Meet your Smart City PDX Equity Consulting Advisors

With excitement, we welcome Alan Hipólito, Yvette Perez-Chavez, and Alyshia Alohalani Macaysa to the Smart City PDX team as Equity Consulting Advisors (ECA).

Each ECA brings considerable skills and unique perspectives, sharing a range of ideas for integrating equity into data and technology decisions. 

Alan builds community and environmental wealth through social enterprise. Yvette advocates for economic justice. Alyshia advocates for Black Indigenous People of Color with expertise in community organizing and public health.

The ECAs are collaborating with each other, our consulting team, and Smart City PDX. The advisors are subcontractors to Upright Services. They will provide strategic advising until June 2020. This advising includes short-term projects, policy needs, and long term program design elements. 

Alan Hipólito

Alan Hipólito serves as Director of Special Projects for Verde, a Cully Neighborhood-based nonprofit that “serves communities by building environmental wealth through social enterprise, outreach and advocacy.” He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana and his parents are from New Orleans and from Tamazunchale in the Mexican state of San Luis Potosi.

“Tech folks often talk about early adopters, those who are the first to see opportunity in new technology. Well, racism and inequality are the original early adopters, they take the first seats at the table anytime we create something new, turning technology into a tool that increases systemic disparities like poverty and environmental injustice. So, I am excited about the opportunity to learn from other digital justice and technology stakeholders, to share what I learn with Cully residents and other frontline community members, and to serve those communities by bringing and adapting Verde’s environmental justice experiences to these digital justice issues.”

Yvette Perez-Chavez

Originally a California native, I was drawn to the state of Oregon for its lure of giant green trees, rainy days, and rugged coast line. These were all landscapes I felt were missing growing up between the bay area and the central valley. I decided to make my move when it came time to pursue my Bachelor’s Degree, which led me to transfer to Portland State University in the year 2012. As an undergraduate student of sociology, I developed a passion for learning how to address disparities in our society, especially when it came to the intersections of race and higher education. I dedicated myself to this cause by becoming a Peer Mentor to first generation students at both colleges I attended and completing two years of AmeriCorps Service as a College Coach. 

As I have continued to learn more, my interests have expanded to include economic justice in addressing the racial wealth gap. I am fortunate that I get to actively work in addressing this issue directly through my work as an IDA Specialist through the Oregon IDA Initiative-a statewide program aimed at helping low-income individuals break the cycle of poverty through asset building. I have always had a passion for helping people and empowering communities. I enjoy being actively involved in community engagement. In my spare time I serve as a board member to the Portland Guadalajara Sister City Association, volunteering, getting outside and learning Oregon’s landscapes and meeting its people. 

“We are currently living through a time where we are witnessing the consequences of data and technology being applied rapidly and the impact it has on people’s lives. I’m excited to be able to apply an equity lens to the Smart City PDX projects in the hopes of making sure the programs are rolled out in the best interest for all of Portland’s residents.”

Alyshia Alohalani Macaysa

Alyshia Alohalani Macaysa (she/her/hers) is an unapologetic hood scholar, QPOC community organizer, and systems-oriented public health practitioner working towards decolonization in the most material sense of the word. Her practice centers on working with BIPOC towards unbound visions of joy at the many different intersections of life. This approach has led her to work across the workforce development, housing, public health, and tech sectors to uproot the many toxic policies and practices that drive racial inequities.

As a Health Equity Strategist and Facilitator, Alyshia has worked with organizations such as Oregon Health Equity Alliance, Multnomah County Health Department’s Pacific Islander Data Team, and Code2040; and serves on advisory committees with both the county and state. Alyshia also serves as the Vice Chair for GABRIELA Portland and as a Board Member for UTOPIA PDX - organizing with and for migrant Filipina women and queer and trans Pacific Islanders. Most recently, Alyshia has been named a 2019 Culture of Health Leader by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Alyshia received her degrees in Psychology and Social Welfare from the University of California Berkeley. 

“We can no longer tolerate the advancement of a digital revolution that further drives the racialized chasm in wealth. I see my role, my kuleana (responsibility) here, to assert that BIPOC (Black Indigenous People of Color) should not just be included in economic progress, we are the drivers of it (quote from Richard Florida).”

Next steps

The ECA group recently met for an orientation. We provided a deep dive into the history of Smart City PDX and current needs. Each advisor is now detailing the impacts they would like to create through their roles. We will be weaving together these impacts into their work plan. The work plan will outline and prioritize their work over the next 8 months.

The new group will meet and join the Smart Cities Steering Committee in November 2019. We will continue to share updates online at smartcitypdx.com and through @smartcitypdx on Twitter. 

Learning along the way

Part of this journey is documenting lessons learned and ways to improve this process. What would a second group of ECAs look like? How else can we integrate structural equity changes in the Smart City PDX program? 

Do we need to change the scope of the work for the ECAs as we learn more through implementation? Does everyone feel like they are being listened to and considered in decision making processes? Alan, Yvette, and Alyshia will help us answer these questions and more. We want to learn how to improve, establish, and share these new practices for change. 

Read more about the Equity Consulting Advisor selection process.