The Real Lost Boys of Portlandia

On June 7th at Revolution Hall, Outside the Frame will premiere The Lost Boys of Portlandia, a documentary featuring the real lost children of Portland – homeless youth.

[Image description: A group of six costumed youth pose in a patch of sun with trees in the background. One of the youth carries a guitar. Another wears fairy wings. Another wears a Peter Pan costume. One has on striped pajamas and a Daniel Boone hat, and one flexes both of his arms. There is a Jolly Roger pirate flag affixed to his wheelchair.] 

The Lost Boys of Portlandia is a riff on Peter Pan, as well as a documentary about filmmaking, in which homeless youth debate if and how to return to mainstream society. According to KGW-TV, "on its surface, it’s a film about the making of a film, but the backdrop is flooded with one of Portland’s most pressing social issues.”

lost boys bench

[Image description: Three youth sit on a bench. A boy on the left sits with his back to the camera. He is dressed like Peter Pan and holds a cup. His right leg is crossed over his left. Two boys on the right sit facing the camera. They are not wearing costumes. One of them is leaning over a presentation folder with a red marker in hand.]

Outside the Frame, originally a program of Outside In, is a nonprofit that offers homeless youth paid internships and film workshops that provide hands on technological training and relevant job experience. The youth involved produce original films depicting issues pertaining to and determined by homeless youth. A number of these short, youth-made films will also screen at the premiere of The Lost Boys. Claim your ticket here.

Outside the Frame aims to change the way homeless and marginalized youth see and are seen by film. By making films, youth are able to speak and advocate for themselves and issues they care about, as well contribute to changing the systemic barriers homeless youth face.

lost boys flyer

[Image description: A flyer for The Lost Boys of Portlandia, a premiere of films by and with youth who have experienced homelessness. The flyer advertises the show on Tuesday, June 7th, doors at 6 pm, show at 7 pm; Revolution Hall, 1300 SE Stark St., Portland, OR; Free, all ages; Tickets at The bulk of the flyer is an illustration of Peter Pan, camera in hand, flying away from three crocodiles, one of which is dressed as a police officer. Tinkerbell flies next to him with a clapboard.] 

The Lost Boys of Portlandia premiere is sponsored in part by Northwest Health Foundation. 


Disability Art and Culture Project Presents Portland ReelAbilities

What is problematic about representations of disability in film? A lot. More than we have time or space to discuss here. People with disabilities are hugely underrepresented both in front of the camera, as actors, and behind the camera, as filmmakers. Too often actors without disabilities play characters with disabilities, and characters with disabilities fill flat, stereotypical roles. These are just a few of the problems, and local nonprofit Disability Art and Culture Project (DACP) is challenging all of these and more with Portland ReelAbilities Film Festival.

[Image description: A man sits in front of a blank canvas, smiling. Behind him a woman, also smiling, prepares a table full of paints.]

May 27-29 at Alberta Rose Theatre, DACP will present a wide range of films all made by, starring and/or about people with disabilities. They include everything from Imber's Left Hand, a feature-length documentary about an artist with ALS whose painting process and style change dramatically as his body degenerates, to a three-minute comedy about a woman whose prosthetic hand falls off during a dance audition. View the full schedule here.

We're most looking forward to two showings during the festival. The first is Saturday Social Justice Night. DACP will show three films, all dealing with disability and social justice issues, followed by comments and discussion. This is exciting because disability is rarely considered in the context of social justice; more often it is considered as a health or medical issue. The second showing we are looking forward to is on Sunday night when DACP will screen films submitted by local filmmakers. Many of the local filmmakers will be at the theater, and we can't wait to meet them and hear what they have to say!

Moderator Kathy Coleman and panelists Cheryl Green, Courtney Hermann and Bryony Nesbitt spoke about disability representation in film and tv.

Moderator Kathy Coleman and panelists Cheryl Green, Courtney Hermann and Bryony Nesbitt spoke about disability representation in film and tv.

[Image description: Four adults seated in a row in front of a dark blue curtain. Electrical cables are visible on the floor beneath their chairs.]

Beyond showing audiences more nuanced representations of the disability community, DACP also wanted to equip more social justice-minded folks with the tools to make films, as well as amplify the voices of media makers from marginalized communities. What does this mean? Last week, one of DACP's board members, Cheryl Green, taught two free filmmaking classes. Participants storyboarded, filmed and edited one-minute movies on their personal devices (smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc.). These will be posted on the Portland ReelAbilities Facebook page. In addition, DACP filmed a panel about disability representation in film and tv with media makers from marginalized communities in front of a live audience, which will be available to watch online in June.

