Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Black Bag Speaker Series

The Black Bag speaker series is a Black Studies Department production that collaborates with the Multicultural center to bring the Portland community together for a series of different speakers to have open dialougue about issues facing Oregon communities. The first Black Bag Speaker series that I attended was hosted by members and representatives from The Environmental Justice Task Force. The Environmental Justice Task Force is a Governer's Task Force on Environmental Justice that was authorized by the Oregon State Legislature in 2007 , and was proposed by Portland State's own, then-senator Avel Gordley! There was a series of speakers at that event, from representatives from DEQ (Department of Environmental Quality), The Department of Transportation, The Department of State Lands, and the Department of Land Conservation and Development, to Law professors at Clark, and many representatives from all kinds of Governmental positions in the state of Oregon, even members of the local community and further communties from other counties spoke about how they are connected to the Environmental Justice Task force, how it has affected them , and why this Governmental task force is important.

Environmental Justice communities include minority and low-income communities, tribal communities, and other communities traditionally underrepresented in public process. It was such an educational and intriguing event that I swore I would come back for more Black Back speakers. Not to mention the events are catered, and I also tried some of the most delicious tofu pad thai ever!!

This particular Black Bag Speaker Series event that I recently attended and took pictures of, took place on October 27th , and was hosted by the Black studies Department and Trevor Griffey. Griffey is Project Coordinator of the Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project. He also co-wrote and contributed to a book entitled, "Black Power at Work: Community Control, Affirmative Action, and the Construction Industry (Cornell University Press, 2010). " The book "examines community activism and direct action by civil rights groups to advocate desegregation of federal and city-funded construction projects across northern cities in the 1960s and 1970s." Griffey spoke specifically about the civil rights movement in Seattle, and he spoke alot about the lesser-told problems Phillipino people had gaining respect and rights in this country. He has a book on that also I believe.

Professor Ethan Johnson is the lead coordinator behind the Black Bag Speaker series.

Also I found this really cool website that updates citizens and community members on great events that take place like this in the Northwest. The website is : and for more information about future black bag speaker series, visit and click on 'events.' also there should be signs around campus.

No comments:

Post a Comment