Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has appointed a Racial Justice Council to advise her on the next state budget and to help reform a wide range of state programs and policies.

“For far too long, Oregon’s Black, Indigenous and People of Color and Tribal members haven’t had a seat at the table,” Brown said in a July 31 announcement. “The urgency could not be greater to center the voices of those who are most impacted by historical and institutional racism in Oregon and create a better system — together — that fully supports us all. ”

The 23 members of the council include representatives of such organizations as the Urban League Portland, the Coalition of Communities of Color, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon and others.

“I’m excited to be joining the Racial Justice Council and working with the governor and her office,” said Kayse Jama, council member and Unite Oregon executive director. “We need state leadership during these times, and our communities have waited a long time to ensure people of color, immigrants and refugees and rural voices are reflected in budgets and policy priorities. We have a lot of work to do right away, and I am excited for the opportunity.”

According to the announcement, the council has subgroups focused on criminal justice reform and police accountability, health equity, economic opportunity, housing and homelessness and environmental justice/natural resources.

The council will examine and seek to dismantle racist policies that have created grave disparities in virtually every part of our society, including mass incarceration, prison and criminal justice, access to housing, health outcomes, economic opportunity and wealth creation and education.

The council members come from a diverse set of backgrounds with a majority from Black, Indigenous and people of color communities.

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