Filling the spaces between races with compassion, conversation, and education
Donna Maxey is a Black native-Portlander, retired Portland Public School teacher, and the proud mother of Shaina Pomerantz. Donna experienced first hand the immediate and subsequent impact of racial trauma when her family home and business in the Albina community of Portland were demolished under eminent domain. From this and countless other experiences that she has openly shared, Donna realized there was a need to create a space to heal racial trauma in Portland. Since 2011, Maxey has served as the Founder and Executive Director of RACE TALKS: Uniting to Break the Chains of Racism, which she funded through her retirement.
She has hosted over 200 unique monthly forums under the RACE TALKS umbrella utilizing experts from community based organizations, city, county and state government, all levels of education, and private enterprise. The forums have addressed timely Oregon-centric issues through the lens of race and racism, including ethnic and religious groups, houselessness, public safety, recreation & sports, disaster preparedness, the 2020 Census, and community/policing forums, to name a few. To date, RACE TALKS has hosted over 25,000 participants virtually and in-person.
In 2015, Donna started her own firm, Donna Maxey & Associates, LLC—consulting on issues of education; leadership; community action; and equity, diversity and inclusion. Clients have included universities, churches, City of Portland & Multnomah County agencies, school districts, historical societies, theater group, financial education organization, Oregon State Bar, Multnomah County Bar, and Society for Community Research & Action (SCRA). Maxey has been a highly sought after keynote speaker and expert panelist at Oregon Employment Department, Muslim Education Trust (MET), Oregon Historical Society, numerous churches, schools & universities, other social justice organizations, and community groups centering race-focused discussions. She holds a Master’s in Education from Portland State University. In 2022, Donna Maxey will step down as Executive Director, passing the torch to her daughter, Shaina, but will continue to oversee the management of Donna Maxey and Associates, LLC as principle owner.
Shaina Pomerantz (she/her) is a bi-racially Black Jewish California native with deep familial roots in Portland. Her maternal grandparents, Charles and Johnnie Maxey settled in Portland, Oregon in the 1940s after fleeing harsh Jim Crow laws in East Texas. Through their guidance and love, Shaina was taught the importance of public service and community activism through the lens of education, advocacy, and civic engagement. She followed her parents, both alumni of Pacific University, into the field of education where she taught violence prevention and conflict mediation, reading, writing, and humanities; her students have ranged from K-12, college, graduate, and seniors. Recognizing her own color privilege as a light skinned Black woman, Shaina is committed to making space at tables and holding doors open for darker melanated Black folx. In 2022, Shaina stepped into her mother’s big shoes as Executive Director of RACE TALKS, expanding her responsibilities as Chief Operations Officer and Lead Facilitator.
Shaina considers herself a lifelong learner, and worked as an educator for over twenty years, serving in both traditional schools and community based organizations focused on servicing poor and historically marginalized communities of color; she has had the pleasure of educating students in the Bay Area and New York City. Shaina worked in the Texas, Louisiana, and Oregon State Legislatures and her civic engagement and volunteerism includes the City of Portland’s Office of Equity and Human Rights Bureau Advisory Committee, Co-chair of the Portland Police Equity Advisory Committee, and Vice-Chair of the Citizens Review Committee. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Organizational Behavior from the University of San Francisco; Master’s in Organizational Leadership from Mercy College; and Juris Doctorate from Southern University Law Center.
AJ was born and raised in Portland, OR and has been a local community maverick for 15+ years. She says to be truly successful, an organization must be led by the people who are in community with the people being served. Her bachelors degree is in African American history and, equally as important, her lived experience coming from a working class, interracial family in North Portland, going to college and working in New Orleans, informed the full range of her work. When not leading revolutions, AJ is a full time solo momma and teacher to teenage son Hobbs. AJ is the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Equitable Giving Circle, a mutual-aid, economic focused, no-strings attached nonprofit based in Portland.
Katie had the honor of having Donna Maxey as her 4th and 5th grade teacher at Park Rose Elementary School. She is the founder of GATHER Portland and has been planning events her entire career, with a foundation in planning meetings and fundraisers for some of Portland’s most noted leaders and civic stakeholders. As a project manager in the non-profit sector, Katie had the opportunity to hone in on her true passion – bringing people together to produce amazing results. Katie is a dedicated philanthropist. She is the Vice-President of the Board for the Beaumont Business Association, she sits on the Patient and Family Advisory Council for the Broadway Medical Clinic, she is a member of P.E.O. International (an organization dedicated to the advancement of women), and is a proud supporter of The Imani Project, a partnership dedicated to acting against HIV/AIDS and improving health conditions in rural Kenya. Katie’s husband and two children are her heart and soul.
Mary Nolan was sworn in as a Metro Councilor on Jan. 5, 2021, serving District 5, the north-central part of the greater Portland region. Nolan has been active in government and advocacy in Oregon for decades. They are a former majority leader in the Oregon House of Representatives, a former director of the Portland Bureau of Environmental Services, and a former executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon. Nolan is both a mother and partner, and dedicated public servant.
