The Center for Life Beyond Reed

Resources for students of color

Welcome to our resource page for Reedies of color! Here, you can find some resources and information we’ve compiled to help you navigate the world of internships, jobs, and scholarships. At CLBR, we know that racism, microaggressions and exclusion are alive and well both on and off campus, and pose challenges to Reedies of color both on campus and beyond. We also know you bring a richness of unique talents and experiences to any workplace or graduate school. Most importantly, we want to empower you to reach for whatever success means to you, bring your talents to the world, overcome those obstacles, and live with purpose. We’d love to meet you wherever you are - and we mean that literally and metaphorically - to talk about your life beyond Reed. And finally, we know we aren’t perfect: if you notice any ways we could improve this page, please let us know by emailing beyondreed@reed.edu.

Finding an Employer

Something you may want to consider when beginning your job search is a potential employer’s commitment to racial and ethnic diversity. Of course, racial discrimination is against the law, which - in theory - protects you from employment racism no matter where you work. But if it’s important to you that your employer is one who has demonstrated a willingness to go above and beyond when it comes to racial equity in the workplace, these resources are for you.

  • Diversity Inc.'s annual list Top 50 Companies For Diversity may be a good place to start.
  • George Mason University has put together this guide to investigating a company’s commitment to diversity.
  • DiversityJobs is an online job searching tool designed for minority users and employers looking to hire them.
  • Diversity Employers is “a job board with career opportunities that specifically target new college graduates of diverse backgrounds in every industry nationwide.”

Employment Groups and Resources for People of Color

There are tons of reasons to seek out employment-related groups and organizations. They can connect you with opportunities you might not otherwise hear about, people you can learn from (they’re great for networking!), they have a wealth of knowledge, and sometimes they’re nice just to offer a supportive community. Here are just a few we know of, in Portland and beyond, for job-seekers of color.

  • Partners in Diversity is an affiliate of the Portland Business Alliance Charitable Institute that “seeks to address employers’ critical needs for achieving and empowering a workforce that reflects the rapidly changing demographics of the Pacific Northwest.” They offer large Portland networking events for people of color, civic engagement opportunities, educational programs, job listings, and more.
  • The Coalition of Communities of Color is a Portland alliance of culturally-specific community based organizations that have come together to “improve outcomes for communities of color through policy analysis and advocacy, culturally-appropriate data and research, and leadership development in communities of color.” They offer internship and volunteer opportunities.
  • IRCO, or the Immigrant and Refugee Community, “serves the holistic needs of immigrants, refugees, and mainstream community members in Oregon and SW Washington.” Among other services, they offer employment programs, career training and credentialing programs, and connections with internship opportunities.
  • Momentum Alliance is a youth-led alliance offering free programs around educational and job support, leadership, and advocacy to young people (including college-aged) who want to engage in the field of social justice.

Identity-specific resources: African-American and Black

  • The Portland African American Leadership Forum helps our Black community imagine the alternatives we deserve and build our political participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives.” Their work includes leadership, environmental justice, community strengthening, and more.
  • The National Black MBA Association is an organization dedicated to creating educational opportunities and economic growth for Black professionals. They offer members a multitude of resources, including networking, mentorship, graduate program preparation, conferences, financial education, and more.
  • The Black Career Women’s Network is a national organization dedicated to supporting Black women in their careers through mentoring, networking, coaching, career resources, job listings, and the development of online and local communities.
  • The Black United Fund of Oregon aims “to assist in the social and economic development of Oregon's low-income communities and to contribute to a broader understanding of ethnic and culturally diverse groups” and offers programs such as scholarships, mentoring, and workshops.
  • African Youth & Community Org., or AYCO, is a Portland-based organization serving African immigrants and refugees to the Portland area, offering mentorship, cultural brokering, trainings with mainstream institutions, and more.
  • The Urban League of Portland is a North Portland nonprofit whose stated mission is “to empower African Americans and other Oregonians to achieve equality in education, employment, and economic security.” Also check out their Young Professionals branch.
  • The National Association of Black Journalists may be a good place to start if journalism is your career goal.
  • The National Society of Black Engineers is precisely what it sounds like, and offers tons of scholarships, programs, and support for black aspiring engineers.
  • Black Enterprise is a media firm and wealth-building resource for African Americans that provides business information and advice, as well as annual conferences.
  • BlackWorld Career Center is a job listing site specifically for Black job seekers. Their website also offers resources such as resume advice, interview skills, salary assessment, and more.

