Faces of Migration

efugee resettlement in the NW corner of the U.S.: “An honor and a privilege”

Matthew Westerbeck (right end of the bottom row) at work at Portland International Airport

Catholic Charities of Oregon has been resettling refugees since the end of WWII. Every few weeks we welcome the world’s most vulnerable as our newest neighbors. Most families we help have been in refugee camps for over a decade. Many have been waiting to resettle to the United States for more than 20 years.

Persecuted and driven from their homes for reasons of race, ethnicity, membership in a social group, political opinion or religion, these families have passed the most rigorous security screening to enter our country. Often, the majority of their children have been born in refugee camps. Looking ahead, I fear that we are welcoming our last refugee families to the U.S., and to Oregon, and that we will no longer continue to be a country of refuge.

As Program Manger for Refugee Services, I have the incredible honor of working with a team of dedicated volunteers and social workers. Our team welcomes the stranger and walks alongside newly- and recently-arrived refugee families as they rebuild their lives. We have just a few weeks to prepare for an arrival and we must find and furnish housing. With teams of volunteers we accomplish move-ins in just hours. Many of those volunteers will be at the airport to welcome the family. These airport greetings show arriving families that they are welcomed and appreciated in the U.S. The rhetoric that refugees are not wanted here has made its way to the refugee camps. We’ve had families scared to walk off the plane due to that rhetoric.

Upon arrival, our staff have 30 days to perform the following with refugee families: home orientation and safety; provide a 10-course curriculum on Cultural Orientation; assist in enrolling the children in school; enroll the adults in ESL classes and employment services; help the family learn to use mass transit; ensure everyone receives medical care and screenings; help get a state ID and apply for Social Security cards; assist young men sign up for Selective Service; help learn grocery shopping; help write a resume and apply for jobs; help sign up for a bank account; teach how to pay utility bills; provide instruction for paying back the loan for their airfare to the U.S.; educate on who to call if there’s an emergency; help creating a budget with unfamiliar currency; etc.

Our team strives daily to embody welcoming the stranger and providing refuge. We walk alongside our newest neighbors as they rebuild their lives and provide better lives for their children. Their kids will enter college at the same rates as U.S.-born children born. Most of their children will have higher household incomes than the average U.S. family. Refugees will open businesses at a higher rate than for the native-born population. And more important than the strength they add to our communities as economic contributors is the connection we all share. We are all sisters and brothers. We can’t forget this simple teaching. As a part of the amazing Refugee Services team at Catholic Charities, I am reminded of this daily. It is an honor and a privilege to share in this work.

Matthew Westerbeck
Catholic Charities of Oregon

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How I Helped Portland Embrace Filipino Food

"In the long run, I think Filipino food can absolutely get as mainstream as Thai and Chinese food. It's going to go through the same processes through which those cuisines went—an Americanization phase, then to many different offshoots under young...

When I first added crispy pata and lumpia to the menu at Clyde Common, everyone was like, "What is that?" Even the Filipinos were like, "Who is back there in the kitchen adding deep fried pig's foot to the restaurant attached to the Ace Hotel?"

At first, I had Filipino people come up to me and say, "That's not crispy pata!" in Tagalog—to which I would just polite respond, "I'm sorry that's not the crispy pata that you know, but I assure you that it is." The thing is that a lot of people are used to eating undercooked or overcooked, shredded, almost-dusty crispy pata, and just because I sous vide mine to maintain the integrity of the pork does not mean that it is not the same concept. I also serve mine with spaetzle and pickles, which was an ode to my experiences as a trained chef. This approach of twisting traditional Filipino dishes was the basis for my pop-up dinner series, Twisted Filipino

When I explain to non-Filipino people what Filipino food is, the first thing I tell them is that it's nothing like Thai food or Vietnamese food, since those two are the most dominant Asian cuisines in Portland, and I want to shut down that expectation right away. After that, I follow up with the fact that the Philippines is a melting pot just like the US, made up of many different cultures.

CARLO LAMAGNA

We were occupied by Spain. Then there was the spice trade. Then there were Chinese, Malaysians, Japanese, and American influences coming in, so we have a huge flavor palette to pull from. We have a lot of the ingredients that you might be familiar with—curries, the use of coconut, fish sauce, soy sauce—and we adapted them. For the most part, people are excited and the responses have been really positive.

