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BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month – A Time for Awareness and Action

By: Christy Maeder 

“While everyone – all colors – everyone is affected by stigma – no one wants to say ‘I’m not in¬†control of my mind.’ No one wants to say, ‘The person I love is not in control of [their] mind.’¬†But people of color really don’t want to say it because we already feel stigmatized by virtue of¬†skin color or eye shape or accent and we don’t want any more reasons for anyone to say, ‘You’re not good enough.'” – Bebe Moore Campbell.

July is BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month, a period dedicated to raising awareness about the unique mental health challenges faced by BIPOC communities. This observance was established in 2008 to honor the legacy of Bebe Moore Campbel, who was an American author, journalist, teacher, and mental health advocate who worked tirelessly to shed light on the mental health needs of the Black community and other underrepresented communities.

Congress formally recognized Bebe Moore Campbell National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month to bring awareness to the unique struggles that underrepresented groups face regarding mental illness in the US.

Culture, ethnicity, and race all play a role in the way that each person experiences the world. These factors, among others, have profound effects on mental health, especially for Black,

Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC).

BIPOC communities often experience disparities in mental health care due to a cultural stigma, socioeconomic barriers, and a lack of culturally competent care providers. These barriers can lead to higher rates of mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety, remaining untreated or inadequately treated.

Cultural Stigma

In many cultures, mental health issues are often viewed as a personal weakness or a source of shame, deterring individuals from seeking help. This cultural stigma can be a significant barrier to accessing mental health services, leading to prolonged suffering and worsening symptoms. In some BIPOC communities, talking about mental health can be considered taboo. Some of these messages come from a place of real fear as BIPOC populations have historically often been harmed by the mental health and health care systems. BIPOC individuals have often sought out different means of support, such as traditional healers, doulas, or peer advocates. Seeking out therapy or other mental health services can support and supplement traditional methods.

Lack of Culturally Competent and Responsive Care

Culturally responsive care is the intentional and consistent decision mental health care providers make to see, respect, and celebrate the aspects that make each person unique. It’s an acknowledgment of their intersectional existence in the world and how this shapes their experiences. Mental health care providers who are not culturally competent and responsive may fail to understand the unique experiences and needs of BIPOC clients. This can result in misdiagnosis, ineffective treatment plans, and a lack of trust between the client and provider.

The Role of BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month

BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month serves several critical purposes:

Raising Awareness: By highlighting the mental health issues faced by BIPOC communities, this month encourages public discourse and education, helping to break down stigma and Misconceptions.

Advocating for Change: This month also serves as a call to action for policymakers, healthcare providers, and community leaders to address the systemic issues contributing to mental health disparities.

Promoting Resources: BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month helps to disseminate information about available resources, including culturally competent/responsive care providers, support groups, and educational materials.

Celebrating Diversity: Recognizing the diverse backgrounds and experiences of BIPOC/minority communities can lead to more personalized and effective mental health care.

Local Resources in Oregon

For those in  Oregon, several local resources are available to support BIPOC/minority mental health:

Lines for Life: A regional nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance abuse and suicide, offering a Racial Equity Support line specifically for young people of color. Visit Lines for Life or call 1-877-968-8491. 

Portland Black PFLAG: This organization provides support and resources to the Black LGBTQ+

community and their families. Visit Portland Black PFLAG. 

NAMI Oregon: The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Oregon provides various programs, including support groups and educational programs tailored to minority communities. Visit NAMI Oregon or call 1-800-343-6264. 

Asian Health & Service Center: This center offers culturally and linguistically appropriate health services, including mental health counseling, to the Asian community in Oregon. Visit Asian Health & Service Center or call 503-872-8822. 

Centro Latino Americano: Providing mental health services to the Latino community in Eugene and surrounding areas. Visit Centro Latino Americano or call 541-687-2667.

Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest (NARA): NARA offers comprehensive mental health services to Native Americans in the Portland area. Visit NARA Northwest or call 503-224-1044. 

How to Get Involved

There are several ways individuals, providers and organizations can participate in BIPOC/Minority Mental Health Month.

Educate Yourself and Others: Learn about the mental health challenges faced by minority communities and share this knowledge within your networks. Actively engage in anti- oppressive practice, which takes into account power imbalances to create relationships in an equitable environment.