Identity-specific resources: Asian and Pacific Islander

  • APANO, the Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, is “Oregon’s leading Asian and Pacific Islander grassroots advocacy organization,” “uniting Asians and Pacific Islanders to achieve social justice… through empowering, organizing and advocating with our communities.”
  • Asian American Economic Development is “a full service 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to economic self-help for Asian Americans and others.” They offer workshops, seminars, career fairs, career consultation, and more.
  • The National Association of Asian American Professionals “is a non-profit organization that cultivates and empowers Asian & Pacific Islander leaders through professional development, community service, and networking.” They organize events like panels, workshops, and seminars, as well as web-based sessions and networking.
  • The Asian American Journalists Association may be useful if you’re an aspiring journalist.
  • The Asian Career Network pairs Asian job-seekers with employers who are seeking to hire them.
  • The Asian American Advertising Federation, or 3AF, aims to “advance the Asian American marketing and advertising industry.”
  • The Asian American Professional Association offers mentorship and leadership training programs” to inspire, develop, and promote Asian American and minority professionals to maximize their leadership potential.”
  • The Asian American Architects/Engineers Association, or AAa/e, exists to help Asian Americans in that field with networking and professional growth.
  • The Asian American Government Executives Network aims “to promote, expand, and support Asian American and Pacific Islander leadership in government.”
  • Ascend is the largest nonprofit Pan-Asian organization for business professionals in North America, and offers opportunities and services specifically for college students.
  • Asian Women In Business aims to help Asian women entrepreneurs and professionals.
  • Finally, check out the National Council of Asian Pacific Americans’ list of coalition members for way more groups you may be interested int!

Identity-specific resources: Hispanic and Latino

  • The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Internship Program offers internships for Hispanic and Latino undergraduate students to gain legislative experience in Washington, D.C.
  • The Association of Latino Professionals for American, ALPFA, is a networking organization offering regional student symposiums, memberships for college students, a career center to connect memberships to job placements, and more.
  • The Hispanic Alliance for Career Enhancement “is a national non-profit dedicated to the employment, development, and advancement of current and aspiring Latino professionals.” They offer professional development, resources, networking, and an online job search database.
  • The Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber is an organization serving Oregon’s and Southwest Washington’s Latino population through networking, leadership development, a job board, scholarships, and more.
  • Hacienda Community Development Corp. is an organization that offers financial coaching, free financial literacy courses, and active credit and asset building resources to the Portland area’s Latino population.
  • Saludos is a job searching database specifically for bilingual Hispanic people.
  • iHispano is an online professional network that matches job seekers to employers who are specifically seeking to hire Hispanic employees. It can be connected to your LinkedIn. They also host occasional career fairs, and although none are held in the Portland area, some are held online and accessible from anywhere in the U.S.
  • The National Society for Hispanic Professionals hosts regional job fairs (although none are near Portland) and an online job searching tool.
  • Latpro, an online employment site with job postings and a resume database to connect employers with Hispanic employees.
  • The Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers includes professional and student chapters aiming to serve Hispanics in STEM.
  • LatCareers is a Latina woman-owned online career board to connect Latino/a job seekers with employment opportunities.
  • And finally, if you know what industry you want to go into, you might find Monster’s list of Hispanic and Latino professional organizations by industry useful!

