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Think Out Loud

Oregon Public Broadcasting (OPB)

OPB's daily conversation covering news, politics, culture and the arts.


Portland, OR


OPB's daily conversation covering news, politics, culture and the arts.






Portland protesters continue to push to defund police

For the first time in more than three weeks, federal law enforcement officers were not present at Thursday night’s protests in Portland. Portland activist and hip-hop journalist Mac Smiff has been out at the protests against police violence and systemic racism nearly every night since they began more than two months ago. He tells us how the presence of federal officers changed the protests, and what comes next for him if they leave the city.


News Roundtable Friday, July 31

We get opinions and analysis on some of the biggest news of the week with Camilla Mortensen, Lisa Bates, and Eric Fruits.


How race affects the way we talk about the Wall of Moms

When Portland protests and the federal law enforcement’s treatment of protesters received national media attention, the predominantly white women in the Portland Wall of Moms went viral. But, as activists and academics pointed out, stories of the Black mothers who’d been protesting long before did not get the same attention. Dani McClain is an independent journalist who covers race and reproductive health, and the author of “We Live For The We: The Political Power of Black Motherhood.” She...


Portland-based nonprofit is at the intersection of race and health

The COVID-19 pandemic and the Black Lives Matter uprising have highlighted problems that Leslie Gregory has been working to change for a long time. Gregory is the founder and director of Right To Health, a Portland-based nonprofit that highlights health disparities that are the result of racial injustice and economic inequality. She has been pushing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to recognize racism as a public health crisis for years. She tells us what it’s like to find her...


New executive director of Oregon Black Pioneers

Zachary Stocks recently started as the Oregon Black Pioneers’ first ever executive director. As the latest Black Lives Matter movement has sparked efforts to rename racist geographic locations across Oregon and take down racist monuments, Stocks has been reflecting on the role of his organization in uncovering and preserving the history of Black Oregonians. We hear from Stocks about his new job, and how he plans to build on the historical work of the Oregon Black Pioneers. We also hear from...


Inspired by protests, Salem woman organizes events for racial justice

After Portland protests and federal law enforcement’s treatment of protesters made national headlines, stories and photos of predominantly white mothers in the Portland Wall of Moms received national attention. But Black mothers like Julianne Jackson have been involved with the protests against systemic racism and police violence since the beginning. Jackson, an activist in Salem, has organized several events for racial justice and is advocating for the removal of school resource officers in...


Portland cartoonist Matt Bors moving to Canada in the pandemic

Matt Bors lives and works in Portland as a cartoonist and founder of The Nib. Bors says making a living was challenging at the beginning of 2020, but with the pandemic, he says between childcare and healthcare, he just can’t make it work. We talk with Bors about his move to Canada, where his spouse is from, and how things will be different for him, his family and The Nib.


Oregonians of color disproportionately affected by COVID-19 as cases rise

As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise in Oregon, people of color are disproportionately testing positive for the virus. The Oregon Health Authority has pledged to increase outreach and testing to vulnerable communities. Dawn Mautner is the OHA senior health advisor. She tells us about how OHA is addressing racial disparities during the pandemic.


Oregon Ballet Theatre’s only Black dancer reflects on protests and pandemic life

Brian Bennett moved to Portland last year from Chicago. Bennett is the only Black dancer in the full company at Oregon Ballet Theatre. (There is also a Black dancer in the role of apprentice at OBT.) He says the artistic director who hired him was frank about the fact that he’d be coming in to a predominantly white institution. Now, he’s practicing his ballet moves at home, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and attending Portland protests against racism and police violence. Bennett joins us to...


How many Portland restaurants will survive?

Some restaurants in Portland are slowly beginning to reopen. But will they be able to make money? Will they be able to hire back the staff they let go? What kind of food service makes the most sense until we get a vaccine? Lisa Schroeder (Mother’s Bistro and Bar), Peter Cho (Han Oak), and Kyo Koo (Danwei Canting) all own very different kinds of restaurants. They tell us what the last few months have been like, and what the future may hold.


