A crowd stands outside the Coos History Museum, as part of a Juneteenth rememberance event.

Social Justice + Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Initiatives

Budget: $20,000

2020 pushed many organizations, including OCVA, to consider their role in racial justice. Although OCVA does not claim to have all the answers or be experts in this space, they've moved forward with several investments to support the Oregon Coast region in this crucial work.

OCVA staff and board believe that they have a responsibility to create an Oregon Coast where a diversity of people feel safe and are encouraged to travel and live here.

OCVA hosted a series of diversity, equity, and inclusion trainings with Clinton Street Consulting for leaders in coastal DMOs, chambers and other tourism-related organizations. There were a total of 18 attendees who committed to five virtual sessions with three hours of pre-work due beforehand. This totaled to 459 hours of DEI-focused training and conversation on the Oregon Coast. One of the attendees summed up their experience by saying:

“This course provides an overview of historical and current facts/events/systems that allows you to reveal your own biases and the systemic biases built into the American culture. For anyone venturing into their own self and starting to do the work of unmasking your own hidden biases and privilege, this course helps you get your feet on the ground and gives you the tools to start to stand up and grow while meeting you where you are at in the process.”
DEI Training Attendee

Alonzo Tucker Memorial

OCVA also connected with the Coos History Museum, Oregon Remembrance Project, the Equal Justice Initiative, Oregon Black Pioneers, and others who had formed an Alonzo Tucker Memorial Committee. After learning about Alonzo Tucker, Oregon’s only recorded lynching of an African American, OCVA joined this committee to see how it could support their efforts. OCVA helped develop a survey and follow up report on sentiment around placing a memorial in honor of Alonzo Tucker with results overwhelmingly in support of this project. From a tourism perspective, 86.6% of survey respondents (321 people) said they would travel specifically to see this type of memorial.

A plaque memorializing Alonzo Tucker. It reads: Lynching in Coos County. On September 18, 1902, a white mob lynched Alonzo Tucker, a Black man in Coos Bay, then called Marshfield. The day Prior, Mr. Tucker had been arrested and placed in jail after being accused of assaulting a white woman near the 7th Street Marshfield Bridge. As news of his arrest spread, a white lynch mob formed. In this era, accusations of Black-on-white assault required no evidence to arouse mobs, and Black men could be lynched for merely interacting with white women, even in consensual relationships. During transport away from the mob, Mr. Tucker fled and spent the night hiding under docks by the bay as the armed mob searched for him. The next day, Mr. Tucker was found and shot twice. The mob put a noose around his neck and carried him to the site of the alleged assault, but Mr. Tucker died from his wounds on the way. The unmasked mob still hanged his body from a light pole on the bridge in broad daylight before 300 spectators. His body hanged for several hours, prompting Black families to flee Coos Bay. Though racial hostility and lynching were prevalent in the South, Oregon was no exception to the anti-black racism that fueled this era. Founded with a state constitution that banned all Black people by law until 1926, Oregon accommodated mob violence against Mr. Tucker, and no one was held accountable for his lynching. We remember Alonzo Tucker, and all unknown victims of lynching, as we pursue truth, justice, and reconciliation. -Oregon Remembrance Project, Equal Justice Initiative
A large group of people watching an outdoor presentation next to a museum.

OCVA was active in online meetings planning the placement of the memorial sign, which fit into Coos Bay’s first Juneteenth Event. OCVA staff attended this event in person to support day-of needs and to develop a post-event word cloud that online and in-person attendees contributed to. The entire committee was thrilled that there were 350 people in-person and 250 people online. OCVA was proud to be a supportive partner in this inaugural Juneteenth Event, the first on the Oregon Coast.


Oregon Coast community members gather at an event in celebration of Juneteenth.

OCVA has played a supportive role in other initiatives along the Coast via staff capacity and direct funding. For example, placing historical markers to honor the former diverse mining community of Beaver Hill (near Coquille) and to recognize the incredible life of Louis Southworth in Waldport. In addition to placing a historical marker, staff has been actively supporting the Waldport community in creating a memorial park in honor of Louis Southworth. Louis Southworth was a freed slave and pioneer who settled in Waldport and greatly contributed to the community via his ferry business and contributions to the local school.

One of OCVA’s key takeaways this past year is that there are numerous organizations on the Oregon Coast actively working towards racial justice and reconciliation. OCVA can play a supporting role with many of these through expertise in stakeholder outreach, graphic design, marketing materials and connecting resources. Moving forward OCVA will experiment with providing industry materials in different languages and will have their Strategic Investment Fund in this coming year geared towards DEI projects and partnerships on the Coast.

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