Racial Equity Collaborative

Working for Justice in Washington County

Vision Action Network and community partners Adelante Mujeres, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Bienestar, and Coalition of Communities of Color have come together to advance racial equity in Washington County and improve outcomes for people of color in education, economic well-being, and civic engagement.

Read the REC’s Racial Equity Plan!

Racial Equity Plan

VISION:

Washington County flourishes like no other region in the state as a place to live, work, worship, and play because of its commitment to equity and racial justice as demonstrated by the presence, power and influence of its communities of color.

GOAL:

Increase the level of engagement and impact of people of color in the education, business, and public sectors for the benefit of the entire Washington County community.

STRATEGIES:

The REC has identified three primary strategies to accomplish this goal, each of which depends upon long-term investment from partners who recognize the benefits to Washington County.

1) Develop and strengthen the capacity of culturally-specific nonprofits and allied partners that work to empower communities of color,

2) Establish a foundation that supports the civic, economic, and cultural infrastructure for Washington County’s communities of color; and

3) Increase collaboration between communities of color and existing bodies of leadership across  sectors including government, business, and education.

REC's Work

Beaverton Downtown Equity Strategy

In March 2021, VAN was awarded the contract for the Beaverton Downtown Equity Strategy, and now serves as prime convener on a multi-disciplinary project team, which includes four culturally-specific community-based organizations: Adelante Mujeres, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), Bienestar, Coalition of Communities of Color and the economic consulting firm, ECONorthwest. All of the project team members have substantial histories of partnering with local jurisdictions to develop strategies and tools that advance racial equity. During the project, we will consistently engage residents and businesses in the project area, especially Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) community members.

VAN’s work on this project will provide the City of Beaverton recommendations on how to prevent and mitigate involuntary displacement of residents and businesses, to create an inclusive downtown with amenities desired by communities of color, and to center racial equity in the City’s decision-making processes and community engagement.

picture of mural on storefront that spells "repair the future" in colorful artistic fashion

Updates on BDES

Project planning for the BDES was completed in the spring, and over the course of the summer, the project team focused on the task of Training for Staff and Decision-Makers.

The team led training for City of Beaverton staff and elected leaders on:

  • Cultural competency – understanding the concepts of equity, diversity, inclusion, and intersectionality
  • Applying equity tools in real life situations
  • Using a Racial Equity Strategies for Reviewing and Developing Policy
  • Authentic community engagement

Cadence Petros, Development Division Manager at City of Beaverton, shared this:

“You created an inclusive space for our team to learn, grow more comfortable with the concepts, and really think about how we can use the tool in our work. I really appreciate how you created the container for being together…that’s so valuable.”

We reached a significant milestone on July 27, when project partners Dr. Andres Lopez from Coalition of Communities of Color, and Dr. Jade Aguilar from ECONorthwest led a conversation with the Beaverton Urban Redevelopment Agency (BURA) about the City of Beaverton and BURA’s progress along the continuum toward becoming an anti-racist, multicultural institution. This was an important step in the City’s ongoing equity journey to transform its overall policies and practices for the benefit of Beaverton’s residents and businesses.

The consulting team is leveraging its relationships to enlist the support of community “ambassadors” who are conducting outreach to downtown area business owners from the Black, Indigenous, and People of Color communities. Two gatherings were hosted in early December 2021 with Latine business owners, and additional conversations are taking place throughout January with Black, Chinese, Korean, Muslim, Native American, Thai, and Vietnamese affinity groups to hear what they would like to see happen with respect to improvements to the city’s downtown region.

Also in December 2021, about 140 residents attended two virtual gatherings hosted by the City and facilitated by the REC partners. For many, it was their first time participating in such an event with the City. Together in small groups, they shared their ideas about how to create a downtown where everyone feels like they belong, and to discuss ways to avoid pushing residents out of the area, as often happens with urban redevelopment projects.

On Wednesday, January 26 from 6-8pm, we invite the business community to help guide the process and strategies by joining us to discuss your experiences as a business owner, share your vision of a thriving downtown, connect with other business owners, and take away some information to support your business. Those who participate will receive a $25 stipend.

Strategies to Improve Downtown Beaverton
Wednesday, January 26, 2022
6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Meeting will be held virtually on Zoom

Register to Attend

Learn more and follow the project updates at Beaverton Downtown Equity Strategy.

REC Partners

Link to Adelante MujeresLink to APANOLink to BienestarLink to Coalition of Communities of Color

Is your organization interested in doing more to advance racial equity? Join in our efforts! 

                

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