Identity-specific resources: Native American 

Identity-specific resources: Southwest Asian, North African, and Middle Eastern (SWANA/MENA) 

  • The Network of Arab-American Professionals (NAAP) “is a nonpartisan, nonprofit, volunteer based organization dedicated to the development of a prosperous and influential Arab-American community connected through our national network.”
  • The Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)’s Anthony Shadid Internship Program offers a vast array of internship opportunities in many fields to Arab American students.
  • Also check out the ADC Career Center page

Handling Job Discrimination: Knowing Your Rights...

We at CLBR believe that in a perfect world, nobody would ever have to worry about encountering racism in the hiring process or at their job. We also know that that’s not the reality of the world we live in. Since there’s not much we can do to ensure that you’ll never face discrimination based on your race (or ethnicity, country of origin, or religion - all are protected classes, but to keep things clear and brief, we just say ‘race’ from here on), we’d like to at least make sure we help you understand your options in handling it. And a big part of that is knowing your legal rights. 

There are two main laws that apply here: Title VII of the federal Civil Rights Act, a federal law, and the Oregon Fair Employment Practice Act. Both of them make any sort of racial discrimination in hiring or employment illegal, and interpret ‘discrimination’ pretty broadly: an employer can’t fire you, refuse to hire you, deny you a promotion or raise, harass you (including offensive jokes and comments), pay you less, try to make your working conditions intolerable so that you quit, or treat you badly on the basis of your race. These laws also do two things that are less obvious: ban employers from asking any race-related questions during a job interview, and ban indirect discrimination. Indirect discrimination is an unjustified policy that isn’t explicitly racist, but that disproportionately affects some races. For example, an office policy banning employees from wearing hats or other head coverings may seem race-neutral, but in reality, it disproportionately affects black women who might wear headscarves to protect their natural hair and people who cover their heads for religious reasons. Since this policy disproportionately affects protected classes, and since it’s unjustified (that is, head coverings don’t affect an office employee’s ability to do their job), it could be deemed illegal if taken to court.

There’s a lot of overlap in what the two laws do - they protect you against the same things. However, having both is nice because the Oregon law can still apply even if the federal law is amended or repealed, and because the federal law only applies to employers with 15 or more employees, while the Oregon one applies to all employers.

Broadly speaking, if you think your rights under either of these laws have been violated and want to do something about it, you can take two paths: handling it through the legal system by filing a complaint or lawsuit, or taking another approach. In the former case, you’ll probably want to contact a lawyer instead of a Center for Life Beyond Reed webpage, so we won’t say much more on that. (At this time, we don’t know of any free legal services specifically for this purpose - if you do, tell us about them so we can add them here!) If, on the other hand, you’d rather explore less judicial options, expand the next section.

...And Using Them

Now that you know your legal rights, let’s talk about standing up for them. As we mentioned above, we’re career advisors, not lawyers, so while we think handling discrimination through the legal system is a perfectly fine response, we can’t help you with it. Instead, we’re going to talk about how to handle it within your workplace or potential workplace.

Let’s start at the beginning: with the job interview. Now you know how to identify an illegal interview question, but that doesn’t guarantee that you’ll never be asked one. If you are, you’re not required to answer. Maybe being asked the question turned you off the position entirely, in which case, you could just get up and leave. You could even consider complaining to the company’s HR department or reporting them to a labor board. However, if you’re still interested in the position (perhaps you don’t think the interviewer reflects on the company as a whole?), you’ll need to pick one of three tactics to respond with: politely declining, responding to the intent, or just answering. Politely declining to answer is pretty self-explanatory: it protects your privacy while maximizing your chances of getting hired. For example, “I’m not sure how that’s relevant to the position. Could we move on, please?” If you can imagine a valid reason the interviewer is asking, but you don’t think they’re going about it in the right way, you might respond to their intent. For example, you could answer “Are you Mexican?” with “If you’re asking whether I could serve Spanish-speaking clients, that’s a no, sorry.” Finally, if you don’t think answering would hurt your chances at the position, you could just respond. For example, even if the interview is for an internship at a magazine by and for black people, the interviewer technically isn’t allowed to ask you how you identify your race - but if they do, you might decide to just go ahead and tell them you identify as African-American, since it probably won’t hurt. All of these possibilities have pros and cons, so you may want to prepare a response that feels right to you before entering a situation where you might need it.

