CitySpeak: Legacies of White Oppression, Dialogue for Justice and Equality

Bringing people together that work at the frontlines of current racial tensions, our next CitySpeak draws at the heart of the current moment from a variety of vantage points. The free livestream event will present dialogue that progresses towards justice and equality here in our own backyard. 

Slated for Tuesday, June 23 at 6:30 p.m., this forum will be featured on The Corvallis Advocate website and Facebook page. Questions can be submitted before or during to cityspeak@corvallisadvocate.com, or on livestream Facebook post. 

The panel is diverse, culling from the arts, advocacy, academia, governance, and law.  

Artist Anne Mavor 

With a current installation at The Arts Center in Corvallis, artist Anne Mavor aims to make European-American history and identity visible – to inspire White viewers, in particular, to claim positive and negative aspects of their family histories as a step towards participating in ending racism.  

Mavor exhibits thirteen life-size photographic self-portraits that explore her family’s history of race, class, colonization, and genocide. The ancestors, real and imagined, span over 2000 years from the Celtic Iron Age to present-day Portland, Oregon. The repeated faces illustrate beliefs being passed down through the generations. Audio diaries reveal the historical events and traumas that shaped each ancestor and caused them to act out oppressive behaviors. With the current pandemic, viewing are by appointment only. 

Benton County District Attorney John M. Haroldson 

Appointed 2007, Haroldson was later elected in November 2008 as the first Latino in Oregon to serve as a district attorney. 

Prior to his appointment, Haroldson served as Benton County’s Chief Deputy District Attorney, a position he held since 2002. Haroldson began his prosecution career in 1988 as an intern-prosecutor for the City of Albany and later as a Linn County Deputy District Attorney. 

Recognized by the Oregon Crime Victims Assistance Network and the Oregon Humane Society for excellence in prosecution, Haroldson has distinguished himself as a prosecutor. He serves as adjunct faculty for Willamette University School of Law and the National College of District Attorneys. 

Corvallis/Albany Branch of the NAACP President Angel Harris  

Sworn into office in January of 2019, Harris has been instrumental the passage of Corvallis’ anti-bias initiative. In prior speaking engagements, she’s not only codified the increased incidence of hate in the community generally, but quite specifically in area schools. 

A Corvallis resident for 25 years, Harris is also a registered nurse. 

Corvallis Police Chief Jon Sassaman

Sassaman has been with the department for over 30 years, and been its chief since 2012. During his tenure as chief, the department earned its CALEA accreditation – a rigorous process that demands that a department meet best practices as a community entity.  

Oregon Department of Justice, Director of Civil Rights Fay Stetz-Waters 

Starting her career with a 14 year stint as 911 dispatcher, Fay Stetz-Waters would eventually earn a law degree and ascend to service as Judge for Circuit Court for Linn County. Her current role offers her a global view of bias incidents throughout Oregon. 

Stetz-Waters is also tasked with assuring the Oregon Department of Justice is equitable and accessible for all the state’s citizens – she works directly with the state’s Attorney General. Stetz-Waters’ offers a down-to-earth view of race, bias, and policing. 

Professor Randy Blazak, Ph.D 

Blazak’s scholarship on hate crimes and hate groups has made him a regular commentator for media outlets from NPR and CNN to BBC and Al Jazeera. Blazak earned his PhD at Emory University in 1995 after completing an extensive field study of racist skinheads that included undercover observations and interviews across the world. He became a tenured sociology professor at Portland State University and taught criminology classes at the University of Oregon.  

His work has taken him from classrooms to criminal trials. His research has been published in academic journals, books and in the mainstream press. His co-authored book, Teenage Renegades, Suburban Outlaws (Wadsworth, 2001) and his edited volume, Hate Offenders (Praeger, 2009) have been widely adopted.  

Since 2002, he has been the chair of the Coalition Against Hate Crimes and has worked with the National Institute of Justice and the Southern Poverty Law Center on hate crime research issues.