Big Stories: February 2016   
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Anna Whitlock
For Anna,seeing first hand as students gain
new skills and get the tools they need to live
crime free in our community is her incentive to
remain involved in the reentry.


Rebuilding Lives One Person at a Time

    “I’m very proud of my guys.” That’s what Sgt. Anna Whitlock calls her clients – “my guys.” Anna has served with the Sheriff’s Office Parole & Probation Division since 2000 and she considers her work a calling.
    Throughout the Parole & Probation office are plaques with the motto, “HOPE to change. COURAGE to make it happen. DETERMINATION to follow through.” These are the values Anna encourages her clients with every day.
    She says of her work, “There is hope. They can turn their lives around. I’ve seen it many times. That’s what’s really encouraging, that’s the best reward I can ever have.”
    Since 2010 Anna has been assigned to the Sheriff’s Office Transitional Services Unit working with offenders reentering our community from prison. Until she was promoted to sergeant almost a year ago, Anna served in the Student Opportunity for Achieving Results or SOAR program. Now she supervises that program.
    SOAR is an intensive 12-week program on the Chemeketa Community College campus that combines post-prison supervision with cognitive and motivational programs, parenting classes, substance abuse treatment, and employment services. Most importantly clients lose the label of “offender” and become “students.”
    “At the start of each class, I tell the students how brave they are,” said Anna. “We’re asking them to trust us and it’s brave to trust.” There are a lot of expectations of SOAR participants. In addition to meeting conditions of supervision and class work, students are expected to deeply examine their behaviors and past choices to change their future by changing the way they think and react to outside influences. She knows clients are sometimes reluctant going in. They don’t know what to expect and may not have had good relationships with their parole officers in the past.
    For Anna, seeing first hand as students gain new skills and get the tools they need to live crime free in our community is her incentive to remain involved in the reentry program. She says she’s never made it through a SOAR graduation without crying. For some participants completing SOAR is their first certificate or graduation of any kind and often their first hug from a parole officer. The program is paying off. Marion County has made great strides in promoting successful prisoner reentry, reducing the overall recidivism rate from 36 percent in 2002 to a low of 14 percent in 2014.
    Helping people change their lives is what drives Anna. “If we improve the lives of our clients, we improve the lives of so many other people. This ultimately makes our community better,” she said. The real payoff for the community is former prisoners who gain employment, maintain sobriety, reunite with their children, obtain stable housing, and become productive citizens who give back.
    Anna considers the extensive community support a big part of what has made SOAR and the entire reentry program successful. “Prison costs a lot of money. We’ve had to be proactive and willing to try something different. It’s gratifying that Marion County’s leaders have led the charge to change how we do things, because change isn’t always easy.” Just ask her guys.
    Anna gives considerable credit to Sheriff Jason Myers, Parole & Probation Division Commander Jeff Wood, the Board of Commissioners, local non-profits, businesses, and community leaders who have stepped up to create proactive policies, raise money, and bring attention to the issue of prisoner reentry, “A big part of our success is that the people involved really believe in what we’re doing,” she added.
    Anna is especially appreciative of encouragement throughout her career to learn and grow in her profession. “Marion County has great leadership. They’ve allowed me to grow tremendously. My supervisors always pushed me; they saw I could do more.” It’s part of what made her want to become a supervisor. Anna came to Marion County from Sweden. She first came to Salem to visit a friend and ended up staying. “It’s the perfect small city,” she said. As a young women she had an interest in law enforcement and psychology, although had never pursued either profession. As a volunteer in a program for at-risk youth she toured the Parole & Probation office and was hooked.
    In 2000 Anna started as a volunteer, eventually becoming a paid intern and knew it was the right fit. While she knew she wanted to stay, she had some work to do. To meet the qualifications of a full-time Deputy Sheriff, Anna had to gain experience in the field and become a U.S. citizen – her green card wasn’t enough. She did both and was hired as a full-time deputy in 2004.
    “As a Parole & Probation officer I get to do a little bit of everything. You’re part police officer, part counselor and you get to build a rapport with your clients,” said Anna. She recognizes that holding people accountable is a big part of the job; but, she also says you have to be present for people. Really listen and let them know you care. That’s how you reach people, “You can always make someone feel important; even for just a little bit.”
    So what do Anna’s guys say about her and the SOAR program? It’s all good. After completing the program, many have continued their education, gained employment, and built positive relationships with their families. Two are working toward becoming drug and alcohol counselors. Most say they couldn’t have done it without SOAR and, for many, Anna’s name is synonymous with SOAR.
    Damon, one of Anna’s former clients, recounted his experience with Anna and the SOAR program during an annual “Giving People a Second Chance” community breakfast. He said, “When I first met Anna Whitlock she said I had the biggest case file she had ever seen. So we really had our work cut out for us. But we never gave up and she never gave up on me.” Anna had tears in her eyes and so did everyone else.
    No story about Anna’s influence in the SOAR program would be complete without talking about Joshua. You see, Joshua had initially turned Anna down and had no interest in SOAR. About three months after his release from prison he ran into a friend while at Chemeketa Community College and was reintroduced to SOAR and Anna. He signed up for SOAR that day and successfully completed the program. Although he’s been off supervision for more than eighteen months, he is still in regular contact with Anna. In fact, she attended his wedding last spring. There is no doubt; Joshua is still one of “her guys.”