Portland Reelabilities Film Festival is Portland's first disability-themed film festival, one of fourteen ReelAbilities Film Festivals presented across the U.S. Buy tickets for the festival here.

Disability Art and Culture Project was one of Northwest Health Foundation's Learning Together, Connecting Communities partners. We've also sponsored several of their events.

BRAVE Leaders Build Power for Reproductive Justice

Story submitted by Western States Center

Emily Lai flashing the peace sign. Photo courtesy of Momentum Alliance.

Western States Center’s We are BRAVE project supports leaders of color to advance policy and create cultural change to improve communities of color’s access to reproductive healthcare.

The success of BRAVE is highlighted by the personal and professional development of Emily Lai. A BRAVE leader, Emily began her reproductive justice journey as part of We are Brave’s 2015 cohort.

“Honestly, the only reason I am able to do reproductive justice work in Oregon is because of BRAVE,” said Emily. “The dedicated staff at Western States Center has tirelessly and lovingly cultivated a sacred space for communities of color to come together to articulate our experiences with injustices and our visions for justice. BRAVE is a place for us to heal, to bond, and to build our individual and collective strength to advocate for ourselves and reproductive justice."

BRAVE provided the space for Emily to align her commitment to social justice and young people, and her own personal self-determination for reproductive autonomy as a young person. Currently, Emily works with Momentum Alliance as a Reproductive Justice Camp Coordinator where she lives and practices reproductive justice values and leadership with young people. Her professional development parallels BRAVE’s theory of change. Lai often expresses how her participation in BRAVE helped shape her intersection lens for how and whom she works with; the process for how to apply and integrate reproductive justice values; and strength to voice the importance of young people’s role in their own reproductive autonomy. 

"I work for a youth-led social justice nonprofit called Momentum Alliance. This year, at our fundraiser, one of our sponsors withdrew their sponsorship as soon as they found out that we were voicing our support for abortion access at our fundraiser. I was a little intimidated and discouraged from publicly and unequivocally supporting abortion access. But my organization rallied behind me, and I believe that BRAVE gave our organization the courage—the BRAVEry, if you will—to unapologetically stand up for abortion access."

The BRAVE project creates the conditions to leverage leadership through the introduction of reproductive justice core concepts. BRAVE leaders connect those concepts to policy and cultural change to achieve positive health outcomes for families. We realize that communities that respect the dignity and self-determination of all people, particularly young people, are integral to positive early life and childhood development.

Western States Center and Momentum Alliance are both Kaiser Permanente Community Fund funded partners. Momentum Alliance is also the lead organization of a Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Collaborative.

Children's Institute Combats Chronic Absence

Adult and child high-fiving in a school hallway.

Chronic absence is a huge problem in Oregon. Last year, one out of every six students was chronically absent. That means almost 94,000 students missed at least one out of every ten school days. Data shows, these kids are more likely to perform poorly academically, as well as drop out before high school graduation.

This isn't okay, and the Children's Institute is determined that Oregon do better for its children. First step, spread awareness of the issue.

Because many schools don't even track chronic absence among their students, educators and families often don't realize how big an issue it is. That's why the Children's Institute worked with the Oregon Department of Education (ODE) to collect and release data about chronic absence in Oregon during the 2014-15 school year. As hoped, ODE's data has put the problem of chronic absence on the radar for school districts and communities across the state.

One of the key findings of their research was this: attendance habits in kindergarten can predict attendance habits and academic performance in high school. That brings us to step two of the Children's Institute's plan to combat chronic absence.

Young child with both hands raised.

The Children's Institute has partnered with two schools (Early Boyles Elementary and Yoncalla Elementary) to establish and run two Early Works preschool programs. By making attendance a priority early on, Early Works helps families and students establish good habits that will carry through kindergarten and beyond. As an example of the impact they're making, in 2014-15, students in the Earl Boyles preschool program averaged a 94 percent attendance rate.

Thanks to ODE, the Children's Institute and the Oregon schools that have already experimented with intervention programs, we have plenty of data and good examples to learn from. We know which groups of students have the highest rates of chronic absence (Native Americans, special education students, low-income students and Pacific Islanders), so we can focus our efforts accordingly. And we know that the best way to combat chronic absence is with early family engagement in preschool and kindergarten.

Learn more in the Children's Institute's Showing Up, Staying In report.

