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:
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.
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.
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.