Support Advocacy Efforts: Join or support organizations that advocate for mental health equity and culturally competent care.

Promote Mental Health Resources: Share information about mental health resources that are accessible to minority communities.

Encourage Open Conversations: Create safe spaces for discussions about mental health, aiming to reduce stigma and promote understanding. Engage in discussions with client’s about all dimensions of their culture and how their experiences have shaped them.

Download Mental Health America’s BIPOC Mental Health Toolkit:

Mental Health America’s 2024 BIPOC Mental Health Toolkit provides free, practical resources to help navigate mental health stigma, bridge generational differences, dismantle mental health myths, and encourage meaningful conversations.¬†

References

1.National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

2.American Psychiatric Association.. Retrieved from American Psychiatric Association

3.Mental Health America. (2024).

4.Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (

5.National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2019). Racial/Ethnic Differences in Mental Health Service Use among Adults. Retrieved from NIMH

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Book Review: The Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian

By: Betsy Pownall

The Hour of the Witch is a story of terror, fear, fake news, patriarchal power, and the subjugation of women. The story takes place in 1662 in Boston. The Salem Witch Trials have not, yet, occurred. Mary Deerfield is a 24-year-old woman who is married to Thomas Deerfield, a violent alcoholic. When the story opens, Mary has not been able to conceive of a child. People speculate that she has some problems. She, as well,  thinks something is wrong with her. 

Mary’s father, an importer, has just imported forks, a utensil no one has ever seen before. People are suspicious and some consider them the tool of the devil. One night, Thomas takes his rage out on Mary by stabbing her left hand with a fork. She realizes that in order to survive, she must leave him. 

However, divorce is not easy in the Puritan community. Mary must appeal to the Puritan Magistrates, who will hear her testimony, then that of her husband. They will listen to witnesses, and decide whether or not what she is saying is ‚Äútrue‚ÄĚ.¬†

Women in the Puritan community put their faith in men. If they are married, they must obey their husbands, otherwise they obey their fathers. Men are the next step from God. Women are not allowed to work for money. Their education is from the Bible and when they read for pleasure, they read the Bible. They must not express themselves when their opinion disagrees with their husbands. They are judged for their ‚Äėpurity‚Äô and ‚Äėgodliness‚Äô.

In 1662, Boston was surrounded on three sides by a dense forest. Native Americans lived in the forest and were feared by the settlers. The small community of Boston relied on God to keep them safe. They were god-fearing, vigilant to ensure that there was no evil in their midst. The Devil can lurk anywhere, thus they feared each other, people, and things that ‚Äúweren‚Äôt normal.‚Ä̬†

When Mary petitioned to divorce her husband, she stepped out and went against the community/religious code. The undoing of their marriage is an exploration of the dismantling of the patriarchal power structure, the courage it takes, and the measures the patriarchy will take to maintain complete control.

The Puritan chapter of American History is poignant in our developing nation. Much of what Puritans experienced in early 17th century New England can be seen in us, today: how our fear of the unknown can result in fear, suspicion, anxiety, and anger. This book appeals to the reader due to both its historical value and its fast-paced plot. Although it is fiction, it depicts how life was in the Massachusetts Bay Colony in the 17th century.

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International Non-Binary People’s Day on July 14th

By: Tanya Kramer

This day has been recognized since 2012 to raise awareness and organizing regarding the issues faced by non-binary people around the world. 

This day was started by Katje van Loon and is symbolic as it lands halfway between International Men’s Day (November 19) and International Women’s Day (March 8). Non-binary Awareness Week starts the Monday prior to July 14th and is a period of time dedicated to people who do not identify with the traditional gender binary.

