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Review for Unite Oregon, Portland, OR, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

I have been watching and witnessing the birth, growth and important anchoring leadership of Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), not only in specific immigrant communities, but in the larger communities of Portland and Oregon. The organization's careful and deliberate work has ensured that the voices of immigrants were heard at all levels of government, within social services settings, and in the places that policy and procedures are developed. They bring a strong, unified and powerful voice for immigrant communities and, as a result, we are all better informed and able to understand the plight of immigrants from all countries. CIO does not stop with only raising the issues of inequality, lack of cultural competence among providers, or what's lacking, they bring trained and skilled constituents with skills, abilities, talents and dreams, as newly-arrived residents of our city, counties, and state, who have much to contribute to the larger community.

CIO has made its compelling presence known through the state, has been particularly adept at moving their leadership effectively in a number of circles, local government, at the city and county level, and in working collaboratively to achieve major successes in our Legislature. CIO has also ensure that its membership is diverse and representative of immigrant communities in ways that heretofore have not proven successful.

The organization's model encourages members to come together regularly, to develop their strengths, and cultivates diverse leadership that pushes other organizations to recognize the power and benefit of more diverse representation on issues that affect all of us - whether housing affordability and quality, school improvements and teacher humility and cultural competence. CIO doesn't preach, it shows the stories of individual lives before us, and allows communities within its organization to hold their uniqueness whiile working for collective benefit.

CIO is a strategic, well focused organization that has strong leadership connections and credible relationships throughout the larger community, starting with its constituentis. This is an effective and important point to ensure effective organizing and mobilizing among members and to engage supporters in solidarity ith them - on immigration reform, school reform and quality education for all, housing, health issues, economic opportunity and equity, among others.

It has been my pleasure to watch them grow while staying rooted to their original principles of equal access, justice, diversity and equity to the immigrant voices that emerge in their own organization as well as with those they interact with.

CIO is one of the best examples of a grassroots organization that has not forgotten its roots, but has built the core components needed for long-term success: bringing leadership up from within, setting a vision and mission and not wavering, having enviable results that bring real return on investment, and increasing the diversity of voices that speak in Oregon, and for all of us.

It has been and continues to be my pleasure, as a funder, a community resident and as a social justice leader to wholeheartedly support CIO; one of the best at doing what they do and delivering real change for their communities and mine.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help create numerous satellite CIO's to ensure their presence and work encompasses all of Oregon. I'm sure they've heard that repeatedly, but it worth considering, or supporting them in developing more sites, one by one, by one, by one....

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Very Well

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Role:  Professional with expertise in this field