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SMART needs volunteer readers!

SMART needs volunteer readers!

SMART studentAn organization I care about, SMART (Start Making A Reader Today), is launching a statewide campaign to recruit 1,550 new volunteers by Nov. 1 in order to meet their goal of providing over 11,300 children this year with one-on-one reading support and books to keep and build their personal libraries.

SMART Readers spend an hour each week during the school year reading one-on-one with PreK through third-grade children and helping to foster a love of reading through fun, child-guided reading sessions. If you have just one hour per week to volunteer, SMART is a wonderful opportunity to make a difference in the lives of local students.  I especially encourage readers of color to volunteer. With your support, I know that SMART can exceed its goal! Here are three ways you can help:
Volunteer! Consider joining SMART as a Reader. Sign up for SMART online or call 877-598-4633 to learn more.

Tell your friends, families, and colleagues. Personalize this email message and forward it to folks in your networks.

Get social! Post about our need for Readers on social media.

I’ve been a SMART reader for 4 years in the kindergarten program at King Elementary School.  It’s been fun to spend time reading with the kids and watch their skills improve. Please join me in volunteering with this very worthwhile program.


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Health Committee welcomed Shafia Monroe to our August Meeting to Discuss Black Mother and Infant Health

Health Committee welcomed Shafia Monroe to our August Meeting to Discuss Black Mother and Infant Health

For decades, research has clearly shown that Black infants are more than twice as likely to die during birth than White infants;  Black mothers are 3-4 times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White mothers. Higher education and income do not protect black women from these outcomes as demonstrated by Serena Williams’ recently publicized story of almost dying following the birth of her child.  These disparities in birth and pregnancy outcomes for black women are a public health crisis. The disparities of poorer birth outcomes has worsened and been linked to the cumulative effects of systemic racism on black women, systemic racism within our healthcare system, inadequate access to healthcare services and lack of education about pregnancy and birth in some communities.  The Portland NAACP Health committee has decided to partner with organizations that are focused on improving the health of black mothers and infants here in Oregon. And as a first step, we invited the internationally renowned Shafia Monroe to speak with us.

Shafia Monroe, DEM, CPT, MPH, President of Shafia Monroe Consulting (SMC), spoke with the Health Committee on August 9 during our monthly committee meeting.  She shared timely and relevant information about the status of Black infant and maternal health in Oregon, and the SMC mission. One of Shafia’s mottos is “Black Lives Matter at Birth” and she has been working to improve the health of black mothers and babies since the 1970’s.  Shafia worked as a midwife in her native Boston and co-founded the Traditional Childbearing Group (TCG) in 1978. The TCG taught low-cost birthing classes, delivered babies, and worked to change birth policies in the Boston area. In 1991, Shafia moved to Portland and continued her work with maternal health including founding the International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC).  The ICTC continues its work today as advocates for improving birth outcomes and increasing the number of midwives and doulas of color in the United States, Columbia, Jamaica, Ghana, Trinidad, and Sierra Leone as well as other countries.

In Oregon, under Shafia’s leadership, the ICTC was able to get the State of Oregon to recognize the use of doulas to improve birth outcomes in underserved communities.  This effort has led to doulas in Oregon now qualifying for Medicaid reimbursement. Shafia has retired as leader of ICTC and is working as the President of Shafia Monroe Consulting. She is also a founder member of the Oregon Doula Association and President of Doula Ready, LLC. She is a master trainer of doulas and spoke with us about the important role a doula can play in improving the health outcomes for mothers and babies.  

A goal of SMC is to increase the number of Black doulas to reduce infant and maternal mortality, increase breastfeeding rates and build healthy families. Doulas work with mothers during pregnancy, labor, birth, and into motherhood providing emotional and physical support.  For Black mothers, and particularly those who don’t have adequate support from family or friends, a doula can serve a crucial role in helping foster healthy and positive outcomes for both mother and baby. There aren’t enough doulas of color to serve women of color in Oregon and SMC would like to change that.  

Along with increasing the number of Black doulas and doulas of color, SMC strives to amplify the issue of poor birth outcomes in Black women and educate the Black community on how to improve mother and infant health.   Our Health committee plans to partner with SMC to help reach these goals. Stay tuned for more information about the NAACP efforts. You can find more information about SMC and more information about Black infant and Maternal health in Oregon by visiting https://shafiamonroe.com/

Doula training is offered quarterly in Portland, Oregon and costs $800 for the 30 hour course. More information can be found at ShafiaMonroe.com or the link to the next doula training starting in September.

