Community Comes Together to Build A Safer and More Welcoming Community

by Cindy Koehler, Human Rights & Neighborhood Involvement
We invite you to join us for the launch of the Be Campaign at the October First Friday Communities of Color Networking Event. This even will take place on October 7th from 5:30pm – 7:00pm at the Campbell Community Center located at 155 High Street. This event will also feature a chance to meet and get involved with some of the organizations who work to make Eugene safer and more inclusive.

On September 14th, 2016 the 4th annual Hate and Bias report was released at the site of the historic Mim’s House with over 40 community members and media outlets in attendance. This event highlighted incidents of hate and bias as well as the proactive work done by the city and its partners to counter them. The location was intentional and selected to acknowledge the disproportionate impact to the African American community when it comes to experiencing acts of hate and bias. African American community members are disproportionately targeted by hate and bias activity, 4 of 5 race related hate crimes were committed against African Americans.

The report is produced in accordance with City Council goal of working towards a Safer Community through a strong collaboration with the Eugene Police Department and the Human Rights and Neighborhood Involvement Office. Nine community organizations were present and spoke out in support of increasing reporting by community members since only about 1/3 of all hate and bias crimes are reported nationally according to the Department of Justice. Partner organizations included the NAACP Eugene-Springfield, TransPonder, League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC), Grupo Latino Acción Directa of Lane County (GLAD), Community Alliance of Lane County (CALC), Blacks in Government (BIG),Oregon Strong Voice, Asian Pacific Islander Community Action Team (APICA) andShowing Up for Racial Justice Springfield-Eugene (SURJ). These organizations and many others in our community work each day to build a community that is welcoming and supportive of all people and to counter acts of hate and bigotry.

For Eugene to be truly safe, vibrant, and welcoming for all it is essential to not only provide support to victims of hate as it occurs but to develop and implement strategies to reduce this activity and the underlying attitudes that perpetuate it.  We’re excited to launch the “Be Campaign” as one strategy to build a community where people are included, empowered, engaged, safe and welcome.  The “Be Campaign” is a project of the Equity and Community Consortium (ECC), a partnership between local agencies in Lane County to coordinate efforts of equity and inclusion.  The campaign was formulated as a positive visioning approach to address hate, bias and discrimination. Our goals are to share positive, diverse images with a message that encourages inclusivity and respect, to increase community conversation about equity and to build a welcoming environment.
For more information about the Be Campaign event or City efforts to track and report on hate and bias activity contact Jennifer Lleras Van Der Haeghen, Human Rights and Equity Program Manager, at 541-682-5619.

We’ll see you at the FirstFriday’s event at Campbell Center on Friday, October 7th!