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The local group, founded by Liberty Miller and Willie Poinsette, is still going strong

PMG PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Christine Moses (center) with City Council Jackie Manz (left) and Respond to Racism co-founder Willie Poinsette (right).Respond to Racism, a local grassroots organization tackling racism in Lake Oswego, will celebrate its second year of improving the culture of the city at a July 1 meeting. The first Respond to Racism meeting was held July 2017. Since that day, the group's size and influence have consistently grown larger.

Respond to Racism was formed in response to incidents of overt and systemic racism in the city. One particular blog post, made in 2017 by Lake Oswego resident and Portland Police Detective Nathan Sheppard, was particularly influential.

In the 2017 post, Sheppard described an incident in which he had encountered an aggressive driver and followed him to a nearby parking lot with the intention of telling him that his behavior was unsafe. The man, whose young children were in the back seat of his car, responded with a racial slur, telling Sheppard he didn't look like he was from Lake Oswego.

That and incidents in local schools prompted Liberty Miller to start a conversation on the social-networking site Nextdoor, which led Miller to Poinsette. The two then decided to invite the entire community to join them in person and have a more in-depth discussion about racism and how it relates to Lake Oswego. Two years later, Miller and Poinsette are still going strong, along with the citizens who pack the monthly meetings at United Church of Christ.

The July 1 meeting will feature speaker Christine Moses, who is the director of communications for the Lake Oswego School District and a member of Respond to Racism's steering committee.

Moses will be leading a discussion titled, "Designing a Thinking Approach to Creating a Community of Belonging."

Attendees are invited to arrive at 6 p.m. to mingle. The meeting will start at 6:30. Located at United Church of Christ, 1111 Country Club Rd, Lake Oswego.


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