Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Current State of Affairs: Equity in Oregon

This section provides links to reports illuminating our region's current state of affairs, specifically highlighting the systemic inequities which exist here. Many of these inequities stem from historically rooted practices. Understanding why disparities in various sectors, including education, housing and health care exist in our region, and how these are manifested, can help us create a more just community. This section of the blog connects our region's history with how various communities are faring, and helps map where and how we need to move toward a more equitable tomorrow.

"Communities of Color in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile" is the first of a series of reports developed in 2010 by the Coalition of Communities of Color in partnership with Portland State University. The report documents the experiences of communities of color in Multnomah County. Some highlights: 26.3% of Multnomah county are people of color. Communities of color in Multnomah county suffer more than similar communities of color nationally. They earn half the incomes of whites and have unemployment rates that are 35.7% higher than whites. Poverty levels among Multnomah county's communities are at levels at least double those of whites. 1 in 3 children of color are living in poverty.

The African American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, published in January 2014, focuses on the African-American community in Multnomah County, Oregon, a community that "has faced continued upheaval and devastation since our migration here due to the ongoing discriminatory systems of development and decision making by city government and other main stream jurisdictions." The goal of the report, which represents "the generational experiences of African-American community members" is to "foster action and accountability in local government to develop pro-active policy and programmatic solutions that will eliminate the disparities identified."

"The Native American Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile", published in 2011, is the most widespread study of Multnomah County's urban Indian community. It is the result of three years of work of true partnership between the Native American community, the Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University. Some highlights from the study: Poverty rates in the Native American community are triple those in White communities. More than 20% of Native Americans experience hunger on a regular basis. Native Americans are the victims of violent crimes at rates 250% higher than Whites.

The African Refugee and Immigrant Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile This 2013 report serves to make visible our diverse African communities in Multnomah County.

The Latino Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile report, published in 2012, uncovers an array of racial inequities across the systems of income, employment, education, juvenile justice, corrections, child welfare, wealth, health, health insurance coverage, and racial harassment among others. Select highlights: At 11% of the total county population, Latinos comprise the largest community of color. Latino purchasing power in Portland is nearly $4 billion and growing. However, Latino individual poverty levels are 77% higher than Whites while family poverty levels are 152% higher. Nationally, Latinos hold only 5 1/2 cents for every dollar of assets held by Whites.

The Asian and Pacific Islander Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile, completed in 2012 and three years in the making, is the most comprehensive study of the Asian and Pacific Islander (API) community in Multnomah county to date. It documents the experiences of over 20 API ethnic groups, who are both largely diverse in language and culture, while at the same time profoundly linked by the impact of racism which does not "exist by intention. It is instead measured by its outcomes and its impact." The study found that the API community fares worse than Whites. This is true of incomes, poverty rates, educational attainment, most educational achievement gaps, occupations, health care, some health outcomes such as low birth weight births, housing, political representation, hiring in the civil service, youth being held in detention and short term stays in child welfare.

State of Black Oregon 2009 This report, produced by the Urban League of Portland, is the comprehensive assessment of the local African American community in 17 years. It examines indicators in the areas of education, economic development, housing, health and criminal justice among others, and calls on policy-makers and other individuals to take specific measures to eliminate racial disparities

Misguided Measures: The Outcomes and Impacts of Measure 11 on Oregon's Youth. A 2008 report by The Campaign for Youth Justice and Partnership for Safety and Justice, which reexamines policies related to trying youth as adults, specifically Measure 11.

Putting Women's Health Care Disparities on the Map: Examining Racial and Ethnic Disparities at the State Level This report from 2009 provides information about how women fare at the state level by assessing the status of women in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. For each state, the magnitude of the racial and ethnic differences between White women and women of color was analyzed for 25 indicators of health and well-being grouped in three dimensions—health status, access and utilization, and social determinants. The report also examines key health care payment and workforce issues that help to shape access at the state level.

Exclusionary Discipline in Multnomah County Schools: How suspensions and expulsions impact students of color This report of the Multnomah County Commission on Children, Families & Community, published in 2012, "asserts that we must agree that exclusionary discipline is a primary factor leading to academic disconnection and ultimately failure; therefore reducing or providing alternatives to exclusionary discipline should be prioritized for all students and especially stu- dents of color." It shows how many young people locally are being impacted by exclusionary discipline practices and policies, and how we can reduce the number of students excluded from school and increase the number of students who graduate from high school and move into higher education and gainful employment.

Facing Race: 2011 LEGISLATIVE REPORT CARD ON RACIAL EQUITY examines 23 pieces Of legislation introduced in the 2011 regular session that would have the most direct impacts — positive or negative — on all Oregonians, particularly communities of color. This report addresses racial equity related to five major areas: civil rights and criminal justice, education, economic justice, health, and immigrant and refugee issues. A final category, institutional racism, examines legislation that reinforces or increases racial disparities in opportunities and outcomes.

ANALYSIS: TRAFFIC AND PEDESTRIAN STOP DATA STILL SHOW BIAS AGAINST PEOPLE OF COLOR In mid-May, 2012, the Portland Police Bureau released the traffic and pedestrian stop data for Portland in the year 2010. Despite the "Plan to Address Racial Profiling" being adopted by City Council in September, 2009, and pledges to improve the "hit rate"-- that is, if people are stopped and searched, the searches should turn up contraband at the same rates regardless of the ethnicity of the drivers-- the AMA Coalition for Justice and Police Reform and Portland Copwatch have found that the numbers have not improved, and may be getting worse. Specifically, the percentage of African Americans and Latinos who are searched after being stopped continues to be over twice as high as the percentage of whites who are searched, even though the percentage of African Americans and Latinos found to have illegal drugs, weapons, alcohol, or other contraband is about 7/10 as high as the percentage of whites found with the same kinds of items.

City of Portland 2009 Disparity Study Final Report This study evaluated the effectiveness of race and gender-neutral practices in public construction and construction-related professional services contracting as well as relevant City policies and practices.

Locked Out: The Failure of Portland-area Fair Housing Journalist Brad Schmidt spent months analyzing data and interviewing experts for this series on the failure of local governments and agencies to fulfill a fundamental goal of the nation's 44-year-old Fair Housing Act: to give everyone, regardless of color, a fair shot at living in a decent neighborhood. Schmidt's investigation found that taxpayer money meant to help break down segregation and poverty is instead reinforcing it.