On the heels of deadly Black Lives Matter and Antifa riots last summer, Democrats running the state of Oregon funneled close to $80,000 in taxpayer dollars to the state’s annual left-wing indoctrination conference for state employees.
According to documents reviewed by The Federalist via the Freedom of Information Act, Oregon contributed around $78,000 total for the past two years to its statewide Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) conference. The 2021 conference, which resembled a state-sponsored struggle session, featured prominent lecturers from a wide variety of industries backing critical race theory (CRT).
The CRT Money Pit
The conference took place this year from September 13 to 17. To gain access to the seminars, employees enrolled through a government portal where they would sign a “community agreement” (see here) that stated participants “are encouraged to use inclusive language” and “listen to learn and not to respond.” Failure to abide by the agreement would have resulted in removal from the conference, the agreement said.
More than 4,000 state employees attended at least one session, and an average of 2,000 employees attended each day, confirmed Oregon affirmative action officer Katie Curtis. More than 30 state departments, agencies, and commissions financially backed the conference, including the governor’s office. Curtis also confirmed the conference was taxpayer-funded.
“All conference funds are the result of contributions from state departments,” Curtis said. “Contributing departments consist of state organizations that operate from funding through the state’s general fund, as well as semi-independent agencies (such as Oregon Lottery or state licensing Boards) that generate their own operating funds through various revenue activities.”
Payouts to presenters, who hold positions in journalism, academia, nonprofits, health care, counseling, and more, ranged from $1,500 to $5,000. This was a significant step up from the 2020 conference, where consulting groups took in an average of about $1,070. That’s close to a 40 percent increase from last year.
‘Nice White Ladies’ Are a Problem
Among those paid $5,000 this year was Dr. Jessie Daniels. Daniels, a professor at the City University of New York, as well as a Harvard University and a University of Oxford staffer, delivered arguably the most controversial lecture of the conference.
Titled “Understanding the Role ‘Nice White Ladies’ Play in Systemic Racism and How We Can Divest from Harmful Systems,” Daniels spoke for about an hour, according to a flyer obtained by The Federalist. Her presentation sought to “guide participants through an exploration of how white women’s protection is central to American culture, and it is killing all of us.”
This is nothing out of the ordinary for the professor, who writes for The New York Times and is the author of three manifestos targeting white people: “White Lies,” “Cyber Racism,” and “Nice White Ladies.” Daniels has made waves on an international scale as well, in 2019 giving a presentation on “internet manifestations of racism” to the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland.
The other speakers who received the top sum of $5,000 include social justice organizer Tawana Petty, museum director Gwen Trice, and University of Iowa professor Sherry Watt.
Watt, a veteran in academia who wrote a 2015 book criticizing whites and Christians, lectured on what she calls the “Privileged Identity Exploration (PIE)” model. The model, as described in a 2007 paper by Watt, is partially based on the Marxist idea of “false consciousness,” which argues whites can never fully grasp their “privileged identity.” The model, which is included below, claims one must first “recognize” one’s privilege, and henceforth contemplate and address it with “benevolence.”
‘It Takes A Village’ to Infiltrate
Trainings that clearly illustrate the CRT-focused agenda of the Oregon government included “Equity Informed Restorative Justice In Organizations And Institutions” by activist Gabriele Ross and “How To Form And Sustain A DEI Committee” by CRT consultant Lillian Tsai. (Oregon listed Tsai’s “workbook” on its website, which can be viewed here).
Tsai’s training sought to guide government-funded employees through the process of infiltrating organizations with a DEI agenda. The workbook includes a checklist for participants to gauge the likelihood of succeeding in establishing a committee.
The workbook also asks participants to engage in self-reflection. A major portion of such “reflection,” however, revolves around recruiting members to the CRT guild. It poses questions such as, “How many members should we have,” and, “How do we stagger them,” seeking to further lure state employees into leftist activism.
Tsai runs a consulting business in Portland and her clients range from Clark College, Portland State University, to other nonprofits and public agencies, according to the TsaiComms website. She received $3,000 for her talk. Some notable private clients include Microsoft Inc., Nike, Columbia Sportswear, and Portland General Electric.
More than $11,800 of funding from the conference will be carried over to the 2022 event, according to the financial information reviewed by The Federalist. More than $68,000 was carried over from 2020 to 2021, however, indicating the extent to which Oregon went all out for CRT this year.
While Oregon continues to experience a stunning wave of crime, with recent riots especially hurting minorities, Democrats in the state have prioritized DEI. Democrat politicians and staffers in Oregon have flirted especially hard with the BLM movement, as underscored when the House speaker’s legislative director was arrested during Portland’s “social justice” riots last year.
Gov. Kate Brown’s office could not be reached for comment on the DEI conference after funneling money to the cause. This summer, Brown signed a bill to suspend high school graduation proficiency requirements in order to push equity (equality of outcome). In June, Brown also told police officers in Portland to not enforce traffic laws in the name of equity.
‘New Generation Of Bigotry’
Top Oregon Republicans indicated to The Federalist that they oppose the state’s lurch toward critical race theory and do not understand why more pertinent statewide issues are being sidelined.
Senate GOP Whip Dennis Linthicum from Klamath Falls said, “These programs simply divide people and demonize those who are concerned about the direction of our state and public welfare” and that state workers are being taught by “indoctrination specialists [who] offer no tangible ways to fix or repair any real issues.”
Sen. Dallas Heard, the Oregon Republican Party chairman, said the government-funded trainings are yet another opportunity to give “white leftists a chance to feel good about themselves while accomplishing no tangible change for minority communities.” Heard questioned why Democrats have moved to push CRT amid the state’s brutal crime wave that has hurt minorities.
“While we see record violence in Portland disproportionately threatening disenfranchised communities, Democrats who run this state are funneling tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars to indoctrinate state workers into critical race theory,” he said.
Dru Draper, spokesman for the Senate GOP, harped on how the left is focusing on propaganda rather than solving the major issues afflicting Oregonians.
“Right now, Oregonians of color are 8 times more likely to be murdered in Portland because of Democrats’ decision to defund the police,” said Draper. “They are also failing in school at a higher rate. Instead, Democrats are focused on mind-numbing, indoctrination sessions for state workers. Their priorities are backward.”