Inclusive Messaging Initiative

We advocate to involve and prepare communities of color for disasters and support their leadership in the disaster mitigation sector. We increase community understanding of health impacts of climate change, disaster resilience, and disaster preparedness. We do this by encouraging multicultural collaborations, using timely research, storytelling, and addressing communication gaps in advancing disaster preparedness for communities of color.      

In 2022 our United Way led a statewide research report to further understand what we are doing to support underserved communities, what we are missing, and how to ensure we are all prepared for the next disaster – our goal is to advance Oregon's culturally responsive communication efforts. Our research report is below:



A photo of Oregon and the counties affected by this initiative with the text Our comprehensive participant sampling approach ensured individuals and organizations involved in the funding, planning, decision-making, and receiving of inclusive disaster preparedness materials were represented in this project. With guidance from community- based organization and public sector partners, we engaged 120 participants

Every person should have an equal opportunity to survive a disaster. As we prepare Oregon’s communities to respond to increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters, communities of color deserve equitable access to linguistically and culturally relevant, lifesaving disaster preparedness resources. We must understand what we are doing to support these communities, what we are missing, and how to ensure we are all prepared for the next disaster.  

This report combines ten months of data collection, analysis, and sense-making. We primarily used qualitative research methods and relied on our project values to understand Oregon’s inclusive messaging landscape.



Educational Webinars

Climate Resilience for Communities of Color Webinar

Our team centers racial equity in our free educational and research focused webinars. Over 200 people have attended our seminars virtually from Oregon and beyond. We convene nonprofit leaders, emergency management professionals, community members, funders and public health officials to learn how we can amplify disaster resilience for communities of color.

In October of 2022, United Way of the Columbia-Willamette hosted a webinar featuring researchers working to amplify disaster resilience for Oregon's frontline communities of color. Watch the English-language video with ASL interpretation below, as well as a version with Spanish-language interpretation.

Statewide Inclusive Emergency Messaging and Preparedness Webinar

Research leads present their approach towards utilizing participatory, qualitative and values-based interviews, data analysis, and focus groups to better understand where gaps exist when it comes to accessible messaging and programming in Oregon. They also discuss the Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign as a best practice and how our state might transfer some of their lessons learned and materials. Details on the lead researchers, Nikka Tahan and Alex Fajardo, are below:

Nikka Tahan: Appointed by California's Office of the Governor as the Senior Manager of the Listos California Emergency Preparedness Campaign housed out of the Office of Emergency Services. During her time at the campaign she worked across sectors to develop, deliver and evaluate culturally and linguistically relevant COVID 19 emergency preparedness materials, reaching over 20 million of California's most underrepresented communities. 

Alex Fajardo: Bilingual emergency community empowerment consultant and Executive Director of El Sol Neighborhood Educational Center. Trainer and facilitator for Community Health workers with the African American, Native American and Asian Pacific Islander populations. Alex has trained agencies across the United States, Mexico and Japan on community health workers philosophy and he has presented at local, state and national conferences

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