Regional leaders host listening sessions on race, justice reform

Civic Affairs

City of Vancouver, East Multnomah County to host community listening sessions in response to protests

State Rep. Janelle Bynum,

Oregon Rep. Janelle Bynum, right, is the Co-Chair of the Joint Committee On Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform. In this file photo, Bynum is posing with a Clackamas County deputy in 2018 after a constituent called 911 on her while she was canvassing (courtesy).

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Regional leaders in East Multnomah County, Oregon and Clark County, Washington are holding listening sessions on race and justice reform following Black Lives Matter protests that have been sweeping the country after the death of George Floyd.

The first is based in Multnomah County and called the East County Listening Session on Justice Reform. The session will be held over Zoom with guests that will include Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann, State Representative Chris Gorsek, State Representative Janelle Bynum and Gresham City Councilor Eddy Morales.

The listening session is Saturday, June 13, from 5 pm to 6 pm and those interested in attending should RSVP via this Zoom link.

The event is hosted by East County Rising and Play Grow Learn and is meant to provide a space for community members, leaders and organizers to share current feelings, ideas or thoughts about how the community “can work together to address some systemic and structural issues that affect the Black community,” according to the event’s Facebook page.

Additionally, the City of Vancouver, Washington will be hosting a series of community listening sessions, beginning next week.

The first of two sessions will be from 2 pm to 4 pm Wednesday, June 17 and another one from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm Thursday, June 18. Both sessions will be conducted online.

Among the listening panel guests will be Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, City Manager Eric Holmes, Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain, and Assistant Chief Jeff Mori. The June 17 panel will include Vancouver Council members Erik Paulsen and Ty Stober and the June 18 panel will have Vancouver Council members Bart Hansen and Laurie Lebowsky.

Register online at beheardvancouver.org/racialjustice for residents interesting in speaking at one of the sessions. The number of speakers at each session will be 30, with the intention of allowing enough time for those who wish to speak. Participants will receive instructions about how to access the online sessions after registering.

It’s not required to register to listen to the sessions, which will both be broadcast live on the Clark/Vancouver Television (CVTV) Comcast channel 23/HD 323, CVTV.org, or the City’s Facebook page (they will also be available afterward on Facebook or CVTV.org).

“We are committed to fighting against racism and working toward an equitable and inclusive city for all,” said Vancouver City Manager Eric Holmes in a press release. “These listening sessions will serve as a long-overdue step toward identifying tangible actions our city government can take to end racism and systemic inequities in our community.”

Community members can also submit stories and ideas at beheardvancouver.org/racialjustice.

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