By George T. Nicola, GLAPN
Know Your City (KYC), a community-based history and social justice organization, has launched a new program called Our Stories Matter. Its mission is “to ensure that the history of underrepresented people is included as an equal part of our curriculum standards for Oregon Studies.”
Our Stories Matter “calls on the City of Portland, Multnomah County, and Portland Public Schools to work with Know Your City and other culturally specific organizations to provide inclusive Oregon Studies curriculum for youth and K-12 schools in the Portland region.”
KYC elaborates “As the population of the Portland area grows, displacement and discrimination continues to erase the value of our combined histories and cultures. Even though our schools are more diverse than ever, there is an educational and cultural void for our youth of color, young girls, LGBTQ youth, and other historically oppressed identities. During history and civics lessons, their personal experiences are often misrepresented or ignored, which makes school success more of a challenge. Know Your City is working to ensure that all students have a fair chance to have their story told.”
Our Stories Matter has been endorsed by local and multicultural organizations such as AFSCME Council 75, Basic Rights Oregon, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO), In Other Words, Verde, Lara Media Services, Standing Up for Racial Justice PDX, the Bus Project, and Tivnu.
KYC’s Executive Director Cameron Whitten led testimony in favor of Our Stories Matter before a January 27 meeting of the Portland City Council. Others who spoke in support included Todd Struble of APANO, Portland Public Schools board member Michael Rosen, Confederated Tribes of Umatilla citizen Katherine Quaid, and openly gay 2014 Teacher of the Year Brett Bigham.
The Council voted to accept the testimony.
To learn more, visit: http://knowyourcity.org/ourstoriespdx/