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February 2014 Newsletter

Urban League of Portland Logo  Empowering Communities.  Changing Lives.   
Winter 2014 Newsletter   
In This Issue

Career Connections Job Fair


2014 State of Black Oregon


We Are Health Movement


Social Justice & Civic Leadership


Cover Oregon


Senior Services


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Fifty years ago this January, during his State of the Union Address, President Lyndon Johnson announced the beginning of meaningful social welfare legislation and declared an “unconditional War on Poverty in America.”  Said Johnson in his 1964 speech, “We are citizens of the richest and most fortunate nation in the history of the world…[W]e have never lost sight of our goal: an America in which every citizen shares all the opportunities of his society, in which every man has a chance to advance his welfare to the limit of his capacities. We have come a long way toward this goal. We still have a long way to go.” In the five decades that have followed, many Americans were lifted out of poverty as a result of successful programs like Medicare, Medicaid, Job Corps and Head Start. And while the War on Poverty has had much success, presently 46.5 million people, or around 15 percent of the population, live at or below the poverty line. 


The Urban League of Portland’s work fights poverty in our community by empowering Oregonians to reach their full potential for prosperity.  Our programs break down barriers to economic opportunity by addressing root causes of poverty in a variety of ways.  We are working to eliminate health disparities- a critical component of economic opportunity- by developing innovative healthcare systems: blending traditional, culturally-focused community health practices with modern, equitable policy.  This month, our Community Health Worker  training program is poised to graduate its second cohort of African and African-American Community Health Workers, whose work will improve health outcomes in our community.  Our Cover Oregon team is bringing affordable health care into reach for those whose lack of insurance kept them from preventive medicine, and working to find more affordable insurance for those whose massive premiums leave them without a safety-net.


Another path we’re taking to fight poverty at its foundation is our commitment to workforce development.  Our Workforce Programs have been revitalized with renewed support from the community, and now offer even more culturally-sensitive, fundamental workforce and stability services to help address major barriers to employment. In a community where African Americans have twice the rate of poverty as the majority population, we offer vital direct services with powerful advocacy to safeguard the opportunity of all Oregonians to secure sustainable, family wage employment.


While we remain committed to ending poverty in our community, we know with certainty we could not do it without your support.  We thank you for your dedication and support and for working alongside us as we continue to empower African Americans and others to achieve equality.  


Yours in the Movement,

Michael Alexander
President & CEO
The Urban League of Portland 

April 22, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Doubletree Hotel
Save the Date for Our Twenty-First Annual Career Connections Job Fair      
The Urban League of Portland is thrilled to announce our upcoming 21st Annual Career Connections Job Fair, to be held Tuesday, April 22, 2014, from 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM at the Doubletree Hotel (by Hilton), near the Lloyd Center (1000 NE Multnomah St, Portland, 97232).  Over 50 employers participated and 500 patrons attended the Career Connections job fair in 2013. 
This important event brings together a wide array of area employers with a diverse and motivated pool of job seekers.  Local employers will be looking to fill family wage positions ranging from entry level to highly skilled and management/executive. For those looking for work, for a change in career, or for local employers seeking excellent motivated workers, the Career Connections Job Fair is one of the best employment events in the region.

State of Black Oregon Eugene Planning Meeting
2014 State of Black Oregon
Of all the vital work that we do at the Urban League of Portland, perhaps no single project means as much to as many members of the community as our groundbreaking State of Black Oregon Report.  The 2009 report had a meaningful impact on the people we serve throughout the state by informing policy, education, programming, and most of all by providing meaningful visibility to Black Oregonians.   This year, the Urban League of Portland will produce a new and innovative State of Black Oregon report. 


Like the original, the new project will be fully informed by Black Oregonians across the State. It will be owned by, written by and for the community, covering the places in urban and rural Oregon, where the presence of the Black community is often overlooked. These Oregonians will be paramount in telling their own story. The report will illuminate the experiences of Black Oregonians all over the state, including Eugene, Bend, Coos Bay and Eastern and rural Oregon. The State of Black Oregon 2014 will provide an opportunity for many to tell their story for the first time. 

Learn More…

Participants of the We Are Health Movement Training
We Are Health Movement             
The Urban League remains committed to reducing health disparities in innovative ways.  One program making a meaningful impact on the health of our community is our Community Health Worker program, which is currently training a second cohort of 25 community health workers. Our We Are Health Movement curriculum has been created to be culturally-centered, and to reflect the cultural richness and diversity of African and African-American communities in Oregon. This curriculum is part of a traditional health care model, and draws upon many aspects of people’s education and community organizing.


Oregon-based healthcare news website the Lund Report recently published a feature about our Community Health Worker program.  The report delves into the curriculum of our training, how new Oregon legislation and the Affordable Care Act impact the role community health workers in our system of healthcare, and what the Urban League is doing to help the newly trained cohort.


Read More…

2014 Social Justice & Civic Leadership Cohort at their Kickoff Retreat 
Presenting Our 2014 Social Justice & Civic Leadership Program Cohort 
The Urban League of Portland is pleased to present our 2014 Social Justice and Civic Leadership (SJCL) cohort. The program will provide these participants an opportunity to work together throughout the year on Urban League issue campaigns. We will also cover how to impact public policy and involvement in public decision-making.  
The 2014 Social Justice and Civic Leadership program began with a retreat in late December 2013,  and the cohort will continue to meet monthly through the November 2014 election to strengthen their skills, share their expertise, educate voters,  plan campaigns and more.  Graduates of the transformative and powerful Social Justice & Civic Leadership program have gone on to serve the community in a variety of ways.
           Read More…

Urban League Staffer Gente Shaw Assists an Applicant
Cover Oregon Continues to Outreach 


Our Cover Oregon Outreach and Enrollment specialists continue to work to make sure every Oregonian has access to affordable health insurance.  To date they’ve assisted over 152 individuals and families by helping navigate throughout the application and plan selection process. 


Our Cover Oregon Team engages in community dialogues to educate about the many facets of news laws in place around the Affordable Care Act. In addition to making sure Oregonians are aware of their options– they help walk applicants through the application process, which for many can seem daunting.  They help people who thought they could never afford insurance to find affordable plans and have even worked to drastically reduce the rates of people who are already insured.  

Learn More…

Members of our Walk With Ease senior program.

Services for Seniors in East Multnomah County

The Urban League of Portland Seniors Program has been successfully serving seniors in North and Northeast Portland for more than 35 years.  In response to an emerging need in East Multnomah County, we are now offering short term case management to African American seniors living in East Multnomah County (82nd Ave and East, including Portland, Gresham, and Fairview). 
Urban League of Portland case management can assist you or your loved ones with a variety of services and referrals.  Our services help seniors to remain safe and independent in their homes. This is a FREE service to the public. For more information, contact Alexandria at 503-901-9550 to have an initial assessment to see how the Urban League of Portland can assist you or your loved one today.
      Read More…
UpcomingEventsUpcoming Events  

February 7, 2014, 1:00pm – 3:00 pm
East Portland Neighborhood Office
1017 NE 117th Ave
Portland, OR 97220 


February 7, 2014, 5:30pm – 8:00pm
Miracles Club
4200 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd

Portland, OR 97212 

February 24, 2014. 8:00am – 4:00pm
Meet at Urban League Offices
10 N Russell St
Portland, OR 97227 
Black History Presentation

February 27, 2014 10:45am
Multicultural Senior Center
5325 NE Martin Luther King Jr Blvd
Portland, OR 97211 
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Urban League of Portland | 10 North Russell Street | Portland | OR | 97227