In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, a coalition of community organizations released Facing Race: 2013 Oregon Legislative Report Card on Racial Equity on January 15, 2014, a multi‐issue assessment of the 2013 legislative session, evaluating lawmakers’ commitment to advancing opportunity and addressing disparities affecting Oregonians of color. The report also includes recommendations to improve Oregon’s approach to racial equity and inclusion.
Facing Race is a collaborative effort of the Racial Equity Report Working Groups that includes: Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Basic Rights Oregon, Causa Oregon,Center for Intercultural Organizing, Partnership for Safety and Justice,Western States Center, and the Urban League of Portland.
In this report card, each member of the Oregon House and Senate was given an individual grade, based on both their votes and their leadership on 21 bills. Out of 30 Senators, there were 13 A’s, 3 B’s, 3 C’s and 11 Needs Improvement. Out of 60 Representatives, there were 29 A’s, 7 B’s, 3 C’s and 21 Needs Improvement.
Out of the 21 bills examined in this report card, 18 were passed into law compared to 10 out of the 23 that were examined in the 2011 Facing Race report card. Although there has been some progress, more work and leadership is needed to meaningfully address issues of racial equity.
Oregon’s racial and economic gaps run deep. For example, in 2012, the poverty rate for Whites was only 15%, but 30% for Latinos, 34% for Native Americans and Alaska Natives, 36% for Native Hawaiians and Pacific Islanders and 41% for African Americans. The report also includes recommendations to improve Oregon’s approach to racial equity and inclusion.