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Stories for February 2016

Thursday, February 25

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Inside Ferguson

Portland author shares story in personal account

A front row seat into the turmoil and outrage that followed the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Wednesday, February 24

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Tests Offered for Airborne Metals Exposure

A call is issued for those concerned about the risks from exposure to elevated levels of airborne metals found near two glass company sites.

Tuesday, February 23

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My Counterpoint to the Oscars Snub

Films with rich insight to the human condition

With a bit of Oscar commentary, I offer this list of the 10 best films of 2015

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Sweet Baby James Benton Dies at 85

Beloved musician was link to Portland's past

A beloved personality in Portland's music community

Monday, February 22

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Films to See at Portland International Film Festival

Last week before curtain call

Jump in and see what you can before it's over!

Thursday, February 18

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R&B Singer Lays it Out

Check out this Portland-based musical pedigree

Portland-based Redray Frazier lays it all out on the title track of his new rocking R&B album, “Blood in the Water.”

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Who I Am: Celebrating Me

Black History production moves to Portland Center Stage

Sharing the stories of unsung heroes in the African-American community

Wednesday, February 17

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Dynamic Leader Perseveres in Health Battle

Plans set for pastor's 20th anniversary

Highland Christian Center to honor Rev. Dr. W.G. Hardy Jr.'s 20th year as pastor during an upcoming, March 18-20 weekend. of

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Strong Start for Portland International Film Festival

My favorites so far

The Portland International Film Festival is off to a great start.

Tuesday, February 16

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Duckworth Dock May Move

City department wants out of dock upkeep

The downtown core may be losing its public dock on the Willamette River with a proposal to move it to Swan Island.

Wednesday, February 10

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Black History Month and the Pursuit of Justice

A time to educate and inspire

Racial disparity won’t disappear if we simply ignore it. Justice will not be achieved unless we actively seek it out. Black History Month not only serves as a reminder of what our forbearers have achieved, but as an inspiration for the journey that remains before us.

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Prodigy Fronts Neosoul Concert

A night of swag, sprit and soul

An exclusive interview with award-winning educator Karanja Crews shows us the inside of the life of an event-producer and prepares us for a new local concert.

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Healing Racial Wounds and Creating Opportunity

This nation needs to transform

Fifty years ago, the Civil Rights Movement led to a series of laws banning public discrimination. African Americans were no longer barred from certain restaurants, some schools were integrated and fair housing laws created more living options.

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Record Signup for Health Care

More than 147,000 Oregonians signed up for health insurance through HealthCare.gov during the open enrollment period that ended Jan. 31.

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Maurice White Led Band to Stardom

Maurice White, the founder and lead singer of Earth, Wind & Fire, is being remembered as an innovator and someone who had a profound impact on the music industry.

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Embracing Jefferson’s Gains and Future

Self Enhancement, Inc., the social services organization and public charter school serving Portland’s black community, will host a community-wide celebration honoring Jefferson High School for recently achieving an 80 percent graduation rate.

Tuesday, February 9

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Births Inside and Outside Hospital

Study finds both can have good outcomes

Out-of-hospital birth settings in Oregon were associated with a higher risk of perinatal death, while in-hospital birth settings were associated with a higher risk for cesarean delivery and other obstetric interventions, according to new research at Oregon Health & Science University.

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Unapologetic Blackness

Beyoncé makes a statement

Super Bowl was marked by a stunning display of unapologetic blackness and political activism during one of the most-watched events of the year.

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Films Feast on World Diversity, Languages

Portland International Film Festival begins

Every year at this time, I am reminded of the range of stories I mostly don't get to see depicted in local theaters, because for a brief month in Portland, I get to broaden my palate. There really is a whole world out there beyond what Hollywood gives us -- and there is no better time to partake of that world than February in Portland when the Northwest Film Center gives us its Portland International Film Festival.

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Black women read

Reading series brings generations of black women writers together

This Black History Month, a group of black women writers are coming together to read from their own stories.

