IMAGE: These 12 diverse organizations have come together to educate the community on how to confront hate against all. Funding has been provided by the Emily Georges Gottfried Fund and Oregon Jewish Community Foundation.
BY DEBORAH MOON
A dozen diverse partner organizations have come together to present “A Community Call to Confront Hate.” The virtual summit will be 9 am-1 pm, May 26.
“An attack against anyone because of their ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation is an attack against all of us,” says organizer Bob Horenstein, community relations director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Portland. The JCRC is a key organizer of the Confront Hate summit.
The summit evolved out of United in Spirit, a Portland-based coalition reinvigorating the historically positive relationship between the African-American and Jewish communities. That collaboration was joined by an array of other communities to present a series of webinars on the history of hate in Oregon. Webinar recordings on the history of discrimination against Blacks, Native Americans, immigrants, LGBTQ+, Asians and Jews can be seen at jewishportland.org/uncovering.
At the May summit, those groups will present ways to move forward to confront hate. The day will begin at 9 am with a virtual welcome and a conversation around implicit bias with speaker Bill de la Cruz. Participants will be able to choose from eight breakout sessions held each hour at 10 and again at 11 am.
At noon, keynote speaker Eric K. Ward will speak on “Combatting Hate: The intersection of Racism and Anti-Semitism in the Fight for an Inclusive Democracy.” The executive director of Western States Center and longtime civil rights strategist, Ward will reflect on the recent threats to our democracy and what we can do to work toward a more inclusive democracy.
Nearly 700 people have registered for the summit as of May 6. Organizers are hoping for 1,000 participants. The list of registrants ranges from individuals from the partner communities to representatives from Oregon cities, school districts, universities, nonprofits, neighborhood associations, Rotary clubs, religious organizations and Portland-area Jewish congregations.
The webpage for the summit notes: In this time of national and local reckoning with our country and state’s grim legacy of discrimination and hate, we have come together as a broad coalition of partner organizations and allies to create a virtual summit.
“The summit is not a one off,” says Horenstein. “It is about building and strengthening relationships with each other.”
The summit is designed to build bridges between communities, bridges that will lead to a united front against hate.
“Given the past several years and the rise we've seen in bigotry and hatred, our communities find it important to come together in learning and advocating for each other,” says Rachel Nelson, JFGP director of intergroup outreach. She looks forward to a time when it will be safe to share “cultural gatherings, community connections and breaking bread together.”
Robin Will, president of the Gay and Lesbian Archive of the Pacific Northwest, says his organization and community have appreciated the supportive atmosphere of the planning sessions for the summit.
“When there is cross-fertilizing and some cross-pollinating, we can take up each other’s struggles,” Robin says. “There is always crossover in terms of hate.”
The Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education was part of the original United in Spirit coalition and is one of the partner organizations for the summit.
“The summit is a testament to the many individuals and organizations who came together with the ambition to create an educational experience for all communities,” says OJMCHE Director Judy Margles. “Kudos to Bob Horenstein and Rachel Nelson for steering us in the right direction. May 26 will have something for anyone who is keen to know about Oregon’s legacy of discrimination and who is interested in making our community safe, equitable and inclusive for everyone.”
For more information and to register, visit jewishportland.org/summit.