The term ‚Äúnon-binary‚ÄĚ is described by the Human Rights Campaign as ‚Äúsomeone who does not¬†identify exclusively as a man or a woman. Non-binary folks may identify as being both a man¬†and a woman or as falling completely outside these categories. Many non-binary people also¬†identify as transgender, though not all do.‚ÄĚ The term ‚Äúnon-binary‚ÄĚ is described by Stonewall (Pride 2024: Champion of Champions ) ‚Äúas an umbrella term for people whose gender identity doesn’t sit comfortably with ‘man’ or ‘woman’.¬†

Non-binary identities are varied and can include people who identify with some¬†aspects of the binary identities, while others reject them entirely. Non-binary people can¬†feel that their gender identity and gender experience involves being both a man and a¬†woman, or that it is fluid, in between, or completely outside of that binary.‚Ä̬†This day is a day to celebrate non-binary individuals and their contributions. It is also a time¬†to refocus on the important work of securing full protection and rights of our non-binary¬†siblings and friends.¬†

Most countries around the world do not recognize non-binary as a legal gender which means people are forced to identify by the gender assigned at birth in government documents such as a passport, or financial documents such as credit cards or bank accounts. Non-binary people often experience discrimination, prejudice, violence, challenges with healthcare, housing, and employment.

The United States, Australia, Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Germany,¬†the Netherlands, and New Zealand include non-binary gender options on the¬†country’s passports. In the United States currently, half of the country allows a driver’s¬†licenses to include ‚ÄúX‚ÄĚ as a choice for gende. But there is still work to do.

On International Non-Binary People’s Day, we can all engage in meaningful change to be better allies and siblings. According to the website ‚ÄúMany Genders One Voice‚ÄĚ

(Non-Binary People’s Day ), and a few other resources, here are some specific ways to make a meaningful change:

  • Undertake self-directed awareness and education
  • Don’t make assumptions
  • Using gender-neutral language whenever possible
  • Pronoun confirming, cueing, and correcting
  • Don’t ask about the sex assigned at birth (unless necessary for service delivery)
  • Take steps to ensure non-binary inclusive service provision in healthcare settings
  • Challenge discrimination, take ‚ÄúRight to Be _____‚ÄĚ training (Bystander Intervention – Right To Be ) to understand how to stand up for the rights of those being discriminated against
  • Compassionately challenge internalized phobias or acceptance of power and control imbalances in relationships
  • Understand the impact of previous trauma and discrimination upon people’s current lives and their ability to access safe services.¬† Thank you to Katje van Loon for her work in starting International Non-Binary People’s Day!

Check out this link to learn more about Katje’s story – https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-62149521

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It’s Time To Go After What You Want

Experiencing self-doubt is a part of being human. It’s a universal emotion that affects everyone at some point in their lives. However, for those in minority groups or living with chronic health conditions, self-doubt can be even more pronounced. It can feel like a barrier, keeping you from going after what you truly want in life.

The most important step in going after what you want is taking action. It’s easy to get stuck in a cycle of self-doubt and inaction, but taking even the smallest step forward can break this cycle. Here are some strategies to help you move past self-doubt and take action:

  1. Set Clear, Achievable Goals: Break down your larger goals into smaller, manageable steps. This makes them feel less overwhelming and more attainable.
  2. Practice Self-Compassion: Be kind to yourself. Acknowledge your achievements, no matter how small, and give yourself credit for the progress you’ve made.
  3. Surround Yourself with Support: Build a network of supportive friends, family, and mentors who can encourage you and provide valuable feedback.
  4. Stay Flexible: Life is unpredictable, and goals may need to be adjusted. Stay open to change and adapt your plans as needed.
  5. Celebrate Progress: Recognize and celebrate your successes along the way. Each milestone is a step closer to your ultimate goal.

Going after what you want is not always easy, especially when self-doubt and additional challenges are involved. However, by leveraging the power of imagination and taking actionable steps, you can overcome these obstacles. Remember, the journey towards your goals is just as important as the destination. Embrace your potential, take action, and watch as your dreams become reality.

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Unmasking the Deception: How Your Anxiety Lies to You

Anxiety comes at a high cost, despite the adage: better to be safe than sorry. It whispers falsehoods that shape our perceptions and actions, often leading us down a path of unnecessary stress and worry. Understanding these lies is the first step toward reclaiming your peace of mind.

The High Cost of Anxiety

Anxiety, at its core, is a survival mechanism. It’s meant to protect us from danger by preparing our bodies to respond to threats. However, in today’s world, where physical threats are rare, anxiety often misfires, causing more harm than good. This constant state of alertness can be exhausting and detrimental to our mental and physical health.

