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About OCBA

OCBA now: OCBA Open Statement to Communities and Policymakers

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.

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

Meet the Commissioners


​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.

​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.
Mariotta completed her undergraduate & graduate work in Atlanta, GA (Agnes Scott College ’95; Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University ‘08); and was one of 5 nationally selected scholars for the 2008-2009 Inaugural Class of the Center of Excellence for Sexual Health (CESH) Scholars Program at Morehouse School of Medicine. In 2009, she helped co-found the Women Of Color Sexual Health Network (WOCSHN;, 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.
Currently, 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.


​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.


​Djimet Dogo has been the Director of Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization's (IRCO) Africa House since it was established in 2006.​

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.​


​James' professional and community service started as a state corrections officer, and later a police officer, railroad special agent and private investigator prior to enlisting into the United States Army 1 April 1983. During his military career a few of his distinguished assignments included a Military Diplomat to the Australian and New Zealand Defense Forces, U.S. Army Assistant Inspector General, Garrison Community NCO,  and Chief Administrator Supervisor United States Army Southern Command.

Other distinguished military leadership positions included assignments as Battalion Training Officer/Detachment Sergeant Major for a deployed unit, Postal Supervisor (Military Post Office), and U.S. Army Drill Sergeant (basic combat training). James honorably retired from the United States Army after over 24 years active service. 

Since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2007 James and wife Lawanda (married 38 years) moved to Eugene where he continues to volunteer his time and unique talents serving his community on a number of nonprofits, local, and state boards and commissions.

In the nonprofit area, James served as a Board of Director for Pearl Buck Center Inc., and volunteered as a Loaned Executive for United Way of Lane County (2011 campaign).  Currently, he is appointed to the Bethel School District Budget Committee (Committee Chair 2015) and the Bethel School District Long-Term Facility Planning Committee. He is a Co-founder of a community supported nonprofit foundations that provides scholarships to underrepresented and low income area students.

James was appointed by two Oregon governors to a Oregon Commission on Black Affairs serving three consecutive term as Chair. He served six years as a member of the City of Eugene Police Commission chairing the Police Commission Outreach Resources Committee, co-chaired the Gang Awareness Planning Committee, and member of the policy screening committee. He mediated over 300 sessions as a volunteer mediator for Lane County Circuit Courts Small Claims Department and in 2012, James was elected to the Eugene Water and Electric Board.

James was appointed to the Oregon State Senate for Senate District 7 December 12, 2016.  A few of his top priorities are quality education, living wage jobs, safer neighborhoods and communities for all Oregonians. Veteran's issues are among his top legislative priorities.


Associate of Arts Law Enforcement, Baccalaureate of Arts Criminal Justice Administration, Master of Arts Organizational Leadership, and is now in the dissertation development phase for his Education Doctorate Organizational Leadership with emphasis on Organizational Development. He holds various advance and professional certificates.

Portland's West Side

​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.

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 Lucy Baker, the Administrator of the OACO with "PRR" included in the subject line.


2. Mail a written request to this address:

Oregon Advocacy Commissions Office
421 SW Oak St., Suite 770
Portland, OR 97204

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