Created in partnership between Coalition of Communities of Color and Portland State University
Emigration and immigration -- Social aspects, Minorities -- Oregon -- Multnomah County
This report details the experiences of the Slavic community in Multnomah County. The Slavic community is defined as those from the former Soviet Union. It is the largest refugee-based community in Oregon, with most arriving in the decade from 1990 to 2000. Conventional definitions of the Slavic community are to define them as White. In the vast majority of datasets, it is not possible to extract the Slavic community as ancestry or language data have not been collected. To address the shortage of data on the community, we included a qualitative research study to extend our understanding of the community’s experience.
The data presented in this report begin to help us understand the challenges facing the Slavic community. While the results are indeed unsettling, there is opportunity to create a new policy environment that supports communities of color. Our main priority is to advocate for policy decisions that improve the individual and collective outcomes of the Slavic community and, in so doing, improve outcomes for all Oregonians. We hold an empowered racial equity coalition as central to addressing racial inequities. This report builds an important knowledge base from which to advocate and to educate. Educating our community and the community at large about the Slavic community is crucial to achieving racial equity.
One of the biggest threats to the Slavic community is its invisibility and marginalization that flows from the lack of data on their experiences in many walks of life: the school system, child welfare, criminal and juvenile justice, health and social services. The fact that no data are collected on this community in mainstream institutions is deeply troubling and needs to be remedied immediately. This community is the largest of our refugee groups. We must serve the community better – the journey begins with documenting and rendering visible their experiences.
Curry-Stevens, A. & Coalition of Communities of Color (2014). The Slavic Community in Multnomah County: An Unsettling Profile. Portland, OR: Portland State University.