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Honoring Black History Month

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

February is Black History Month, a time dedicated to celebrating the achievements and contributions of Black Americans. Established as a week in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson, it has evolved into a month-long commemoration. 

At Central City Concern, Black History Month serves as a poignant reminder of our commitment to anti-racism, especially considering Portland’s historical legacies of exclusion, displacement, and disinvestment in Black and African American communities. Our responsibility extends beyond February to address disparities in housing, healthcare, and employment that disproportionately impact Black and African American Portlanders, contributing to their overrepresentation among the homeless population.

Culturally Specific Support at CCC 

We take pride in offering culturally specific programs that seamlessly integrate group customs, history, and social practices into our comprehensive support services. Three of these programs are specifically designed to address the needs of Black and African American communities, providing clients with a care team that looks like them, makes them feel safe.

 Imani Center

The Imani Center, established in 2015, is Central City Concern’s response to the African American community’s need for culturally specific services. The Imani Center provides comprehensive approaches to mental health and addictions treatment for African Americans, by African Americans. Staffing the center with individuals who have lived experience helps clients navigate systems through the lens of the Black experience in Oregon and the United States.


One year ago on February 28th, 2023, we proudly opened Karibu (pronounced “kah-REE-boo”), marking a significant expansion of CCC’s culturally specific programs! This new initiative offers tailored stabilization and treatment services for Black and African American men involved or at-risk of involvement with the criminal justice system, addressing their behavioral health needs.

In Swahili, “Imani” translates to “Faith,” and “Karibu” means “Welcome,” reflecting our aspiration for every client to feel embraced upon stepping through the door.

Flip the Script

Flip the Script (FTS), a reentry program, offers dedicated housing, employment services, peer support, and advocacy opportunities to African American individuals who are exiting incarceration. The support provided by FTS not only helps prevent reoffending but also facilitates a smoother reintegration into society, empowering individuals to become productive community members.

Community Allies with Cultural Expertise 

This February, alongside recognizing the broader history, we want to express our appreciation for two Black-led organizations we proudly partner with: Miracles Club and Urban League of Portland. These organizations are integral to Portland’s Black history and continue to make significant positive impacts in Black and African American communities today. 

Miracles Club maroon arrow pointing right

Miracles Club is a recovery center founded in 1993 by three men in recovery wishing to create a safe and sober environment to sustain the African American community. For more than 25 years, that vision has grown into today’s Miracles Club, offering a full range of addiction support services.  

They serve the community by: 

  • Offering peer support services provided by certified recovery mentors  
  • Providing sober housing  
  • Offering a wellness program with heavily discounted exercise passes  
  • Providing COVID-19 wraparound services  
  • Providing free acupuncture (a partnership with Quest Center for Integrative Health)  
  • Doing community outreach around harm reduction and distributing harm reduction supplies  
  • Providing free clothing and hygiene kits  
  • Providing culturally-specific addiction treatment (a partnership with Quest Center for Integrative Health)  
  • Providing a fellowship hall for recovery meetings in the heart of NE Portland 

CCC is proud to partner with Miracles Club. Miracles Club provides referrals from its programs to the CCC-owned Miracles Central Apartments and on-site recovery peer support for residents. 

Learn More

Urban League of Portland maroon arrow pointing right

Urban League of Portland is one of Oregon’s oldest civil rights and social service organizations, empowering African Americans and others to achieve equality in education, employment, health, economic security and quality of life. 

They do this by: 

  • Engaging and organizing their community in order to achieve a more equitable and just place to live and work. 
  • Creating healthier neighborhoods through education and navigation of available health care insurance choices and building a network of trusted advocates who promote healthcare in their own communities. 
  • Connecting the most vulnerable to stable housing resources and solutions 
  • Providing care services that help our elders remain independent, safe and active in their own homes and connected to vital wellness and preventative health care services 
  • Bridging the gap of employment through mentorship, job readiness and expanding professional growth as part of our steadfast commitment increasing diversity in the workplace 
  • Guiding young adults towards a brighter future through workforce preparation and digital 

CCC was thrilled to work alongside Urban League of Portland as part of the Transforming Justice Coalition, which worked to get Senate Bill 1510 passed in 2022.

Learn More

We invite you to join us in reflecting on and appreciating Black and African American history, not only in Oregon but also beyond its borders.

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