Minoru Yasui's Presidential Medal Of Freedom
Oregon Hero's Medal To Be Displayed In Salem & Portland

He made national history by
challenging the constitutionality
of the military curfew imposed on
Japanese American citizens
in World War II.

    The Presidential Medal of Freedom, posthumously awarded to Oregonian Minoru Yasui (1916-1986) by President Obama at a White House ceremony on November 24, 2015, will be on display in both Salem and Portland this February. The Oregon Historical Society is sponsoring the exhibit, in partnership with the Minoru Yasui Tribute Committee and the Oregon Nikkei Endowment.
    The Medal will be on display at the Oregon State Capitol on Monday, February 1, 2016 from 9am to 5pm for the opening of the 2016 Legislative Session. The Medal will then be on exhibit at the Oregon Historical Society (1200 SW Park Ave., Portland) from February 2 through 19, 2016.
    "Minoru Yasui was truly one of Oregon's most courageous and historic figures," said OHS Executive Director Kerry Tymchuk. "The Presidential Medal of Freedom is a fitting tribute to his remarkable life and legacy, and we are honored that the Yasui family is allowing us to share it with the public."
    Created through an Executive Order signed by President John F. Kennedy in 1963, the Presidential Medal of Freedom is bestowed by the President of the United States and is our country's highest civilian award. The Hood River native is the first Oregonian to receive this honor.
    In announcing Yasui's selection, the White House Press Office stated, "Minoru Yasui was a civil and human rights leader known for his continuous defense of the ideals of democracy embodied in our Constitution. Yasui challenged the constitutionality of a military curfew ordered during World War II on the grounds of racial discrimination, and spent nine months in solitary confinement during the subsequent legal battle. In 1943, the Supreme Court upheld the military curfew order."
    During the awards presentation, President Obama said "Today Min's legacy has never been more important. It is a call to our national conscience, a reminder of our enduring obligation to be the land of the free, and the home of the brave, an America worthy of his sacrifices." A biography of Yasui is available on The Oregon Encyclopedia and an abridged biography is included below. The Oregon Encyclopedia is an online resource for information on the state's significant people, places, events, and institutions. Additionally, the Oregon Historical Society contains extensive manuscripts and artifacts from the Yasui family. Items from the collection will accompany the display of the medal at the Oregon Historical Society.
    The Oregon Historical Society's museum (1200 SW Park Ave., Portland) is open daily, 10am -- 5pm (12pm -- 5pm Sundays), and the research library is open on Tuesdays from 1pm -- 5pm, and Wednesday through Saturday from 10am -- 5pm. Admission is free every day to members and Multnomah County residents; general admission is $11 and includes access to both the museum and library.

About Minoru Yasui

   Minoru Yasui, the first Japanese American to graduate from the University of Oregon School of Law and the first to become a member of the Oregon Bar, was born in Hood River, Oregon, in 1916. He made national history by challenging the constitutionality of the military curfew imposed on Japanese American citizens in World War II.
    Following the signing of Executive Order 9066 by President Franklin Roosevelt on February 19, 1942, the military imposed a curfew that ordered all German nationals, Italian nationals, and persons of Japanese ancestry to remain in their homes between the hours of 8pm and 6am. Yasui believed that the military orders were unconstitutional as applied to U.S. citizens and that the constitutional rights of Japanese Americans would be upheld by the courts. On March 28, 1942, he walked the streets of Portland to intentionally violate the military curfew, which eventually led to his arrest and trial. He was sentenced to one year in prison and a fine of $5,000. Yasui appealed his case. He spent nine months in solitary confinement at the Multnomah County jail as his case wound its way from the lower courts to the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June 1943 ruled that while Yasui did not lose his U.S. citizenship, his rights could be overridden--based on race--in time of war. Yasui was s ent to the Minidoka Relocation Center in Idaho, where he remained incarcerated until mid-1944.
    In 1981, Yasui was named chair of the Japanese American Citizens League committee on the wrongful imprisonment of Japanese Americans in World War II. He successfully filed appeals to the district court to vacate his conviction, but he also requested that the court recognize that the incarceration of 120,000 persons because of their Japanese ancestry was unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the appeal was moot, affirmed the motion to dismiss, and dashed the hopes of many. The Yasui case was over.
    Yasui died on November 12, 1986, before the Supreme Court heard his case. His final return to Oregon occurred forty years after he had left, when his ashes were buried beneath a pair of giant cedars in Hood River. "It was my belief," Yasui once said, "that no military authority has the right to subject any United States citizen to any requirement that does not equally apply to all other U.S. citizens. If we believe in America, if we believe in equality and democracy, if we believe in law and justice, then each of us, when we see or believe errors are being made, has an obligation to make every effort to correct them.
    -- Written by Peggy Nagae

