Contact: Rose King, 503-863-1363,

Racial justice, labor and community organizations unite around a bold 2017 legislative agenda to promote secure employment, accessible health care, affordable housing and safe communities

(Portland, Ore.) – With racist incidents on the rise in Oregon and throughout the country since Election Day, a broad coalition of racial, gender justice, labor and community groups from across the state gathered to unveil a bold legislative agenda to protect human and civil rights in Oregon. More than fifty organizations endorsed the agenda and vowed to protect every single Oregonian, including immigrants and refugees, women, people of color, LGBT communities and working families.

“Let me be clear: we’ve made hard-earned gains here in Oregon and we aren’t about to back down. We will never stop fighting to protect our families, our communities, our children and our state,” said Kathy Wai, Civic Engagement Manager for Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon.

The event was held at Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church and comes just weeks after Governor Kate Brown’s pledge to protect the human and civil rights of all Oregonians.

The Oregon Health Equity Alliance (OHEA) and Fair Shot unveiled a shared 2017 legislative agenda, aimed at ensuring every Oregonian has the opportunity to thrive, regardless of racial background, gender, language or where they are from.

“Our agenda is bold, tackling an intersection of issues that move us closer to justice and economic opportunity for all,” said Ramon Ramirez, President of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste. “Inequality is embedded in the public and private institutions that shape our lives. From employment to health, housing and safety, together we will tear down barriers that make it difficult for Oregonians to get ahead.”

The agenda creates a clear path to advance racial, gender and economic justice in Oregon and includes:

  • Cover All Kids: Puts every child on a pathway to success by extending the Oregon Health Plan to all children in Oregon. 
  • End Profiling: Builds on Oregon’s 2015 ban on police profiling by creating the structure to effectively identify, record and correct any profiling practices by Oregon law enforcement agencies.
  • Secure Homes For All: Helps working families maintain housing stability and curb homelessness by protecting tenants from losing their homes through no fault of their own.
  • Paid Family and Medical Leave: Ensures Oregonians can take time away from work—to welcome a new child, take care of a seriously ill family member, care for someone they love at the end of their life, or recover from a serious illness or injury—without losing the income their family relies on.
  • Reproductive Health Equity: Prevents Oregonians from facing significant health and economic challenges by ensuring affordable access to the full range of reproductive health services for all.

“We’re standing strong to say that hate and discrimination have no place here, ” said Tom Chamberlain, President of Oregon AFL-CIO. “At the same time, we must build an Oregon where all families and working people have what we need to keep ourselves and our families safe and prosperous: access to critical health services, stable housing, and safe communities free from discrimination and violence. Our civil and economic rights need to be upheld every step of the way.”

Chamberlain noted that to truly create real opportunities for every Oregonian, the coalition must address long-standing inequalities that are deeply ingrained in our social and political institutions. Research shows that 1 in 7 Oregonians is living in poverty, with Oregonians of color twice as likely to live in poverty than their white counterparts. The average income of the typical white household was $51,972 in 2013, exceeding the incomes of the typical Latino, Pacific Islander, African-American and Native American households by about $13,000 or more. In addition, unemployment rate for black Oregonians in 2014 was 13.6 percent—twice the white rate of 6.8 percent—and the unemployment rates for Latinos was 9.6 percent.

AuthorChristine Saunders