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Oregon Alliance of Black School Educators Celebrates Statewide Membership & Major Accomplishments

Updated: Jan 19, 2023

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.

ORABSE Presidents, past and present. Front - LeRoy Patton, Michael Grice, Dr. Ernest Hartzog, Founder and First President, Kenneth Berry, Kevin Bacon, Current President. Back - Liz Casson Taylor, Wynona Lowe, Keylah Boyer, Lurlene Shamsud-Din, Nichole Watson, President-Elect

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


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