ADVANCING RACIAL JUSTICE AND INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY
Oregonians who are Black, Indigenous, Latine and Pacific Islander experience hunger at over twice the rate of Oregonians who are White, largely due to systemic racism. Ensuring all community members have a voice at tables where decisions are made helps address these disparities and other root causes of hunger.
We are grateful to the Transforming Justice Coalition, Partnership for Safety & Justice, Coalition of Communities of Color, Next Up, ACLU of Oregon, Imagine Black, Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN), Innovation Law Lab, Oregon AFSCME, Adelante Mujeres, Fair Shot for All Coalition, Family Forward Oregon and many other groups for leading these efforts.
Among our shared wins this session is an important step forward on racial equity and inclusive democracy in Oregon:
✅Indigenous Language Justice (SB 5506, formerly SB 612)
Senate Bill 5506 ensures access to interpretation services for Indigenous language speakers and strengthens Indigenous language proficiency evaluation mechanisms.
There is still work ahead to build on this initial victory and continue moving toward an inclusive democracy that works for everyone:
❌Indigenous Language Justice (SB 911)
Though it did not pass, Senate Bill 911 would have ensured Indigenous language speakers could participate in and contribute to policy-making.
❌Equitable Workgroups (HB 2650)
Though it did not pass, House Bill 2650 would have generated better and more equitable policy outcomes — integrating the lived expertise of people who would be most impacted by the policy being discussed into policy-making tables.
The impact of walkouts on our anti-hunger agenda
To achieve our mission to eliminate hunger and its root causes, we need an inclusive democracy that works for everyone. And while new accountabilities brought by Measure 113 mean 10 state senators are now ineligible for re-election, this did not stop Senate Republicans from staging the longest walkout in state history.
This major disruption in our democratic process impacted our legislative agenda in a number of ways — and we know several key anti-hunger proposals that were otherwise positioned for success did not pass this session.
Oregon Food Bank will continue to urge legislators to come together and do the job they were elected to carry out. And we will closely track and participate in reform conversations that can help prevent future attacks on our democratic process.
The Oregon Food Bank Network provides vital support for more than a million people facing food insecurity each year. Yet we know we can’t end hunger for good through food alone — we have to address the policies and systems that drive poverty in our communities. Sign up to stay informed on state and federal policies that will help eliminate hunger at its roots!