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Let us start out by stating, unequivocally: Black Lives Matter.
Like you, the team and directors at the Oregon Wine Board have been processing, reflecting on and discussing our responsibility in the fight for racial equity in America. We must recognize the power of our platform and our potential to help build a just, equitable and thriving Oregon wine industry that in turn contributes to a just, equitable and thriving Oregon.
And yet for us to productively harness this power, we must first become more educated, aware and accountable ourselves, both as people and as professionals. This work will enable us to help Oregon’s wine industry welcome and serve all—visitors, members of the trade, and industry professionals—with equal respect and opportunity. We are committed to doing this work.
We are also committed to cementing principles of equity thoroughly and thoughtfully into the work we are already undertaking in service to Oregon’s industry, starting today. We are actively reviewing our programs, which span education, marketing, media relations and research, to identify where we can take meaningful, sustained action.
Here are the commitments we are making now:
Organizational Development and Accountability
The OWB directors and staff are committed to participating in education and training on the topics of equity and inclusion, which includes better understanding the ways racism historically and presently shapes our industry.
We have been working with the Governor’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion staff, inviting their assistance while we search for a professional partner to guide us further in this work, and intend to have completed an initial training program by the end of the summer. This is a first step at working to embed the principles of anti-racism and equity more fully into our organization’s culture.
We will recruit for diversity for the Oregon Wine Board, staff and committees and. We will set benchmarks for our organization so we can track and report on our progress.
Representation in Programs and Partnerships
We will ensure diverse race and gender representation in messaging across all audiences and channels.
This is especially pertinent as we embark on the work of developing a new Oregon Wine brand identity. As we select our agency partner for this important project, we will consider the company’s commitment to diversity and equity. We will do this for all partners we engage with, from international event contractors to local printers and everyone in between.
We will collect and maintain a list of minority-owned Oregon wine businesses, and we will work with our partners to amplify minority-owned tourism businesses. We will share these resources through media relations and with our consumer audience.
We will recruit for diversity in our social spaces and the media professionals we connect with, including those we invite to Oregon for media tours.
Development Opportunities for Wine Professionals
We will implement a scholarship program for aspiring wine professionals of color in Oregon, underwriting attendance at the Oregon Wine Symposium and other wine education opportunities around the state. We will share the details of this program this fall.
We will strive to recruit diverse presenters and attendees across our educational offerings for the trade and industry.
This list is not by itself meaningful, as only through our action can we demonstrate our commitment to progress. As we grow, our efforts to establish equity in our work will grow too. It is our goal that in time, the principles of diversity, equity and inclusion will be proudly interwoven into the practices and processes of the Oregon Wine Board as part of our organizational DNA.
We know we have catching up to do. If you have ideas or resources you would like us to consider, please share them with us.