GRILLED ROCK FISH, SHRIMP DUMPLINGS, PEA AND PEASHOOT SALAD

I moved to Portland, Oregon three years ago for this job as the executive chef for Clyde Common, and I when I first got here, I was like, Where are all of the Filipinos at? Where can I get my Filipino food fix? 

There were a few food carts and one restaurant in the greater Portland area, but that was about it. I got into food late in the game. I'd barely only heard the term "culinary" when I was 19 years old, but I started reading a lot of books, watching all these shows, and then graduated from the CIA in New York.

AL PASTOR FEAST

I was born in the Philippines, but my parents moved to Detroit and I came to the US as a baby. I was an outcast growing up. I lived in a predominantly white community and I was one of only two people of color in my neighborhood. I didn't know who to identify with because I was what Filipinos would call an amboy, which means an American-raised Filipino who doesn't speak the language. I was an outcast to my own country, and here, too. I was confused for a long time. Then, I eventually learned that I'm an accumulation of my experiences and my own person. Throughout this journey of finding myself, Filipino food has always been my compass. It has always been my guide.

BACON WRAPPED RABBIT, BLACK GARLIC PARISIENNE GNOCCHI

Both of my parents were in the medical field, but they still cooked a lot at home. The "on-switch" for me to specialize in cooking Filipino food over any other cuisine came after my dad passed away in 2009. He always pushed me to focus on Filipino food, but I kept saying, "Nobody wants to eat that, Dad. I'm going to do French or Spanish food." After he passed away, I got depressed, but then I got curious and wanted to learn how to cook the dishes I grew up eating.

POACHED HALIBUT, FRIED ARTICHOKES, AND ARTICHOKE PUREE

As soon as I took over the kitchen at Clyde Common, I implemented lumpia almost instantaneously. Because the restaurant is attached to the Ace Hotel, there is this certain type of customer that comes into the restaurant. Because of this, I have simplified the explanation of things like lumpia to just "pork, shiitake mushroom, sweet and sour" in hopes of opening up the conversation with our servers and diners.

ASPARAGUS AND SAVORY GRANOLA

In the long run, I think Filipino food can absolutely get as mainstream as Thai and Chinese food. It's going to go through the same processes through which those cuisines went—an Americanization phase, then to many different offshoots under young Filipino chefs: fine dining, middle-ground restaurants, and casual. Then, we're going to see a lot of chefs who aren't Filipino get very interested in our flavors.

BEEF RIB WITH CELERY BEER JAM

It's really awesome to have witnessed Filipino food catch on in the US over the last three years. In LA, you have LASA and Alvin Cailan of Unit 120. For San Francisco, the whole fuckin' Bay Area is pretty much Filipino. In New York, you have Jeepney and Pig & Khao. In DC, there's Bad Saint, and so on and so on. People have accused me of jumping on the Filipino bandwagon because I'm adding a few Filipino dishes at a restaurant like Clyde Common, and I'm like, "Are you fucking kidding me?"

SALMON KILAWIN, GREEN ALMOND, CHILI OIL, GARLIC PUREE

Just like any other Filipino, we are always late. But we just have to keep on fighting, pushing, and making sure we don't lose our own identity in this process. This mainstreaming will not happen overnight, and this next year will be the proving ground to see if Filipino food is just a fad or if people are just going to stick with it. 

I'm going to be one of those chefs who will hunker down and stick it out. 

As told to Javier Cabral

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Carlo Lamagna is the Executive Chef for Clyde Common in Portland, Oregon. For more information about his food and his restaurant, visit the restaurant's website.

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New Building For Africa House

Africa House staff are busily making themselves at home after moving into our wonderful new building a few weeks ago! This is our new Africa House by the numbers:
• The new building is 38% bigger than the old one.
• Africa House now has an actual 254-square-foot lobby—our old building didn’t have a real lobby!
• The new computer lab is 50% bigger with space for 8 additional computer stations.
• The new classroom/meeting room is 60% bigger.
• The new community room is 80% bigger, and actually has the capacity to seat all Africa House staff at the same time for staff meetings!

Four source and more information click here

New Arrivals Supper Club

How the New Arrivals Supper Club connects new neighbors
food dishes

Food has the power to connect people. The New Arrivals Supper Club is using the power of food to build bridges. It is a series of dinners hosted by refugees and intended to connect communities. 
Food brings people together physically in cafés, restaurants, and homes. Memories of shared foods and compliments on dishes can bring a smile to the faces of some. New flavors, textures, and recipes bring surprise and pleasure to others.