For more than a century, the Oregon Historical Society has served as the state's collective memory, preserving a vast collection of artifacts, photographs, maps, manuscript materials, books, films, and oral histories. Our research library, museum, digital platforms & website www.ohs.org, educational programming, and historical journal make Oregon's history open and accessible to all. We exist because history is powerful, and because a history as deep and rich as Oregon's cannot be contained within a single story or point of view.
   



Happy February, The Month Of Love
If you remain unconvinced, imagine a world without coffee.

Mary Louise VanNatta
Telling Your Story

    I love a lot of things about work, but what I love most of all is coffee. You can tell a lot about a person or business when it comes to coffee consumption; frankly, as a Scandinavian girl, I'm a little suspicious of a person who doesn't drink the stuff. Your harmonious relationship with coffee and those who drink it can create a match made in roasted heaven.
    If you consume coffee at work, you are in good company. According to the National Coffee Association's 2013 online survey, about 83 percent of Americans in the U.S. drink coffee, about three cups a day or 587 million cups.
    According to some recent studies, coffee not only keeps you awake, it might make you smarter due to the active ingredient that makes the world go 'round - caffeine. Apparently, this increases neuronal firing in the brain...(insert more science here) and possibly helps you avoid disease as it has valuable antioxidants.
    For the sake of frivolity, let's start with a fresh cup of Joe, some coffee personalities and how knowing these might help you succeed at work.
    Primarily, coffee is a hospitable liquid; it's a gateway beverage to a relationship. No one invites you out to "get a cup of ice water" or take a "Coca-Cola break." Coffee is code word for the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
    If you go to someone's office and they offer you a cup of coffee, they want to take care of you.
    If they don't, they're just mean people.
    If you don't drink coffee, you might be surprised to know there is a hierarchy of coffee drinking and people can be very branded. Knowing this will surprise and delight your supervisor when you show up with a White Zombie from Dutch Bros' secret menu.
    On that note, the "office coffee" just may not do it for some people. Store brand or Folger's blend may be in the budget, but it might not satisfy the masses. When you arrive late to the meeting with a grande nonfat latte, we don't believe your "traffic was crazy" excuse.
    You just won't drink the coffee from the staff room. Worse than coffee snobs are those who reject the beverage and do so with an air of superiority. I am convinced they purposely make weak or u n b e a r a b l y strong coffee as to punish us for our addiction. "Never touch the stuff," they say with a look of disgust. Fine, drink your leaves soaked in hot water.
    Managers who are blissfully unaware of office coffee wars can find themselves in the middle of an HR nightmare. Pay attention to the "coffee sneaker" who drinks the coffee without contributing $.50 to the Styrofoam cup. Or worse yet, the "good to almost the last drop" drinker who leaves just enough in the bottom of the carafe so he doesn't have to make a new pot. Poor coffee station manners leaves the nicest staffer cleaning up the drippy rings on the counter. These behaviors can surely cause workers to seethe silently until one day.... a caffeine-driven revolt against the perpetrators.
    If you remain unconvinced, imagine a world without coffee. Groups of sleepy, crabby people dragging around, not speaking to each other in the break room at 10 a.m. No purpose for dehydrated creamer or artificial sugar packets. So sad. Without a doubt, coffee fuels the joy of business. So to avoid any difficulties at work, I propose you reassess your relationship with coffee, a love affair may be brewing.
    Mary Louise VanNatta is CEO of VanNatta Public Relations, a PR, Association Management and Event Planning firm in Salem, Oregon. www.PRSalem.com or @PRSalem.