Our Public Policy and Advocacy program works to advance the organization’s social policy agenda to create institutional change in areas that most deeply affect African Americans, communities of color and others. In doing so, we work with state legislature, executive branch and city councils, school board, and county commissions to identify policy change opportunities. We conduct policy research and writing, develop issue campaigns and messaging, mobilize constituencies and coalitions, and work with coalition partners as well as decision-makers.
Publications and Research: Through the State of Black Oregon (published every 3-4 years) and periodic issue briefs, we highlight research that focuses specifically on the African American population. We delve into the unique challenges and inequities facing the African American community and propose specific solutions that are oftentimes left out of larger policy discussions on economic opportunity, health and education. When there is a lack of existing research, we advocate for better data collection and we also conduct community surveys to document firsthand the experience of Oregon’s Black community.
Legislative Advocacy: During the legislative session and throughout the year, our Advocacy and Civic Engagement programs work together to bring our message to state legislators. After helping to develop our legislative agenda, volunteers have the opportunity to visit with their state representatives throughout the session. We host at least one legislative day a session where people from the around the state come together for one day in Salem.
Racial and Health Equity Promotion: Creating institutional change requires an organized approach to how we understand and practice equity. We work closely with city, health and community advocates to develop strategies and tools that will help private organizations, health care providers, and city and state governments practice equity on a day-to-day basis.
Local Politics: By working with policymakers from the City of Portland, the County of Multnomah, and Metro government, the Urban League is able to focus our efforts to serve those living in the Portland metro area. We participate in budget hearings, school board meetings, and county commissions while focusing helping to represent the traditionally underserved communities of color.