While there are so many people, organizations, and artists in our community who are worthy of recognition, at the 2019 XRAY Awards we took the opportunity to recognize a handful of creators and changemakers who are helping make Portland a great place to live. This year we gathered on March 9th at Polaris Hall to enjoy some food and drink, take in live music, and honor a handful of folks whose work we’ve especially appreciated over the past year. Read on for a recap of this year’s honorees and the winners of our podcast contest.
Before we dive in, the entire crew at XRAY would like to extend a sincere thank you to those who attended, supported, or volunteered at this year’s event. The evening was so special, and we couldn’t have done it without each of you!
Photos by Nina Johnson.
DJ Ambush; Orquestra Pacifico Tropical; Fountaine.
2019 XRAY Awards
Presented by Thom Hartmann of the Thom Hartmann Program; Emilly Prado, writer/journalist and DJ Mami Miami of the Noche Libre DJ collective; Jenny Logan, XRAY Board President; Rukaiyah Adams, Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust; Cort Cuffee, Director of Sales at Sinclair; and Anthony Deloney, Director of Strategic Initiatives at SEI.
1. Democracy is a Work in Progress Award, Portland Forward and Honest Elections
Oregon is one of the only states with no limits on campaign contributions. This presents a barrier to so many who want to get involved, and gives outsized influence to too few. For the past few years, some local activists–who first came together in the XRAY studios–have been working to change this. These groups championed two initiatives to limit local campaign contributions on the ballot in 2018. Thanks to their work, not only did those initiatives make it onto the ballot, but they passed with nearly 90% support. There is still much to be done to ensure a level playing field in our elections. But thanks to these folks, Portland has made one important step forward.
2. Creative Crusader Award, NXY LVL
After the 2016 election, so many people were left wondering, “What now?” NXT LVL, a women of color led collective, formed to bring about positive change in a time that felt really dark. Maybe you danced at their rally after the Women’s March, or shopped at their people of color-owned business marketplace. Over the past two years they’ve organized events that not only helped people find community and comfort, but also raised money for social justice causes.
3. Stronger Together Award, Innovation Law Lab
Immigrants looking to make Oregon their home have faced even bigger challenges than usual over the past few years. Innovation Law Lab has been fighting for justice for Oregon’s immigrant communities by ensuring the release of over 120 asylum seekers who were illegally detained at a federal prison in Sheridan, and enabling widespread pro bono legal services to combat mass incarceration and deportation of immigrants.
4. North Portland Living History Award, Albina Queens Photo Project; Alberta Historical Markers Project; Albina Music Trust
We all know Portland is changing. Communities in North and Northeast Portland — including the very neighborhood that houses the XRAY studios — have felt these changes the most acutely. Thankfully, many folks are working to to preserve and celebrate the history and artistic heritage of North and Northeast Portland.
We were honored to recognize Joy Alise Davis for the Albina Queens Photo Project This collection of nearly 100 portraits honors local black women and femmes representing a spectrum of ages, genders, and abilities. The photos have been displayed all over Portland, from Wieden + Kennedy to the Multnomah County offices to the Old Church Concert Hall.
Additionally, recognized Zoe Piliafas and Todd Strickland for their work on the Alberta Historical Markers Project. Zoe, Todd, and team collected stories from past and present African American Northeast Portland residents and are commemorating those stories with permanent public art on Alberta Street, along with a video and audio series that XRAY has been honored to broadcast.
Finally, we recognized XRAY’s own DJ Bobby D and the Albina Music Trust for working to preserve the musical history of North Portland. He’s spent countless hours tracking down and remastering lost recordings from Portland’s jazz, R&B, and funk musicians of years past, and partnered with the World Arts Foundation to ensure that these recordings, photos, and interviews remain accessible to the community they came from.
Joy Alise Davis of Albina Queens Photo Project; Zoe Piliafas and Todd Strickland of Alberta Historical Markers Project; DJ Bobby D of Albina Music Trust.
Podcast Contest Winners
Presented by Keiren Bond, XRAY’s Community Manager; Portia Sabin, President of Kill Rock Stars; Brittain Jackson, host of Village Vibes Podcast; and Susan Newman, Golden Globe winning writer/producer.
1. Sh*t We Should Already Know Award: Gender Reveal by Molly Woodstock.
Educating the masses is no easy feat, especially on topics people think they have all figured out. This podcast explores all things gender while amplifying the stories of nonbinary and transgender folks. It addresses questions you might be too scared to ask, or don’t know how to.
2. Vigilant Awareness Award: Reflections on Common Ground by Jon Richardson, Manuel Padilla and Kristin Bayans.
A collaboration between Portland Art Museum and Portland Meet Portland, this four-part series featured immigrants and refugees sharing their reactions to a photography exhibit at PAM along with thoughts on building a new home in Portland.
3. Required Reading Award: Every Body by Daria Matza.
This podcast addresses pervasive myths about food, dieting, and body image. Impressively, it does so with excitement and compassion, and also with intellectual rigor.
4. Best in Show Award: The Future of What by Portia Sabin, Anna McClain, and Will Watts.
This podcast works to empower musicians to thrive in today’s music industry, even without a major label contract. From tips on turning band merchandise into a viable stream of income, to lessons in copyright law, this podcast provides answers to pretty much any question an up and coming musician might have.
Jon Richardson with Reflections on Common Ground; Daria Matza of Every Body; and Anna McClain and Portia Sabin of The Future of What.