Tag: Portland

Oregon State University Changes Three Building Names That Honored Proponents of Slavery

Oregon State University buildings to be renamed (photos via cbsnews.com; facebook.com/DailyBarometer)

by Saul Hubbard via registerguard.com

After a two-year process, Oregon State University President Ed Ray announced recently that he has chosen new monikers for three university buildings whose previous namesakes have ties to historical racist positions or beliefs.

OSU’s Benton Hall will become Community Hall, honoring local residents who raised funds to start the college in 1860s and 1870s; Benton Annex, the university’s women center, will become the Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center, after an African-American suffragette who lived in Portland in the early 20th century; and Avery Lodge will be renamed Champinefu Lodge, borrowing a word signifying “at the place of the blue elderberry” from the dialect of the local native Kalapuya Tribe.

“The names of buildings and places play a very important role in our university,” Ray said Monday in a prepared statement. “They speak to the history of OSU, the university’s values and mission, and our efforts to create an inclusive community for all. Names also recognize and honor the positive contributions of those associated with the university.”

The changes follow a push that has occurred across the country in recent years to proactively remove names and take down statues that honor people who held overtly racist views, in the name of improving race relations. Those efforts have faced blow-back from people who argue that they erase history and punish historical figures for views that were widely held during their lifetimes.

Ray decided last November that the building names associated with former Missouri U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton and Corvallis co-founder Joseph C. Avery should be stripped from the buildings, following community input and scholarly research into their positions.

Hattie Redmond (photo via Ohio Historical Society)

An architect of the United States westward expansion and backer of the Manifest Destiny, Benton “supported federal legislation to remove Native Americans from their tribal lands and, while he was opposed to extending slavery into western states, he was not in favor of abolishing slavery elsewhere,” Ray wrote last November.

While the 1947 naming of Benton Hall was designed to honor Benton County residents, not Thomas Benton, Ray determined that the hall’s name didn’t make that distinction clear. Joseph Avery, meanwhile, pushed “views and political engagement in the 1850s to advance slavery in Oregon (that) are inconsistent with Oregon State’s values,” Ray wrote, making the 1966 name untenable.

Ray decided against renaming OSU’s Gill Coliseum and the Arnold Dining Center, however, after ruling that their namesakes, Benjamin Lee Arnold and Amory Gill, displayed some signs of forward-thinking racial acceptance, outweighing the more controversial parts of their biographies.

The new names announced Monday were chosen by Ray, after receiving input from OSU faculty, students and leaders of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians of Oregon.

Champinefu, which is pronounced CHOM-pin-A-foo, was chosen because Native Americans of the Kalapuya Tribe traveled to the area around Corvallis to harvest wild blue elderberries.

Hattie Redmond, meanwhile, was part of the successful push in 1912 to give women the right to vote in Oregon, after voters previously had rejected it five times. According to the Oregon Historical Society, Redmond’s role was little known and not celebrated until 2012, when details of her biography were discovered during the centennial celebration of woman suffrage in Oregon. Redmond, the daughter of slaves, moved to Portland in 1880, in an era when the state still had a black exclusion law in its constitution. Redmond was the president of the Colored Women’s Equal Suffrage Association during the 1912 campaign and organized meetings and educational lectures on the issue in a local church.

Read more: http://www.registerguard.com/news/20180730/osu-changing-three-building-names-to-promote-inclusivity

Oregon Komen Foundation Launches Initiative to Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths Among Black Women

The team collecting data to inform a multi-year project, spearheaded by Susan G. Komen Oregon & SW Washington, to address breast cancer disparities in Portland’s African American community includes (from left): Cindy Fletcher, Komen’s director of programs; Dr. Angela Owusu-Ansah, professor of doctoral studies at Concordia University; Bridget Jamieson, Komen’s community programs manager; D. Bora Harris, diversity consultant; and Kelvin Hall, a doctoral candidate and community advocate. (Photo via thelundreport.org)

Cancer has long been a leading killer in the black community. One in nine African-American women in the United States will develop breast cancer during their lifetime, according to the American Cancer Society. Of those, 42 percent more are likely to die of the disease than white women.

“The disparities are shocking,” said Andrew Asato, CEO the local Komen organization.

