Tanikka Stephenson volunteers with Coalition of Communities of Color
For Tanikka, the Rise Above Hate event was a unique experience in Portland. “…I liked that it was so diverse,” she says. “For our trio of friends it was fun to go to an event and to see people who look like me and don’t look like me in our community.”
The Coalition of Communities of Color was established in 2001 and became a 501(c)3 in 2015. They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary and continue to fight for racial, social and environmental justice policies to “improve outcomes for communities of color through policy analysis and advocacy, environmental justice, culturally appropriate data and research, and leadership development in communities of color.” – (https://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/whoweare)
For Joliana and the rest of the team at CCC, their advocacy efforts stretch far beyond the Portland city limits. Joliana recounts “Before Covid, the event that stood out to me the most was lobby day. My first lobby day in Salem was a true eye opener. I’d never had the opportunity to speak to the representatives of Oregon and tell my story. One of the things near and dear to my heart was the high cost of rent…as it affects me personally, as well as my friends and family.” One of the most impactful parts of working in the CCC Joliana says is “I like being surrounded by this group of people because I can talk about the things that affect me and my circle, which become a bigger conversation” and using those conversations to lobby for change.
Tanikka shared that one of the most important things the CCC does is to help bring clarity to members of the community who might not otherwise understand the impact of current ballot measures and how they affect people of color in the community. “Joliana is great about breaking down each piece of legislation with her family and friends to help them understand what these ballot measures mean in layman’s terms.”
Going forward, the CCC will continue their political advocacy efforts and their community-based participatory action research, which focuses on research and data justice for members of the BIPOC community where data has historically been systematically used to reinforce oppressive systems and other harmful policies. For Joliana, it boils down to one simple concept: “We need more people of color representing each part of Portland.”
If you are interested in volunteering, or learning more about the Coalition of Communities of Color, please visit https://www.coalitioncommunitiescolor.org/.