Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon

For an Oregon where all women and girls thrive, all women and girls need to have equitable access to the opportunities it takes to thrive. But right now, many of Oregon’s women and girls of color do not. Because of the way race and gender intersect, women and girls of color face disproportionate barriers to success.

While it will take public policies to tackle the systemic nature of the gender and racial inequities found in Count Her In, each one of us can also make a difference. Watch our “Eight That Can’t Wait:” Systemic Racism discussion, and check out the resources below.

Five Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon:

  1. Deepen your understanding. If you identify as white, educate yourself on what racism is, and how it has shaped and continues to shape our country, state, and communities. If you read one thing, start with Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People about Racism, by Robin DiAngelo. Resources:
  2. Diversify your newsfeed. Seek out the perspectives of people of color, particularly women of color. Simply following (click “Follow” rather than “Add friend”) these voices on Facebook (or Twitter) will bring them into your newsfeed. Resources:
  3. Listen to people of color. Organizations led by people of color have been advocating for racial justice for a long time. Look to them for guidance on how to best address systemic racism. Sign up for the newsletters of these organizations, and follow them on social media. Resources:
  4. Center voices of color. Amplify the voices of people of color in meetings. Ask your HR department about your company’s diversity and inclusion policies, and request an all-staff anti-racism workshop. Don’t put together or participate in all-white panels. Make sure representatives from communities of color are invited to the decision-making table, listened to, amplified, and have their needs met. Ask leadership how decisions will affect women and girls of color. Resources:
  5. Interrupt racism: hold yourself and others accountable. Commit to opposing racism in your personal and professional life, every day. This means examining and interrupting your own racist thoughts and actions. This means holding others accountable at home, at work, at school, in media, in your community, and in elected office. This means using your “power and privilege responsibly in the service of justice.” We encourage white people to come from a place of empathy and compassion when addressing racism. Resources:
Thank you to our wonderful panelists for sharing their expertise and powerful personal experiences with us.

Panelists (left to right):

 The Oregon Women’s Foundation hosted a conversation on systemic racism in Oregon earlier in February, 2017.  It was part of its “Eight that Can’t Wait” discussion series that arose out of its 2016 “Count Her In” Report on the status of women in Oregon

May Jan. 21 be an empowering course correction for the feminist movement

Lisa Frack is the President of Oregon NOW (Andrea Paluso is a former Oregon NOW Officer).  This Opinion appeared in the January 21, 2017 Oregonian


Hundreds participated in the Portland Women March Against Hate in December. The authors believe the feminist movement needs a broader understanding how each woman experiences oppression uniquely. (Allan Brettman/Staff)

By Andrea Paluso and Lisa Frack

Today, one day after the inauguration of Donald Trump, thousands of Oregon women and other feminists will take to the streets in peaceful protest of the hate, racism and misogyny that fueled his campaign. Marches are happening across the globe, uniting women’s voices in opposition to oppression and in favor of equal rights for all. It’s an historic day that demonstrates the depth and intensity of resistance we hope will continue throughout Trump’s presidency.

The planning of these marches has been a subject of great discussion. The Oregon march, like the national march, started as an idea among a few white women who were looking for a way to protest the new administration. Given the magnitude of opposition to Trump, their idea quickly grew into something much bigger. They hoped that these larger gatherings would be a place for all women to come together in solidarity against a common threat. However, this good intention was unlikely to be realized given the historic and ongoing ways in which marginalized women of color, indigenous women, Muslim women, trans women, queer women, immigrant women and women with disabilities are so rarely invited into leadership roles when the conversation is convened by white women.

This failure to include all voices from the beginning is what caused groups like the Portland branch of the NAACP to not support the event, and for groups like ours to make plans to follow suit if actions were not taken to change course. To be clear, these conversations about feminism and inclusion are important and overdue. They represent the hard work of welcoming, listening, and partnering respectfully with people whose lives are different than our own.

Following the NAACP’s departure, the Portland march experienced a positive change of leadership. The march has since taken steps toward broad inclusiveness and is now being led by a person of color. But the problem of white women excluding more marginalized women — whether by intention or lack of understanding — is as old as the feminist movement itself. White women have long centered our own liberation over the liberation of all women, resulting in greater inequity among women (by race, gender identity, immigration status) than exists between white women and white men.

