Understanding Racism in Oregon: A Workshop for the Oregon Legal Community
OWLS (Oregon Women Lawyers)
and Oregon Women Lawyers Foundation, along with
MBA Equity, Diversity & Inclusion Committee,
NIBA (Northwest Indian Bar Association),
OCLA (Oregon Chinese Lawyers Association),
OFALA (Oregon Filipino American Lawyers Association),
OGALLA (The LGBT Bar Association of Oregon),
OMLA (The Oregon Minority Lawyers Association), and
SABA (South Asian Bar Association)
invite you to a two-part workshop
with Kasia Rutledge and Rakeem Washington of Engage to Change on understanding and deepening awareness of racism as an important step to make positive change in Oregon and, specifically, in the Oregon legal community and judicial system.
Participants will examine the racism embedded in Oregon’s history, followed by an exploration of ways in which our history affects current practices, beliefs, and attitudes, and how to see and understand when racism is occurring.
Part I: The Prisms of Oregon History, Making the Invisible, Visible – Understanding Structural Racism in Oregon. This session is an intersectional and interactive examination of the pieces of Oregon laws, land use, regulations, and history that have laid the groundwork for generations of layered and embedded trauma. The session guides participants through different components of how racism in one part of Oregon history bleeds into and affects all others and how lack of intentional uncoupling and dismantling, our community continue to build on those institutions. Through this historical examination, this session pairs the pain with an acknowledgement and celebration of the progress, resilience, creativity and joy of marginalized communities.
Part II: Reflection and Refraction: Recognizing Reverberating Racism (“5R”) Workshops. Through a series of videos, small group conversations, exploratory self-reflection and storytelling, the SR workshops proceed through an analysis of anti-racism principles linked to our historical exploration. The workshops continue with an exploration of the role of power and specific exploration of the intersections of gender and race. Participants will work in small groups and pairs to explore, from their positionality and lived experience their ability to identify racism. Additionally, the 5R Series culminates with tools and extensive practice in being able to see and understand when racism is occurring and being aware in one’s body of the signs required to address trauma and racism–developing greater awareness of the numerous ways in which racism exists is the first step in seeking a more just world.
About the Trainers:
Rakeem Washington (he/him/his)
Rakeem Washington (he/him/his) is an instructor with Portland State University teaching a dual-credit course entitled “Race, Class, Gender, and Social Justice” and is also the Director of Access and Re-Entry at Portland Community College. His connections to Portland are deep, and it is rare that he is out in the community and does not run into a former student. He greets all of his former students with hugs or handshakes…and sometimes both. Prior to the beginning of his professional career, he spent hours as a volunteer, mentor, and coach with various community based organizations.
Rakeem continued his passion for working with children and families after graduating from Lewis and Clark Law School in 2008 when he began work as a staff attorney for the Juvenile Rights Project, a public defense law firm representing children and parents in child welfare, school discipline, and juvenile delinquency cases. After witnessing, first hand, the racial disparities that exist in the intersection of the foster care, educational, and criminal justice systems, Rakeem shifted focus towards equity work. He has continued those efforts in various forms while working with Portland Public Schools, the Oregon Judicial Department, and the Portland Observer Newspaper. Some of his current work includes advocating for increased educational opportunities for students incarcerated through the Oregon Youth Authority. Recognizing that healthy communities make healthy individuals, Rakeem continues to work towards empowering the voices and increasing the visibility of underserved and disenfranchised individuals and populations.
Kasia Rutledge (she/her/hers)
Kasia Rutledge (she/her/hers) is a capital defense attorney, anti-oppression trainer, and educator. For over 18 years, she has developed anti-oppression programs and trained organizations, law firms, individuals, academic institutions, currently and formerly incarcerated people, and not-for-profits on issues of inequity, anti-racism, and holistic healing based programming. As co-founder and trainer at Engage to Change, LLC, Kasia develops and conducts trainings, assists organizations with anti-racist strategic planning and change management, evaluates structural ways that whiteness and dominant culture influence policies and procedures, and facilitates restorative/trauma/healing based conversations.
Kasia has been privileged to be appointed represent poor people accused of crimes including major felonies for almost 12 years. As a public defender, Kasia fights to protect her client’s rights using a client- centered focus, storytelling, and education of the public about the struggles of the people she is honored to represent. Kasia also is an adjunct professor at Portland State teaching a dual credit class at Roosevelt High School on race, joy, oppression, and activism. She is on the Board of Directors for the Oregon Justice Resource Center, the Portland National Lawyers Guild and the Lewis and Clark Law School Public Interest Law Project. Instead of sleeping, she loves to make complicated difficult meals, camp and be out in nature, and mentor students from middle school through law school.
1.75 Access to Justice MCLE credits awarded by the OSB under program number 73296 .
$40 OWLS members and members of Oregon’s affinity bar organizations;
No cost for law students and judicial staff
Scholarships available. Contact OWLS Executive Director, Linda Tomassi.
Please do not let the cost deter your attendance.