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Events to Deepen your Intercultural Connections

People-Places-Things has up to date listings on events in Greater Portland where you can develop your intercultural competence. Most events are free and open to the public, though we will occasionally list events with an entrance fee when particularly relevant.

We are proud to collaborate with Race Talks who provides us with lots of local events.

If you are interested in the freshest social justice updates, sign up for the Race Talks Social Justice Alerts Bulletin: Send an email with the phrase “Add to Social Justice List” in the subject line to

For questions or to add a listing, email

Joining the Social Justice Alerts bulletin satisfies a requirement for the English for the Community Interculturalist Certificate program.

Many talk about Portland’s “whiteness” – and it is one of the whitest urban areas in the U.S.
– Betsy Hammond: In a Changing World, Portland Remains Overwhelmingly White

Along side the whiteness, it’s also the 12th largest per capita refugee destination in the U.S.
– Rachel Graham Cody: Miracle on 135th Avenue

There are really two worlds of Portland – the real Portland, and the one that mostly white folks live in.
– Kiran Herbert: Portland and Portlandia, Two Worlds of Whiteness

If you’ve come to this page, you’re likely an English speaker with European ancestry who is looking to connect with people from another culture or language background. This is a good thing to do.  It should often be fun and widen your world view.  And if you are white and/or an English speaker, please don’t forget that your skin color and native language gives you more freedom of movement and access to resources than the folks you’re visiting.  Listen & Observe. Ask questions cautiously and respectfully. When you mess up, don’t just retreat back to your comfort zone. Reflect and continue to engage.

Below you’ll find three types of Engagement Opportunity. Most of them are recurring or regular events that you can plan for and most have no cost associated. Many of the organizations below also hold special events, so getting involved with them will reveal more opportunities over time.

Direct Connection

This type of opportunity will put you in contact with non native English speakers or communities of color. As an outsider, do your research, make a call beforehand and ask if it’s ok to come by. When you arrive, try to strike a balance between being obnoxious and being invisible. Be visible, but observe what’s going on around you.  This kind of situation can be great for language practice – but you’ll need to develop relationship first. Your experience will vary depending on your skill, initiative, and what else is going on.

Cultural Understanding

This type of experience will allow you to observe and intellectually reflect, but won’t require you to interact substantially with folks from a background other than yours. This is a valuable and important step towards developing one’s intercultural communication skills. Examples include Film, Music, Art, Political or Cultural Events

Support Ethnic Diversity

This type of experience will put your energy toward supporting organizations who work with immigrants, refugees, or communities of color.   This is a great way to have a big impact without imposing your views or unknowingly taking up space.  Volunteer your time, make new connections, and become a player in building a new, more welcoming America.