 

 


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Political Action 8/21/2018

Political Action 8/21/2018

Read the Meeting Minutes…


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Vote No on Measure 105: NAACP Portland Branch Joins the Fight

Vote No on Measure 105: NAACP Portland Branch Joins the Fight

Today, NAACP Portland Branch members rejected racism and fear and joined the OneOregon coalition. We urge all Oregonians to “Vote No on Measure 105.” Oregon is home to thousands of immigrants and refugees. Immigrants are our neighbors, our friends, our colleagues, and also our members. It is critical that the nation’s oldest civil rights organization, dedicated to eliminating racism in all its forms, stands strong against efforts to do away with Oregon’s sanctuary law, which was enacted on a bipartisan basis and has worked well to protect Oregonians for 30 years.

US history is rife with race-based anti-immigrant sentiment, and we know that the current administration’s anti-immigrant policies are racist in nature, aimed clearly at black and brown immigrants. Their tactics, horrific as they are, are not new. Policies of family separation as punishment, deterrent, and forced assimilation are a shameful part of the history of the United States. Slaveholders permanently separated enslaved family members as a matter of routine. The government forced indigenous children to government boarding schools, denying them their culture. Today families are routinely separated through mass incarceration and by CPS, which we know happens to black and brown families at a disproportionate rate. Allowing police to target immigrants based solely on their suspected immigration status will lead to racial profiling, and families targeted for deportation will continue the cycle of family separation and trauma.

From this history and present, we know that the immediate, lifetime, and generational trauma to victims of racism and anti-immigrant policies is severe. This is why we must stand against measure 105. Oregon’s sanctuary law protects all Oregonians from racial profiling. We cannot go backward.

To reject racism and fear, get involved in the “No on Measure 105” campaign.

 


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Portland Clean Energy Fund Campaign Officially Qualifies for November 2018 Ballot

Portland Clean Energy Fund Campaign Officially Qualifies for November 2018 Ballot

The Portland City Auditor Elections Division announced on Friday, July 27, that the Portland Clean Energy Fund (PDX 04, the “Portland Clean Energy Community Benefits Initiative 2018”) received enough valid Portland voter signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot. A sampling of 55,509 submitted signatures revealed 39,755 valid signatures, over 5,000 more than the 34,156 signature threshold for the City of Portland. The announcement means that Portland voters will decide this Fall on funding clean energy projects including housing upgrades, living-wage jobs and job training, and green infrastructure.

“The people of Portland have spoken: the time is now for good jobs, healthy homes, and a clean energy future,” said chief petitioner Reverend E.D. Mondainé, President of the NAACP Portland Branch. “Our broad and diverse community achieved something truly great in submitting far more than enough signatures for this historic measure. We look forward to victory at the ballot this November.”

The Portland Clean Energy Fund would raise more than $30 million per year to support energy efficiency housing upgrades, jobs and job training in clean energy, and new solar power and green infrastructure. The measure will prioritize funding for housing upgrades and living-wage jobs for all underserved Portlanders, particularly low-income residents and people of color. The Portland Clean Energy Fund would be funded by a 1% business license surcharge that would only apply to mega-retailers with more than $1 billion per year in nation-wide gross revenue.

Volunteers from NAACP Portland Branch supported the initiative through signature gathering, data entry, volunteer organizing and training, and organizing support materials. Volunteers are now moving into the next phase by gathering pledges to vote YES, doing data entry, and more.

 


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Seeking a Better Way: DA Budget Reform Efforts

Seeking a Better Way: DA Budget Reform Efforts

The NAACP Portland Branch believes that district attorney reform is central to achieving any reforms in the criminal justice system. On May 24, 2018, the executive committee voted to sign onto the ACLU memo titled Setting a Higher Bar for the Multnomah County District Attorney Budget. The ACLU performed an in-depth analysis of the current metrics the Multnomah County District Attorney’s office uses to measure its success. Looking for a better model that might support restorative justice and a move away from mass incarceration, the ACLU is encouraging county commissioners and the DA’s office to adopt a budget focused on outcomes, rather than processing numbers. Importantly, the ACLU found that:

“not a single output, outcome, or performance measure within the DA budget that explicitly focuses on reducing racial disparity or increasing equity and inclusion. Instead, the 2019 fiscal year budget largely measures the total number of criminal cases reviewed, issued, and resolved.”

Money is power, and with the largest law-enforcement budget in the county, Multnomah County DA wields tremendous power. If what you measure is what you get, it’s clear that we need to measure the effectiveness of the DA office on something other than the number of criminal cases it handles each year.

We will continue to stay connected to this process. Members can call or email commissioners and the DA office to encourage a shift in 2019 to a budget focused on outcomes, staff training, support for crime victims, better treatment for youth, and more.