Food isn’t only pleasurable, but it tells a story. The ingredients, cooking styles, and flavors are related to the cultures and countries of the people who use them. When people travel, they bring those ingredients, cooking styles, and flavors with them. Many of the most popular American dishes, in fact, actually come from elsewhere.

With this in mind, the New Arrivals Supper Club is using the closeness and joy that food creates to cross barriers.
Today it’s a series of monthly dinners, which take part both in homes and in restaurants. The goal of the dinners is to empower and engage recently resettled refugees in their new communities. Refugees can cook for their new neighbors, show off the best dishes of their home countries, and earn money.

The New Arrivals Supper Club started in Los Angeles as a series of informal dinners. People would cook food from their countries and eat it with friends in their backyard. Today the club participates in large dinners and events, featuring delicious food from all over the world. Each dinner is different, with different locations and food being served each time. Anyone hoping to enjoy a plate of food can purchase a ticket for $50 or $75 (if they would also like wine).

The ticket fees go towards the families who prepare the food and the nonprofit organization, Miry’s List.
Miry’s List is a nonprofit focused on welcoming new refugees in their communities. They work through community volunteers using crowdsourcing and social media to connect people. Volunteers find someone to help or donate to. On the other hand, people who need help are connected with volunteers.

In the last two years, families have received over $85,000 from these dinners. It’s not all about the money, however. A large bonus of coming together for a meal is connecting with others. Participants feel that when someone new joins their table or cooks a meal, they invite others into a new world. Refugees invite their neighbors to experience and understand their cultures with each bite.

Attendees open doors with each conversation, compliment, and each bite they take.
Many refugees had no friends or connections when moving to America. For them, the New Arrivals Supper Club is an invitation to new relationships. Americans looking to help others are, similarly, connected with new friends. Sometimes this help is in the form of paying for a good meal. Sometimes this help is in the form of donating supplies for those who are starting over.

The pop-up dinners provided by the New Arrivals Supper Club are proving that food isn’t just food. Food is an invitation into another world. The flavors and textures of each meal expose a rich history.

The act of sitting down for a meal builds bridges between anyone willing to open their hearts.

By Akudo McGee

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After Portland High School Hate Incidents, Community Wants Better Response

Students at three Portland high schools endured hateful and racist incidents last school year.

The response from Portland Public Schools varied in each case. Administrators held a cultural fair at one school. They hosted a restorative justice circle at another. At a third school, it canceled security contracts.

Some students and parents say it’s inconsistent and not enough.

What Happened And How PPS Responded

Earlier this year, students of color at Wilson High School in southwest Portland felt unsupported and unsafe, following incidents of students calling other students the N-word.

In May, they wrote a letter and walked out of class.

“There was just no stability and we were just sick of it and we just wanted to see some change,” said 15-year-old student Aslan Newson. “So we took it into our own hands.”


Newson is part of Wilson’s Black Student Union. The school’s Asian Pacific Islander Club and Muslim Student Association contributed to the letter, too.

The letter outlined four issues students of color at Wilson said they faced. But at its core, the letter had one main point: Wilson students of color felt the administration wasn’t watching out for them.

“We don’t feel safe in a place where everywhere we go we are a minority, facing hate and ignorance at every corner, with only a select group of teachers to support us,” reads the letter.

After the letter and walkout, Newson said she felt more supported by her white peers. Wilson’s cultural affinity clubs met Wilson’s incoming principal and district staff. Teachers started discussion groups.

“Anyone can come, whether you’re a person of color or you’re white and you just sit and you learn and you listen to people and their stories,” Newson said.

Newson believes the students’ actions had a positive impact, but it was a last resort.

“We wouldn’t have had to have our walkout or do the things we did toward the end of the year if our administration was doing things in the first place,” Newson said.

Wilson isn’t the only high school to deal with racist or hateful incidents last year. In May, contracted security got physical with students of color at Franklin High School, handcuffing one student.

And several incidents took place at another Southeast Portland high school — Cleveland High: There were anti-Semitic graffiti, reports of a noose hanging in the school, and students baking a cake that resembled blackface.

To PPS Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, they reflect a rise in hate incidents nationally.

“There are definitely teachable moments for us around needing to double down on the dialogue that we have in our school communities both among students and educators and school leaders,” Guerrero said.

Guerrero and his team say equity is a top priority for every staff member. The district analyzes all new programs with what it calls an “equity lens.

