Oregon members attend first in series of meetings focused on becoming stronger allies and providing a welcoming force in their communities.
Last week, a dozen business owners from the Portland area met for the first in a series of "All Are Welcome" meetings and a post-election "unhappy hour." The election rhetoric and results raised significant concerns for many in the community, including the small business owners that serve them. In convening, the group found reasons to be positive among like-minded leaders who created a space to learn from each other.
Shaun Sieren of O'Neill's Pub provided the space and refreshments and the group discussed the challenges ahead and their approach. Small business owners throughout Oregon will take part in trainings and conversations to help them move from concerned ally to action, creating welcoming and safe spaces for marginalized groups and people of all nationalities, backgrounds, religions, and abilities. Attendees learned about using appropriate language, educating themselves about other cultures that they may be unfamiliar with, recognizing their privilege and taking on leadership roles their community. The event was partnered with activities and homework for a deeper understanding of the systems of oppression.
Three additional trainings will follow in different regions of the state and Oregon leaders will continue to speak out in support of their customers and community members and in solidarity with victims of racism and oppression. Together, they will send the message loud and clear, #HateHasNoBizHere and All Are Welcome in Oregon.