Makerusa Porotesano attends COP 26 sustainability conference in Scotland
Photos and Story by James Hill
A Portland Community College staff member is in the United Kingdom advocating for climate justice and sustainability on behalf of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.
Makerusa “Mak” Porotesano, who serves as the Sylvania Multicultural Center coordinator and is co-founder of the Men of Color Leadership Program, is attending the worldwide COP26 sustainability conference from Oct. 31-Nov. 12 in Glasgow, Scotland. He is there as a member of the Pacific Islander delegation with the Pacific Climate Warrior team from 350.org and will have delegation credentials from the Republic of the Marshall Islands.
Porotesano will be able to attend and have access to events, workshops and negotiations as a delegate. He also attended the pre-conference for COP 26 in London, England just before the main event.
“I’m excited to be here to speak on behalf of the Pacific community and as a higher education professional,” Porotesano said from London. “PCC and other institutions of higher education are invested in climate change and justice. I’ll be presenting at COP with Second Nature. The key focus of my presentation is getting BIPOC students to engage with climate justice.”
He said he’ll also talk about how this and the college’s jobs training intersect to create resources, equity and employment for students, especially students of color.
Porotesano leads the Sylvania Multicultural Center, which is grounded in critical theory of adult learning, popular education and social justice. It supports the recruitment, retention and holistic (academic, leadership and professional) success of students of color and to advance diversity, inclusion and equity college wide.
“A goal of mine when I moved back to Portland in 2016 was to bring climate activism into BIPOC spaces, and my work in higher education,” he said. “Over the years, my organizing with Pacific Islander youth has led me to connect with the Pacific Climate Warriors, a youth led and focused organization that represents 13 countries in the Pacific and the diaspora from New Zealand, Australia and most recently the United States. And because of these connections, students from PCC have been able to attend PCW conferences and trainings in Australia, Fiji and Samoa.”