And in the district’s new vision detailing the ideal qualities of a PPS graduate, there are several references to students as racial equity leaders.

But in practice, it’s hard to tell what the district has put in place.

District Decisions

At PPS, Dani Ledezma is the only staff member with equity in her title. She’s the district’s racial equity and social justice advisor. With Guerrero’s reorganizing of the district, Ledezma said the goal is for everyone to play a role in equity work.

That work is ongoing.

racial equity plan for the district is behind schedule. Ledezma said its completion hinges on the completion of a bigger effort — the district’s strategic plan — which should be done by November.

The district will also work on expanding contracts with nonprofits that work with specific communities of color on attendance, school culture and parent engagement.

“We’re thinking about how we can build the capacity of our school leaders, our school staff to be able to facilitate these types of conversations so that students feel welcome,” Ledezma said.

Schools with highly diverse populations receive these culturally-specific services. But as two of Portland’s least diverse high schools, Wilson and Cleveland are not official sites for this programming.

Grover Cleveland High School is pictured in Portland, Ore., Thursday, July 25, 2019. The school saw anti-Semitic graffiti, reports of a noose hanging in the school, and students baking a cake that resembled blackface this pas year.

Elizabeth Miller/OPB

Guerrero said he would like to use funds from the state’s new school funding bill to address racial equity issues.

Ledezma would also like to see more schools incorporate student-led efforts. She cited Grant High School’s Race Forward conversations as an example.

“We’re really interested in thinking how we can support this type of work,” Ledezma said. “It will probably look different at each school.”

But Cleveland High School parent Mark Takiguchi warned PPS not to put too much of the work on students.

“I worry sometimes that institutions tend to put a lot of the responsibility onto the people that are most affected by these incidents rather than trying to work with them,” Takiguchi said. “But to take the responsibility to actually make the fixes themselves.”

RELATED COVERAGE

Workshop Helps Portland High School Students Tackle Tough Topics

Ledezma said the district could improve when it comes to supporting students on and off campus. She said the district is working on equity-focused teacher training for next year, too.

But the district has not had any type of systemwide equity program in at least two years. That was the last time PPS had a license for Courageous Conversations, a program to help staff talk about race.

“I think as a system, we’re trying to figure out where we are on the learning curve and what are multiple ways we can deliver this type of learning,” Ledezma said.

Takiguchi expected the district to have something in place by now.

“It wasn’t replaced with anything,” Takiguchi said. “To imagine that the kind of daily microaggressions and challenges that every urban school faces would not be an important issue to address is puzzling.”

Parent And Student Solutions

Takiguchi and another parent met with Cleveland’s then-principal Ayesha Freeman after the initial hate incidents. They talked about what to do next.

Even after Freeman resigned, the group continued to meet as an equity council. The group ended the year with two major goals.

“One was to address at the district level a clarification of its policy and to advocate for very specific programs to kick into place when these incidents arise,” said Cleveland High School parent Catherine Greenblatt.

Greenblatt plans to ask the PPS Board of Education members to clarify district policy on hate speech once the school year begins.

The other major goal is to bring a more diverse curriculum to Cleveland, with film screenings and discussion groups based around race. It’s an idea Wilson student Aslan Newson is interested in, too.

“Racial equity, inequality needs to be taught in every single classroom, not just during Black History Month for an hour,” Newson said.

In addition, parents want district administration officials to start tracking hate incidents to measure progress and to support teachers and staff when they talk about race.

“It’s not as if the champions of this kind of work don’t exist,” Takiguchi said. “They just need to be supported and they need to have a system where they can be more successful.”

Cleveland High School parent Mark Takiguchi in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Takiguchi argues institutions like school districts put too much responsibility on students of color to solve race equity issues “rather than trying to work with them,” he said.

Elizabeth Miller/OPB

At Wilson, parents have expressed interest in an Anti-Defamation League program called No Place for Hate. They reached out to Tigard High School, where a No Place for Hate program recently started. The program is at a couple of other schools in the Tigard-Tualatin School District and there is interest from district leadership in expanding the program.

As with PPS and other school districts, Tigard-Tualatin is working on a way to curb hate speech and make sure all students feel safe at school.

In the next couple of months, the Tigard-Tualatin school board will start working on a hate speech policy, and throughout the next year, district equity coordinator Zinnia Un will begin identifying teachers who can lead equity work at the school level.

