The Past is Ever Present: How Past & Present Practices & Policies Shape Our Experiences of Community

Nov 3, 2014

Meeting Date: October 31, 2014

Air Date: November 3, 2014

Guest Speakers: Judith Mowry, Policy Analyst, City of Portland; and Mark Harris, Counselor and Instructor, Lane Community College
Program Coordinator: Mary Leighton

For those used to diverse populations, Eugene can look a little pale. Although our minority populations are growing, they remain well below national norms. Judith Mowry and Mark Harris aim to deepen our understanding of how Oregon in general and Eugene in particular, limit opportunities for people of color to share in the prosperity that others found at the end of the Oregon Trail.

Together Mowry and Harris will illustrate how the actions of individuals made it easy for some Oregonians to advance and restricted opportunities for others. They will point out ways to reduce the effects of historical discrimination and fully engage all people in building our community.

Mowry will describe some sources of institutional racism and explain how it affects community life today. Her 20 years of experience as a conflict resolution professional, facilitator, and organizational development consultant give her the perspective to suggest strategies to help us break down segregation in our organizations. Her work in Portland helps agencies set equity strategies in operation.

Harris will show that early residents of Eugene set up major roadblocks that were exported nationally. He will give examples of institutions and policies that still discourage full participation and empowerment of people of color.

Mowry is the co-founder of the Restorative Justice Project on Gentrification and a partner in developing the Community Residential Siting Program for the City of Portland.

Harris is a co-founder of “I Too Am Eugene: A Multicultural History Project.” He and co-founder Cheri Turpin tell powerful stories as activist historians, and show how the past continues to affect our daily experience of diversity — or the lack thereof. He is the coordinator of The Recovery Center at Lane Community College, where he also teaches courses about addictive behavior and the African American Experience. He participates in community-wide, gang and substance abuse prevention coalitions.