Erin Zygaitis, Eugene

Child care is so expensive, I often feel like I’m working just to pay the babysitter. Even though I have a steady job, financial insecurity is something I live with constantly.
— Erin Zygaitis

Erin is a single mom who works in the floral industry. She earned her bachelor's degree at U of O and has spent the last ten years working her way up and now manages a floral shop. She has a lot of responsibility and is still only paid $12 an hour. It's not enough for the basics for her and her daughter, and childcare is cripplingly expensive.

Kasil Kapriel, Portland

If we raised the minimum wage, I would be able to take home more money each paycheck – money I could use to pay my rent on time and save for my children’s education. Most importantly, I would feel like I was treated with respect for the work I do.
— Kasil Kapriel

Kasil is a single mother of 3 who has worked at PDX for 8 years. When she first started, she was paid minimum wage, and after 8 years she is still paid minimum wage. It isn't enough to pay for her rent, which has gone up three times in the last two years, nor the health insurance that's offered through her employer. Not only is her wage insufficient but her hours have been dropping, too, making it even harder to pay rent on time. 

Ashley Bardales, Forest Grove

Why are we, valuable members of society, expected to suffer in poverty, despite working hard and playing by the rules? No Oregonian should be working 40 hours a week, and not afford to pay the rent.
— Ashley Bardales

Ashley is a single mother of two who lives with her parents because she's unable to afford a place of her own. She's worked in the service industry for 11 years, and has never earned more than a dollar above minimum wage. She's attempted to pursue higher education, but worries that she'll earn a degree but still won't be paid a livable wage. She wants to be self-sufficient and to be able to provide for her family, not have to make the choice between feeding herself or her children so that she doesn't risk eviction.

AuthorChristine Saunders

Delfina Andrade, Beaverton

When the incident with my employer happened, I already did not feel safe to report it to law enforcement. When I was convinced to go, I only felt worse. They treated me poorly because I am Latina and an immigrant, and did not take my case seriously although I was the victim of a crime. We need a place that community members can go to report these incidents that is independent, so we can feel safe to report profiling and unfair treatment, instead of having to go to the same place where it happened to you.
— Delfina Andrade

Delfina Andrade is originally from Mexico but has resided in Beaverton for the last five years. After experiencing sexual assault from her employer she went to report it to the sheriff's department. When she explained what had happened they began to question about whether or not she had a driver's license and her immigration status. They then added, "are you sure that you want to make a complaint because you may not get anymore housekeeping jobs and it is obvious that you need the money." She insisted that they take the report but when she finally got a copy saw that her account of the sexual assault had not been entered into the record. With the support of an advocate she wrote a letter to the sheriff to let him know what happened. After the letter was submitted they met with a deputy sheriff and had to return to the same building where she was treated so badly. He apologized, but nothing else happened. It is unknown if there were any repercussions against the two officers or if anything would change in the future. 

Linda Ramon, Portland

The stress, intimidation and emotional harm profiling may cause is a problem we can collectively work to remedy by taking a first step to support HB 2002.
— Linda Ramon

Linda Roman’s mother was profiled when the police questioned the validity of her driver's license. The police explained to her that it is a common practice for people to share their driver’s license with a family member. In her mother’s broken English she explained that this was in fact her driver’s license. The comment that the police officer made would be very different if she were not a Latina immigrant and would not be the same if the interaction was not based on the suspicion about her mother’s immigration status.

Kimberley Dixon, Portland

I came down to see a man of color in a red hat sitting in his vehicle and three officers outside of the car. I could tell that he had been asked to be searched as he got out of the car and was then patted down. His body language spoke of being inconvenienced. When they did complete the search, officers seemed to verbally engage with the citizen who was then free to go. I have eight sons of which my younger three, especially my newest driver, we regularly go over what they need to do when they are stopped by the police.
— Kimberley Dixon

Kimberely Dixon's first profiling story goes back to the 90’s when her brother was stopped and patted down after walking less than 100 feet outside their family home. More recently, she saw officers patting down a young man of color.

