The Signage Unveiling, Day of Action Discussion, and Board Members Voted In!
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Dear ORABSE Members,

As we move into summer we will be gearing down our activities to give our Leadership team a well deserved break and to respect your time off as well. Looking ahead to fall we will be preparing for leadership changes as my time as president winds to a close and Ms. Nicole Watson steps into the role mid November. Strategic planning will take place late September and early October with the continued goal of organizational responsiveness to our members, statewide visibility/presence and increased membership participation in events and activities. I am very proud of our accomplishments during my tenure but more is needed with all hands on deck. Thanks for all you do in the service of students, families and each other.


A Dream Realized 

On September 20, 2022, the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (ORABSE) and former Portland Public School (PPS) board members made a presentation to the school board to request the renaming of  Portland Public Schools' district headquarters to honor the life and legacy of Dr. Matthew J. Prophet, Jr. He was the city's first Black superintendent and held that role for a decade, from 1982 to 1992. PPS was the ranked number one district during Dr. Prophet's reign and he became the most sought out superintendent. The PPS Board voted unanimously to rename BESC in honor of Dr. Prophet. 
On Saturday, March 11, 2023, ORABSE members, PPS staff and community members gathered to celebrate Dr. Prophet's contributions to the community at a ceremony where district leaders unveiled his portrait which was done by Clifford Charles. We then went outside to hear the Jefferson choir sing the Black National Anthem, "Lift Every Voice".  We then heard from Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero and Director Michelle DePass, followed by  our ORABSE leaders, including Dr Harriet Adair who crafted and presented the request to the Board (9/22) and Kenneth Berry who produced the Dr. Prophet videos. 
Ken spoke and recited Dr Prophet's favorite poem, "Invictus". We ended with the ribbon cutting for the new sign on North Dixon Street  which now reads "Dr. Matthew Prophet Education Center." Dr. Prophet's son and daughter, Tony Prophet and Michelle Prophet Brew did the honor.
It was truly a Dream Realized! 
Watch the Video
Lurlene Shamsud-Din

Program Manager’s Corner

ORABSE seeks to acknowledge our educators each and every day; not just in a given month! There’s a saying, “April Showers Bring May Flowers.” We are finally into the beautiful and glorious month of May! May brings a plethora of events that celebrate our students and educators. ORABSE has arm loads of flowers for you! During our full month of “April Showers”, ORABSE again, delivered a heart full of gifts to the community and the educators we seek to support, encourage, and inspire!
In addition to a Professional Development Symposium, featuring Dr. Lisa Collins as keynote speaker, we also gathered an outstanding group of facilitators to lead workshops. Dr. Xylecia Flynn, Vera Ahiyya, Michael Chappie Grice, Camille Idedevbo, Lauren Kristensen, Zachary Stocks, Dr. Paul Coakley and Dori King all presented dynamic and inspired offerings! 
One of the highlights of our month was traveling to Eugene, OR, to meet with Lane County educators. ORABSE hosted a Meet & Greet, well attended by invited educators, administrators, elected officials and members of the NAACP and other local organizations dedicated to serving Black youth and their families. We are so grateful to everyone who showed up and made their voices heard. 
During the Month of May, our bi-monthly Ubuntu Affinity Spaces for educators and administrators continues. Join and be energized by the affirming embrace of peers as you share your concerns, challenges, and celebrations in sacred trust. Email us at if you'd like to join our discussion.
On May 1st, ORABSE was proud to join Multnomah Education Service District & Multnomah Educators Rising (MESD/MER) members to celebrate the premiere Screening of “See It, Be It!” a film highlighting Black and Brown educators and administrators. Two of the administrators featured are ORABSE’s incoming president, Nichole Watson, principal of Prescott Elementary, and Dr. Paul Coakley, Jr., Superintendent of Multnomah Education Service District, also an ORABSE member. Future teacher, Etema Banks is featured and is the recipient of an ORABSE 'Grow Your Own' (GYO) scholarship. Etema currently works in the David Douglas School District. 
The event had the atmosphere of a red carpet event, with an enthusiastic full house, good food and libations! Josh Hall, director of Highschool Pathways’ vision of recruiting new candidates for careers in education was brought to fruition in making short films to highlight Black and Brown educators and administrators. He enlisted a filmmaker, J Rutherford for this task. One video featured Nichole Watson as she rolled up to her school with her music “slapping” in her Mercedes truck, adjusted her sunglasses, popped her collar, and said, “it’s lit up in here!” Nichole says being an educator and administrator feels “like life; feels energizing.”

On May 31st, ORABSE will host our 39th Scholarship Banquet in honor of our 2021, 2022, 2023 graduates. We are awarding Scholarships to 12 – 14 students for the 2023 school year. We continue to collaborate with Westside Teacher Connect in Washington County to help support their efforts for Black and Brown students. 

Additionally, ORABSE meets weekly with Multnomah Education Service District / Multnomah Educators Rising (MESD/MER). Thank you to ALL of our funders, colleagues and collaborateurs, who support and encourage our mission!  I am honored to work with this team and our amazing, ORABSE organization.

