PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland is getting more diverse and young people are driving the trend.
Data released by the US Census Bureau show that more than 70% of the city was white in 2016, slightly lower than the year before. About 10% were Hispanic or Latino, more than 7% Asian and about 6% black.
Nearly 5% of Portlanders are mixed race, and that’s changing where we live.
Growing up, Clare Clark said she always felt left out.
“I was the only black girl — in fact, black person — at the school,” Clark said.
Now, at the age of 16, Clark has found her voice.
“That voice was through film and being able to actually show people,” Clark said. “It’s a very powerful tool, film is.”
Clark is one of 10 students producing films through Portland’s “Greenlighting Black Lives Matter” youth media project, tackling issues from gentrification to race.
“I learned what it actually was to be what I am,” Clark, who is mixed race, said, “and the hardships that are a reality.”
John Washington heads the Soul District Business Association. They were able to buy cameras and computers for the students of the greenlighting project to work on based off a grant they received from Mt. Hood Cable Regulatory Commission. The project has given students, like Clark, the ability to tell their stories.
“And if we can tell our own story — we obviously can tell our own story (better) than other people can tell our story for us,” Washington said.
The group isn’t affiliated with the Black Lives Matter movement, but the students have covered community events and helped organize the annual MLK Dream Run in Northeast Portland, which helps raise money for their own projects.
The youth project group is also having an international effect. Nathaniel Hamman, another student in the program, is originally from Nigeria. He said he plans to take the skills he learned here back home.
And as for Clark, the program has given her skills, as well as confidence.
“Now it’s up to me to grab that ledge and pull myself up,” she said.