The City of Lake Oswego is putting together a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Ad Hoc Task Force and applications are due Jun. 21, 2019. The task force will meet once a month for six months and, according to the City, will focus on identifying "barriers to participation on the City’s Boards & Commissions" and "methods by which to increase the applicant pool for City job openings."
Furthermore, the City has identified a number of different categories which they consider underrepresented, which include "Older Adult, Youth, People with Disabilities, Women, People of Color, Parent, Business Owner, Sexual Orientation, Faith/Religious, and Socio-Economic."
While Respond to Racism has some concerns with the process so far--primarily the potential for marginalizing the needs of the town's different communities of color despite the fact those inequities and lack of consistent advocacy on their behalf were the impetus for forming this task force--we still believe this is an important opportunity for moving the needle on the issues facing marginalized people in LO. With that in mind, we strongly encourage concerned community members, and community members of color in particular, to apply for this task force and exert your influence on this process.
We understand that there are a number of barriers to entry that the City, at least in its documentation so far, doesn't seem to be taking into account. People of color especially have very legitimate worries about the stress of potentially having to spend hours arguing with a group of white people in a back room for no real gain. Fears of retaliation are very much real, whether it takes the form of social shunning among adults or increased bullying against children who take a public stand against racism. The fact is, families choosing to move (see: being run out of town) shortly after daring to speak their truth is a common occurrence in LO. Going into this task force endeavor without taking that into account is irresponsible and we will do our part as an organization to make sure the discussion of support systems is not lost in the process.
Once again, applications are due Jun. 21 and we strongly encourage anyone interested to take advantage of this opportunity to move the needle for marginalized communities in LO. Apply here.