Thanks to everyone who joined us for our 30th anniversary celebration, Shining a Light on Oregon’s Black History. Our first in-person fundraising event since 2019 was filled with good music, good food, great speakers, and so much joy. We celebrated our founding in 1993, and the work this organization has done since to raise awareness about the powerful and seldom-told stories of Oregon’s Black history.
As guests arrived they were met with a showcase of all three of our traveling exhibits displayed in one place. It was a rare treat to see Racing to Change: Oregon’s Civil Rights Years, The Black Pioneers, and Letitia Carson: An Enduring Spirit of Hope and Freedom before they resume their display schedules in museums, schools, and libraries across the state.
We got to reconnect with old friends and meet some new ones over a delicious meal by Miss’ipi Chef, while our honorable speakers kept us engaged. Oregon Black Pioneers’ Executive Director Zachary Stocks served as emcee of the evening. Mayor Denyse McGriff connected Oregon’s Black history with the need for more Black representatives in Oregon politics, and her journey to becoming the first African American mayor of Oregon City. Board Secretary Elise Gautier gave a beautiful tribute to our late Board President Willie Richardson and vocalist Marilyn Keller urged everyone to lift their voices and sing.
We appreciated all of the powerful and inspiring words from our guests, including Lauren Kristensen from the Arbor School of Arts & Sciences, Lauren Gwin of Oregon State University, Walidah Imarisha of Portland State University, and Jordan Saldaña of Salem Art Association. Board President Kimberly Moreland opened and closed the event with words of gratitude and encouragement.
During the evening, our generous supporters helped raise over $50,000 in support of OBP’s programs, exhibits, and projects.
As the evening came to a close, again and again we were asked, “When’s the next one?” We’re so honored to be growing this organization with the help of our wonderful community. Stay tuned, we have big things in store!
Oregon Black Pioneers’ celebration was made possible through the support of our sponsors:
Pioneer Trust Bank
Northwest Health Foundation
Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators
Providence Health & Services
Urban League of Portland
Moreland Resource Consulting