The Perfectionist’s Dilemma

Perfectionists are particularly vulnerable to anxiety’s deceptions. They tend to catastrophize, assuming the worst-case scenario in every situation. This mindset not only amplifies their anxiety but also distorts their reality. They personalize failures, believing that mistakes define their worth, and they disqualify their achievements, never feeling good enough despite their successes. These excessive standards create a cycle of self-criticism and dissatisfaction that is hard to break.

The Outside Perspective

Interestingly, others often have very different views of perfectionists than they have of themselves. While perfectionists see their flaws and shortcomings magnified, others may see them as high achievers who are dedicated and competent. This discrepancy highlights how anxiety skews self-perception, causing unnecessary suffering.

The Therapeutic Journey

Overcoming anxiety is not a quick fix but a painstaking process. Therapy, whether it be cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, or other forms, requires time and effort. It involves challenging deeply held beliefs, practicing new coping strategies, and gradually changing behavior patterns. There may not be significant revelations in every session, but each step forward is progress.

Moving Forward

Recognizing the lies your anxiety tells you is crucial in managing its impact on your life. By understanding that anxiety often misrepresents reality, you can begin to challenge its narratives and reduce its hold on you. Seeking professional help, practicing self-compassion, and gradually exposing yourself to feared situations can all contribute to a healthier, more balanced perspective.

Remember, while anxiety may never fully disappear, learning to manage it can significantly improve your quality of life. It’s a journey worth undertaking, one step at a time.

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How to Reassess Your Life in Retirement

Retirement is often seen as a period of relaxation and enjoyment after decades of hard work. However, it also presents a unique opportunity to reassess and realign your life to ensure it continues to be fulfilling and meaningful. Here are some steps to help you navigate this important transition.

Schedule Dedicated Time

One of the first steps in reassessing your life in retirement is to set aside dedicated time for reflection. Find a quiet place where you can contemplate or journal without distractions. This intentional quiet time allows you to deeply consider your current situation and future aspirations. Writing down your thoughts can also provide clarity and help organize your ideas.

Assess Your Needs Realistically

It’s essential to realistically assess your needs. Consider whether you need additional income or if you are managing a health concern. Are you serving as a caretaker for a loved one? Do you feel the need to relocate closer to family or a support system? Evaluating these practical aspects of your life can help you make informed decisions about your future.

Set Your Priorities

Retirement offers the perfect opportunity to set new priorities. Have you been putting off pursuing a new hobby or mastering an old one? Is this the time to devote yourself to a project or cause you care deeply about? Consider whether there are people in your life with whom you want to spend more quality time. Setting clear priorities can help you focus your energy on what truly matters to you.

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Unlocking Self-Awareness

Self-awareness is a superpower. Understanding yourself deeply and objectively leads to healthier decisions and stronger relationships. Let’s explore self-awareness, why it matters and how you can cultivate it.

What is Self-Awareness?

Imagine having a personal coach inside your head, a voice that observes and guides your every action, thought, and emotion. This inner coach is your self-awareness, helping you understand your needs, wants, and feelings. It’s like having a superpower that can transform your life.

Why Self-Awareness Matters

Being self-aware is not just about understanding yourself. It’s about making choices that bring joy and health. Research shows that it can be a powerful tool in warding off depression and anxiety, improving physical health, and enhancing overall well-being. Imagine navigating life with a clear understanding of what truly makes you happy and healthy.

Three Key Areas of Self-Awareness

  1. Physical Self-Awareness: Know your body’s needs. For example, if you feel sluggish after 5 hours of sleep, aim for 7-8 hours. Track what foods energize you and what exercise routines work best.

  2. Relational Self-Awareness: Understand how others perceive you. If friends often say you’re a good listener, that’s a strength to build on. Conversely, if feedback suggests you interrupt often, it’s an area to improve.

  3. Emotional Self-Awareness: Identify your feelings. For instance, noticing that you get irritable when hungry can help you plan better meal times. Recognizing feelings like anger or loneliness allows you to address them constructively.

How to Boost Your Self-Awareness

  1. Tune into Your Body: Treat it like a valuable machine. Notice how much sleep, food, and exercise it needs. Track and adjust your habits accordingly.

  2. Listen to Others: Friends and family can offer insights about you. Pay attention to their feedback to understand how you’re perceived in relationships.

