CORVALLIS, Ore. -- The Corvallis/Albany branch of the NAACP is urging the city of Corvallis to take greater steps toward improving how they handle issues of injustice and racial bias.
The request stems from a look back on various reported incidents of racial bias that have occurred in the area over the years.
Vice President Jason J. Dorsette has been a NAACP member for the majority of his life and comes from a legacy of social activists.
“It's always been needed,” Dorsette said. “I think now that we have the actual data and the public who are wanting this type of position to manifest, it is our obligation and really our city leaders' and our county leaders' obligation to support the residents and citizens and make this happen."
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Mark Shepard, the Corvallis city manager, said that he was made aware of the NAACP’s request. The city is currently reviewing their strategic plan, which is something they evaluate annually.
Shepard said this is not a matter of wanting to do something, but it is a matter of whether or not they currently have the resources.
“In Corvallis, we do want to be a welcoming and inclusive community,” Shepard said. “Those things that we can do such as partnering with others, certainly we want to do. It just comes down to balancing all the different demands and requests on what are limited resources that we have.”
The conversation was sparked when Angel Harris, NAACP president, spoke to the Corvallis City Club on Monday. It was there where she urged the city to create a role within city leadership to advance racial justice.
Dorsette is hopeful that bringing more diversity to city leadership will provide for a more inclusive community. He also said that the NAACP welcomes all to attend their meetings, regardless of one’s background.
“We really need to call on all of our allies and engage in conversations around some of these very sensitive and touchy topics,” Dorsette said. “We welcome any opportunity to engage with anyone who supports social change and really make our city more equitable and more just for everyone.”