The Five Quadrants of Portland

November 19th, 2015

12:00pm, 11-19-2015
<< The Five Quadrants of Portland


Djimet Dogo, director of the Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization's Africa House, speaking about Portland's refugee communities and the national debate around the Syrian refugee crisis.  Following attacks by ISIS in Paris that killed 129 people and stunned the international community, some politicians and commentators have drawn a connection with this year's mass exodus of Syrians from ISIS violence in their home country into Europe.  Arguing that ISIS extremists could enter host countries under the guise of the refugee crisis, with the twisted logic that Syrian refugees are responsible for the very violence they are fleeing, many American politicians have called to restrict of refuse Syrian and/or Muslim refugee resettlement in the US, stoking Islamophobia and anti-immigrant sentiments across the country.  Here in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown, Mayor Charlie Hales and others have committed to welcoming refugees of all origins.  Djimet - a former refugee from Chad - and his colleagues at IRCO provide essential support to new refugees to Portland as they adjust to life in the US.


Rebroadcast of a March 2015 interview with Midge Purcell, former policy director of the Urban League of Portland, discussing efforts to #BantheBox in Portland.  In step with a nationwide movement to remove questions about criminal history from job applications and reduce hiring bias that can be the difference between success and recidivism, Mayor Hales and local Ban the Box proponents - including the Urban League - have advocated for a citywide Ban the Box ordinance.  After earlier attempts stalled in Portland's City Council, Governor Kate Brown this summer signed a statewide Ban the Box bill this summer that delayed questions about criminal backgrounds until the interview process.  Arguing that the statewide bill doesn't go far enough, proponents resurrected the city ordinance before City Council this week, which would go further and delay criminal history discussion until conditional offers of employment are made.  


Lana Veenker, the president of local casting agency Cast Iron Studios, discussing diversity in Oregon film and television casting and her studio's Talent Diversity Initiative.  Running through October and November and culminating in a graduation this weekend, the initiative offered intensive acting training and coaching at no cost to Oregon actors of color, who she's found have been underrepresented in the top acting schools and acting classes, places that are often the gateway to talent representation and introduction to casting directors.  She argues that these and other barriers faced by actors of color can make diverse casting in OR a challenge, and hopes that graduates of the initiative are provided with the tools and confidence to book roles in regional film and television.

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