Since coming to the United States in 1988, Mr. Said has worked with the Muslim community as well as the larger community to promote a better understanding of Islam. He has been involved in numerous interfaith committees and panels throughout the years. He is one of the founders of the Interfaith Council of Greater Portland, an organization which came together as a result of 9/11, as well as one of the founders of the Arab, Jewish, Muslim Dialogue, The Institute for Christian-Muslim Understanding, Islamic Social Services of Oregon State, and the Arab and Muslim Police Advisory Board. He is the former Executive Director of Muslim Educational Trust (MET), which he co-founded in 1993. Mr. Said is the founder of the Beloved Community Luncheon, which gathers every Tuesday at Dar Salaam – All are welcome.
Born in post-war Japan, Sho Dozono arrived in Portland by boat at the age of 10. Dozono taught history and Japanese language at Grant High School. Married with three kids to support, he joined Azumano Travel and eventually became the company president and CEO. In 1979, Dozono joined the Mayor’s Human Relations Commission as its education committee chair, a position he held for 10 years. The Oregon League of Minority Voters, Spirit Mountain Community Fund, US-Japan Council, Portland Oregon Visitors Association and many others have benefited from Dozono's volunteer service. Today, he serves on the boards of Boy Scouts of America, Providence Health & Services, Japanese Ancestral Society of Portland, and New Portland Foundation, where he advocates for immigrants and refugees. He is also on PSU’s Board of Trustees.
Bio coming soon.
Perkins Coie is a leading international law firm that is known for providing high value, strategic solutions and extraordinary client service on matters vital to our clients’ success. With more than 1,200 lawyers in offices across the United States and Asia, we provide a full array of corporate, commercial litigation, intellectual property and regulatory legal advice to a broad range of clients, including many of the world’s most innovative companies and industry leaders as well as public and not-for-profit organizations.
For any legal inquiries regarding RACE TALKS please email Perkins Coie.
Anthony Jackson is RACE TALKS Master Facilitator Extraordinaire, who works professionally as a mediator and facilitator for over 20 years. He currently manages workplace (non-EEO) Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) activities for a federal government agency for staff in the states of Oregon, Washington, Alaska, California, Utah, Montana, New Mexico, New Hampshire, Virginia, Washington DC, and other states across the country. Mr. Jackson assists employees and supervisors through the delivery of mediation, facilitation, training, consultations, team building, and one-on-one conflict coaching services upon request. He summarizes his work philosophy as "empowering people in conflict to get their needs met and generate hope for their future by helping them improve communication, increase understanding, and develop better relationships". He has much experience collaborating with Employee Relations, HR, Labor Relations, Unions, and high-level management officials to address workplace conflict, deliver training, and other ADR services. Mr. Jackson has been married to his lovely wife, Sandra, for over 38 years and is blessed with an accomplished, beautiful daughter named Sophia.
Anthony did a fabulous job, engaged all, kept conversations directed. Anthony was great as well. He nicely urges people to speak and offers more ways to help people further their anti-racism goals.
Request Anthony Jackson to facilitate.
Stephen (he/they) is a Black activist, justice advocate, community educator, and performing artist from Portland, Oregon. Convicted as a teenager, sentenced to 7.5 years in the Oregon Youth Authority, Stephen used his time to educate and expand his understanding of self-worth, potential, and purpose using art forms. Stephen is now committed to educating organizations, school districts, community members, teachers, parents, and students about the radical practice of restorative justice for collective liberation. Stephen is a Consultant, Mediator, Race Talks Facilitator, Owner of Be The Solution LLC, and Director of Restorative Justice for The Insight Alliance.
Stephen Fowler did a great job of facilitating. His openness as he took the initial steps to invite and lay ground rules for the breakout room invited participants to likewise be authentic. When people were slow to start asking questions, he brought in questions previously asked in the chat. Then when participants were asking questions both live and via chat, he synthesized the channels and honored stacking order, reminding the group of that each time. His steadiness facilitating gave me the feeling of a well-grounded space.
Request Stephen Fowler to facilitate.
Hobbs is credited as RACE TALKS’ youngest facilitator and joined the team when he was 12 years old. He channels his activism work through everything he does. He uses his art to amplify others’ stories and to incite and hopefully change the views of the people he touches and the world. As a dancer, he represents the Black community in very white institutions and is paving the way for a new generation of young Black dancers, as well as channeling the legacy of his ancestors through his movement. Hobbs co-founded Collective Youth Elevation, where he and his team are empowering their peers with the tools they need to become active participants in democracy by holding our leaders accountable to represent their interests. Hobbs is an accomplished painter and muralist, whose works are on display on walls throughout Portland and in curated spaces.
I always forget that Hobbs is only 14, he is a stellar facilitator! He is doing the work to research and facilitate hard conversations about race. He offers new insights and ideas. Anthony was great as well. He nicely urges people to speak and offers more ways to help people further their anti-racism goals.
