Black History Month in 2021 is markedly different. It comes on the heels of a national reckoning over racial injustice and is taking place amid a pandemic that disproportionately hurts people of color through higher infection rates and economic losses. At the same time, it also arrives after electing the first Black woman as Vice President and Georgia electing its first Black U.S. Senator. This stark contrast between entrenched systems of injustice and milestones of democratic progress is a reminder to us of what has always been, and what can be. This February for Black History Month, we’re shining a light on work that elevates Black voices, and we invite you to join us in our process of learning and challenging ourselves to do better.
Appreciating rich and diverse culture
Whether your racial justice work includes reading books, supporting Black businesses or donating to causes, we hope you’ll also consider participating with us in the 31st Annual Cascade Festival of African Films. The festival celebrates African filmmaking and the continent’s diversity of people and cultures. From an afrofuturistic sci-fi adventure set in eastern Africa to the animated production of a famous African tale developed in Cameroon, the film festival is an opportunity to watch and discuss a rich range of visual storytelling, while also spurring economic opportunities for minority businesses.
As the longest-running annual African film festival in the country, the event has been offered free of charge in celebration of Black History Month since 1991. This year, the festival is virtual and runs through March 10, 2021. It will show 20 films over six weeks, with a drive-in experience offered on closing night. We are proud to sponsor the Cascade Festival of African Films to ensure our community continues to have access to these important films, even as the festival adapts to being a virtual experience. Click here to learn more about the Cascade Festival of African Films and view this year’s schedule.
Advancing our commitment
Institutional racism is a complex issue with no easy solution. In addition to our support of the Cascade Festival of African Films, we are committed to being a force for racial equity within our credit union, while also working with organizations that are already leading the way.
We are currently educating ourselves on how to be a better partner to the Black community. We are making strides within our organization by providing our employees with cultural diversity and inclusion education, resources and engagement opportunities such as recommendations for social media, films and television, and ways for parents to engage with their children on racial equity and justice.
In addition to educating our team, we are committed to supporting our Black community with meaningful financial support. Last month, we met with and donated $25,000 to the Urban League of Portland in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. This month, we donated $25,000 to Portland NAACP in honor of Black History Month. We look forward to continuing our community support as the year progresses.
As we grow here at OnPoint, our responsibility to the places we call home grows as well. That includes our responsibility to communities of color, for we cannot fulfill our promise to build strong communities without ensuring everyone has access. This Black History Month is different, and we’re determined to help realize a just world through expanding our commitment to communities of color.