By SVP Partner Octavia Chambers
As the world collectively navigates the shock and pain of a “new normal” fueled by the uncertainty and grief of the COVID-19 pandemic, SVP Portland is looking to resilient communities here in Oregon, to lead the way into the future.
Black Parent Initiative, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization (IRCO), KairosPDX, Latino Network, and the Native American Youth & Family Center (NAYA) are five culturally-specific organizations that have for decades helped families to successfully navigate the inequitable systems in Oregon that disproportionately impact communities of color and individuals experiencing poverty, disability, and homelessness. These organizations have also been working collectively for three years to make racial equity a priority in Oregon’s early education system as part of the Culturally Specific Early Learning Advocacy Collaborative (aka Equity Collaborative).
Despite the challenges and the additional uncertainty the COVID-19 pandemic brings to these organizations, they are continuing to provide services and support while adapting to this new landscape. KairosPDX, for example, has remained engaged in policy conversations to protect equity funds in Oregon, and is part of the Early Childhood Equity Fund Rules Advisory Committee along with Latino Network.
Following the lead of the Equity Collaborative, SVP Executive Director Lauren Johnson sent a letter to the Governor urging the administration not to rescind the commitment made for dedicated funding for culturally specific programming that will help us work to close the long-standing educational achievement gaps.
While the future is uncertain, our commitment remains constant, ensuring that we are working toward and holding our leaders accountable for creating an environment that supports all of our children, families, businesses, and overall safety, health, and security.