“A lot of this work is not done just by a group of leaders sitting together, but it’s sitting within the community,” Un said.

For Un, the focus is not just on people of color, but on the district community as a whole.

“If we don’t talk about those that either unintentionally contribute to that or folks that don’t fully understand the different inequities that people experience, then we don’t include them in that picture,” Un said. “We’re not really having a dialogue.”

But talking about race and equity is sensitive for some. And allowing community members to speak openly might mean that change happens behind closed doors.

After being invited to one of the Cleveland equity council meetings, I was asked to leave. As a journalist, a group member raised a concern about my witnessing the meeting and writing about it.

New Year, New Leadership

Both Wilson and Cleveland high schools will start the school year with new principals. Former Roosevelt High School Principal Filip Hristic will lead Wilson. He replaces interim principal Maude Lamont, who resigned amid concerns from students and staff.

Cleveland’s new leader is Leo Lawyer, who most recently served as Neah-Kah-Nie Middle School principal.

At Wilson, former Cleveland principal Ayesha Freeman will serve as vice principal. She resigned after a vote of no confidence from staff.

At least some of the concerns expressed about the departing school leaders relate to how they responded to racist incidents on campus.

At the district level, Ledezma said the district will be sharing its teacher training plans to school leaders at a workshop next month.

Parent Catherine Greenblatt sees these incidents as a chance to examine the PPS curriculum and make sure students are given the tools they need to be respectful citizens.

“What we’re seeing in these responses and in these incidents is that we’re not succeeding,” Greenblatt said. “So it is an opportunity to rethink all of that in an exciting way.”

Cleveland High School parent Catherine Greenblatt at her home in Portland, Ore., Tuesday, July 9, 2019. Greenblatt sees recent incidents of hate as a chance for Portland Public Schools to examine and retool its curriculum.

Elizabeth Miller/OPB

Wilson student Aslan Newson is heading into her sophomore year feeling more optimistic. She’s talked to Hristic and thinks he’ll be a good addition to Wilson.

“He seems very open and just willing to make change happen,” Newson said.

The broader community around Wilson will be watching Hristic, too. The Hillsdale Neighborhood Association board recently passed a resolution to send Hristic a message, asking for transparency when it comes to information about hate incidents at Wilson.

In the upcoming school year, Newson will be president of the Black Student Union at Wilson. She wants to spend time this year connecting with other BSUs. And she wants to reach out to future Wilson students to tell them they have a safe space in the school’s cultural affinity clubs.

She’s willing to keep working on these issues. But she wants the administration to work on them too. 

“You go to school to learn, not to have to form a walkout and a protest against your own administration,” Newson said.

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Preschool For All

All children in our community deserve the chance to enter kindergarten with the tools they need to learn, grow, and be successful. When children have access to quality early learning experiences, their positive outcomes in school increase significantly.

A strong body of research suggests that investing in early childhood learning returns up to $10 in benefits for every dollar spent. In Multnomah County, only 4 out of 10 children from low-income families get the chance to attend preschools like Head Start. Leaders across our community are working together to change that.

Under the leadership of Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson and in partnership with Social Venture Partners(link is external) and United Way of the Columbia Willamette(link is external), the Preschool for All Task Force was convened. The Task Force will create a set of recommendations to expand preschool access across Multnomah County for the thousands of children in our community who are not currently being served.

In July 2019 the Preschool for All Task Force released its final report. You can read that report here

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Crowd Protests Detention Centers

BEAVERTON — About 150 demonstrators gathered outside Rep. Suzanne Bonamici's Beaverton office July 2 as part of nationwide rallies to protest conditions at many immigrant detention centers.

“This rally is about freedom,” said Eileen Sleva, a member of Holy Trinity Parish and one of the event organizers. “It’s about families and children seeking asylum in our country — seeking the fundamental human right of freedom and safety. This is not about what political party I belong to.”

The rallies were organized in response to news reports about conditions at the centers and policy that keeps asylum seekers waiting in Mexico for long periods.

Bonamici sent a statement expressing agreement with the protesters.

Leaders read testimonials from child detainees who described being separated from family and not receiving sufficient food.

The crowd chanted, “End child abuse.”

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We asked some of Portland’s minority leaders about a time they felt someone wanted them to go back to their country. Here’s what they said.

Boys pulled their eyelids back at a Multnomah County commissioner. Someone told a TriMet board member she spoke English well. Another leader was told to go back to his country of origin while at a gas station.