AuthorChristine Saunders

Thi Vu, Portland

Banning the box will allow someone like me to get an interview so that I can show who I am today, not who I was. Potential employers can assess my qualifications for the job and I’m not immediately removed from the applicant pool because of my past mistakes.
— Thi Vu

When Thi Vu would answer truthfully to the question, "Have you ever been convicted of a felony?" he was always denied an interview. When he would lie and get the interview, most times he would get the job. Unfortunately as he would advance further in the company a background check would have to be run. His felonies would be found out and he would be terminated. His employers always said that they regretted having to do this, but when he asked them if they would have hired him if he had been truthful initially, they would always answer no.

Patricia Coldeen, Eugene

While incarcerated I was able to participate in a treatment program in which I took responsibly for my own actions and I made a commitment to change. For the first time in many years, I felt positive and hopeful for my future. It wasn’t long however, those hopes diminished. I began feeling discouraged when door after door of employment opportunity closed on me, all because of the question on the application; have you ever been convicted of a felony? I knew if I checked that box the application would be discarded.
— Patricia Coldeen

Due to an untreated drug addiction, Patricia was arrested and in 2007 and finally got the drug treatment she so desperately needed.

Patricia is presently a student in the University of Oregon’s Family and Human Services program. She has earned an Associates of Arts from Lane Community College and is a certified drug and alcohol counselor through the state of Oregon. She has worked part-time as a counselor at Willamette Family drug treatment program and volunteers with the non-profit organization Partnership for Safety and Justice, where she helps to make Oregon’s approach to public safety more effective and just. She has been a valued employee at Jackson's Food for 6 years now where she feels it is not only important to work hard to show her gratitude, but to ensure that they continue people like her a fair chance at employment.

Theresa Sweeney, Portland

This ban would allow us the opportunity to meet with potential employers and let them evaluate us as individuals, instead of a criminal history.
— Theresa Sweeney

Theresa Sweeney is a mother of 3 and active community member. In 2003 she was convicted on two felony forgery counts. She was paroled in 2004 and was able to complete parole early and earn a B.S. in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Portland State University. She could not secure employment in her field of study but was finally able to attain employment. After 3 years she decided to return to school and earn her master's degree. Despite her education, work experience, and the 7 years which had passed since her conviction, she still found her employment options severely limited.

Jim Houser, Portland

Twenty-eight years go, I hired an employee who was upfront about his criminal history. He recently retired after nearly three decades as one of my best employees. As a small business owner, I know that giving people a second chance to succeed boosts the economy and helps put communities and families back together.
— Jim Houser

Jim Houser owns and operates Hawthorne Auto Clinic.

AuthorChristine Saunders

Barbara Perrin, Eugene

During most of my working life I was a divorced single parent with a liberal arts degree and very few resources, I cobbled together a series of low-paying, flexible jobs on which to survive while caring for my family. All along, while I worked, I paid into Social Security. But, as a single mother raising a family on my own, figuring out a retirement plan and saving money for my retirement was beyond my ability. Too many other needs took priority...I would have welcomed the opportunity to participate in a plan like the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan because it’s accessible, safe, and portable. It makes sense and I believe it will benefit all Oregonians.
— Barbara Perrin

Barbara Perrin is a mother, a grandmother, a resident of Eugene, and an AARP volunteer. For most of her working life she was a single mother who spent her time focusing on other priorities than saving money for a retirement plan. Eventually she worked her way into a professional career in educational publishing with a middle-class income. But by the time I was earning a better income, she was in her fifties and had very few years left in which to build up savings for her retirement. Thankfully, a lifetime of frugal habits enabled her to start a small nest egg and to buy a modest home, which I had always been taught was a safe and reliable investment.

In early 2010, she moved from Colorado back to Oregon, to be with her family. She left with some savings, a plan to sell the home that she owned in Colorado, and to start a publishing consulting business in Eugene. Unfortunately, with the recession, and the decline of the print publishing industry combined with the slow job market, she was not successful in finding either clients or a job. And, with the collapse of the housing market her house failed to sell. Eventually, she had to use up her savings to pay the mortgage on her unsold home.  While relieved that she was finally able to sell, her savings and equity have been depleted. 



AuthorChristine Saunders

Kim Eggleston, Aloha

I work hard but still can’t get ahead. When my son or I get sick and I have to stay home, I do not get paid. Just eight hours of lost pay leaves me struggling to cover my bills.
— Kim Eggleston

Kim is a single mom who lacks paid sick time.

AuthorChristine Saunders