2017-18 Civic Leaders Project
The First Cohort
In 2017 a unique partnership was formed between Washington County and Adelante Mujeres to develop a training project that focuses on historically underrepresented communities within the County. The project includes a series of trainings that take place over a five-week period, providing an understanding of County government structures and the rights of community members to participate in decisions that may impact their lives.
Participants leave the program better equipped with the know-how and the tools to access a full range of opportunities to participate and engage in decision making processes by government, agencies and service providers that affect them, their families and their communities.
TRAINING SESSION 1
County Government Services
The first of four Civic Leadership trainings was held January 20, 2018. Hosted by Vision Action Network, this training provided an understanding of government services, education on community members' rights to be included in decisions that could affect them, and an awareness of the opportunities available to become involved in civic decision-making conversations and committees across Washington County.
The session used the Popular Education approach that promotes participation by all. Eighteen community members attended the session. They were given the challenge to work together to create a city, learning about the tradeoffs that occur as communities grow and face new challenges.
Mike Dahlstrom, Manager of Washington County's Community Engagement Program, commented on the session, "It was amazing to witness the engagement and the value gained by including a wide range of diversity of participants!"
TRAINING SESSION 2
Personal and Civil Rights and Responsibilities
The theme of this training consisted of Civil Rights and Responsibilities with guest speakers fostering opportunities for team building, and exploring personal rights and responsibilities. Kari Herinckx, Community Engagement Program Coordinator, facilitated an interactive human rights activity where leaders developed 10-Point Plans for Social Change based on shared identities pertaining to language, race, nationality, etc.
Sheriff Pat Garrett and Public Affairs Manager Annabelle Carlos then provided an overview of the efforts by the Washington County Sheriff's Office (WCSO) to ensure safety of citizens. The Sheriff also discussed ways in which the WCSO creates an environment that is inclusive and fair for community members and outreach efforts to engage diverse community members. Leaders were provided the opportunity to give constructive feedback for ways in which WCSO can continue to build strong relationships with underrepresented community members.
This training was hosted by Unite Oregon.
TRAINING SESSION 3
Power Analysis and Environmental Justice
Hosted by Muslim Educational Trust. Guest speakers covered this training's theme by exploring the topics of county governance and leadership; power dynamics and sustainability. Washington County Chairman Andy Duyck shared his 24 years of experience on the Board of Commissioners with the leaders. He provided insight on how to successfully engage elected officials, in addition to giving a broad overview of what initiatives the Board oversees.
Former City of Hillsboro Council member, Olga Acuña City Council as the only woman of color. Additionally, she took time to provide the differences between traditional power structures versus "people power," or, that of which is ground up.
Jennifer Nelson of the County's Sustainability Program gave an interactive presentation on social, economic and environmental sustainability.
TRAINING SESSION 4
Volunteering, Engaging and Advocacy
Hosted by Centro Cultural. Juan Carlos Gonzalez of Centro Cultural opened the training with an overview of services and programs that Centro provides to community members. Mike Dahlstrom and Kari Herinckx then facilitated discussions in preparation for the Board meeting, providing a Board 101 on how to testify, topics of interest to share with the BOC and procedures of how the meeting will look. Leaders then had an interactive activity in preparation for mock testimonies on topics relevant to youth development, affordable housing and mental health.
Community Engagement Program Coordinator, Dan Schauer, moderated a discussion with two CPO volunteers, Megan Rutherford of CPO 7 and Sebastian Lawler of CPO 12F, about the basics of the CPO Program and ways in which leaders could become active members of their communities via the CPO Program.
The day was closed out with Cyreena Boston Ashby, CEO of the Oregon Public Health Institute, who provided information on a successful endeavor of advocating for displaced African American communities in NE Portland. Cyreena also shared her lived experiences on resiliency on her unsuccessful bid for running for the State Legislature as a young woman of color.
TRAINING SESSION 5
Mock Testimony and the Board of Commissioners Meeting
Prior to the February 27 Board Meeting, Chair Andy Duyck conducted a mock meeting providing the opportunity for about half the cohort members to practice giving input within the Board meeting environment. The ten who gave testimony gained experience in preparing and presenting their opinions during which time Chair Duyck provided additional suggestions to them. Everyone toured the chambers and had the chance to see what it looks like from behind the dias. During the actual Board meeting that followed, three of the cohort members provided input to the entire Board at the first Oral Communications session.
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