#BlackLikeMe Campaign Celebrates Juneteenth and the Census

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We Count Oregon hosts a virtual Juneteenth event to commemorate transformational reform and ensure that Oregonians receive federal funding and representation

ASHLAND – A not-to-be-missed virtual Juneteenth event, #BlackLikeMe, will be hosted by #WeCountOregon (WCO) on Friday, June 19 from 5:30 – 7:30 pm PST. In commemoration of the abolition of American slavery, and in light of the protests calling for transformational reform around policing and ending state violence against Black people, this event will lift up tangible actions the Black community can take to build political strength.

WCO, a people-of-color led state-wide initiative to engage under-represented communities in being counted in the 2020 census and beyond, has organized a stellar line-up of leading Black voices. Including headliner Alicia Garza, the principle of Black Futures Lab, and co-founder of #BlackLivesMatter, Rep. Akasha Lawrence Spence, and WCO’s Statewide Campaign Manager Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett will be talking about the role of Black women’s leadership in the census and its connection to the political movement.

“We Count Oregon firmly stands with protestors – of all races – calling for transformational reform around policing and state violence against Black people,” Tervalon-Garrett said. “This event is about lifting up tangible actions Black communities can take at this moment. We are on fire, and we are channeling our rage into change!”

Here’s a snippet of Tervalon-Garrett’s latest piece titled “The Census is Political: Hard-to-Count Communities Must Be Reached”

Since the birth of the census, people have been intentionally left out to ensure that political power was concentrated among white, wealthy, male Americans. The legacy and impact of the census’ racism has reinforced systemic oppression of communities of color, Native and Tribal communities, and people living in rural communities. This means the interests of white, wealthy, male, landowning people have historically, and are currently, better represented in every facet of Oregonian life. From access to and participation in the political process, to advancing policy issues that demand resources, race and headcount impacts who has political power and who does not. The act of not being counted propagates a false narrative about population demographics that is then mirrored in unjust political representation, policies, and federal budget resource allocation, resulting in an American culture and democracy that is purposefully inequitable. Without an intentional commitment to reshaping the form, and function, of the census — with a commitment to equity, the census can be a barrier to the liberty and freedom that we all strive to achieve.

Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, taken from “The Census is Political: Hard-to-Count Communities Must Be Reached”

Bria Smith from March For Our Lives and the Us Kids film will share about mobilizing Black youth against ongoing violence. Portland Trail Blazers official DJ – DJ O.G. One – will spin inspiring sets. The event will feature the awe-inspiring vocals of Portland-native and gospel sensation Alonzo Chadwick along with an original composition by Michaela Dean, nine, accompanied by her father, Michael Dean. NAACP’s Portland President, E.D Mondainé, Anthony Deloney from Self-Enhancement Inc., and Darren Harold-Golden from Urban League will share actions Black community organizations are taking. Donna Maxey from Race Talks and historian and reporter Walidah Imarisha will breakdown the history of Black people in Oregon.

It is more critical now than ever to highlight the work that leaders in the Black justice movement are doing to ensure that Black and brown communities in Oregon are counted and actively engaged in shaping the future of our country.

“The system was not designed for Black folks or any of the hard-to-count communities, therefore there is a lot of mistrust in government procedures,” said Tervalon-Garrett. “Our goal is to help Black communities see that being counted is a political act. It’s an act of agency and empowerment.”

Members of the press are welcome to attend and encouraged to report on this historic and relevant effort. Register here. Contact Charity Tooze at 202-591-5443 or [email protected] for more information.

About Author

The #WeCountOregon campaign is a community-led effort to ensure that hard to count communities, including people of color, immigrants, renters, rural communities, and parents of children under 5 – understand and take the 2020 Census.

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