Cohort Members and Projects

For information on our 2013 cohort, please click here.


About this Year’s Cohort

Our 2014 Cohort is comprised of 23 emerging African American leaders, who represent a diversity of identities, experiences and professional backgrounds:

  • 12 are women and 11 are men
  • 2 identify as part of an African Diasporic experience outside of America
  • 5 are from the LBGTQ community who identify as gay, lesbian, or bisexual
  • Represent a range of educations levels
  • 3/4 professionally working in the public sector representing non-profits, government and philanthropy
  • 3 with high level director level positions in major non-profit organizations
  • Demonstrated and committed passion in in policy areas of housing, health care, LGBTQ rights, film and the arts, public health, criminal justice, early child education, education administration, wealth creation, economic development, and legislative affairs.

To learn more about each of the members of our 2014 cohort, please click here.


2014 Cohort Community-Based Project – We are Black. We Are.

As part of their involvement in the Academy, our participants have the opportunity to work together to develop and implement community-based projects that they believe will address a community issue. 

This year’s project, “We are Black. We are…” is  focused on connecting the African American community locally and globally to make self-determined decisions about our future as Black people in the wake of gentrification and the systemic destruction of our neighborhoods.  

Over the next six months, “We are Black, We are…,” will bring together Black people locally in Portland to define our own identities and demand our own presence in the face of the dismantling of our historic neighborhoods. As we build stronger connections as a community locally, we will connect with other Black communities across the country, experiencing the same dynamics of displacement and inequity. Together, we will build a national movement for self-determination. 

Please join our efforts by participating in all aspects of this initiative, outlined below.

For dates and details about how to get involved, please visit our campaign website –

Monthly Breakfast Program: 
We will host monthly breakfast gatherings focused on building relationships, providing resources and discussing our experiences as Black people, and how we, as a community, can come together to address challenges and build upon our strengths. The dates and themes for the breakfast program are included below. 

Merchandise Campaign:
We will host a merchandise campaign, in which we will sell t-shirts and other items that display our common message of connectivity and presence, “We are Black. We are Portland.” 

Online Crowdsourcing Campaign for Self-Definition: 
Through our campaign website and social media accounts, we are inviting Black people locally and nationally to define ourselves individually and as a community by completing the prompt, “We are Black. We are _________. ” Through this, we hope to create conversation on the diversity of our community, while seizing the basic human right of self-determination, in which our community is able to control our own ways of being and doing based on our own value systems, rather than those that have been forced upon us in the past. 

For more information, please visit:
Join us on twitter: WeAreBlack_WeAr
Friend us Facebook: http://www.facebook. com/weareblack0weare
Tumblr: http://weareblack-
Connect with us on Instagram: http://instagram. com/weareblack_weare

For more information, please contact Rachel Gilmer – /ph. 503.249.1721 ext 230
Spread the Word!
Please share this message with your family, friends and networks! We are making an effort to celebrate the diversity of our community and need your help. Join us as we work to bring together our community! 

For more information about this year’s cohort or projects, please contact: Rachel Gilmer at