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Minorities -- Oregon -- Multnomah County, Policy research, African Americans -- Oregon -- Portland


This report covers topics of importance for the African-American community, highlighting critical areas of disparity and disproportionate representation. The areas of analysis include: economic opportunity, housing and neighborhoods, education, health, child welfare, the criminal justice system, and civic engagement. In each area, we provide history and context, followed by data analysis that demonstrates the extent of racial disparity.

Taken together, the data on inequities show a community facing real and persistent challenges. These data point to a need for fundamental change and help to focus attention on some key drivers of that change. The depth and breadth of disparities profiled in this report, while perhaps surprising to White readers, is an affirmation of the difficult lives of many African-Americans. Importantly, this report also highlights the work of organizations that improve conditions for and in the African-American community. The approaches these organizations take to specifically confronting racial inequality demonstrate results. Their success—in improving educational outcomes, preserving home ownership, supporting parents, and increasing civic and political participation—provide models for closing the gaps. Their successes show that the disparities faced by the African-American community are neither inherent nor inevitable. While many aspects of the African-American community’s experience today are disheartening, with different approaches to equitable policy-making and resource allocation, culturally specific program delivery, and community-driven, community-defined models, we can work towards a better future.

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