The state of Oregon recently spent more than $80,000 in taxpayer money on a two-day diversity conference focusing on “white privilege” and “microaggressions.”
The event, entitled “Building a Stronger Oregon through Diversity & Inclusion” occurred Sept. 29 and 30 (a Tuesday and a Wednesday during the work week) in Salem, Ore.
Government employees from 21 different agencies attended lectures and workshops tackling topics such as “white male privilege,” “microaggressions” and “biases and stereotypes related to food.” Another session, entitled “Gay is for White People” considered homosexuality as a racial issue.
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown gave the opening address at the conference. In her speech, Brown confessed to the sea of white people in attendance that she benefits from the “privilege of white skin” “every single day.”
The Democrat also claimed that she knows “what it feels like to be treated differently and paid less — substantially less — than a man” even when she “knew” she was “doing a better job.”
Brown, the nation’s first openly bisexual governor, has made government-planned “inclusion” a focus of her administration. In April, she hired a new “equity policy coordinator” specifically to “strengthen efforts to address equity and inclusion of underrepresented groups in the state’s workforce.”
Getting ready to greet a packed room of state employees at the 22nd Annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference. pic.twitter.com/0SKriDpJPa
— Kate Brown (@OregonGovBrown) September 29, 2015
Information obtained through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by The Daily Caller shows that the state of Oregon spent over $52,000 renting the event venue and on other associated event costs. The venue was the Salem Convention Center, which boasts “stunning space, impeccable service, superb cuisine” and “a robust multi-mode fiber network.”
Oregon taxpayers also footed the bill for 16 speakers. The speakers received between $500 and $5,000 each for their presentations at the conference. The total cost for the speakers exceeded $28,000.
The weekend’s highest-paid speaker was Johnny Lake, an assistant professor at Northwest Christian University. Lake took home $5,000 for leading a 75-minute session titled “Bully Nation: Dealing with Workplace Bullying.”
“We know that our children often face bullying behaviors. But what about us adults?” a description for Lake’s session reads.
In “Unmasking Unconscious Bias: Microaggression in the Workplace,” attendees learned to “examine [their] personal lenses and identify if [they] are unknowingly a perpetrator,” and “to recognize and effectively and professionally address microaggression.”
Colleen Puentes, described as a “senior diversity trainer,” received $1,200 for leading the 75-five minute session on “microaggressions.” That’s $16 per minute.
In “The Color of Silence,” consultant John Lenssen lectured state employees on the “historical silence of white males, the resultant complicity with institutionalized oppression, and the impact on people of color and other historically marginalized groups.” The workshop’s stated objective was to “examine the personal and social responsibilities of privilege, focusing on white male privilege.” For the 75-minute workshop, Lenssen received $1,500 in taxpayer dollars.
Just weeks before speaking at the conference, Governor Brown had announced that Oregon would be sinking $250,000 of taxpayer dollars into a new “Inclusive Startup Fund.” The money will be divvied up among various startup companies. The startups must be established by “underrepresented groups,” which her office clarifies to mean women and people who do not have white skin.
According to TheDC’s FOIA request, 21 different state agencies collaborated on the conference, including the Department of Health Services, Department of Justice, Department of Corrections, and the Department of Education.