Families of Inmates Protest Conditions Amid Pandemic

After COVID-19 cases spiked at the Eastern Oregon Correctional Institute in Pendleton, families of inmates have gathered at the prison to protest conditions there. Lydia Jarrell has been attending those protests. Her husband is an inmate at the EOCI, and has told her that the prison has not done enough to stop the spread of COVID-19.


Black community groups have a plan to dismantle racism in Oregon

A new group of Black-led community groups called a press conference today with Oregon elected leaders. They have developed a two-year plan to begin dismantling systemic racism in Oregon. Nkenge Harmon Johnson, President and CEO of the Urban League of Portland, is one of the organizers of today's press conference.



Author Min Jin Lee’s latest novel, “Pachinko,” was a finalist for the National Book Award. It’s an epic story about four generations of one family through migration, heartbreak, oppression, financial success, and trauma. We spoke to Lee in front of an audience at Portland’s Franklin High School in January, 2020.


News Roundtable July 24, 2020

We get opinions and analysis on some of the biggest stories of the week on our news roundtable. This week our guests are Christopher McKnight Nichols, Marisa Zapata and Scott Bruun.


John Lewis

A 23-year-old civil rights activist from Alabama named John Lewis was the youngest speaker at the famous March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom led by Martin Luther King Jr, delivering a fiery speech to hundreds of thousands of marchers gathered on the Washington Mall. Lewis went on to serve on the Atlanta City Council, and was elected to Congress in 1986. Lewis died last week at the age of 80. We spoke to him in 2014 after he had completed a three volume graphic nonfiction series about...


Teachers in rural districts bracing for school year

School districts all over Oregon are getting ready for the start of a new school year. But what that will exactly look like is still being determined in the midst of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Kate Brown has just expanded the mandatory mask requirement to include children 5 or older. One thing is certain, students will be learning differently in every school, whether rural or urban — some more differently than others. We talk with educators Laura Thomas, Toni Myers and Leanne...


Oregon Court Initiative Aims To Bring Equity To The Justice System

Oregon Supreme Court Justice Adrienne Nelson says unconscious racial bias — or any kind of bias — has no place in jury trials. And yet, she acknowledges, every person has these biases. Nelson helped create a video that jurors can watch before a trial starts that’s designed to help them identify unconscious bias and minimize the effect those may have on their deliberations. At the same time, the Oregon Judicial Department is launching what it calls a strategic campaign, which includes...


Yale Union Transfers Building To Native Arts Organization

A Portland contemporary arts center is transferring ownership of its building and land to the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. Yale Union has held art events and exhibitions in an old brick building in Southeast Portland since 2010. The space will now be used to host Indigenous artists and exhibits, and promote conversations for social change. Flint Jamison is president of the board of Yale Union. Lulani Arquette is president and CEO of the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation.


Rural Black Lives Matter Protests Inspire Next Steps

Black Lives Matter organizers in rural Oregon are figuring out next steps for their movements. In Bend, Riccardo Waites started the Central Oregon Back Leaders Assembly, a nonprofit aiming to reduce police violence and racial discrimination in the community’s schools. In Umatilla, Selene Torres-Medrano is organizing to keep School Resource Officers out of school districts. And in Hermiston, John Carbage is pushing local officials to talk about systemic racism, and the racial profiling he has...


Portland Black Comedians Reflect On The Role of Comedy In Black Lives Matter Movement

For Portland Black comedians Christian Burke and Dahlia Belle, writing jokes can be a way to process traumatic events, challenge social norms, and build community through laughter. Many Portland comedy events have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, but Black-owned production company Dirty Angel Entertainment has recently started holding socially distanced open mics again. We hear from Burke, Belle, and Dirty Angel Entertainment executive producer Courtenay Collins about the role...