Request Hobbs Waters to facilitate.
Jackie Lam is a first generation Asian American student who studied at California State university of Long Beach where she received her Bachelor's in Sociology in Spring of ‘21. She was born and raised in the San Gabriel Valley where she started lion dancing (cultural Chinese performance) and began her journey to deanglicize and reclaim her Chinese Culture. Jackie Lam is a young activist in Los Angeles working closely with the Chinatown Community for Equitable Development, advocating for habitable living conditions for tenants. She is currently employed as a housing coordinator at Brilliant Corners, where she works closely with unhoused folx transitioning into permanent housing and housing retention. Jackie was introduced to RACE TALKS through her sister, Stephanie; and by association was immediately adopted and put to work. She facilitates virtually from Los Angeles.
Jackie was both great and enthusiastic. We had an interesting encounter in our breakout room that they managed very well. They made sure that the progressive stacking order was being followed and gently prompted non-respondents to speak. They connected one speaker's point to the next regularly.
Request Jackie Lam to facilitate.
Sofia Vidalis, a native Portlander, working and teaching in healthcare for 20+ years. She has deep compassion and wisdom that is the basis of her ability to advocate for and provide a safe place for a wide range of voices. She joined RACE TALKS seven years ago after receiving her initial facilitator training through Resolutions Northwest. She is an active RACE TALKS facilitator and volunteer, assisting with set up of the in-person forums and greeting newcomers.
Request Sofia Vidalis to facilitate.
Shannon joined Race Talks in 2018. With 25+ years licensed as a counselor, she brings her relationship savvy to couples and especially those experiencing transgender coming out mid marriage. Shannon's earlier life involved many creative hats, poet, artist, and actor. Married over 26 years to hubby Nick, Shannon homeschooled their daughter in Portland, Oregon till she launched to college in 2020. Shannon created a three-circuit labyrinth garden in her yard, and launched Dinner Together, gathering neighbors on a block to share a meal, build community, and spread joy.
Race Talks inspired Shannon to go deeper which led to creating Accountability Friends, groups of white people who seek to grow better allyship through examining their own white supremacy while stepping up action.
Shannon Batts was an amazing facilitator and I genuinely enjoyed the breakout session she led.
Request Shannon Batts to facilitate.
Marcie Benne has been a RACE TALKS facilitator since 2018. She is the Director of Engagement Research & Advancement at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry. She is deeply involved with movements to broaden participation in endeavors involving science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). She works with community partnerships, projects, and education networks that are changing structures and values among STEM-related systems and also supporting people to pursue their curiosities, develop their understandings, and contribute their talents in contexts they consider to be authentic and valuable for healthy societies.
Marcie is welcoming and created space for folks to share honestly and vulnerably. She was great at posing an idea or topic and then stepping back and letting us discuss. She does a great job keeping the conversation going and involving all participants.
Request Marcie Benne to facilitate.
Jim is a full time mediator and recovering attorney, has been facilitating with RACE TALKS since 2018. “Since George Floyd's murder, I've realized again how much I have to learn about white supremacy and racism in our country. I feel so blessed to have already started my long-overdue education through RACE TALKS and the amazing Donna Maxey.”
Jim did a great job using the stacking order and making sure everyone had an opportunity to speak. He was open to questions/feedback about how the group should operate, and very open with their own thoughts and questions as well.
Request Jim O'Connor to facilitate.
Request Richard Flannigan to facilitate.
Ken left a lot of space for others to talk.
Request Ken Hanson to facilitate.
Profession: Web Developer
Tresa left her home state of Michigan, after graduating from the University of Michigan, for the bright lights (and pizza!) of New York City. She started her professional career in marketing research — waited tables to pay the bills — and a few short year later realized her passion was supporting people and organizations, who like RACE TALKS, do good. She moved to Portland, OR in the summer of 2006 where she worked to elect pro-environment candidates to local and state government. In 2012, she realized she could promote positive change by providing tech support to thought leaders and change agents and started building websites for people and organizations who are changing the world in positive ways.
She currently lives in Vancouver where you can find her volunteering as a garden guide in VanDusen Botanical Garden, hiking mountains, or riding her bicycle around the city.
If you're looking for a new website check out her portfolio or contact her at the email below.
1. Are you a BIPOC ?
2. Do you actively live or socialize with BIPOC Communities?
3. Have you experienced being the only person of your ethnicity in the room on a dozen or more occasions?
4. Have you read more than 10 African American authors?
5. Have your read more than 10 authors from the African diaspora?
6. Can you discuss the relationship between Affirmative Action, BIPOC, non-binary, progressive stacking order, and White centering?
7. Do you understand the intersectionality between BIPOC and LGBTQIA2S?
8. Have you joined a social justice organization for Black people or advocated openly for Black people at work, socially or with a governmental agency?
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