Oregon Humanities’ Responsive Program Grants support organizations responding to urgent issues and events in communities throughout Oregon. Awarded on a rolling basis, these grants of up to $1,000 are available to nonprofit organizations and federally recognized tribes.
The work funded by Responsive Program Grants takes many forms, including community conversations, lectures, and film screenings. In the spring of 2018, Central Oregon Community College used grant funds to invite immigration and education rights activist Julissa Arce to participate in its Season of Nonviolence project. The college hosted community book clubs on Arce’s book My (Underground) American Dream: My True Story as an Undocumented Immigrant Who Became a Wall Street Executive, and Arce delivered a keynote address on her corporate experience as a Latina woman and undocumented immigrant and led a conversation with students and community members.
“Julissa told her story, and the students were able to ask her many questions about culture, identity, immigration, future plans, writing and much more,” said Charlotte Gilbride, coordinator of the college’s Nancy R. Chandler Visiting Scholar Program. “Several students left the gathering in tears—tears of joy and tears of appreciation for the opportunity.”
In Salem, grant funds supported the first community dialogue by Bridging Our Divide, a new nonprofit organization. The event, cohosted with other local organizations, centered on building community across ideological divides. Sixty participants gathered to talk to people they didn’t know with differing political perspectives.
In Portland, Self Enhancement, Inc., Oregon’s largest African American-led nonprofit organization, used grant funds to present a screening of I Am Not Your Negro, Raoul Peck’s 2016 documentary based on James Baldwin’s unfinished manuscript about the history of racism in the United States, and a panel discussion including James Baldwin’s niece, Aisha Karefa-Smart, and Derrais Carter, a professor of Black studies at Portland State University.
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