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A Response to the Loss of Black Communities in Portland

A five-minute video funded by the James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation tells the story of black communities struggling to preserve their traditions in what's been called the whitest city in the United States.
March 17, 2015, 1pm PDT | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Trevor Leyenhorst

Oregon Humanities magazine recently debuted "Future: Portland," a short video produced by Ifanyi Bell and inspired by an essay Bell wrote for an earlier issue of Oregon Humanities about the challenges of growing up black in Portland (or as the essay puts it, growing up "tolerated and underestimated" in Portland). According to a post on the Oregon Humanities website, the five minute video includes "civic leaders [describing] the loss of Portland’s strong black communities and the hope of restoring them in the future."

Casey Parks reports on the video for The Oregonian, noting especially that no one in the video uses the word gentrification. "They don't have to. The stories African Americans tell of home in 'Future: Portland' do more to tell the story of this changing city than any buzzword can," writes Parks.

The article by Parks provides more of a backstory on Bell's process in creating the video but also the opportunity the video means to seize. Bell is quote directly in the article: "This is an opportunity for Portland to do what no other city has done, to really wrestle with these issues and come up with some kind of action….I no longer have to convince people there is a problem. We understand what's at stake. The most difficult part is finding out what to do with this knowledge."

Full Story:
Published on Tuesday, March 10, 2015 in Oregon Humanities
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