Why we need CELs (Community Engagement Liaisons)

We've just celebrated 50 years of the 1964 US Civil Rights Act. Title VI requires our public services be accessible in the languages spoken in all communities we serve.

Today, 1-in-5 Portlanders are foreign born. We speak 70 languages. Nearly half of our public school kids go home to ethnic minority families.

  • Sharing more equitably our city's benefits and burdens, as well as

  • Having our many underserved communities participate in our City's robust public life,

  • Requires authentically engaging our ambitious ethnic streams. Getting an interpreter to speak to people you hope will show up, cannot get you these outcomes.

If your agency's goals include equitable public services - or if, your project's need include engaging immigrant and ethnic minority neighbors in the delivery of your messages, your services, or your products - CELs will get you there.


How CELS build project success

CELs are English-fluent, City of Portland-trained civic activists AND they are respected elders or advocates in their respective communities of nurture. CELs representing 18 of Portland's national and ethnic communities, CELs of three generations and both genders, are available.

CELs assist in identifying the language and ethno-cultural communities in your service area;

CELs assist in developing your messages, your services or products; CELs lend marketing and organizing expertise, CELs then facilitate the effective delivery of your co-developed message, service or product.


Six of about 70 Portland ethnic streams represented by CELs.
Fotos: Somali Women's Association of Oregon at Portland City Council; African Youth and Community of Oregon (AYCO) and Somali American Council of Oregon (SACO) at a City Commissioner Amada Fritz forum; Portland Police Bureau honoring
Oregon Bhutanese Community Organization elders (OBCO); Association of Burma Refugees in Oregon (ABRO)
teenagers working PBOT's Portland Sunday Parkways; Oregon Islamic Academy graduation at Portland State University.