Thank you to the Black women leaders who have helped shape the Women's Foundation: Verna Bailey, Khadija Bruce, Shari Dunn, Cobi Lewis, Traci Rossi, and Kimberlee Sheng.
A Note From Emily
To celebrate Black History Month, we invite you to honor Oregon’s Black women and girls along with us! In the past few months alone, we have seen extraordinary leadership by Black women in Oregon who are serving our state and our communities.
We'd also like to take a moment to highlight and express our deep appreciation for the Black women leaders who have helped shape the Women’s Foundation by serving on our Board of Directors since our launch in 2014. They are:
Verna Bailey, Retired Principal, Beaverton School District
Khadija Bruce, President, Black Student Union, George Fox University
Shari Dunn, Executive Director, Dress for Success
Cobi Lewis, Vice President and Community Development Officer for Oregon & Southwest Washington, Wells Fargo Bank
Traci Rossi, Executive Director, The Center for Women's Leadership
Kimberlee Sheng, Executive Director, Black United Fund
Finally, this month we encourage celebration paired with recognition of, and critical reflection on, Oregon’s long, institutional history of anti-Black racism, including the sun-down towns,exclusionary laws, redlining, and segregation that have shaped our region.
Please join us in expressing our gratitude and respect for Oregon's Black women and girls by celebrating, listening to, centering, and lifting up not just during Black History Month, but all year long. Here are 5 Things You Can Do to Address Systemic Racism in Oregon to help you get started.
With gratitude always, Emily Evans Executive Director, Women’s Foundation of Oregon
Stat of the Month
23% of Black women in Oregon hold Bachelor's Degrees or higher
Immediate Impact Fund
In January, the Women's Foundation awarded Rose Haven a $5,000 Immediate Impact grant to increase the capacity of their Shower Program. In 2017 Rose Haven built two shower units for their guests. Funding from the Immediate Impact fund will expand the Shower Program to 5 days a week, giving women, children, and gender-nonconforming folks experiencing homelessness access to private and safe facilities to better manage their health and wellness.
Rose Haven is a day shelter and community center in Portland for women and children experiencing homelessness, abuse, and other life disruptions. Rose Haven breaks the cycle of homelessness by providing meals, clothing, first aid, mailing addresses, hygiene, restrooms, and showers, as well as educational programs and guidance through medical and social services. By building trust and meeting basic needs first, they empower women to explore long-term change.
Name: Zoe Piliafas
Age: 38 Occupation: Small Business Owner-Company: Diversa: We are storyweavers. We use stories and technology to create new worlds. We are story weavers. We are driven to find ways to make learning more accessible and meaningful to all people. Member of the Women’s Foundation since: 2017 Gender pronouns: She/her/hers
Why are you a member of the Women’s Foundation? I love the work the organization has done in the past few years in painting a much more clear and data driven understanding of the state of women in Oregon. It has helped illuminate an urgency to act and guided our collective work.
What’s your favorite spot in Oregon? John Day Fossil Head. It takes 3-4 hours from PDX so there is not a lot of people that venture out there. It is a wonder and look into such a long ago history. It feels eerie to understand the length of human’s time on this planet to the actual age of our planet. It helps you gain perspective. It is a peaceful place to be.
What quality do you most admire in others? Good Listeners that are good leaders. I believe that listening and empathy are two traits that are undervalued in society due to views of these traits as passive and feminine. It is where I find my power.
Which talent would you most like to have? I wish I was a great singer. Don’t get it twisted, I still sing my little heart out but it is to the pain and suffering of those in earshot.
What’s the best place to eat in our great state? I really like Serratto and Toro Bravo.
What do you consider your greatest achievement? Being a mother. It is the most powerful position I have ever held.
Why is gender equity important to you? I’ve built my life around redesigning the world to be more reflective of us. The devaluing of the feminine is to the demise our our world. We will be on a path of healing and recovery when we honor and respect that powerful fully.
Which woman (living or dead) do you most admire? My best friend Erica. She is everything wonderful. She is my support and many others. She is strong. The way she loves is truly its own force of nature.
What is your personal motto? Be strategic and patient.
What’s your idea of perfect happiness? I am pregnant right now - so sleeping for 3 days straight. I also don’t believe that I am searching for happiness - I don’t want to be disappointed. I think that relishing in happy moments is as important as sitting in sad ones.
What makes you laugh uncontrollably? My partner. He sometimes dances for my pleasure and it is nothing short of a mix of great rhythm and ridiculousness - that combo can’t be beat.
