Want racial division? Check out the House Democratic caucus.
In a move that is sure to have ripple effects throughout the 2021 Legislative session, Oregon House Democrats, in the persons of Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) and Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland), have put out a press release
that they've entitled Confronting Oregon’s Racist Past and Committing to a Truly Equitable Future
. This release effectively signals an end to State Representative Janelle Bynum's (D-Happy Valley) bid to unseat Kotek as Speaker
. Bynum was named chair of the powerful House Judiciary Committee.
Smith Warner and Kotek, both of whom are white, began, "As elected lawmakers dedicated to building a future where all Oregonians can live the fullness of their lives, we must never forget that racism is threaded through the state’s history and continues to undermine our present.
They continued, recounting some of Oregon's less-than-noble history, "From its very start, Oregon was founded as an anti-Black “white utopia.” Black people were banned from the state in the Oregon Constitution, and the Oregon Territory itself is land stolen from the Native tribes who had made this region home for centuries. Through deliberate policies -- from red-lining to forced displacement for “economic development” -- Black families were literally robbed of wealth and kept from living in many parts of the state for decades.
Today, gentrification, discrimination, and racially biased policing practices continue to deny Black families economic and physical freedom.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
"Our colleague, Rep. Janelle Bynum, has been a leading voice in the Legislature for confronting and dismantling the structural legacies that have kept BIPOC Oregonians out of positions of power and influence." BIPOC stands for "Black, Indigenous and People of Color," and is a racial designation specifically created to exclude Asians and South Asians -- groups which most see as not disadvantaged, despite historic racism against them.
"We are committed to confronting the past while taking steps to build a future that is more truly
equitable—one that centers the needs of people who have been oppressed, discriminated against,
and kept out of the halls of influence for too long. In the near term, the Leadership of the Oregon
House Democrats is embarking on these steps:
- Creating dedicated space for BIPOC House members on our caucus Leadership team.
- Launching a special legislative committee to propose reforms to the overall legislative
structure that will encourage more diverse representation and engagement.
- Providing staff support to the bi-cameral BIPOC Caucus to develop their capacity and support their efforts.
- Providing language translation services in the Capitol so legislators can communicate with all of their constituents.
- Prioritizing the needs of BIPOC and other communities most impacted by COVID-19, the wildfires, and the economic recession, with an equity lens applied to both policy and budget decisions.
The irony of creating dedicated carve-outs based on race in order to combat historic racism is not lost on some observers, and prioritizing funding based on race has been regarded as questionably legal by some.
|Post Date: 2021-01-04 11:40:20||Last Update: 2021-01-04 17:21:22|