The Children's Institute is a Kaiser Permanente Community Fund partner. They have also received funding through Northwest Health Foundation Sponsorships and the President's Opportunity Fund.

Native Community Wins Indigenous People's Day For Portland

Teens gathered around a drum at A Youth Gathering of Native Americans.

Teens gathered around a drum at A Youth Gathering of Native Americans.

For too long, the U.S. federal government has recognized Columbus Day as a national holiday. Fortunately, thanks to the hard work and advocacy efforts of Native community leaders, including our friends and community partners at the Native American Youth and Family Center (NAYA), Portland, OR is one city that does not celebrate Columbus Day anymore.

Columbus Day has been observed as the day that Christopher Columbus first arrived in the Americas. For many, that isn't something that deserves celebrating. Christopher Columbus's arrival in the Americas marked the beginning of a painful period for indigenous people--a period that included enslavement, colonization, displacement and the needless deaths of thousands of people, the effects of which are still felt today. That is why many Natives and their allies have set about reclaiming this holiday.

On October 7, 2015, Native community members testified before the Portland City Council; and the Portland City Council voted unanimously to pass a resolution, declaring the second Monday of October as Indigenous People's Day.

"This generation gets to grow up knowing the truth," said Klamath/Leech Lake Ojibway actor Dyami Thomas, who attended NAYA College Academy.

Thank you and congratulations to NAYA, the Grand Ronde Tribe and the other Native leaders who successfully ushered this resolution through City Council!

The Native American Youth and Family Center has received funding through the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation, NWHF's Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities Initiative, Sponsorships, the President's Opportunity Fund and Learning Together, Connecting Communities.

Community Alliance of Tenants Declares a Renter State of Emergency

Supporters at the September 15th Renter State of Emergency press conference.

Supporters at the September 15th Renter State of Emergency press conference.

Northwest Health Foundation applauds Community Alliance of Tenants (CAT) for declaring a Renter State of Emergency in Oregon, and in particular the Portland metro area.

Too many Oregonians have been unfairly evicted or forced to move due to drastic rent increases. Everyone deserves a safe, stable and affordable place to live, but right now, that isn't possible for hundreds of families and individuals.

CAT has called for a moratorium or suspension of no-cause terminations for one year, and a longer notice period for rent increases over 5%. "30-days’ notice is not enough, either to move quickly or absorb a shocking rent increase, especially in today’s disaster-like housing crisis."

NWHF staff pose with the Renter State of Emergency placard.

NWHF staff pose with the Renter State of Emergency placard.

As part of the campaign, CAT is collecting renter SOS stories on a Tumblr account. They also invite supporters to use the hashtags #rentersos and #RenterStateofEmergency on social media and/or take a photo with a Renter State of Emergency placard.

How can you help? Share your renter SOS story here. Donate to the campaign here. Download the placard here. Or, if you're a landlord, sign the Landlord Pledge here.

NWHF supports the Renter State of Emergency campaign. In addition, NWHF has funded CAT through Sponsorships and the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund at Northwest Health Foundation.

Energizing Portland's Jade District

Crowd of spectators.

On the evenings of August 15th and 22nd, nearly 20,000 people converged on SE 82nd and Division, the center of Portland's Jade District, for the Second Annual International Jade Night Market.

Many local businesses set up booths where visitors could buy various wares and delicious multicultural foods. There were also two stages with music and performances, many fair-style games and a beer garden serving Portland Brewing's Night Market Special Lager

Visitors could also wander into the Jade/APANO Multicultural Space (JAMS)--a community space for neighborhood events, activities and meetings, which has taken up residence inside an old discount furniture store. Recently, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon (APANO) used JAMS to host the Vision Zero kick off event. (The Vision Zero Task Force aims to improve traffic safety for Portland neighborhoods.) This Fall, JAMS will host Our Families, Our Homes, a film series about gentrification and displacement. And many more events are sure to come!

Four women of various ages sitting behind a table spread with textiles.

These events are all part of the effort to energize the Jade District around common goals. The Jade District seeks to unite the community around vibrant culture and commerce, making the Jade District a "must-see destination" for visitors, as well as a better environment for its multicultural residents. So far it seems to be working pretty well!

(Even better, the Jade District's Steering Committee is entirely made up of community members who live, work and/or own property in the Jade District!)

NWHF supported the 2015 Jade Night Market through a sponsorship grant. In addition, APANO is funded through both the Kaiser Permanente Community Fund and Healthy Beginnings+Healthy Communities.