What thought or intention do you want to leave with Women's Foundation members today? We are enough and we are stronger together.
What question would you liked to be asked right now? What can I cook for you?
Thanks so much, Zoe!
Make a Difference
MudBone Grown, LLC is a women and minority-owned small farm and food business enterprise working in and serving the Portland-Vancouver Metro area. MudBone Grown is in the business of growing food, growing community health, growing business, and growing community culture around delivery of the triple bottom line to historically absent or barriered communities.
How can you get involved? This year Mudbone Grown launched their Beginning Farmers of Color program and will be graduating 10 farmers at the end of the season. They are looking for land, sponsors for farm equipment, and volunteers.
Feb 21: Apply to NEW Leadership Oregon by February 21st!, Statewide The award-winning women's leadership development program is housed at the Center for Women's Leadership at Portland State University. Open to college women enrolled at any college in the state of Oregon.
Feb 23 & 24:Hidden History of Albina: Portland's Black History, North Portland This tour provides a great opportunity for visitors and residents alike to reconnect with the roots of this community, from the history of the City of Albina to the city Vanport and beyond.
Feb 23 - May 13: Don't Touch My Hair: Expressions of Identity and Community, Eugene Organized by UO graduate and guest curator Meredith Lancaster, this exhibition at Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, investigates the politics of hair, racialized beauty standards, hair rituals, and the differences in expectations between men and women with regard to hair.
Feb 24, 8:30am - 3pm:Girls Rock! Conference, Grants Pass Girls Rock!, started in 2009, is held once a year at Grants Pass High School. This year’s event is February 24, 2018, from 8:30 AM to 3:00 PM PST. This is a day of fun-filled, hands-on workshops for girls to learn about science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Light breakfast items are offered in the morning, and lunch is provided. Everything is FREE for girls 9-13 years old; each girl must be accompanied by an adult.
Mar 1-4: Muse Women’s Conference, Downtown Bend The annual Muse Women’s Conference brings together local women & teens with internationally recognized artists, authors, athletes, entrepreneurs, activists, and social change leaders to celebrate International Women’s Day and kick-off Women’s History Month. Our sixth event is scheduled for March 1-4, 2018 in Bend, Oregon.
Mar 8-11:Portland's Inaugural "South Asian American Arts Festival, PICA, Portland This event will be an all-age, multi-cultural celebration that showcases and highlights South Asian arts and artists. Poets, musicians, storytellers, dancers, and multi-media artists will present performances, demonstrations, and workshops.
Mar 26-7:Women of Color Economic Policy & Leadership Western Regional Convening, San Francisco, CA The purpose of the convening is to create an in-person space for women of color and indigenous advocates from the West Coast, including Oregon, to address survivors' urgent economic security needs while advancing culturally specific innovations for safety, access, and security.
Mar 29-31:2018 Outdoor Women’s Fest, Bend Join Visit Bend, World Muse, Bend Women's March and REI in an epic weekend of events to celebrate outdoor women and the incredible opportunities to recreate in Central Oregon.Through partnerships with SheJumps, SheMovesMountains, LadiesAllRide, and Women Who Hike, everyone will have an opportunity to get outside and experience something new.
Huffington Post: 35 Queens Of Black History Who Deserve Much More Glory Black history lessons in classrooms shouldn’t be limited to the names of men and only a few women, especially when there are countless women who’ve made enormous strides for the black community. Here are 35 phenomenal women everyone should acquaint themselves with this Black History Month.
Institute for Women's Policy Research: Projected Year the Wage Gap Will Close by State If the earnings of women and men who are employed full-time, year-round change at the rate they have between 1959 and 2015, the gender wage gap in the United States will not close until 2059.
Bitch Media: In 2018 White People Must Invest in Anti-Racism White people who want to “do work” on ending racial oppression and disparity in the United States will have to do more than have “difficult conversations.” They have to push past the initial discomfort of correcting friends and family who rely on “insensitive language” or archaic ideas about race in the United States.
As a Women’s Foundation of Oregon member, you’re joining a community of over 800 individuals who donate their time, efforts, and/or funds to improve the lives of women and girls in Oregon.
Become a member or renew now, and you'll receive our annual membership gift - the Count Me In Calendar! The calendar offers 52 weeks of powerful actions to bolster your capacity as an agent of change for women and girls in your community.
Join us and strengthen our collective force for gender equity in Oregon.