But there’s little comparable at the a local level, something the Oregon and Southwest Washington chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation hopes to change. The group launched an initiative this week to collect data about health disparities in the black community to learn how health care providers can reduce barriers for black women to access support.

They received a grant from the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute Community Partnership Program to survey the region’s demographics, breast cancer screening habits and barriers to screening and treatment.

The team will be led by Angela Owusu-Ansah, Ph.D, a professor at Concordia University in Portland. It also includes Kelvin Hall, an adjunct professor and doctoral candidate at Concordia, and D. Bora Harris, a diversity consultant.

“As an African-American person, I realize the load on people impacted by cancer,” said Hall, who has had several family members die of the disease. “There needs to be support pieces out there, because it falls on the shoulders of just a few family members.”

The team also will look at the social as well as institutional obstacles African-American women face to health care.

“In addition to health disparities within our underserved and underrepresented communities, as African American women, we have historically been taught to ‘hush’ concerning many things,” Harris said. “This tradition of silence may have negatively impacted several phases of our quality of life in respect to our health.”

Once that data is collected, the nonprofit advocacy group plans to bring a set of recommendations to public and private health care providers, hospitals and community groups to help reduce the rate at which black Portlanders die from breast cancer.

“It is time to move beyond education and do what we can to encourage action,” said Asato.

Source: https://www.oregonlive.com/health/index.ssf/2018/07/oregon_komen_foundation_launch.html

Mercer University Seniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley Make History as 1st African-American Team to Win NPDA National Debate Championship

Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen
NPDA Tournament Team Winners Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen (photo via news.mercer.edu)

by Kyle Sears via news.mercer.edu

Mercer University seniors Kyle Bligen and Jaz Buckley capped off their collegiate careers as the most decorated debaters in the University’s history on March 26 by winning the 22nd annual National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) National Championship Tournament at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon.

NPDA is the largest debate organization in the United States, with as many as 250 schools and colleges competing each year. At nationals, Bligen and Buckley defeated more than 45 competing institutions from traditional debate powerhouses such as Notre Dame, Rice and the University of California, Berkeley.

Together, they became the first African-American team to ever win NPDA nationals, nearly three years to the day that Buckley became the first freshman and first African-American to be named top speaker at the tournament.

“Using their own unique brand of debate, Jaz Buckley and Kyle Bligen became the first African-American team to win the NPDA National Championship Tournament. Additionally, Buckley, joining only a handful of women to reach the final round, became the first African-American woman to win this national title,” said Dr. Jeannie Hunt, president of NPDA and assistant professor of communication at Northwest College.

“This is a significant achievement for me, as a woman of color, but also provides much-needed representation for other women in this activity. While both students clearly have strong argumentation skills and implement successful strategies, their ability to frame the debate with a focus on social justice allows them to use their voice for something beyond winning tournaments. I look forward to seeing great things from this team as they move through life,” Dr. Hunt said.

“This is a national victory. This year, Mercer beat Emory, we beat Georgia Tech, we defeated UC Berkeley, we beat Rice and Notre Dame and Stanford, and defeated or outranked hundreds of different colleges and universities across the entire nation. In national parliamentary debate, only one school can be the best in the entire nation – that school is Mercer University,” said Dr. Vasile Stanescu, assistant professor of communication studies and director of debate at Mercer.

“This victory is not only national, it is also historic. In the entire history of the NPDA, among the thousands of debaters who have competed, not a single all African-American team has ever won nationals. This is a ‘first’ in the history of debate, and it is a ‘first’ that will forever belong to Mercer University.”

Individually, Bligen, a politics, philosophy and economics (PPE) major from Peachtree City, was named fourth-place speaker, and Buckley, a political science and women’s and gender studies major from Columbus, was named fifth-place speaker.

