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Illumination Project tackles racism through theater

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Twenty-one college students are using their personal experiences to engage and educate audiences all over Portland about racism’s effect on immigrants.

Portland Community College’s Illumination Project feature plays that address issues of oppression by presenting an interactive forum theater in classroom and community environments. The audience plays along with the actors in the productions, making it a hands-on experience that has helped better communicate their message. Performances start on Feb. 15 and run until March 7. All performances are free and wheelchair accessible. The Illumination Project is made possible through grants from The Equity Foundation, The Ford Foundation, and The Hoover Family Foundation.

Past Illumination Project student actors have devised thought-provoking scenes to combat racism in all forms.

For winter term, the focus will be on the challenges faced by people of color, immigrants as well as sexual and religious minorities within the community. The project is a program of the Sylvania Women’s Resource Center and is sponsored through the Sylvania Multicultural Center, Sociology and Theater Arts departments. The theater group aims to help students have a voice and channel it positively into an education framework.

“It serves a dual purpose of providing participating students an opportunity to develop skills as educators, activists and leaders as well as to educate students, faculty and community audiences,” said Jeannie LaFrance, program coordinator. “Student educators inform their peers about recognizing, confronting and finally bringing an end to racism.”

The Schedule includes:

Performing Arts Center Lobby, Sylvania Campus (12000 S.W. 49th Ave.)

11 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., Monday, Feb. 15; 9 to 10:40 a.m., and 1 to 2:40 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 16; 9 to 10:40 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 17; 11 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 18; 3 to 4:40 p.m., Monday, March 1; 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24; 1 to 2:40 p.m., Wednesday, March 3; and 11 a.m. to 12:40 p.m., Friday, March 5.

Cascade Campus (705 N. Killingsworth St.)

6 to 7:30 p.m., Monday, Feb. 22 (Moriarty Auditorium) and 9 to 10:40 a.m., Monday, March 1 (Room 112, Terrell Hall).

Room 143, Mt. Tabor Hall, Southeast Center (2305 S.E. 82nd Ave.).

1 to 2:50 p.m., Tuesday, Feb. 23 and 10 to 11:20 a.m., Wednesday, Feb. 24.

The Forum, Building 3, Rock Creek Campus (17705 N.W. Springville Road)

10 to 11:40 a.m., Tuesday, March 2.

Additional performances may be arranged for other colleges, high schools and community groups. For more information or to schedule a performance, please contact Jeannie LaFrance at (503) 977-8149, or Visit the project on the Web at

About James Hill

James G. Hill, an award-winning journalist and public relations writer, has been the Communications Specialist for the Office of Public Affairs at Portland Community College since November of 1999. A graduate of Portland State University, J... more »


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