes in building a world based on compassion for all people, where every individual has the resources they need to thrive, and dismantling systems of oppression and replacing them with ecosystems that nurture the innate empathy of humanity.


​Djimet Dogo is the Associate Director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization (IRCO) and Director IRCO/Africa House.  His work to effect true community engagement includes a demonstrated history of over 23 years' experience facilitating collaborative coalition building for refugee and immigrant communities. His many educational qualifications include a Master of Public Administration from PSU and several degrees in Human Rights, Conflict Resolution, Peace building and Leadership from France, Austria, Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, Libya and South Africa.   

Mr. Dogo was pivotal in the creation of the culturally specific community focal point Africa House in 2006—the only culturally and linguistically specific one-stop service center targeting the increasingly diverse and rapidly growing number of African immigrants and refugees living in Oregon.  
Mr. Dogo is a member of the Oregon Commission of Black Affairs, member of City of Portland New Portlanders Policy Council (NPPC), Secretary General of the Coalition of Community of Color (CCC) and the Secretary General for the Nationwide African Economic Development Solutions (AEDS).

Ben Duncan’s work has focused on equity and environmental justice for almost two decades in non-profit, government and consultancy practice. 

He currently is a Sr. Director and Facilitator with Kearns & West, where he specializes in developing effective and inclusive processes in complex political and organizational environments and communities to develop collaborative solutions. 
He was a founding appointee to the Oregon Environmental Justice Task Force and serves on the Oregon Commission for Black Affairs as the liaison to EJ Council.

Ben Duncan lives with his better half, Dr. Katherine Rodela and their son Rudolfo, in Southeast Portland.​


Liz Fouther-Branch, BS, MS, is a retired educator turned Storyteller, cultural worker, and archivist who loves sharing stories about family, history, and the sense of place. Liz develops history panels with artist Bobby Fouther on a family archives project that includes 99 years of Black life and the arts in Oregon. Liz's work examines stories through pictures, interviews, and artifacts of her family migration, the intergenerational trauma of red-lining and displacement, and navigating the ins and outs of Black Life.

Liz's goal as a Culture Bearer is to share stories often erased from the typical historical and creative canon. She believes “Black" stories need to be preserved, championed, told, and retold. Her work includes exhibits, presentations, and sharing family photos that tell the history of Black people living, working, and memory-making across the Pacific Northwest. Liz and her brother gave visual presentations on “Juneteenth" for the Oregon Employment Department and “Crossing The Red Line" for the First Unitarian Portland joint with the Oregon Synod Lutherans and the Center for Equity and Inclusion. The creation of the history panels was part of a large exhibition called “Culture + Trauma" at Gallery 114, window exhibits at the Old Albina Art Center, and Red E Cafe.

Her current vision as one of the members of the Culture-Bearers Archive is to continue creating a digital archive showing the creativity, resilience, and persistence of Black life in the Pacific Northwest.​

The Dalles

Dr. Joseph Rankin's story is a testament to perseverance, intellectual pursuit, and an unwavering commitment to service. Originally from Nigeria, he made the significant decision to migrate to the USA, eventually settling in The Dalles, Oregon.

Academically, Dr. Rankin has never ceased in his quest for knowledge. He boasts an MBA in Business Administration and a Doctor of Sacred Theology/Ministry. Presently, he is furthering his education at the American Military University, where he is pursuing another MBA, this time with a focus on International Relations & Global Security.
In The Dalles, Dr. Rankin has actively contributed to his community by working with Mid-Columbia Community Action, serving as a Housing Placement Specialist for both Wasco & Sherman County. His service extended to the state level with his appointment as a Commissioner on Black Affairs.
Internationally, Dr. Rankin's footprint is significant. He has advocated for human rights as a Regional Ambassador for the International Human Rights Commission in Geneva, Switzerland. His diplomatic endeavors further took him to Africa, where he was honored as an Honorary Consul General for the Diplomatic Mission Albania.
His passion for justice and law enforcement has seen him take on roles such as Chaplain Colonel of the International Police Organization, the International Police Forum, and the International Alliance of Chaplains & Law Enforcement, all based in New York. As a Colonel and Ambassador of the Kentucky Colonels, his influence spread across different spheres.
Back home in The Dalles, Dr. Rankin contributes to local leadership as the Vice President of the Dalles Lions Club. On the international stage, he champions human rights as the International President of the International Human Rights Protection Service in Florida.
Among his vast array of accolades, the 2022 Presidential Voluntary Service Award shines prominently, underscoring his dedication to voluntary service. Although a concise account like this can only touch on Dr. Rankin's many achievements, it's clear that he stands as an emblem of leadership, service, and academic commitment both in the USA and globally.


​Travis Nelson was appointed to the House of Representatives on January 27, 2022 representing House District 44. He was sworn in on the first day of the 2022 Legislative Session. He is proud to join the legislature as the first ever Black LGBTQIA+ member.
The grandson of Louisiana sharecroppers, his parents moved his family to the Pacific Northwest before he entered grade school. He put himself through community college and then Washington State University School of Nursing by working food service, landscaping, and janitorial positions. It is this strong work ethic that has carried him to where he is today.
Throughout his career as a Registered Nurse he saved lives by practicing constant attentiveness along with being a strong advocate. He specialized in Emergency Nursing, Critical Care Nursing, Medical-Surgical Nursing and Rehabilitation Nursing. Serving as a union representative honed his advocacy skills and allowed him to begin tackling the many problems inherent in our healthcare system. He is a member of the Sierra Club, American Nurses Association, Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, the NAACP and a former Vice President of the Oregon Nurses Association. He knows healthcare is intersectional and is entwined with our environment, housing policy, racial justice, and so many other social determinants of health. It is this intersectionality that initially drove him to run for office. ​


Senator Woods was elected to the Oregon Senate in 2022.

Senator Woods grew up on the south side of Chicago. After graduating from a tech-oriented high school, he served in the U.S. Army for 6 years as part of Strategic Communications (STRATCOM). After leaving the Army Senator Woods started his high-tech career and eventually came to Oregon where he worked for 24 years as a Senior Executive of some of Oregon's biggest tech companies.

Since retiring, Senator Woods has served his community and has a strong commitment to making it a place where everyone can succeed. He served on the Wilsonville Development and Review Board (2013-2018), Wilsonville Planning Commission (2020-2022), and Clackamas County Community College Board (2019-Present). Senator Woods is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through his work with the Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Communities and the Wilsonville DEI Exploratory Group.

Senator Woods has been appointed as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Information Management & Technology, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Ways & Means Subcommittee on Transportation and Economic Development, member of the Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness, Joint Committee on Transportation, Senate Committee on Conduct and Joint Committee on Conduct

Senator Woods volunteers on several boards including Digitunity, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA), and the Wilsonville Alliance for Inclusive Communities.​

OCBA Bylaws

Read the OCBA Bylaws

Public Records Requests (PRR)

The Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office (OACO) responds to requests for public records in the general way described in the Oregon Department of Administrative Services' (DAS) Public Records Requests policy (pdf).

The DAS Public Records Requests Fees and Charges policy outlines the fees the department charges for records, and the process the agency uses to fulfill requests.

Please choose one of the following methods to request public records from OACO:
1. Email your request to Terrence Saunders, Interim Executive Director with "PRR" included in the subject line:


2. Mail a written request to this address:

Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office
PO Box 17550
Portland, OR 97217

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