Word is Bond, In my Shoes 2023: New Columbia, Saturday, Feb. 4, 1:30 pm


Sat Feb 04 2023 at 01:30 pm to 02:30 pm


Charles Jordan Community Center | Portland, OR

Word is Bond In My Shoes Walking Tour, 2023. Sign up for the New Columbia Tour, Saturday, February 4 at 3:00 pm. Led by Ambassador Girmy.
About this Event

About the New Columbia Neighborhood Tour:

We the North Tour

"We The North" tour is an invitation into a walking timeline that will display ways in which Black people have been and continue to face displacement throughout time. Historically known to be a neighborhood that welcomed and felt safe for low-income families, the New Columbia neighborhood has changed. Home to Girmy Kiflemariam, leader of the tour, will shed light on the ways in which these spaces have shifted over time. The tour title, We the North, pays homage to the pride residents of New Columbia, known to young people as "The Ville," feel about their community. Walking us through places where he would spend his childhood, where he spends his days now, and where he has noticed his neighborhood to have already been touched by the ongoing gentrification of this city.

About In My Shoes

Welcome to In My Shoes 2023.

In Celebration of Black History Month, we invite you to step into the lives of young Black men across the greater Portland metro area. Community members of all backgrounds and walks of life are invited to walk or wheel (wheelchairs and strollers; no bikes or skateboards) and listen to the narratives of the Word is Bond Community Ambassadors who are a part of the next generation of Portland leaders. A generation of aspirations, ideas, and courage. In My Shoes features uniquely curated walking tours of eight Portland neighborhoods where our ambassadors live. Each tour is unique, reflecting the rich diversity of Black stories and experiences in our community. In My Shoes presents an opportunity to listen, learn, and take action.

Each tour features local Black history and incorporates personal narratives, poetry, and an interactive survey for participants to engage with our ambassador and provide feedback and ideas on how we can make Portland a more inclusive city for all. Tours will take place each Saturday in February. There will be two neighborhoods featured each weekend, with two tour offerings each. This year's tours are on a sliding scale from $0.0 to $25.00 depending on each person's ability to pay. Funds will be going towards our Spring Leadership Forum to Washington D.C. and our Black Star Homecoming Expedition in Ghana, this Spring, and Summer respectively.

The walking tours serve two purposes; to create opportunities for community members to learn about the experiences of young Black men around Portland and create dialogue about racial equity and inclusion. And secondly, for our ambassadors, to become more engaged in their community. Each ambassador, in addition to creating their tour, is required to conduct a walking audit of their community, attend two neighborhood association meetings, and present their findings from their audit and community meetings to an elected official to help improve conditions in their community.

Each tour is one hour, followed by a short Q and A session. On our tours, you can purchase copies of our brand new poetry book, if I Ruled the World as well as Word is Bond apparel. Our tours are youth-designed, youth-led, and powered by Black excellence. Join us for a powerful month of storytelling, as we center the voices of Black youth. See you there!


Can I sign up for multiple tours?

Yes, you can sign up for as many tours as you like. Consider leaving space for others as tours do fill up. We also encourage you to donate for each tour if you are able as each tour has a cost for our organization to put on.

The tour I want to go on is full, what do I do?

Please sign up for the tour and you will be added to the waitlist. There will be cancelations and our staff will work to add new folks to the tours.

I want to volunteer for a tour, how do I do that?

If you are interested in volunteering, you can sign up using our volunteer form here.

How should I dress and prepare for the tour?

It’s February in Portland; it could be sunny, it could be raining, or there might be a chance of unicorns running across the sky. Please dress weather appropriate and check the weather on the morning of your tour. Wear comfortable clothes and walking shoes. The tours are about one hour long so expect to be on your feet and moving around.

What if I would like to make a larger donation than the $25.00 sliding scale?

Donations above the $25.00 sliding scale are not necessary but are welcomed and greatly appreciated. When completing the sign-up form, input the total amount of the donation when you are checking out. Alternatively, donations can be made through our donation portal here. Checks can be mailed to Word is Bond at 522 NW 23RD Ave. Suite J, Portland, OR 97210. All funds will go towards leadership programs to empower young Black men across the greater Portland metro area. Thank you for your support!

Who are the community ambassadors/young men leading the tours?

The ambassadors leading the tours are all first-year ambassadors in our program. This past summer they completed the first year of our Rising Leaders internship program. They have had training in public speaking, leadership development, community dialogues, and more. They attend public, private, and alternative high schools across the region and come from many different backgrounds including African-American and African-immigrant communities.

The walking tours are a requirement for their advancement into their second-year rank in our leadership program. After conducting their walking tours in February, they will head to Washington D.C. in March to learn about public policy and tour Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

Ambassadors are paid for their time and effort for this project through our partners at WorkSystems. Word is Bond firmly stands in our belief of no free Black labor.

What is the goal of Word is Bond?

To empower young Black men to their fullest potential.

How can young men sign up for Word is Bond?

Word is Bond serves young Black men ages 15-20. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in our leadership programs, please send our executive director Lakayana an email at [email protected]

For all other inquiries, questions, or press, please complete our contact form here.

Event Photos
Event Photos

Where is it happening?

Charles Jordan Community Center, 9009 North Foss Avenue, Portland, United States

Event Location & Nearby Stays:


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