Last month was full of graduations – high school, college, and the Chamber’s Leadership Tigard class.
There was another important graduation ceremony that you may have missed: Eight community members from a variety of backgrounds – including immigrants, refugees, and U.S. citizens of Iraqi, Mexican, Somali and Turkish heritages – graduated from the inaugural Tigard Government Organizing and Leadership Development (GOLD) cohort.
The Tigard GOLD curriculum was structured using a proven education model, which draws from each participant’s direct, lived experiences and knowledge. Using this approach, cohort members gained an understanding of Tigard’s government and learned about community organizing, including how to effectively give testimony to the City Council. They also discussed community-based leadership through the lenses of race, gender, and economic justice.
I commend these eight emerging leaders for spending six Saturday mornings with us and completing the program:
- Aadil M.
- Barrak Al S.
- Berta O.
- Carmen G.
- Ghassan Z.
- Haydar M.
- Salma J.
- Salahuddin A.
In partnership with Unite Oregon, we invested in Tigard GOLD to educate and uplift leaders in our community. Developing meaningful relationships with current and future Tigard GOLD participants is a key action to boost the engagement of underrepresented communities in city government.
Our first interaction with residents shouldn’t be to ask that you fill out a survey or apply for a city board. It should be to listen, to learn – by listening, for example, to how we can create a more welcoming City Hall or how we can remove barriers to accessing city services.
When I spoke with the GOLD cohort in April and June, I saw eight individuals who are truly the future of Tigard. They will be the next community organizers and city councilors. They will hold us accountable for living our vision to make Tigard an equitable community that is walkable, healthy and accessible for everyone.
You can celebrate the eight Tigard GOLD graduates by raising your voice to call out policies that you think aren’t just and fair, or projects that you believe were developed without input from all Tigard communities. As always, I look forward to hearing your voice – connect with me via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (503) 810-0269.