“White Privilege” Billboards Pop Up In Portland

A group called “Equity In Action” has rented 25 billboard spaces throughout Portland for rich, guilty, white liberals to absolve themselves of their inner racism and feel like they’re doing something positive. For the rest of us, however, we just get to sit back and laugh at these idiots.

The billboard themes, which read “Portland… is your WHITE FRAGILITY showing?”, “Who is allowed the presumption of innocence?”, and “Where was my presumption of innocence” appear to center around two specific events; One where Terrell Johnson was shot by police after he was threatening people with a knife at a transit station before running away from the cops, and Larnell Bruce, who was run over by a couple of white people out front of a 7-11 after an argument with his girlfriend.

Somehow these incidents are the fault of all white people in Portland.

A website called the PDX Billboard Project, run by Equity In Action, states their mission as such:

The PDX Billboard Project is a multifaceted public ad campaign highlighting racial disparities in access to power structures and policy, as well as media coverage and representation within institutions throughout the Portland area.

Through this campaign, we hope to demand public attention for the unjust nature of the deaths of Terrell Johnson and Larnell Bruce Jr. at the hands of law enforcement and white supremacists, and ignite change in policy and policing that criminalizes and victimizes certain members of our community, rather than protecting and serving all of us.

The “about” section of the website reads:

Portland Equity in Action (PEA) is a local community action group comprised of individuals with a range of professional skills and resources, dedicated to building racial equity in Portland, Oregon. Our purpose is to confront and disrupt the rampant complacency in this city regarding issues of white supremacy and racial inequity. We aim to create a public demand for change to the inequitable structure of our society, through stimulating and challenging visual campaigns.

PEA started as a small Racial Equity work group in early 2017. Since then, we have grown into a highly motivated, and independently functioning grassroots organization; pursuing racial equity both through our direct work in the community and within the organizational structure in which we operate.

Our Mission

Raise awareness in the Portland metropolitan area of the following:

  • The current and systemic role that white supremacy plays in the greater Portland community and the real consequences faced by our non-white brothers and sisters

  • The young men in our area who have been shot and killed by police, and the loved ones they left behind

  • Police shootings and the unfair and unjust policies and processes for investigating them

  • The failure of law enforcement departments to invest in proper and effective mental health and de-escalation response training, coupled with a police force that doesn’t represent the greater community as the driving force behind police brutality

According to sales rep at Pacific Outdoor Advertising, the company who rents the spaces, the standard rate for a billboard of that size is about $1200 a month, plus it costs about $300 for the materials that get plastered onto the billboard, plus graphic design costs, then factor in a discount when someone rents 25 spaces, yadda yadda…. You can guess how many thousands of dollars this ad campaign costs.

According to the Oregon Secretary Of State business registry, “Equity In Action” is an LLC, not a non-profit, and it’s registered by someone named Kalissa Scopes. Big surprise, she’s a guilty, rich, white, yuppie.

Kalissa Scopes, courtesy of her facebook page.

Her personal webpage touts the tagline of “Helping you make your racial equity commitment tangible” and goes on to say:

Strategies, support, tools and templates for infusing equity into your projects and practices

Strategic Planning and Analysis

Applying a racial equity lens to your projects, communications strategies, assessment and evaluation practices so that these are congruent with and support your efforts. 

  • Systematic analysis of your current organization using a racial equity assessment tool to guide the process

  • Setting up organizational structures that support equity and belonging

  • Quality Improvement

  • Organizational assessments and graduated action plans

  • Writing up your results so that you can share them; case studies project planning documents, reports

Coaching and Mentoring

Making a commitment to more equitable, empowering and trauma informed approaches in the workplace can seem a bit overwhelming, outside support and advice can make things easier. 

  • Doing your work in a way that supports your equity outcomes

  • Reflection, relational focus, addressing conscious and unconscious bias and power

  • Building white racial literacy

  • Facilitating connecting employee purpose to organizational purpose through work-plans and supervision support

  •  Increasing morale and holding the organization accountable to its mission

  •  Practices for mindful slowing down, making time for reflection and creating hope filled goals and outcomes. 

Human Resource Management – recruiting, hiring, and evaluating – that promotes belonging, inclusion and equity

For a productive workplace where all of your employees are doing well. Assessing and improving accountability structures and practices

  • Help with recruiting and hiring, writing position descriptions

  • Increasing clarity and accountability, transparency and equitable division of work along with clarity around power dynamics, roles and responsibilities and strengthen ties to personal and organizational mission and purpose

  • Analysis of existing policies and drafting new policy

  • Reflection, relational focus, addressing conscious and unconscious bias and power

  • Building white racial literacy

Equity Infused Project Management

Sometimes in our eagerness to get social justice work done we take actions or create processes that lead to outcomes we don’t want: people feel unheard, the end result doesn’t meet the needs of the people most affected, power dynamics are ignored or other undesirable outcomes. Infusing projects of all sizes with wisdom and practices from a variety of powerful racial equity frameworks (that include intersectional considerations of gender, ability, orientation, class, culture) makes the way we do our work congruent with the equity outcomes we are working toward.

  • Frameworks and structural solutions infused with racial equity

  • Tools and practices outside majority culture frameworks that incorporate old and new thinking and address racial equity at a root level

  • Developing a clearly articulated theory of change and/or a logic model to guide your actions and make your outcomes and your metrics transparent

  • Equity and Inclusion Assessment for Organizations

Scopes also just happens to be the former director at the Multnomah county “Office of Diversity and Equity”, where she was “Responsible for furthering equity and inclusion with a focus on race by working toward universal outcomes with targeted strategies. Strategic Planning, White racial literacy, and Equity and Empowerment Project Management” and Responsible for strategic development, decision making, priority setting and County policy development and implementation. Member of the County Chair’s executive team. Manage ODE programs and staff dedicated to advancing equity issues through the Office of Diversity and Equity. Engage stakeholders to build and foster an organizational culture of awareness, inclusion, respect and accountability. Champion the Equity and Empowerment Lens as a catalyst for organizational change. Promote and implement county-wide equity initiatives; develop and implement a variety of positive organizational interventions. Develop programs, policies and system-wide structures to deliver meaningful results to the County’s key stakeholders” according to her LinkedIn page.

One can’t help but wonder how much good that money could have done had it actually been spent improving poverty ridden black neighborhoods in Portland.

KPTV – FOX 12

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