Source: https://news.mercer.edu/seniors-kyle-bligen-jaz-buckley-make-history-as-first-african-american-team-to-win-npda-national-championship/

Muslim Groups Raise Money for Portland Stabbing Heroes Ricky Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher

(photo via essence.com)

by Lilhe Z. Mtshali via essence.com

Nearly a week after a white supremacist killed two men who were trying to protect two teens, Muslim groups have banded together to raise over $500,000 to support the families of the brave men and one survivor.Army veteran Ricky Best, 53, and college graduate Taliesin Namkai-Meche were stabbed to death Friday by Jeremy Christian while protecting 16-year-old Destinee Mangum and her friend, who was wearing a hijab. Mangum told reporters that Christian was shouting at them to “go back to Saudi Arabia” and to “leave his country.” When Best, Namkai-Meche and Micah David-Cole Fletcher, 21, stepped in to intervene, Christian stabbed all three men.

Fletcher was wounded but survived.

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The Muslim groups, CelebrateMercy and the Muslim Education Trust, created a LaunchGood online fundraising campaign on Saturday to raise money to help with funeral costs for Best and Namkai-Meche and Fletcher’s medical bills. The initial target of the campaign, which was dubbed Muslims Unite for Portland Heroes, was $60,000 and that was raised within five hours.

The total raised so far is over $516,000.

Christian appeared in court on Tuesday and faces charges including two counts of aggravated murder, attempted murder, two counts of second-degree intimidation and being a felon in possession of a restricted weapon, Think Progress reports. Federal authorities are still deciding whether to prosecute him for hate crimes.

Source: Muslim Groups Raise Money For Portland Stabbing Victims | Essence.com

Oregon State University to Digitize Oral Histories of Black Railroad Porters

Pullman Porters (photo via socialwelfarehistory.com)
Pullman Porters (photo via socialwelfarehistory.com)

article via jbhe.com

In 2014 Oregon State University received the African American Railroad Porter Oral History Collection. The audio recordings made between 1983 and 1992 tell the stories of Black railroad porters in Oregon in the early and mid-twentieth century.

The collection includes 29 reel-to-reel tapes of interviews conducted by filmmaker Michael Grice that were used as background for his documentary Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest. 

Now the university has received a grant from the Oregon Cultural Trust to digitize the collection and create a website to feature the digitized recordings and their transcripts.

To read more, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/03/oregon-state-university-to-digitize-oral-histories-of-black-railroad-porters/

Michelle Obama Awards 13 Youth Arts Programs at White House

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calling a group of artistic youth the “next generation of fabulous,” Michelle Obama presented national arts and humanities awards to 12 after-school programs from across the country and one international program from Honduras.

Honorees included a musical theater program co-created by comedian Rosie O’Donnell that serves low-income students in New York City.

The first lady presented the awards Tuesday to recognize the nation’s best youth programs that use arts and humanities to develop skills and increase academic achievement. She honored programs that teach ceramics, dance, music, writing, science and more. Each of the U.S. programs will receive $10,000.

The annual White House ceremony included a live performance from winning program, A Commitment to Excellence, or ACTE II. The New York group performed a song and dance medley including “I Got Rhythm,” ”Girls Just Want to Have Fun,” and “Empire State of Mind.”

“Wow…that wasn’t singing, that was ‘sanging,’” Mrs. Obama quipped, referring to the group which she predicted is destined for Broadway.

Mrs. Obama urged continued funding and support for arts and humanities programs, which she said also teach students problem-solving, teamwork and discipline.

“There are millions of kids like these with talent all over the place, and it’s hidden and it’s untapped and that’s why these programs are so important,” Mrs. Obama said. “We wouldn’t know that all this existed without any of these programs and that would be a shame.”

The 2015 National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Awards are hosted by the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities in partnership with three national cultural agencies.

The 13 programs recognized with a National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award during the White House ceremony are:

— A Commitment to Excellence (ACTE II), New York.

—Action Arts and Science Program, Sioux Falls, S.D.

—Art High, Pasadena, Calif.

—CityDance DREAM Program, Washington.

—Spy Hop Productions, Salt Lake City.

—Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Milwaukee.

—Ogden Museum of Southern Art, Inc., New Orleans.

—VSA Indiana, Inc. , Indianapolis.

—The Center for Urban Pedagogy, Inc., Brooklyn, N.Y.

—Deep Center, Inc., Savannah, Ga.

—The Telling Room, Portland, Maine.

—Caldera, Portland, Oregon.

—Organization for Youth Empowerment (OYE), El Progreso, Honduras.

article by Stacy A. Anderson, AP via blackamericaweb.com