Truth is, women who are not straight, white and cisgendered face greater threats and oppression than those who are. Not acknowledging this is a form of racism. The families of historically marginalized women risk being torn apart by state-sanctioned violence. Their body autonomy is not just threatened by diminished access to reproductive health care, but through greater experiences of criminalization and draconian immigration and deportation policies. Economic opportunity has never been as available to more marginalized women as it has for white women.

Oppression at the intersections of race, gender, sexual orientation, or immigration status is more insidious and will require greater devotion from more of us to dismantle. As white women, we need to work harder to recognize the role we’ve played and continue to play in reinforcing oppression in various systems and spaces. Patriarchy, for example, is upheld not just by men, but by women, too.

How inspiring that we have this moment to stand by and for each other — today and for the long haul. What our feminist movement will need to achieve its goal of equal rights for all women and marginalized people everywhere is a broader understanding of and emphasis on how every woman experiences oppression uniquely. To truly move our country forward requires white women’s feminism and activism to include and center experiences that are not our own. An authentic women’s movement cannot focus only on those things experienced by all of us; we must focus on things that impact any one of us.

This work will not end on Jan. 21. The Women’s March is instead another beginning, a powerful opportunity to get it right for every woman. We hope you will help in all the ways you can to build the most robust and inclusive women’s movement we can. The one that all women need and deserve.

Andrea Paluso is executive director of Family Forward Action. Lisa Frack is president of the National Organization of Women, Oregon Chapter.

The Oregonian, Opinion, January 21, 2017

The ‘Hidden Figures’ Jeff Sessions Wants to Keep in the Shadows

IIRT meeting to discuss human rights strategies

IIRT meeting to discuss human rights strategiesThe Immigration Information Response Team of Lincoln County will be meeting in the upstairsconference room of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 9th and Hurbert in Newport, at 1 p.m. on Saturday, January 7, 2017. Everyone interested in protecting civil and human rights from the current threats to vulnerable populations is invited to attend.
    Cara Schufelt, co-director of the Rural Organizing Project, will lead the meeting, giving an overview of the implications for small-town Oregon, strategies so far around the state, action steps we could take, and facilitating a discussion of strategic thinking for Lincoln County.
    For more information, contact Centro de Ayuda at 541 265 6216.


David Gomberg   State Representative 10th District

     A few nights before the holidays, images of hate, intolerance and intimidation were sprayed on walls and vehicles at three local businesses.  

Whether an intentional hate crime or misguided youthful mischief, such acts of malice cannot and should not be ignored. We are a community that respects each other, supports each other, and celebrates our diversity. This is a teachable moment, and the lesson is that we stand with the victims.  

A swastika painted on one house, car, or business is a violation of every house and every business.**[SEE Police Log below for specific information]  

Our nation and our state have sadly seen a recent increase in political, religious and ethnic incivility. Lincoln County is not immune. But it should be clear we do not agree, ignore, nor accept such cowardly and criminal acts in our communities.  

Our police agencies are aware, are investigating, and are sensitive to these issues. Anyone with information should contact the Lincoln City Police Department, 541-994-3636.

Newport News Times, January 4, 2017,  A6


The police blotter relates the public record of incidents as reported by the Lincoln City Police, Lincoln County Sheriff, and Oregon State Police. All individuals arrested or charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty. Information printed is preliminary and subject to change.


10:13 a.m. Criminal mischief, 2701 NW Highway 101. The caller reported that vehicles had swastikas spray painted on them. (Dorchester House)

10:41 a.m. Criminal mischief, Puerto Vallarta, 3001 NW Highway 101. The caller reported a swastika and a face was spray painted on a box truck at the business.

11:02 a.m. Criminal mischief, Little Antique Mall, 3128 NE Highway 101. The caller reported that someone spray painted a swastika on the front of the building.

The First Somali-American Woman Elected To Office Was Harassed In D.C.

She did not provide information about the driver. Her campaign staff did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press.

Omar escaped Somalia’s brutal civil war as a child and spent four years in a Kenyan refugee camp before coming to the United States. She has worked as a political activist in Minnesota, and with a nonprofit aimed at promoting civic engagement among East African women. Refinery29 featured Omar’s moving story as part of our Behind The Headlines series earlier this year. You can watch that piece below:

West Virginia mayor resigns over racist Facebook post on Michelle Obama

A small town US mayor has stepped down from her post following an uproar over a racist social media post targeting Michelle Obama. The First Lady and her family have previously been the target of racial slurs.