These are some of the comments some of Oregon’s minority leaders say they’ve heard during their careers and while being in the U.S. Although some don’t recall anyone directly telling them to go back to their country, many said they’ve felt classmates, strangers and other people around them have insinuated the phrase.


Last week, President Donald Trump tweeted that four progressive Democratic congresswomen should go back to where they came from after they spoke out about his immigration policies. Although the women were not named in Trump’s tweets, it’s widely believed that he referenced Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Rshadia Tlaib of Michigan, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota. Trump has not disputed those assertions.

Omar is the only one of the four who was not born in the U.S.

The federal government has deemed the phrase “go back to your country” and similar language is discriminatory in the workplace.

Here’s what some of Oregon’s minority leaders say they’ve heard.

Lori Stegmann, Multnomah County District 4 Commissioner

LC- The Oregonian

Three new members of the Multnomah Board of County Commissioners were sworn in Tuesday morning, including Lori Stegmann. For the first time, the all-female board will have people of color in the majority. Stephanie Yao Long/Staff LC- The Oregonian

The first time Lori Stegmann remembers experiencing racism was in kindergarten.

Stegmann, was born in Seoul, South Korea, and adopted by a white American family. She became a U.S. citizen when she was 4 years old.

“If I had not been adopted, I most likely wouldn’t have survived,” Stegmann said. “Coming to the U.S. quite literally saved my life. For many immigrants and refugees, that’s why they’re coming here.”

One day when she was in kindergarten, Stegmann’s mom braided her long, black hair into two braids, she recalled. She wore a new dress and shoes.

Children encircled her, taunted her and called her a Native American slur, she said.

Stegmann also remembered being a child on the playground when boys pulled their eyelids back to look like they were squinting.

“In their opinion, I didn’t belong,” Stegmann said. “I didn’t have a right to be here. I was different. I was less of a human being to them.”

When Stegmann changed her party from Republican to Democrat last year, she said many were supportive, but some were upset about the change and told her to go back to her country.

“I didn’t leave the party,” she said. “The party left me.”

Kayse Jama, founder and executive director of Unite Oregon

Noble Guyon/ The Oregonian

Kayse Jama, director of Unite Oregon, speaks at a rally calling for the impeachment of President Trump Saturday morning at Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland. - A peaceful rally calling for the impeachment of President Trump was led at Terry Schrunk Plaza in downtown Portland Saturday morning. The rally featured multiple speakers, including Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer. Noble Guyon/ The Oregonian

With a civil war going on in Somalia, Kayse Jama said he came to the U.S. in 1999 under asylum to regain his rights to freedom of speech and speak up.

After the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Jama said he left his job as a program coordinator at Lutheran Community Services Northwest to become an organizer for those facing oppression and racism in the U.S. He realized that he wanted to help bring urban, poor and low-income communities together to work for justice under Unite Oregon.

“If I don’t speak up about the injustices in this country, I’d rather die,” Jama said.

Jama said he can’t even recall how many times people have told him to go back to his country while he’s been in the U.S.

He said at one point, he pulled up first into the same spot as someone else in a gas station when the two argued about who got there earlier. The man’s response was, “Well, why don’t you go back to your country?”

“I don’t really pay attention to it,” Jama said.

Jama said xenophobia and anti-immigrant rhetoric, in the same vein as what Trump tweeted, aren’t new in the U.S.

“It’s always under the surface,” Jama said. “It’s always been there.”

He said white males have come many times to Unite Oregon’s office to intimidate him and the staff. The hostility is aimed at him and his work, he said.


“I guess we don’t it brush off,” he said. “What we do is organize. That’s how we try to uplift the voices of our community and people of color,and we use our experience as a way to share and uplift their stories.”

Kathy Wai, TriMet board member

Kathy Wai, the youngest board member in TriMet's history, pictured in a Southeast Portland coffee shop November 14, 2018. Beth Nakamura/Staff

While 12-year-old Kathy Wai was shopping at a Safeway with her parents, she said a stranger interrogated her on where she was from.

The older white man asked: “Are you from here?” She told him she lived in Oregon, but that she had recently moved from California.

The man then asked questions about where she was from because he was puzzled about her move from California. He then told her that she spoke English well for being an immigrant.

“I felt like I was getting interrogated by some stranger,” she said. “I feel like that person wasn’t pleased that I lived in Portland.”

