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Top tags: Just Ask Jan  dei  Astoria  equity  Park Projects  racism  We Are ORPA 

A Letter in Response to the Death of George Floyd

Posted By Amanda Parsons, Wednesday, July 22, 2020

An open letter to our membership:


On May 25th George Floyd, a black man in Minneapolis, was murdered by a white police officer who knelt on Floyd’s neck for almost nine minutes.  This horrible tragedy is not the first incident of excessive force disproportionately deployed on African Americans.  It is a reflection of the continued racism and anti-blackness perpetuated in the United States.  

We believe we can do better as a society.

We hope this event will result in systemic change.  That change starts with dismantling white supremacy, the root of the issue.  This is a long and difficult journey.  It takes everyone working at various levels of the public, communities, government, and institutions to make a change to do better. 

How do we start?

First, we would like to take a moment to acknowledge power structures and how they have historically contributed to systemic and institutional racism.  Below this letter we acknowledge racism nationally, in Oregon, and the white-ness of our own organization.

Second, we are sharing resources.  These resources will help you be more informed and understand why racism is a crisis impacting everyone.

Third, we are providing you with tools for action.  The most common questions we hear during a crisis of any kind are “How can I help?” or “What can I do?”  These tools will give you direction.

And finally, we understand the importance of having a safe space to address these issues.  We will be scheduling a virtual round table specifically for BIPOC in parks and recreation.  More information will follow in the coming weeks.


Please take the time this week to practice self-care.  Recognize that those around you may need space as they try to heal.  Reach out to friends, family, or co-workers so that you are not alone.  And as always, connect with ORPA with any questions or support you may need.



DEI Committee,

ORPA Board of Directors,

and ORPA Staff



  • We acknowledge that the United States is built on a system of white supremacy, with the founding belief that black folk and people of color are not equal and will not enjoy equal rights.
  • We acknowledge that anti-black sentiments differ from other forms of racism in that the experiences of black people in this country are layered and complex.
  • We acknowledge the implications of slavery in this country and the continued historical trauma experienced by black people today.
  • We acknowledge that racism still exists and systems of privilege actively work to enforce white nationalism.
  • We acknowledge that silence is support for the oppressor.
  • We acknowledge the role racism has played in the establishment of Oregon and the black exclusion laws prohibiting black people from settlement until final repeals in 1926.
  • We acknowledge that the Oregon Recreation and Park Association is a white-led organization with inherent systems of privilege; that the industry of parks and recreation is largely dominated by white culture.
  • We acknowledge that ORPA, staff, board, or individual representatives cannot speak for an entire race or culture; nor is it our role to set the narrative for these groups.

Articles and Resources


More diversity, equity, and inclusion resources in the ORPA Resource Library


Tools for Action

Tags:  dei  equity  racism 

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Oregon Recreation & Park Association | PO Box #202, Lake Oswego OR 97034 | 503.534.5673
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