Mayor Hales Supports Shriver Report’s ‘City-Festo’ for Women’s, Other Groups’ Empowerment
FRIDAY, JULY 18, 2014 — At Happy Cup Coffee Company in City Hall one afternoon, barista Caitlin Lawson coached Keyona, 28, through the register, checking out an iced coffee order.
Happy Cup — with its coffee roasting operation and two café locations — is a program through Full Life, an organization that employs developmentally disabled adults like Keyona who want to work for minimum wage or better with benefits, job counseling, and other services. Full Life was founded 12 years ago by a woman who championed opportunities for disabled adults.
“It’s fun,” says Keyona, who has worked with Full Life for seven years. “I get to work with different people. It gives me a different outlook and perspective on life.”
The city has supported Happy Cup’s mission, helping it into the City Hall location and into a Northeast Portland space near the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct.
Such support is why Maria Shriver, founder of Shriver Report, praised Mayor Charlie Hales at the U.S. Conference of Mayors in June for Portland’s progressive and innovative efforts to create an equitable city. Shriver Report is a nonprofit online platform through which women and others may share stories of progress in overcoming inequity. At the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Shriver’s organization distributed a“city-festo,” a guide to implementing policies that support families and work to empower both women and men to be successful in their cities.
In addition to existing policies and advocacy at the city, state and federal level, Hales is supporting Shriver Report’s call for city leaders to be “architects of change,” encouraging policies that support women and families through education, involvement and outreach.
“Happy Cup embodies Portland’s progressive values,” says Hales, who visits the City Hall café for coffee and salads. “We’re a city that cares for its people, and we put our progressive values into practice.”
The mayor has thrown his support behind the “city-festo” as another step in overcoming historical inequities to make the city more livable for everyone.
“Portland is a deliberately family-friendly city,” Hales says. “We’re continuing to work to make sure every resident lives in a complete neighborhood, with parks full of amenities, streets and sidewalks in good repair, and equal opportunities for successful futures.”
The “city-festo” calls for an informed community, 100 percent voter registration, and education, encouraging city officials to teach equity through leadership, policies and practices.
Hales, through diversity workshops such as White Men as Full Diversity Partners and outreach initiatives such as Black Male Achievement, has led Portland through many of the report’s 10 steps to build change.
Likewise, the city has made progress through Commissioner Amanda Fritz’s citywide paid sick leave policy; sick leave was the No. 1 policy that women who were surveyed said they needed from their city. Shriver told Hales that Portland’s policy is an exemplar for cities nationwide.
Through Black Male Achievement, Hales led community leaders in collaboratively developing programs to support young, African-American men, who disproportionately experience high incarceration, dropout and unemployment rates. SummerWorks, whose second-largest funder is the city, finds summer internships for at-risk teenagers, helping them stay on the right track. City Hall this year hired 100 interns.
Hales, through the U.S. Conference of Mayors, has advocated for comprehensive immigration reform at the federal level. At the state level, the city has advocated for statewide sick leave, affordable housing non-discrimination legislation, tuition equity, and for funding pilot programs to build of Portland Community College’s successful Future Connect scholarship program, which seeks to eliminate financial barriers to college. Last year the City Council passed two affordable housing policies that were key to preserving affordable housing units in Portland. One continued a tax abatement program to create an incentive for developers to build affordable housing, and another clarified that affordable housing on city property is tax-exempt.
And the city supports businesses like Happy Cup.
“Happy Cup establishes challenges that not every service job gives you,” says Lawson, the barista. “The relationships we build with Full Life clients make the job so much more fulfilling.”
ShriverReport’s “city-festo” gives the city more equity goals to pursue — 100 percent voter registration, addressing inequities across the city, empowering oftentimes marginalized populations.
“The ‘city-festo’ is a great list of goals that Portland is capable of achieving,” Hales says. “We’ve made tremendous progress over the last year-and-a-half. Now it’s time to focus our energies on making this city truly equitable for all genders, all races, all sexual orientations — all citizens.”