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Celebrating Black History

Black doctor put medicine on new course

How many of us are familiar with the name of Dr. Daniel Hale Williams? The African American physician was one of the most skilled surgeons of his era. In 1893, at Provident Hospital in Chicago, a medical center which he founded, he performed the first fully successful open heart surgery, including the repair of knife wound on the pericardium.

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Filmmakers Not Truthful, Berry says

Decries films devoid of people of color

Halle Berry said Hollywood's lack of diversity stems from a lack of honesty. Filmmakers and actors should tell the truth, she said, "and the films, I think, that are coming out of Hollywood aren't truthful."

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Black History Gospel Fest

First A.M.E Zion Church, 4304 N. Vancouver Ave., will host its first ever first Black History Month Gospel Celebration, on Saturday, Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. This is a free event open to all.

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Black Love Matters

A famous Creole proverb reads, “Tell me who you love and I’ll tell you who you are.” The people we love say a lot about us, and we say a lot about the people we love. That’s why this month, the PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, a local LBGTQ group, is hosting a new #BlackLoveMatters campaign. Don't miss the Blackentine's event to go with it!

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Black Film Festival

Stars, filmmakers and the black experience

The Portland Black Film Festival returns to the Hollywood Theatre in northeast Portland with films screening over the next two weeks to showcase the cinematic achievements of African-American stars, filmmakers, and the black experience.

Tuesday, February 2

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Super Bowl Sunday

Title game brings faceoff of No. 1 vs. No. 2 picks

In 2011, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos were picking through the rubble of seasons gone horribly wrong — and a draft board that was unusually loaded with talent at the top.

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Simpson Upset with Movie Portrayal

A lawyer for O.J. Simpson says the imprisoned former football star isn't happy with ads and interviews about a cable TV series focusing on his 1995 murder acquittal in Los Angeles.

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Groundhog Day at the Zoo

Velda the hedgehog calls for an early spring

Sure, Punxsutawney Phil may be calling for an early spring, but more importantly for local residents, so is Velda, the Oregon Zoo’s African pygmy hedgehog.

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Family Shelter Opens in Former Strip Club

Human Solutions revamps space

A new center for families experiencing homelessness opened Monday at the site of the former Black Cauldron strip club, providing emergency shelter for those in need.

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A Lousy Mirror for Our Multicultural Society

Why I’m skipping the Oscars

For two years in a row, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences — the organization behind the Oscars — failed to nominate a single actor or actress of color in the lead and supporting acting categories. Not one.

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Inspiring Liberation Literature

Black liberation literature and its role in inspiring people to stand up and fight will be the topic of conversation with Portland-based author Ahjamu Umi and Florida-based writer Michelle Mattison during a public event for Black History Month on Saturday at In Other Words.

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Preteen Wins National Title

One Portland family is celebrating their daughter’s victory as the new National American Miss Preteen – the first Oregon state winner to take the national crown.

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Pursuing Justice: Non-unanimous Verdicts Steeped in Racist Past

A New Column on Justice and Civil Rights comes to the Portland Observer

Operating the criminal courts of today based on the racist and xenophobic attitudes of nearly a century ago would strike many Oregonians as an aberration. Yet Oregon is almost alone in the United States in continuing a practice designed to silence the voices of those considered suspect due to race, religion, or national origin. Our state allows juries in felony cases to reach a verdict without reaching a unanimous decision. As long as at least 10 out of 12 jurors agree, a defendant may be found guilty or not guilty over the objections of the dissenting jurors.

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50 Years of Black History

From Black Power to the White House

A gorgeous new collection of black American history has arrived for civil rights readers thanks to the tireless work of scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. and Kevin M. Burke.

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Films of Africa

Cascade campus hosts 26th annual festival

The longest-running African film festival in the United States will feature more than 18 films, documentaries and shorts - right here in Portland!

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Black Lives Matter

Movement founders to speak at PSU

Portland State University is bringing the founders of one of the largest national anti-racist movements in recent history to speak to the community. Learn more about what Black Lives Matter what it is this Black History Month.