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Equity and Justice

Oregon has a complex history of white supremacy. It is the only state in the country that did not allow Black Americans to settle here in the 1840s. This history of injustice and current institutional racism has created disadvantages for communities. These are real, unjust and unacceptable.

COVID-19 has shined a spotlight on these impacts of our racist society. Black, Indigenous, people of color, and American Indian/Alaska Native people (BIPOC-AI/AN) are unjustly impacted by COVID-19 in infections and death. The pain caused by COVID-19 is terrible for all Oregonians, and the weight of this pandemic has been falling most strongly on non-white communities.

Racial equity needs to be a foundation of state agencies. It needs to be built into everything we do. Until BIPOC-AI/AN share decision-making authority in our state, decisions will favor the dominant culture. This, in turn, will reinforce institutional bias and contribute to disparities.  We commit to changing how we do business through co-creation and power-sharing with communities.

Our approach:

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    Why This Matters

    The COVID-19 pandemic has shown a spotlight on the way race, class, and other benefits allow people who are more privileged to survive. Black and Brown communities are more prone to health issues because of a range of reasons. But most of these are not genetic or related to skin color. We know conscious and unconscious racial bias exists across all systems and people in this country.* 

    By declaring racism as a public health crisis, we can mobilize resources and drive change.

*https://www.bigpicture.org/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=592322&type=u&pREC_ID=1927305&fbclid=IwAR2WCuIS5Adt5EBJs3JphdHuxJ46tA8SJ-oBD6RbucAH6D-LsR1ecY1C7LQ

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    Definition

    State Health Indicators are a set of data points that track the health of the people in Oregon each year.

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    Why This Matters

    What is measured, improves. We need full demographic data to understand and address differences in health among groups. This strategy aims to improve the way we collect and report data. When we measure the needs of different communities, we can use the data to inform decisions in programs, policy and funding.

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    Definition

    The Government Alliance on Race and Equity defines racial equity as “when race can no longer be used to predict life outcomes and outcomes for all groups are improved.”*

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    Why This Matters

    State agencies must change the way we support BIPOC-AI/AN. Racial equity needs to be a foundation.

    It needs to be built into the decision making and core plans that drive work.  This is in order to correct historical injustices and lessen the effects of disparities. Also, more state funds need to be invested in BIPOC-AI/AN communities.

* https://www.racialequityalliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/GARE-Resource_Guide.pdf    page 9

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    Why This Matters

    In Oregon, people in positions of power and decision-making often represent white, able-bodied, heterosexual, dominant culture. Until communities of BIPOC-AI/AN and other affected communities share decision-making power in our state, decisions will favor the dominant culture. This will reinforce institutional bias and contribute to disparities. BIPOC-AI/AN-led committees should be provided funding and support in order to inform state agency plans, policies and budgets.

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    Why This Matters

    The Black Lives Matter movement in 2020 has grown to become the largest social movement in United States history. One reason is because our systems do not treat Black and Brown people the same way they treat white people. For communities of BIPOC-AI/AN, bias is a problem. In particular, it persists in education and law enforcement.

    Solutions need to be created by and for BIPOC-AI/AN in order to create lasting change.

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    Definition

    Public-facing means agencies that provide a direct service to people.

    Trauma-informed is an approach that acknowledges the impact of trauma. It promotes a culture of safety, empowerment and healing.

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    Why This Matters

    Many organizations have trained staff in trauma-informed approaches. But they have yet to fully weave in these approaches into their work.  This strategy requires that agencies show how they are putting trauma-informed principles into use.

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    Why This Matters

    People who do not yet have documentation are treated differently by our system than those that do and do not enjoy the same rights. Immigrants and refugees face more barriers to access benefits than others do.

    This strategy aims to lessen and get rid of these barriers.

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    Why This Matters

    Racism has been a major part of Oregon’s history. It is important to create policies and initiatives that correct this. It is important to do this while honoring the resilience in communities of color. 

    This strategy aims to develop new policies to uplift anti-racist and anti-oppression work happening in communities. It also aims to ensure that accountability is in place for the work.