Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators (ORABSE) is the Oregon affiliate of the National Alliance of Black School Educators, an organization with over 100 affiliates in the United States, Jamaica, and Canada.
The Oregon affiliate was founded by Dr. Ernest Hartzog as a volunteer membership organization of educators involved in the education of all students in Oregon in 1975. Composed of both new and long experienced educators, this deep well of wisdom and expertise is a think tank whose membership originally extended only to the Portland metropolitan tri-counties, Multnomah, Clackamas and Washington. With the election of a new Executive Board in November 2020, ORABSE extended its outreach and became a true statewide program with a new mission: To celebrate, support, and inspire all Black educators to provide the best educational experiences and outcomes for All students, while leading the way on best practices for Black students. We increased our membership from 20 to over 200 members and raised nearly $500,000.
ORABSE partners with multiple community organizations as well as the Oregon Department of Education to maximize the “it takes a village” concept. As a member of Oregon Community Foundation’s Black Student Success Network, ORABSE benefits from the rich network of others interested in doing what it takes to educate the Black child. Multnomah Education Service District (MESD) and ORABSE partner in Multnomah Educators Rising (MER) in a “grow your own'' program to recruit Black students of every age who want to become educators. We used our grant from MESD to award 6 scholarships to public school district employees to continue their education to become teachers and administrators.
To meet affiliate goals of celebrating, supporting and inspiring Black educators, ORABSE hired its first Program Manager in July 2022. This was made possible with a generous grant from Meyer Trust. ORABSE has welcomed Lurlene Shamsud-Din, an experienced health practitioner, manager and educator to this role.
Lurlene is a long-time member of the Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators, serving two terms as president. She is also a member of the National Alliance of Black School Educators and served as the Conference Office Chair when the organization convened their 2000 person NABSE Conference in Portland, Oregon.
Lurlene’s background in advocacy, policy and leadership is a perfect fit to guide ORABSE as it continues to provide opportunities to educators for increased professional growth and to take pride in being celebrated for increasing academic excellence.
ORABSE’s annual report highlighted events that have aligned with NABSE initiatives and will again be implemented in 2023. Those initiatives include:
Providing Scholarships to Black highschool seniors and postsecondary students
ORABSE Namesake - $20,000 (statewide) in 2022 Individual Donors
Founder and Presidential - $102,626
Grow Your Own - $20,964.74
Celebrating Our Members
Provided a Free Wellness Fair - Relax, Refresh, Recharge
Honoring & Centering retired educators with frequent acknowledgements
Provided Ubuntu resource guides centering needs of Black educators
Generating Membership Recruitment & Networking Events
Organized or attended multiple local and statewide events
Provided free membership
Provided branded gear
Lobbying for Advocacy & Policy
Endorsed PSU Ethnic Studies Bill SB 617
Endorsed Stand for Children’s HB 2001
Endorsed HB 3363
Portland Public Schools accepted a proposal from ORABSE and World Arts Foundation, Inc. (WAFI) to change the name of the district administration building to honor former superintendent, Dr. Matthew L. Prophet
Providing Community Cultural Exposures for Educators & Black families
Supporting local theater and art groups
OMSI Black Family Science Night (700+ attendance)
Providing Professional Development Opportunities
Nikole Hannah Jones Seminars
Kairos.PDX Training Academy
Sponsoring members’ attendance at local and National Conferences