In the Lived Citizenship Project, Portland Meet Portland explores citizenship as a verb. Youth explore the meanings of belonging, exclusion, community, citizenship, and diversity in the United States as a cohort over the course of a year. They interview members of the New Columbia neighborhood, a public/private housing development with a mosaic of ethnicities and races, settled citizens, new citizens, those who aspire to be citizens, and those who are part of the community without being citizens. Youth are from refugee, immigrant, and 'mainstream' families, many of who have parents that have become citizens in recent years. Some live in families that have members that are vulnerable to deportation.
These young people aspire not only to be good citizens themselves, but to be leaders. They are from low-income families and are truly motivated to create good futures for themselves, mentally, emotionally, financially. Under the direction of oral historian and teacher, Kay Reid, the youth meet regularly to hear guest speakers, study assigned readings, and turn in their written responses to speakers and reading/viewing assignments. What starts as meetings become classes in civic and cultural competency. Youth participate in the project in its evolving phases, which include interviews, transcription and editing of interviews, script-writing, production and presentations. After the cohort project is complete, we hold a public presentation as well as produce a final project booklet for the public to read. This booklet is called 'Stories from our Village'.
Stories from Our Village
In 2013, the Stories of Our Village project emerged as an opportunity to share stories of one of the most diverse communities in Portland = New Columbia. The mission of the story project was to capture in their own words a variety of voices from the New Columbia world. You can read one full Stories from Our Village right here.