Following a series of conversations about how best to communicate our organizational values of equity, diversity, inclusion, and justice, Oregon PSR's Board of Directors recently approved the following statement:
Oregon PSR recognizes that diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice are crucial to healthy individuals, vibrant communities, and thriving organizations. We understand that our society has deeply embedded in it centuries of white supremacy and dominance, from the massacre and dispossession of native peoples, economies built on enslavement and disproportionate imprisonment of people of color and poor people to the concentration of wealth in the hands of a small, mostly white, elite power structure.
Long-term, structural racial and economic oppression are major factors in the disproportionate impact of health and environmental ills on people of color and those living in poverty: they fuel health epidemics and crises and contribute to negative health exposures and outcomes—for example lower cancer survival and increased cardiac disease—among these groups.
Oregon PSR strives to work internally and with allies to change these historical and systemic inequalities, which are dehumanizing and powerful barriers to better health and a healthier environment. Human health is at the core of Oregon PSR’s mission and is the area of our expertise. Medical science and social and environmental epidemiology underline the reality that racism, poverty, sexism, homophobia and transphobia drive concrete, quantifiable harm. These ubiquitous social issues are verifiable public health problems. We believe that as societal injustices are righted, public and environmental health will be improved.
Oregon PSR’s vision statement reads: “We seek a healthy, just, and peaceful world for present and future generations.” We strive to achieve our goals—including demilitarization, nuclear disarmament, and environmental and climate health through just means that benefit those who experience structural injustice the most. Acknowledging our privilege as health professionals, we seek to utilize our particular skills and perspectives to value, support and advance the voices and roles of communities systematically marginalized and disproportionately impacted by health and environmental degradation. We believe their interests and perspectives are essential to justice and success on our issues. We work to establish and sustain authentic relationships with organizations, institutions, and individuals who are representative of these communities, recognizing that our involvement must be responsive to a specific group’s needs and leadership.
Oregon PSR’s work on diversity, equity, and inclusion includes listening, learning, incorporating a social and environmental justice lens in all our activity, recruiting a more diverse membership, Board, and staff, and supporting community-of-color and other justice-based organizations by providing accurate information and analyses, assisting with testimony and other issue advocacy, supporting equity-oriented coalitions led by such groups, and publicizing relevant issues and events to our members. We acknowledge that our work on diversity, equity, inclusion, and social justice is ever-evolving. We hope that it contributes to unified efforts to make our society more just. This is a living document and we invite your feedback on it.
One element of this process is regular discussion of papers, films, exercises, and other resources addressing these issues at our board, staff and volunteer work-group meetings. Below are some resources we have found helpful in this ongoing exploration.
Racial Justice Assessment Tool (Western States Center)
Racial Justice Dominoes (Western States Center)
Broken Treaties (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
A Guide to Gender Identity & Affirmation in the Workplace (Yale University)
Principles of Environmental Justice (First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit)
13th (Ava DuVernay)
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (Peggy McIntosh)
Against White Supremacy, Militarism, and False Solutions (OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon)
Portland Isn’t as Liberal as you Think (Zahir Janmohamed)
The Time is Now (Pete Shaw)
Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life: Implications for Clinical Practice (Derald Wing Sue et al)
Public Health and Social Justice Website (Martin Donohoe, MD)