  3. Acknowledge Your Emotions: Regularly check in with your feelings. This practice can heal past neglect and improve your emotional health.

Transform Your Life

Becoming self-aware enhances your sense of being grounded, fulfilled, and connected. Knowing yourself helps you make better decisions and live a more meaningful life.

Remember, self-awareness is a journey, not a destination.

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Stability, Ease and Connection: Introducing Yoga Sutra 2.46 and a Root Chakra Yoga Practice

By Jen Champion

Discover ancient wisdom in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, a collection of aphorisms relevant to spiritual guidance and earthly actions.

One powerful lesson is Sutra 2.46: sthirasukham asanam. In The Practice of the Yoga Sutra, Sadhana Pada, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait translates it as follows: A stable and comfortable posture is asana. This teaching offers guidance towards the essence of balance, a cornerstone of yogic philosophy. When we have a balance between alertness and relaxation, activity and rest, we are less stressed, and our capacity to be creative and foster joy is more abundant. 

With a balance of ease and effort in our daily experiences, our life grows opportunities for living and sharing a comfortable, fulfilling, and joyous life.¬†We can learn and practice techniques to help us grow our sense of stability, ease, and connection. Yoga philosophy and practices provide insight into these practices,¬†including those related to energy channels. There are over 70,00 channels within the human body, including the popular chakras represented as energy centers/wheels along the spine. When balanced, these energies contribute to unwavering luminous creativity, clarity, and joy ‚ÄĒa successful approach to navigating life with resilience and grace.

Amalia’s Root Chakra Practice fosters a sense of safety and belonging, grounding us amidst lifes’ chaos through gentle movements and deep breathing. This is the first video in a series covering the main chakras. Enjoy.

Muladhara- Root Chakra Practice

Amalia explains The first chakra is associated with a sense of safety, belonging, and connection, which can help anchor us, even amid the chaos of life.

In this class, we access the stability of the lower body, the element of earth, and breathe deeply toward the base of the spine. We start with a short centering meditation, practice heel raises to coordinate breath and movement, and then move into Trikonasana- triangle pose.

This is a slow-paced, gentle practice that can be done entirely standing. You may like to use a wall or chair to aid balance and to help bring the floor closer to the body.

Suggested affirmation or mantra: I am safe, rooted, and connected.

Jen’s Meditation Practice guides you to create healthy breathing patterns and grow mindful awareness between your heart, breath, and mind to cultivate and maintain joy.   

Guided Breath Awareness Practice

May this introduction to Yoga Sutra 2.46 and the Root Chakra serve as a catalyst for transformation and self- discovery. May this blend of ancient wisdom and direct experience enhance feelings of ease, comfort, and joy on and off the yoga mat.

We more often move through life with grace and ease, extending our frequency of joy to others. As we nurture self-awareness, may it lead to offering compassion and grace in every shape on and off the mat.

A Personal Account of Being a First Generation American

By: Mindy Laroco

‚ÄúIf I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.‚ÄĚ

While this familiar quote is probably recognized as being said by Isaac Newton referring to others in the scientific community, it is a quote I think about often, especially now as we celebrate National Immigrant Heritage Month. Being a child of immigrants, I’ve often thought about how my life has been so different from the lives that my parents must have lived when they were my age (some of this thought process is fueled by me hearing how different it is from them). 

My mom came to the US when she was 21 years-old with a few suitcases and two hundred dollars in cash. Not only can I guarantee that I would not have been able to handle such a feat at 21 years old, I do not think I will ever fully understand that level of mental fortitude. Both of my parents have put in a tremendous amount of work and effort to allow me to live the life I do today. They are my giants.

Being a first-generation American is something I take great pride in as it shows the fruits of¬†my parent’s struggles to create a life in the US. I also have privileges¬†that my parents did not. One of the striking differences that I have spent hours thinking about is the ‚Äúluxury‚Ä̬† to not only address any mental health struggles I may be experiencing (such¬†as stress, anxiety, and even depression) but to admit that I am even struggling with such things.

Having the opportunity to address and navigate feelings has been one of the greatest privileges of my life. However, feelings can be hard! And it was challenging at times to figure out what to do with these feelings while experiencing an inherent level of disconnect from my parents; not because they did not want to help me, but because they did not know how.

