Alumni attend race talks in Portland
Along with 50 residents, students, and educators from the Portland Metro Area, multiple Lewis & Clark graduate school alumni attended the Race Talks 2 on Jan. 7 at Jefferson High School. Among them was Andrea J. Wright Johnston (MA in Marriage, Couple, and Family Therapy ’14) and Dominique Aubrey (MAT. ’13).
The talks are a series of facilitated community dialogues that support interracial and cross-cultural communication about issues of race in Oregon. Participants in past sessions have discussed the Trayvon Martin shooting, race and healthcare, and white privilege. The effort has reached more than 5,000 participants since starting in February 2011.
The lecture Johnston and Aubry attended was titled, “I Can Fix It: Five Things White People and People of Color Can Do to Fix the Racial Divide.” Facilitators allowed time for participants to share their personal experiences with race and discuss the role of privilege in their lives.
Johnston, a Lincoln High School alum, identifies as black, white and Native American. She is glad the Race Talks are increasing the public’s awareness of problems she thinks about every day. “So often, people of color are the ones responsible for stopping racism,” Johnston told The Portland Tribune. “We’re asked to defend for ourselves. Now white people can help us.”
Aubry (MAT. ’13) found it refreshing to talk about race and hopes participants will carry on the conversation outside Jefferson. “It could create a little ripple effect,” she told The Tribune. “Hopefully that’s what this is doing.”
Race Talks 2 is sponsored by the Portland Public Schools Office of Equity. The series hosts speakers from a variety of ethnic, gender, religious and political ideologies. Read more about the Race Talks in the Portland Tribune.
Jefferson High School holds Race Talks 2 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on the first Tuesday of each month. Each session is free and open to the public.