And what about after you’re hired? If you’re facing racism while on the job, there are many ways you can respond: getting a lawyer, filing a complaint with the human resources department, talking to a higher-up you trust, confronting the racist individual directly, going through a workers’ union if you’re in one… Which option is the right one for you depends on a lot of things, like the structure of the company, the exact nature of the incident(s), and your personal comfort level. One thing you can do that can be helpful regardless of those factors is writing down the dates and times of each incident, who was involved, and what happened. Another that’s even more important is taking care of yourself - talk to your friends, ask for support, and do things that have helped you manage the effects of stress in the past. We also really like the Glassdoor article I Wish There Were A Guide To Dealing With Racism At Work, written by a black woman - check it out! Beyond that, there are really too many different situations possible here for there to be any more broad advice - but if you’d like to talk through it with someone and get some personalized advice, we invite you to schedule with a CLBR career advisor on Handshake. That’s what we’re here for.

Grants, Fellowships, and Internships for Students of Color

There are a ton of opportunities out there that exist specifically to help students of color access and afford opportunities like travel, research, internships, attending conferences, and further education. Some of them, we partner with - check out our Fellowships Search Tool. However, there are so many out there that it would be impossible for us to know about them all, so we encourage you to do some Googling on your own. Most of all, though, we hope you’ll make an appointment or swing by to talk with us about your options. It’ll be much faster than trying to sort through them all on your own, since we’re already familiar with the options and can help you decide. Plus, we can help you fill out the applications to maximize your chances of success!

  • The Reed Social Justice Research and Education Fund offers funding to support unpaid summer internships related to social justice, and gives preference to students from historically marginalized or underrepresented backgrounds.
  • The Udall Foundation offers scholarships to American Indian and Alaskan Native students who intend to pursue careers in health care and tribal policy.
  • The Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowships offer financial grants for students of color seeking doctorates in philosophy and science.
  • The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute’s Public Policy Fellowships offer opportunities to learn about the legislative process Latino/a aspiring policy makers.
  • The Portland Leadership Foundation’s internship program matches underrepresented college students, including students of color, with paid internships at top Portland companies
  • The Gem Fellowship recruits African American, American Indian, and Hispanic American students interested in pursuing master’s and doctorate degrees in engineering and science, and connects them with top internships and degree programs.
  • Finally, The Office of National Fellowships has a search page where you can search for even more fellowship opportunities, including many that are minority-specific.

Non-Career-Related Reed Resources

Finally, we’ve tried to provide a pretty extensive list of resources here related to your Life Beyond Reed, but the truth is that your Life While At Reed is important to us, too. Although beyond-Reed-related topics are the only ones we can help you with at Prexy, we do think it’s important that you know that there are Reed resources that exist to connect you with a supportive community of other people of color. They generally fall under the Multicultural Resource Center, which offers tons of wonderful events and services for students of color, as well as a space to relax and connect. Reed also has many student groups for students of diverse races and ethnicities - you can see several of them on this list. Since Reed student groups, initiatives, and projects spring up pretty often, though, it’d be nearly impossible to list them all - so above all, if there’s something you’re looking for, ask around! And if we don’t already have it, you can always start it.

If you have any further questions or could benefit from some one-on-one career guidance from us, we’d love to meet with you. All the career advisors at CLBR are informed about and supportive of issues of racial equity, and have experience working with students of color. That said, if you’d rather meet with a CLBR advisor who gets it firsthand, schedule with Shania, who is a mixed-race woman of color, Hayden, who is mixed-race, or Charles, who is African-American. Call or click here to schedule an appointment with us, or drop by express advising. We look forward to meeting you!

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