Most of what Wai said she’s experienced hasn’t been overt racism, but micro-aggressions.

Her parents have always taught her to be proud of her roots, but she said there’s often been a clash with her culture and identity in Oregon.

“Experiences like that make me question my place in this world and my place in Oregon,” Wai said.

Wai said she’s proud to see people of color stepping up to run for leadership positions and take stands on issues that impact them. Although she hasn’t received racial emails or been called names in public, Wai said she’s taken heat for talking too much about race or equity.

She said she was once called out by a community member when she was talking about naming a new school in the North Clackamas School District after a person of color. The school board recently agreed to name a new school after Adrienne Nelson, the first black justice on Oregon’s Supreme Court.

Wai said she received an email copied to other school board members who said she was being a bully, putting too much of an emphasis on race and how her rhetoric was divisive.

“For me, it hasn’t been direct racism and direct statements, but it has been things of that nature that signal to me some folks are really uncomfortable when we talk about race, who has power, who has privilege and who doesn’t,” she said.

Gale Castillo, interim executive director of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber

LC- Richard Read/The Oregonian

Gale Castillo, at Portland State University Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 10, 2015. Trustee bio: Castillo is the president and one of the founders of the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, the largest Hispanic Chamber in the Northwest with over 800 members. Castillo is also the co-owner of Cascade Centers, Inc., one of the largest privately held companies that provides Employee Assistance Program (EAP) service and staff development in the U.S. In addition to her work with the Chamber and Cascade Centers, Castillo previously worked as an assistant to former Oregon Gov. Neil Goldschmidt and as the state manager of the Oregon Economic Development Department's Job Training Administration. In the private sector, Castillo has worked for AT&T, Pacific Northwest Bell, and RESTOR Communications in management, marketing, and national sales positions. The recipient of many awards for service to her community, Castillo is the first in her family to graduate from college receiving a Bachelor of Arts, Linfield College and a Masters of Arts, Education, Portland State University. Castillo has also completed Harvard Kennedy School’s Executive Education Program. LC- Richard Read/The Oregonian

Gale Castillo said the portrayal of Latinos as criminals, gangbangers and undocumented individuals were part of the motivation for founding the Portland Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber.

In high school, Castillo said her son had to deal with that portrayal. He told his classmates he was Mexican American and someone asked him what gang he was in.

She said that he responded to that classmate, “You’ve known me since kindergarten, when have you ever seen me in a gang?”

“It’s a painful experience for young people and adults to be insulted by these stereotypes,” Castillo said.

At a casual get-together about a decade ago, Castillo introduced herself to a man who asked if her name was Pocahontas. About five years ago, she crossed the border with her husband from Canada to the U.S. The border agent asked her husband where he picked Castillo up.

“These messages are not new,” Castillo said.

-- Christina Morales; cmorales@oregonian.com; 503-221-5771; @Christina_M18

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Rise for Refugees: Find an event in your city

𝐀 𝐧𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧𝐚𝐥 𝐝𝐚𝐲 𝐨𝐟 𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐚𝐬𝐬 𝐦𝐨𝐛𝐢𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐞 𝐨𝐧 𝐒𝐚𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐝𝐚𝐲, 𝐀𝐮𝐠𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝟑𝐫𝐝. 

Some officials in the Trump administration have proposed admitting zero refugees in Fiscal Year 2020. This is unconscionable and would be the end of refugee resettlement in the United States.

𝐖𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐢𝐬 𝐡𝐚𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠?
Aug 3 is a national day of action with events happening around the country called Rise for Refuge to defend the refugee and asylum programs. 

𝐅𝐢𝐧𝐝 𝐚𝐧 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐭 𝐢𝐧 𝐲𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐜𝐢𝐭𝐲: https://www.weareallusa.org/events

#RiseforRefuge #NORefugeeBans #SaveRefugeeResettlement#STOPTrump

TriMet Low Income Eligibility

您可能有资格在 TriMet,Portland Streetcar 和 C-TRAN上节省 高达 72% 费用. 如果您对自己的资格有疑问或需要更多信息,请致电503-238-7433,发送电子邮件至transitassistance@trimet.org或访问 trimet.org/lowincome.
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You may be eligible to save up to 72% on TriMet, Portland Streetcar and C-TRAN. If you have questions about your qualifications or need more information, please call 503-238-7433, send an email to transitassistance@trimet.org, or visit trimet.org/lowincome.

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