 Being biracial/bicultural disconnects me from my parents in certain ways, but it has been truly an honor to introduce feelings in all their glory (for example boundaries, communication, emotional regulation, etc.) into a family dynamic where they were not very present or at least were not talked about. Now, when I talk about feelings and engage in a genuine conversation with my family, especially my parents, a part of my heart always warms with the realization that after shouldering the load for so long, my parents can finally sit back and soak in the new perspectives that come with life in the US.

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Local LGBTQIA+ Resources

By: Erin Gillingham

June is upon us, which means it’s officially Pride Season! Pride is celebrated by the LGBTQIA2S+ (Lesbian, Gay. Bisexual, Transgender, Queer/Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, 2- spirit and others) community each year to honor the 1969 Stonewall Uprising in New York, a 6 day series of events and protests that followed the violent raiding by police in Manhattan and  popular gay bar The StoneWall Inn.

To this day, Pride symbolizes so much to the LGBTQIA2S+ Community Рlove, celebration, life, healing, hope and the continual fight towards freedom and equality. While pride is a celebration for most, it can also be a time to reflect on the lack of accessibility so many folks in our community have to adequate health care, mental health services and even basic necessities. Below we have gathered a list of local resources for our community, in the hopes of staying safe and staying healthy. Happy Pride!

Portland

The Q Center РTo provide safe spaces, community building and empowerment for the positive transformation of LGBTQ2SIA+ communities and allies in the Pacific Northwest. As the largest LGBTQ+ community center in the Pacific Northwest, Q Center proudly serves the LGBTQ2SIA+ communities of Portland Metro and Southwest Washington.

Brave Space РCreates community and facilitates access to expert and knowledgeable providers for transgender and non-binary children, youth, adults, and their families.

Connective Therapy Collective РOffers different types of therapies, including weekly drop in group therapy for LGBTQ+ individuals.

Full Spectrum Therapy – Our mission is not to operate as ‚Äúgender therapists,‚ÄĚ but to offer¬†a space where the LGBTQ+ experience is normalized, understood, and celebrated. We¬†serve children (age 5+), adolescents, adults, and families connected to the LGBTQ+.

Community

Prism Health РPrism Health is a center of excellence for comprehensive, compassionate and culturally affirming healthcare for everyone with the aim of addressing long-standing health disparities in the LGBTQ+ community and promoting equitable access to healthcare.

Pulse Wellness РPulse Wellness provides therapy for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, nonbinary, queer, questioning, intersex, allies, asexual and pansexual persons of all ages.

Rebel Heart Therapy РAt Rebel Heart Therapy, we help the black sheep and unicorns (LGBTQ, poly, kinky, quirky, geeky, burners, weirdos, and creatives) of Portland resist the internalized constraints caused by societal oppression while safely embracing their authentic selves.

SAGE Metro РSAGE Metro Portland works to enhance the lives of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community members through education, advocacy, outreach and resource development.

Sexual Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) РProvides a community space for youth ages 13-23, as well as support services like counseling, case management, education, and more).

Spectrum Counseling Р971-373-4497 РWe are Spectrum Counseling, and we are committed to providing accessible, affordable counseling services to diverse members of the community in Portland, Oregon, and surrounding communities.

The Living Room – Drop-In safe space for youth to hang out, build community, find¬†support, and have fun – weekly activities/groups – Gladstone, OR¬†– She Bop – ‚ÄúAdult‚ÄĚ store in PDX but offers binder fitting appointments after hours¬†for teens accompanied by a guardian.

Eugene

TransPonder РNon-profit support, resource, and educational organization for the transgender/gender diverse community and its allies, based in Eugene. TransPonder offers several monthly meetings, special events for trans/gender diverse folks and allies, inclusivity trainings, and consultation services to professional organizations and businesses.

LGBTQ Youth Group Р541-682-5373 РAges 13-18 РWeekly drop in support and referral Fridays 4-6.

TransParent Support Group – uoteachout@uoregon.edu – Monthly support group¬†meetings ‚Äď 3rd Thursday of every month at 7:30 at the Unitarian Universalist.

Church of Eugene.

Queer Eugene РOur mission is to organize support, resources, and community for queer folks in the state currently known as Oregon. We will do this through events, information gathering and sharing, and one day have a physical space to develop a queer community center.