A mayor from the US state of West Virginia resigned on Tuesday following outrage over her apparent endorsement of a racist Facebook post against First Lady Michelle Obama, officials said.

Beverly Whaling, who was mayor of the small town of Clay, commented on a colleague’s incendiary post on Facebook comparing Obama to an ape.

Clay County Development Corp. director Pamela Ramsey reportedly posted after Donald Trump’s election: “It will be refreshing to have a classy, beautiful, dignified First Lady in the White House.

“I’m tired of seeing a Ape in heels.”

Mayor Whaling responded: “Just made my day Pam.”

Whalin stepped down amid the ensuing uproar, town official Joe Coleman said. Ramsey was reportedly fired after the comments emerged.

Clay Town Council member Jason Hubbard condemned the “horrible and indecent” post and said racism and intolerance “isn’t what this community is about.” He apologized on behalf of the town to Michelle Obama and anyone who was offended.

Whaling earlier issued a written apology to news media outlets saying her comment wasn’t intended to be racist.

“I was referring to my day being made for change in the White House! I am truly sorry for any hard feeling this may have caused! Those who know me know that I’m not in any way racist!”

West Virginia Democratic Party Chairwoman Belinda Biafore offered an apology to Michelle Obama

“I would like extend my sincerest apologies to first lady Michelle Obama,” Biafore said in a statement.

“West Virginia truly is better than this. These radical, hateful, and racist ideals are exactly what we at the West Virginia Democratic Party will continue to fight against. These words and actions do not represent West Virginia values.”

bw/kl (AP, AFP)

Donald Trump Does Detroit

(Op Ed Columnist, NY Times) SEPT. 5, 2016

So, after weeks of preaching his sinister sermon of black pathology to mostly white audiences as part of his utterly fake “black outreach” — which is in fact the effort of a bigot to disguise his bigotry — Donald Trump finally brought his message before a few mostly black audiences.

He spoke Friday to a handful of African-Americans in North Philadelphia, and as described on, told them that “he is not a bigot, and blamed the media for portraying him that way, according to people who attended a private event.”

No sir, stop right there. We are not going to allow any deflection or redefining of words here. You are a bigot. That is not a media narrative or a fairy tale. That is an absolute truth. No one manufactured your bigotry; you manifested it.

You have proudly brandished your abrasiveness, and now you want to whine and moan about your own abrasions. Not this day. Not the next day. Not ever. You will never shake the essence of yourself. Your soul is dark, your character corrupt. You are a reprobate and a charlatan who has ridden a wave of intolerance to its crest.

You were a chief birther against President Obama. You have maligned Mexicans and slandered Muslims. You have treated women with disdain. You have mocked the handicapped. You have displayed a staggering lack of basic knowledge about governance. You have applauded dictators. You have encouraged the assault of protesters at your rallies.


Donald Trump in Detroit on Saturday. Credit Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

You are a prime example of the worst of humanity. You are what happens when incuriosity meets intolerance.

You are not to be praised for your fourth quarter outreach, but reviled for it, because it contains contempt, not contrition.

Then on Saturday, Trump traveled to Detroit and visited with a church congregation, or at least with a fraction of that congregation, judging from an image of the nearly empty venue.

Before Trump read his remarks, he said, “I just wrote this the other day knowing that I would be here, and I mean it from the heart.”

That’s the first thing that sounded like a lie. The New York Times reported last week that Trump’s advisers had gotten the questions Trump was supposed to answer during an interview in Detroit and prepared a script for him. What makes us think that they didn’t also write his pandering speech?

He told the gathering, “Our nation is too divided,” while not acknowledging that he is a principle source of that division. He said: “We talk past each other, not to each other. Those who seek office do not do enough to step into the community and learn what is going on.” And yet he never acknowledged that until now, when his poll numbers have dipped and worrisome numbers of people said they believed he appeals to racism and bigotry, he has avoided coming into the black community like one might avoid the plague.

The speech was feather-light on policy, but what was there was just repackaged Republican claptrap that reinforced negative perceptions about liberalism and blackness.

