The Jade District is one of the most diverse census tracts in the State of Oregon with a population comprised of a majority of people of color. It is a thriving international and multicultural district in Portland that serves as a hub for businesses, arts, entertainment, and a place to celebrate the many heritages of its inhabitants. It has a high density of low-income immigrants and 88% of students are on a free or reduced lunch program. Citizens experience asthma rates that are twice as high compared to surrounding areas as well as low birth rates, elevated cancer rates, and other chronic health issues.
IAF Northwest, a regional network of broad-based community alliances in Washington, Oregon, Australia, the United Kingdom, and Germany, has been working on a strategy that has proven successful so far. Understanding that many of the people they interact with are new to the advocacy process, they focus on teaching one key principle: “power with,” which means leveraging your own experiences and skills because that is where the power lies.