Dori King, OES Director of Community Partnerships
(503) 416-9394 

Gisela Walitzki, Administrative Assistant
(503) 416-9394

Oregon Humanities Conversations at OES  
This program is made possible by the generous support of Oregon Humanities, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Oregon Cultural Trust. 

What's in a Label? Thinking About Diversity and Racial Categories
Ann Su
April 6, 2017: 6-8 p.m.

As humans, we constantly label and categorize information on both conscious and unconscious levels. Labeling enables our brains to sort  information efficiently, but the labels and categories we assign to  information can form generalizations and stereotypes in our minds. When    we allow stereotypes to define individuals, we fail to see the inherent  diversity in humans. Race is a form of labeling. What are we describing  when we assign racial categories to others and ourselves? How can we use language to increase understanding and connection, and what are its limitations? Join public interest lawyer Ann Su for a conversation exploring how the words we choose influence our understanding of race and racial diversity.

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 Previous Community Conversations at OES

What Are You? Mixed-Race and Interracial Families in Oregon's Past and Future
Dmae Roberts
February 2017 

The numbers of mixed-race people and interracial families in Oregon are growing. What are the challenges and benefits of growing up mixed-race, raising mixed-race children, or being an interracial couple in a state that’s historically been mostly white? How can we openly discuss our own ethnic and racial heritage with each other without being regarded as odd or unusual? How have the answers to “What are you?” changed through the decades? Dmae Roberts, who has written essays and produced film and radio documentaries about being a biracial Asian American in Oregon, leads a discussion of heritage that goes beyond checking one's race on U.S. Census forms.

Power, Privilege, and Racial Diversity in Oregon
Emily Drew
February 2017

Although census data show Oregon’s population becoming more racially diverse, the perception persists that we are one of the whitest states in the nation. Many Oregonians value racial diversity and the dimension and depth it adds to our lives, yet we remain largely isolated from one another and have yet to fulfill the vision of a racially integrated society. 

Willamette University professor Emily Drew will lead participants in a conversation that explores some of the causes of this continued isolation and the differences of experience between Oregonians of different races—such as institutional racism, white privilege, and unconscious bias. What systems are in place to prevent the racial integration and equity many of us strive for? Knowing what we do, how do we act—as individuals and communities—to embrace the opportunity presented by a more diverse Oregon?


The Space Between Us: Immigrants, Refugees, and Oregon
Manuel Padilla
January 2017

Global displacement is on the rise, thanks to intractable conflicts, economics, and climate change. Oregonians have and will continue to see the results of international migration in our neighborhoods. In this conversation, Manuel Padilla, who has worked with refugees in Haiti, Chad, and Washington, DC, asks participants to consider questions of uprootedness, hospitality, identity, perception, and integration--and how we might build more informed, responsive, resilient, and vibrant communities.

Arab Refugees In Our Midst: Terrorism, Bigotry, and Freedom

Yasmeen Hanoosh 
November 2016 

Forced migration has become the defining feature of the contemporary Arab world. In 2015, 65 percent of the world’s 19.4 million refugees were from the Arab world, while one out of every four refugees worldwide was from Syria. Yasmeen Hanoosh, a literary translator, writer, and Arabic professor, leads a conversation exploring the debate over Syrian and other Arab refugees in the United States. Is the US taking in too many or too few of these refugees? Could Arab refugees pose a risk to our national security? Do we, as citizens, have a responsibility to extend hospitality to these newcomers? Are there racial, political, or religious considerations that prompt our fear when considering welcoming these refugees into our midst?

You're In Or You're Out: Exploring Belonging
Lori Eberly
October 2016

What does it feel like to belong? What are the limits of belonging? Join executive consultant and former social worker Lori Eberly to explore our fundamental need to connect with others. Participants will reflect on the elements of belonging and threats to ties that bond. Are there times when it is better not to belong? Can one person’s sense of belonging come at the expense of another’s? When belonging makes sense, how can we find ways to be intentional and welcoming as we build relationships where we live, work, and play?  

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