PCC hosts Ethnic Studies Youth Conference for middle and high school students
Photos and Story by Misty Bouse
On Friday, May 26, Portland Community College is hosting the Ethnic Studies Youth Conference, in partnership with Pacific University College of Education. It is free and open to the public.
This annual conference, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Buildings 3, 5, and 7, offers complimentary parking at the Rock Creek Campus (17705 NW Springville Road), and features middle and high school student art, testimonies, and research on the pressing issues of the day. Gabriel Higuera, who is a PCC Ethnic Studies Program instructor and director of the Critical Educators of Color Pathway (CECP) Program is anticipating 300 middle and high school students from throughout Oregon.
The Strategic Plan: Belonging
- The 2020-2025 Strategic Plan prepares the college for the future of higher education. Part of the plan is creating a sense of belonging and well-being for every student and staff, ensuring access to key resources, develop intercultural competencies, and support a culture where everyone feel acknowledged, inspired and supported.
The students and their teachers will share research as local education officials and administrators learn more about what teachers, schools, and districts are doing in terms of ethnic studies teaching and practice. In addition, community leaders and scholars will lend expertise and help in connecting youth to organizations and movements, including environmental justice; health and healthcare; women’s rights; LGBTQ+ rights; immigrant, migrant and refugee rights; education; art; youth rights; state violence; economic equity; white supremacy; and threats to democracy.
“Ethnic Studies exists at Portland Community College, as well as statewide, as a result of tireless advocacy on behalf of students and community leaders demanding an inclusive and honest education that does not center the the experience of one particular group as reflective of the whole,” said Higuera.
PCC’s conference seeks to bridge communication between and among people, connecting age groups, institutions, and geographies. This event is timely, said Higuera, as Oregon is nearing the 2026 Ethnic Studies Standards mandate articulated in House Bill 2845. The law directs the Department of Education to convene an advisory group to develop statewide ethnic studies standards for adoption into existing statewide social studies standards for public kindergarten through grade 12. The bi-annual conference is designed as a platform for youth voices in a supportive environment and is supported by a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation.
For more information visit the Ethnic Studies Program webpage.
For more information on Race, Indigenous Nations, and Gender (RING) courses that are interdisciplinary and cover issues that cross borders of all kinds visit pcc.edu/programs/ring/.