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Empowered Consumerism

By: Christina Bein

I’ve been hearing, a lot more often than I’d like, the phrases, “What I do doesn’t matter” or “What can I do to help? I’m just one person.” At times, I’ve found myself saying these phrases as well. On a macro level, it can be hard to see how one person can make a difference. It feels like a drop of water in a large bucket.¬†

I remind myself that when feeling this way, I have to bring my thoughts back to, “What is in my control to do?” When asked in this manner, it helps to reframe my thoughts towards looking at the possibilities of how I can make change or influence in direct ways. This can be through what I watch, the information I share with others, what I promote via brands I support, what I put my money towards, etc.

In a time where companies are often merging or being bought out by bigger ones, it can be confusing to know where or to whom your dollar may be supporting. 

To the best of my ability, I try to stay conscientious of what my hard-earned money is supporting. This is how I find empowerment in what I support when it feels like greater state or world issues are overwhelming and disempowering. In this small way of knowing where my dollar goes, it’s a direct way to feel influence, a way to feel direct impact.

Have you seen signs that say, ‚ÄúBuy local‚ÄĚ? I used to think that supporting my local burger joint would help a mom-and-pop dream, then I learned that the expanded brick and mortar was made possible when a large corporation bought this business. In further research of this larger corporation, I learned that it provided mass donations to political parties and causes that are in conflict with my own values.¬†

In a time where I felt too small to help with world problems, this felt terrible. I have progressively worked towards keeping up-to-date with being aware and researching if certain businesses or companies are in alignment with my values. It’s not always easy to know. It’s never truly perfect, but being in community with others who have the same interest helps with staying informed.

To find empowerment in supporting local businesses or companies that are aligned with your values, check out these applications were created to support easier access to this information. Let us know if there are any resources you really love using for this purpose!

Boycat: Their mission is to support ethical shopping choices to better the planet

Truvalyou: Their mission is to help you support brands that are aligned with your values

Buycott: Uses universal product codes to let consumers know about what their money is supporting. Their motto is ‚ÄúVote with your Wallet‚ÄĚ

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Juneteenth is an Oregon State Holiday

By: Tanya Kramer

On June 1, 2021, the Oregon Senate passed House Bill 2168. This State Bill makes Juneteenth an official state holiday on every June 19th starting in 2022. 

This Bill acknowledges Oregon’s racist roots, the freedom of slaves, and celebrates Black Americans’ accomplishments both in our history as well as the present day.

Juneteenth is a historical marker of when the last slaves received the news that the Emancipation Proclamation was signed and every slave was informed of their freedom, on June 19, 1865. On this date, Union General Gordon Granger rode into Galveston, Texas to provide the news of freedom to more than 250,000 enslaved African Americans in Texas The House Bill 2168 recognizes Clara Peoples as key to Oregon recognizing Juneteenth. 

Clara Peoples, sometimes referred to as the ‚ÄúMother of Juneteenth‚ÄĚ, was from Moskogee, Oklahoma. She came to Vanport, Oregon to work in the town’s shipyards. She was surprised to learn from her Black co-workers that many of them had never heard of Juneteenth.¬†

On June 19, 1945, Clara Peoples hosted one of the Portland area’s first Juneteenth picnics for hundreds of shipyard employees. Over the years she continued to find ways to celebrate Juneteenth and in 1972, Peoples and another person named Ora Lee Green organized Portland’s first Juneteenth parade and public celebration, which has continued ever since.¬†

Peoples passed away at the age of 89 on October 5, 2015. However, her work continues with her family. Her niece took over the Juneteenth planning in 2011 and her granddaughter has continued this work since 2015. The yearly parade was renamed in 2015, the Clara Peoples Freedom Parade in her memory and honor. The ‚ÄúJuneteenth Oregon‚ÄĚ Non-profit was established to carry on Clara Peoples passion and legacy to always embrace this important history.

To learn more about how to enjoy this historical Clara Peoples Freedom Parade for Juneteenth in 2024. Click on this link for more information.

As Oregon Senator Lew Frederick said during his Oregon Senate signing of the bill, ‚ÄúCelebrating Juneteenth will help each of us remember all that we can and must do to ensure a more just Future.‚ÄĚ

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