Trump said, “I believe we need a civil rights agenda of our time, one that ensures the rights to a great education and the right to live in safety and in peace and to have a really, really great job, a good-paying job, and one that you love to go to every morning.”

Translation: I want to further weaken public education through more charters and vouchers. I want to flood your neighborhoods with more police because you can’t control yourselves. I want you to stop freeloading, get off welfare, and get a job.

Everything about this spectacle was offensive: that a black pastor had invited this money changer into the temple to defile it; that Trump was once again using the objects of his aggression for a last-ditch photo-op; that news media continue to call this an “outreach to black voters,” when it’s clearly not.

But again, the citizens of Detroit — or black people in general — are not the intended audience for this pageant of perversity. You can’t earnestly court the black vote while at the same time your party is enacting laws in multiple states to suppress the black vote. The whole thing is a logical fallacy.

Trump closed his speech in Detroit by quoting a passage from First John, Chapter 4 in the Bible: “No one has ever seen God but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.”

I too would like to close by quoting a passage from 1 John 4: “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”

Everything about Trump reads to me as false, and I hope that on Election Day, America exercises the gift of discernment.

‘The Way People Look at Us Has Changed’: Muslim Women on Life in Europe

SEPT. 2, 2016  The NY Times


Saima Ashraf, 39, at the Barking Town Hall in London, where she is a leader in the local government. She said such an achievement would not have been possible for her as a veiled woman in her home country, France. Credit Andrew Testa for The New York Times

The storm over bans on burkinis in more than 30 French beach towns has all but drowned out the voices of Muslim women, for whom the full-body swimsuits were designed. The New York Times solicited their perspective, and the responses — more than 1,000 comments from France, Belgium and beyond — went much deeper than the question of swimwear.

What emerged was a portrait of life as a Muslim woman, veiled or not, in parts of Europe where terrorism has put people on edge. One French term was used dozens of times: “un combat,” or “a struggle,” to live day to day. Many who were born and raised in France described confusion at being told to go home.

Courts have struck down some of the bans on burkinis — the one in Nice, the site of a horrific terror attack on Bastille Day, was overturned on Thursday — but the debate is far from over.

“For years, we have had to put up with dirty looks and threatening remarks,” wrote Taslima Amar, 30, a teacher in Pantin, a suburb of Paris. “I’ve been asked to go back home (even though I am home).” Now, Ms. Amar said, she and her husband were looking to leave France.

Laurie Abouzeir, 32, said she was considering starting a business caring for children in her home in Toulouse, southern France, because that would allow her to wear a head scarf, frowned upon and even banned in some workplaces.

Many women wrote that anti-Muslim bias had intensified after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015, and in Brussels, Paris and Nice more recently. Halima Djalab Bouguerra, a 21-year-old student in Bourg-en-Bresse, France, dated the change further back, to the killings by Mohammed Merah in the southwest of the country in 2012.

“The way people look at us has changed,” Ms. Bouguerra wrote. “Tongues have loosened. No one is afraid of telling a Muslim to ‘go back home’ anymore.”

Here are some excerpts from the comments we received. They have been condensed and edited for clarity, and translated for those who wrote in French.

Continue reading the main story


August 23, 2016 – African-American Women’s Equal Pay Day

Equal Pay Day, August 23, for African-American women is a full 236 days into a second year that they have to work to be equal in pay to the dollar paid white, non-Hispanic men  working just one year. In other words, their median pay in 2014 was 64 cents compared to the white man’s dollar, leaving a gap of 36 cents. One reason for the large wage gap is that African-American women experience both gender and race discrimination leading to a lifetime of low pay. Updated information from 2015 Census data shows that the median earnings for African-American women has declined to 60 percent of the white man’s dollar!

Based on the 2014 wage gap, African-American women would lose $877,480 over a 40-year working career compared to white non-Hispanic men and in some states the lifetime loss could be as high as more than $1 million.

Recent studies have calculated that closing the pay gap for all women would cut the poverty rate in half (8.1 percent to 3.9 percent), and for single women, the poverty rate would drop by more than half to 4.6 percent. At the same time, the economy would receive a huge boost of nearly a half-billion dollars from women receiving equal pay! For women of color, equal pay would lift many out of poverty and provide the financial stability needed to raise their families.