Adequately fund initiatives to prevent and respond to bias and hate in Corvallis

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The Goal
To petition Corvallis leadership to adequately fund local initiatives that prevent, track, and respond to bias and hate.

The Problem
Community attention to bias and hate incidents is increasing throughout the country. Nationwide, hate crimes reported to officials grew by 22% between 2013 and 2017 according to FBI data analyzed in a study by SafeHome.org.  Hate crimes reported in Oregon grew 125% between 2013 and 2017, according to a analyzing FBI data, making Oregon the state with the sixth biggest increase in the county.

And while bias incidents increase in the state of Oregon, Corvallis lacks the systems, plans, and processes to track and respond to non-criminal events that threaten our progress towards increased diversity and inclusion. The City of Corvallis has not prioritized tracking and responding to bias incidents, and is unprepared to adequately address non-criminal events that foment division, fear, and inequity.  Bias incidents are not only a problem for members of our community with marginalized identities; bias incidents are a problem for our entire Corvallis community, and should be responded to accordingly.

In June 2019, the Oregon State Legislature passed SB 577, which streamlines data collection, expands protected classes to include gender identity, and puts in place better penalties against criminals acting on bias and hate.  While the state of Oregon should be commended for decrying hate and providing equal protections for all Oregonians, the following proposal will supplement SB 577 with the resources necessary to effect meaningful changes and responses to bias in our local Corvallis community.

Defining Bias
A bias incident is intentional or unintentional conduct that discriminates, excludes, harasses, or harms anyone in our community.  The incident is generally a result of prejudicial beliefs, attitudes or stereotypes held towards people based on their identity (including, but not limited to race, national origin, age, sex, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, class, or religion).

The Solution, The Ask
The City of Corvallis, according to the Imagine Corvallis 2040 vision, aspires to “promote ongoing education, communication, and enhanced understanding of cultural differences, welcoming and empowering people of diverse backgrounds, cultures, and abilities.”

We, Corvallis residents and nonprofits committed to equity and racial justice do not believe the City of Corvallis is doing enough to realize this vision.  As such, we implore the City of Corvallis to embrace this vision by prioritizing the funding allocation of $150,000 for bias response and diversity initiatives/services housed within the City of Corvallis’ Office of Community Development as follows:

$75,000 for 1.0 FTE Bias Response and Equity Coordinator.
$75,000 for diversity and social justice, community and equity development programming and trainings.

Signed,

- Corvallis Friends Meeting*
- NAACP Corvallis/Albany
- King Legacy Advisory Board
- Corvallis Community Relations Advisory Group
- Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Task Force of the Unitarian Universalist Church
- Veterans For Peace, Linus Pauling Chapter, Corvallis
- Corvallis SURJ

* annual donation ($1,000) made to the city, in lieu of taxes, earmarked towards supplementing funding for this Bias Response Initiative.

[to add your organization's name email corvallisaction@gmail.com]