Gentrification and Healing Through Storytelling

L to R: Phyllis Pace Woods, Thomas Bruner, Antoinette Edwards, Cledie Woods, William H. WoodsGentrification. It’s a hot topic in Portland, and especially in the North Portland area where our building stands. Today’s Oregonian has an article about an innovative program that seeks to generate healing and understanding through storytelling:

The Restorative Listening Project, run by the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, invites blacks to tell whites how it has felt to see them move into and remake inner North and Northeast Portland — for decades, the heart of Oregon’s African American community.

This reminds me of something that our Diversity Outreach Manager, Antoinette Edwards, did at a recent all-staff celebration. She invited the Woods family, who used to live exactly where our building now stands, to speak about the neighborhood and how it has changed. 
The Woods family (pictured above with Thomas and Antoinette) shared that they are happy that the Red Cross is in their old neighborhood. They support our mission wholeheartedly, and the daughter, Phyllis (Top Left in photo), is even a blood donor! It was really a heart-warming experience for us all to hear their story. And I think Antoinette summarized it nicely by thanking the Woods family for “nurturing the ground the Red Cross is built on.”