Carol Turner and David Groff, Westminster Presbyterian, Co-Chairs of the Interfaith Alliance welcomed a crowded room of those attending the Interfaith Alliance’s first meeting of the year.  John Elizalde, First Unitarian, and Co-Chair of the Becoming Poverty Aware & Communication Action Team, introduced featured speaker, Joy Alise Davis, Executive Director of the Portland African American Leadership Forum (PAALF).

Originally from Jamaica, Joy Alise grew up in Ohio, and received her Masters of Urban Design at Miami University. She has expertise working on social sustainability projects, including racial equity strategies, collaborative design strategies, project development, civic engagement and community data analysis.

As Executive Director of PAALT, she has devoted herself to social justice issues  involving  the African American community in Portland.  Joy Alise  explained that efforts are now under way “to right these wrongs.”  The PAALF People’s Plan serves as a powerful tool for research, organizing, and implementation. By viewing the community as the drivers of change, this project engaged over 400 African Americans on their experience living in Portland. Empowering the Black community to assert their right to actively shape the city we live in, the  PAALF People’s Plan   hopes to ensure that solutions are informed by the people affected.

Although African Americans continue to “yearn” for their community,  lack of affordable housing has become another barrier to their return.  Nevertheless, efforts are being made  to support their “Right to Return”.  Joy encouraged Interfaith Alliance members to support organizations working to make this happen.

ArticlesBonnie GreggComment