Reflections on the Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship Awards Ceremony 2019

On Friday April 26th, 2019 we honored the winners of our annual Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship at Celebration Tabernacle Church in North Portland. The theme of the evening was the question, “How can you work against systemic racism to help make our world more healthy and peaceful?”

The program began with opening remarks by Madison Arnold-Scerbo of Oregon PSR and a welcoming by Reverend E.D. Mondainé, President of the NAACP of Portland and pastor of Celebration Tabernacle. Oregon PSR board member Dr. Nicki Nabavizadeh discussed the mission of Oregon PSR, our commitment to Equity and Justice, and the history of the scholarship. The Greenfield Peace Writing Scholarship was named in honor of Del Greenfield who started the project back in the 1980s when she was the was the executive director of Oregon PSR for sixteen years. Del committed her life to peace, and Oregon PSR is proud to continue her legacy with this project and all their work for a healthy, just, and peaceful world.

Photo above: The winning students, their families, and two of our judges: Dr. Robert Goldman (left) and Janaira Ramirez (second from left)


Weren't able to attend? Watch the live stream of the event here!

Learn more about the event and read the winning entries here

First Place - Jack Hill of Westview High School, “Ain't never a silver-lining playbook so rigged/ as Portland metro's real-estate market./… The biggest questions for you is: how are you going to use your story moving forward. Are you going to create a conversation? Are you going to make waves? Are you going to foster understanding? Are you going to carve out opportunities? I know I am.“

Second Place - Iman Pearce of De La Salle North Catholic High School, “Equal Rights to the Toy-Box” “Picture this: a little girl with braids and a Bratz t-shirt sits alone in her first-grade classroom and watches the other girls play with a toy from the toybox. The little girl with braids gets up from her seat, walks over to the others and asks, “Can I play?” The owner of the toy steps up and says, “No, you’re Black” in front of the teacher and all her classmates. At the tender age of seven, I was denied the opportunity to play with a classmate’s toy, not because we weren’t friends, but because somewhere that girl had heard that people like me should not be allowed to touch something that was hers.”

Third Place - Alyssia Maxwell of Parkrose High School, “For me I am a black young woman who has went through racism from time to time.. A situation that really affected me was when I was playing basketball and my team was traveling away to another school in Oregon named St. Helens. My team and I already knew what they were about. I play for Parkrose High School and every time we go to St. Helens high school there's always a situation or problem happening every year...Their school is known for being racist. We thought we would be able to just play basketball and not worry about anything bad happening this time, but we were wrong about that.”

Dr. Brian Gibbs, Vice President for Equity and Inclusion at Oregon Health & Science University. “In healthcare, people of color, particularly African Americans, face discrimination. A 2012 study found that a majority of doctors, 67%, have unconscious racial biases when it comes to their black patients. Black Americans are far more likely than whites to lack access to emergency medical care. Health care disparities are differences in care that emerge not from differences in access, or the clinical appropriateness of the patient preferences, but from discriminatory practices within the healthcare system or from biases and prejudices, stereotyping, uncertainty in communication, and clinical decision making on the part of providers. Please understand, it is not hyperbole, let it not be an epiphany. Understand, healthcare is no different than discrimination in housing -  if there is gentrification in your community, there is gentrification in your healthcare system. Let’s be clear, systemic racism is a corrosive and widespread problem in our society, and we all need to do a better job of confronting it - in our towns, in our neighborhoods, in our schools and college campuses, in our clinics, and in ourselves”

The evening ended with a Question and Answer session

Awards Ceremony attendees chat after the program ended