Listening Leads to Five Research Action Teams
Last winter and spring, MACG held a formal listening campaign, asking our member institutions to conduct one to ones and group discussions to find out what problems were concerning our community and where they might be willing to work.
On April 28th, we held a Next Directions Assembly (see photos here) to discern what were the most broadly felt issues and where we had the most motivated leaders. There was strong turnout: 20 of the 25 MACG member institutions were represented and over 100 MACG leaders attended.
From that process, leaders settled on five research action teams focused on the top issue areas, four of which were formally launched at the June 28th Delegate Assembly. Here is what each team has been up to:
Clackamas Housing Team
Formed two years ago and focused on houselessness, the Clackamas Housing Team has begun to see the fruits of their labors in their Safe Overnight Shelter work.
Temporary, safe, transitional shelters such as Conestoga huts can serve as critical community pathways to stability for our houseless neighbors. They are permitted by Clackamas County, but underutilized by faith institutions and other nonprofits who have hosting space but who are unaware of this houselessness solution.
On April 28, the team organized a dynamite event for 80 people at Prince of Life Lutheran with the goal of encouraging faith-based institutions to host Safe Overnight Shelters in their parking lots. The initiative and event were well covered by the media. KATU 2and the Clackamas Review posted informative stories. Clackamas County TV prepared an excellent 3-minute summary. See photos of the event here.
Since the event, the team has followed up with interested faith institutions. In addition, they have formed an exciting new partnership with Providence Milwaukie and Providence Willamette Falls hospitals. Providence will provide case management to families in Safe Overnight Shelter on church properties in unincorporated Clackamas County and the MACG housing team will provide outreach and support to faith institutions hosting these families.
We would also be remiss if we did not congratulate Ellen Burns, active Clackamas Housing Team Leader and member of King of Kings Lutheran Church, for being the Distinguished Individual Awardee at the 2018 Clackamas County Community Impact Awards last May. Her “homelessness advocacy efforts” with MACG were a factor in the awards decision process.
Climate Change & Environmental Justice Action (CCEJ) Team
The CCEJ Team is focused on educating people about Measure 26-201, the Portland Clean Energy Initiative, which prioritizes Portlanders who are most impacted by climate change but have been excluded from the emerging low-carbon economy. It is the first ever community of color-led environmental ballot measure in Portland.
Education actions include canvassing in communities, phone-banking, and making presentations at institutions about this ground-breaking measure.
This measure would raise $30 million per year from national retail corporations, and provide grants to non-profits to provide job training and expand green infrastructure in Portland such as solar energy and weatherization. Percentages of grant funds are set aside to benefit low-income residents and communities of color.
The concept behind the measure builds on the 2010 campaign MACG developed and carried out in the Cully neighborhood in collaboration with NAYA and Verde, called “Changing the Climate in Cully.”
The CCEJ Team is also researching action to reduce diesel pollution from transportation and construction sources in the Portland Metro area. The EPA ranks the Portland Metro area #1 nationally for diesel pollution, and it is one of the most lethal types of air pollution.
Finally, an upcoming event you won’t want to miss: A free screening of the film “The Reluctant Radical," on Tuesday, October 16th followed by a discussion with filmmaker Ken Ward. The film is an intimate portrait of climate activist Ken Ward, as he wrestles with what life choices he should make and what direct actions he should take in response to the greatest crisis that human civilization has ever faced: Climate Change. For more information, please contact Michael Heumann, 503-880-2226.
Immigration Rights Action Teams, Multnomah and Washington County
Calling decision makers at the Call to Action for DACA Workshop at Spirit of Grace in February 2018
In June, two Immigrant Rights Action Teams launched, one in Multnomah County and one in Washington County. Meetings are bilingual and have one Hispanic and one English-speaking co-chair.
The teams’ members have agreed that the work will be guided by the concerns of the immigrant community, and a key part of each meeting are relational meeting groups of three leaders (one bi-lingual) sharing personal stories of pressures facing their families, friends and community. Through this relational sharing, issues facing the immigrant members have emerged that will guide the research.
Both teams are participating in education actions to defeat Measure 105, which aims to repeal Oregon’s sanctuary law that’s been in place for over 30 years. The Washington County team – MACG’s first research action team focused in the county – is also conducting research actions to introduce MACG and to get a sense of the key problems identified by area leaders and decision-makers.
Separate from the launch of these two teams in June, MACG’s Latino leaders were busy last winter and spring. They hosted four “Call to Action for DACA” events, raising awareness about the impacts of federal actions on DACA recipients and their families to 290 primarily US citizens. One of the workshops was covered in Spanish in El Centinela.
They also hosted two Know Your Rights workshops for 105 immigrants, featuring role plays of encounters between immigrants and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents.
In addition, Bridge Builders, a MACG pilot project at St. Andrew Catholic Church, continues to draw 20 people to meetings two times/month to share stories and build relationships across language and culture. Meetings are bi-lingual and co-led by English-speaking and Hispanic leaders.
Multnomah Housing Team
The Multnomah Housing Team relaunched with both new and returning members, and is focusing on the broad area of tenant protections. A recent team retreat lifted interest among members in housing for disabled/vulnerable populations, as well as interest in being part of a statewide effort to address rent stabilization and no-cause evictions in the upcoming legislative session. Research actions, further team discussion and reflection, and feedback from the upcoming Delegate Assembly will assist in identifying a direction that will engage MACG leaders and aim us toward a concrete, winnable campaign.
Health Equity Organizing Initiative
MACG’s Health Equity Organizing Initiative trains health providers, staff, students, and patients in the tools and practices of community organizing to address social factors that have been demonstrated to influence health outcomes far more than medical care. Access to safe, affordable housing is one example.
We want to congratulate the Health Equity and Leadership at Richmond (HEAL-R) program (the OHSU Richmond Clinic Core Team!) for winning the Champion Program Award at June’s OHSU Diversity and Inclusion Awards. This partnership between MACG and OSHU Family Medicine at Richmond Clinic redefines the typical transactional provider-patient power hierarchy in healthcare by creating space for patients to drive change through IAF/MACG-style community organizing.