Dave Mazza's blog

A "Juneteenth" rememberance: confronting racism in Oregon

June 19th marks the 144th anniversary of the landing of federal troops in Galveston, Texas to enforce the Emancipation Proclamation and finally bring slavery to an end throughout the United States. "Juneteenth" has not only become a day to commemorate the end of slavery but to reflect on the African American experience - from progress made to challenges that remain. As Oregonians celebrate the 150th anniversary of their statehood, Juneteenth is an opportunity to look at how we are contributing - or not - to overcoming racism in Oregon.

What do Lents residents really think of Randy Leonard's baseball deal?

At last month's meeting of the Lents Neighborhood Association, Portland City Commissioner Randy Leonard told a less than enthusiastic audience that "Having a Triple A baseball stadium would be the best thing we could ever have happen in Lents." While criticism of the stadium deal grows - including official rejection by the Portland Parks Board - Leonard remains unmoved in his belief that "downtown" interests, not neighborhood residents, are behind the opposition.

Race and Recession

 

imageThe current recession is not an equal opportunity crisis. People of color are experiencing job loss, foreclosures and lack of healthcare at alarmingly higher rates than white Americans. These disparities are not a coincidence but rather the result of structural barriers that have been taking a toll on people of color long before the subprime meltdown.

Rinku Sen: Race and Obama's first 100 days

Last week, President Obama reached his first 100 days in office, triggering a media flurry of speculation about how well he's doing. Communities of color - already hurting before the lastest round of troubles - have been measuring up the new president as well. Is President Obama pushing to create justice for all or is he too bogged down in the legacy of his predecessor? What should we be doing to push the president down the path of racial equity?

May Day: Is it still relevant 123 years later?

May 1, 2009 marks the 123rd anniversary of a rally for the eight-hour day in Chicago's Haymarket Square that ended with a police riot that left over a dozen dead. The political trial and hanging of four anarchists that followed sparked protests around the world and the designation by the Second International of May 1 as International Workers' Day, more commonly known as May Day. But does commemoration of a 19th century incident have relevance for people in the 21st century? Does demonstrating on May Day have meaning for you?

Creatiing accountable immigratoin enforcement

Over 440,000 people will be detained by the U.S. government this year. Women, children, the elderly, asylum seekers, torture victims and even long-time permanent residents will be detained for months - in some cases years - awaiting a determination on their status. Many of these people will be detained without a judicial hearing or access to an attorney in a nation that prides itself on the rule of law and due process.

How do we build an economy that's green AND fair?

From the White House to City Hall, everyone's talking about making the transition to a new green economy. But how do we make sure this new economy doesn't perpetuate the disparities of the old one? Can we make the shift without making things even worse for those already struggling with economic and environmental injustice? How can we ensure that all communities benefit from this transition?

Theater and healing: An conversation with the production company of "A Sunbeam"

The play's the thing. Theater offers reflections of reality but can it serve as a specific tool in tackling problems? Jo Ann and Dave talk with members of PassinArt: A Theater Company about their production of "A Sunbeam" by award-winning playwright John Henry. This unique production of a play about a family torn apart by problems includes "talk back" sessions with cast members and professionals from the Avel Gordley Center for Healing.

Hey Randy! Isn't picking pockets a crime?

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I know Randy Leonard started life as a fireman rather than a policeman, but you'd think he'd understand that taking money out of someone else's pocket isn't nice. Last week the commissioner not only announced once again his intent to pick Multnomah County's pocket - the polite term the city council uses is urban renewal - but publicly took Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler to task for protesting about it.

Checking in on the Oregon Legislature

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Closing the budget gap. Reviving Oregon's economy. Saving public services. These are just some of the issues Oregon lawmakers are facing this session. How is Oregon's 2009 legislature tackling these challenges? Is change in the wind in Salem? Jo Ann and Dave take a look at some of the key issues and the legislative responses playing out inside the Capitol so far.

 Coming up on Voices from the Edge...

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