Sometimes, to be the change you want to see, you have to first see the change you want to see.
Yesterday, the Urban League sent Intisar Abioto and me down to Eugene to cover the African American Rites of Passage Summer Academy, or AAROP. As a former Prospective Gent (of the now defunct Bridge Builders), I have a lot of expectations when it comes to programs like these. What I saw at Lane Community College killed every bit of skepticism I had. Watching multiple generations not just working together, but clearly enjoying each other’s company was chicken soup for the jaded Black soul.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware of other rites of passage programs outside of Portland. But then again, that’s the narrative of Black people in Oregon. Let the media tell it and you’d think Portland is the only place with Black people doing anything significant collectively.