For Black Educators 

by Black Educators

On April 15th ORABSE held its first Professional Growth and Development Symposium. The Symposium was designed to share the expertise in our community and connect educators with resources and ideas to fuel their practice. The Symposium's Keynote speaker Dr. Lisa Collins invited the educators in attendance to consider what it means to focus on healing through a personal analysis of trauma. Her words acknowledged the challenges that come with being a Black Educator in predominantly White institutions while uplifting and encouraging educators to connect and find strength in one another. 
Dr. Lisa Collins
Our thanks to all those who made the symposium possible! If you have ideas about future professional growth and development that would benefit you and your students please let us know at Professional development opportunities at ORABSE are the most effective when they are responsive to the needs of the community members it serves.

More in depth Information about the workshops and facilitators is still available on the ORABSE website. Click Here to Learn More.

Wellness Fair

2nd Annual Wellness Fair,
Restore, Refuel, Revive

Saturday, September 30th

Black Community Science Night

2nd Annual Black Community Science night at OMSI. Last year, we had over 700 guests, twenty Black vendors including three food carts, three bands and a DJ. 

Friday, October 13th
Keep up to date on all our announcements and events by visiting
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Freedom to Learn Community Discussion

On May 3, 2023, ORABSE Co-sponsored a community event called 'Freedom to Learn' at the Soul Restoration Center to discuss the assault on teaching Black History. This event was held in conjunction with other similar events around the nation convened as a 'National Day of Action' by Kimberle Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum, to intervene and interrupt the proliferating anti-equity, anti-Black, and anti-truth movement that presents and expanding threat to our democracy.
The discussion was facilitated by historian, Dr. Carmen P. Thompson, author of The Making of American Whiteness: The Formation of Race in Seventeenth Century, who provided a historical context to the old tactic of targeting Black education and educational curricula to push back against hard-fought civil and human rights. The current manifestation of this tactic both nationally and in Oregon include, the banning of books by Black authors like Toni Morrison, James Baldwin, Bell Hooks, and Sonya Sanchez.
As well as curriculum censorship, disinformation campaigns, and the inundation of school board meetings by conservative parents attempting to muzzle the teaching of truthful and accurate history. This event was designed to raise awareness and push back against the so-called “Stop Woke” practices that are popping up across the nation and the state.

The event was attended by a diverse range of educators, community members, business and political leaders, authors, and activists. In this event, attendees sat in a large circle and shared personal stories, strategies, and analysis about their experiences with these tactics. Participants took away information about how their individual experiences fit within a larger societal pattern of anti-Blackness as well as with connections to others who have dealt with and overcome these issues in the workplace and the community. Everyone agreed that this should be an ongoing community conversation. Information about upcoming Freedom to Learn community conversations will be posted on the Soul Restoration website. If you are interested in participating in these community conversations, please reach out to your colleagues at ORABSE.

Eight Black Board Members Voted in on May 16th!

Cynthia Richardson
Salem Kiezer 
Justice Rajee
Danny Cage
Multnomah ESD
Renee Anderson
Multnomah ESD 
Denyse Peterson
Multnomah ESD
Michelle DePass
Dr. Samuel Henry
Multnomah ESD
Rick Hamilton


The Black Baccalaureate welcomes graduating Black students from post-secondary institutions, high schools, and alternative schools in the Portland Metro area. We also recognize students who earned their GED. The Black Baccalaureate Ceremony is a space to honor our youth and instill a sense of cultural pride in those who have fulfilled this pivotal stage in their development.

University of Portland  | May 21st, 2023 | 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Learn More
Join for a book signing brunch hour.  This will be a public event with a heavy emphasis on the topics and discussion around trauma and healing.

May 20th, 2023 | 11:00 AM - 2:00 PM
Learn More
Join for a panel discussion, prizes, food, activities, vendors, resources and more at the Black Marketplace

Sunday, May 21, 2023 | 11:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Learn More

2023 NAACP Scholarship 

The NAACP Portland Branch is awarding twelve $2,500 scholarships. Deadline is Sunday, May 20, 2023
Learn More

Now Hiring

KairosPDX is currently seeking candidates for several full time positions to start Summer 2023. Persons of Color and members of underrepresented groups are strongly encouraged to apply.
Learn More

Introducing Saved By The Ink

Saved By The Ink Logo
Saved By the Ink is a program through Y.O.U.TH. Inspired by Portland native, Kevin Martin. The Saved By the Ink program will teach youth and adults (16-21) screen-printing methods and techniques along with the business side of producing screen printed goods. 

Saved By The Ink will take orders, prioritizing Black, Brown and Indigenous non-profits and organizations that may have printing needs. All orders will take two weeks minimum as this is a program created to teach local youth.

Saved By The Ink Apprenticeship Opportunity
Y.O.U.TH's Saved By The Ink Apprenticeship program is an 8-wk, in-person, paid internship opportunity for youth living in or around Portland.

The Apprentice will learn how to screen print and create a personal brand in business, marketing, branding, and digital real estate. 70% of this internship will be focused on screen printing technique & business and 30% on community engagement. Applicants must be able to 20 hours/wk from June through August, 2023.
Apply by May 22nd!
Apply Today
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Questions or Comments? Email us at
PO Box 18154, Portland, OR, 97218, United States of America