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Aug 7, 2017
Public Lands Under Attack: Their History and Your Role Today
HatchLabs, 2420 NE Sandy

PUBLIC LANDS UNDER ATTACK: THEIR HISTORY AND YOUR ROLE TODAY Mondays, August 7, 14, 21, 28 || 7:00 - 8:30 pm

In this 4-week course, we will answer the question: how can we protect our public lands? From the Trump Administration to the Far Right militants who occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve in 2016, our public lands are under threat like never before.

To learn more and to sign up, check out the course listing on the PUGS website!

Instructor Kristin Teigen of PUGS discusses the course with KBOO's More Talk Radio:

Portland Underground Grad School - Never Stop Learning.

Sep 7, 2017
The People's History of Oregon (Portland Underground Grad School)
Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont
  • Thursdays, September 7, 14, 21, 28. || 7:00-9:00pm
  • Taborspace|| 5441 SE Belmont St
  • 4 weeks || Limited to 20 students || Scholarships Available

Whiteness and Power

Despite Oregon’s progressive and forward thinking reputation, our history tells another story – indeed, many refer to Oregon as the South of the North, as we have historically embraced segregation, exclusion and displacement. Through this class, we will look at how Oregon’s whiteness, historically and today, has created this reality.

Portland Underground Grad School - Never Stop Learning.

Sep 9, 2017
Class, Race, & the Urban Landscape (Portland Underground Grad School)
  • 4 Saturdays: September 9, 16, 23, and 30 || 10:00-11:30am
  • Location changes each week
  • $99 || 8 Student minimum; 25 maximum

From its foundation as a small, speculative settlement along the Willamette to the current gentrification and redevelopment controversies today, Portland’s urban landscape is ever-changing. Considering race and class in each gathering, this course will feature four walking conversations on the built environment of our urban landscape and how Portland came to look the way it does. Leave the course with a richer understanding of Portland’s history and the ability to further investigate how race, class, and urban development have been shaped into what it is today.

Portland Underground Grad School - Never Stop Learning.

Oct 2, 2017
Hip Hop, Spoken Word, and Transformation (Portland Underground Grad School)
HatchLabs, 2420 NE Sandy

4 Mondays: October 2, 9, 16, and 30th (skips 10/23) || 7:00-9:00pm
Hatch || 2420 NE Sandy Blvd.
$189 || Limited to 20 students || Scholarships Available

Do you have deep concerns about to social, political, economic realities we face in society? Are you concerned about anti-intellectualism and access to education that inspires critical thinking? What are the intersections between capitalism, the prison industrial complex, the military industrial complex, entertainment and dominant culture? Let's explore these questions through creative writing, an examination of history, Hip Hop Culture and dialogue.

Portland Underground Grad School
Never Stop Learning.

Oct 10, 2017
Labor History for Labor Activists - Class is Full
Portland Jobs with Justice

Portland Rising (Jobs with Justice) presents - Five Tuesday evenings from Oct. 10 - Nov. 7, 2017

     (apply by Sept. 18)   

• Session 1: Early Twentieth Century. AFL and IWW; Lawrence Textile Strike; Seattle General Strike. • Session 2: 1930s. Workers’ Self-Organization Before the CIO; Creation of the ILWU (west coast longshore union). • Session 3: 1930s. Origins of the CIO. • Session 4: Post-World War II. Attack on Labor and Labor’s Response; Retail Workers Organize; Revolutionary Union Movement in Auto. • Session 5: Our More Recent Past. Public Sector Unions; United Farmworkers; New Issues and Continuing Struggle.

Here are some of the themes that will be engaged across all the sessions: • Different visions for how to organize, what kind of organizations to build, and what organizing is for. • Unions as representatives of the broader working class or as membership organizations. • Different criteria for whom to target, whom to include, and whom to reach out to for support (race, gender, skill, and the role of community). • The changing nature of work, its relation to nature, and its impact on worker organization. • Labor’s relation to government, law, political parties and the State. • Different conceptions of leadership. Each class session will also have a cultural component, through labor song, poetry, humor, graphic arts, theatre, film, stories or novels.

The instructor Norm Diamond has worked in factories and universities and written extensively on labor and labor history. He is the co-author of The Power In Our Hands: A Curriculum on The History of Work and Workers in the United States and was president of the Pacific Northwest Labor College where he developed a program on labor environmentalism and trained workplace organizers. He is currently Oregon trustee of the Pacific Northwest Labor History Association.

The application process The class size is limited to 15 in order to promote active engagement among participants and with the material. Those who wish to take the class must complete the application form, between now and Sept. 18. The selection period will begin September 18, 2017 and end once the class limit is reached. Our aim is a diverse group of students in terms of workplace and activist experience. Applicants will be notified whether they have been selected for the class no later than October 1, 2017.

For more information & to fill out an application form, visit the class webpage: or send an email to

Oct 11, 2017
Racism and Buddhism: Understanding and Uprooting Unhealthy Bias (8 sessions)
Maitripa College

Making the Invisible, Visible: Working with Unhealthy Bias and Up-rooting It
with Jan Willis, PhD
This course will plumb crossroads of Buddhist principles and racism in the U.S., in our internal and social landscapes. The course materials will be drawn from contemporary film and documentary, hip hop, rap, and folk music and videos, multimedia coverage of current events, comedy, participant's historical research, and selected readings from memoir and critical race theory. We will intersperse discussions of these materials with exercises and guided meditations on recognizing and working with our biases. The Tibetan Buddhist tradition offers meditation and contemplative techniques for cultivating equanimity and other personal and communal resources, which we will consider in the context of contemporary social justice work.

Sessions meet on

  • Wed Oct 11 5:30 PM
  • Fri Oct 13 5:30 PM
  • Mon Oct 16 5:30 PM
  • Wed Oct 18 5:30 PM
  • Fri Oct 20 5:30 PM
  • Mon Oct 23 5:30 PM
  • Wed Oct 25 5:30 PM
  • Fri Oct 27 5:30 PM
Nov 1, 2017
Storytelling and Social Justice (Portland Underground Grad School course)
SE Uplift, 3534 SE Main

Storytelling and Social Justice: Telling Better Stories for a Better Future

Do you want to promote justice and inspire others, but aren't sure how? It starts with telling the right story. Sharpen your communications skills to make meaningful change happen in your own community.

Dates: Wednesdays, November 1, 8, 15, and 29 (skips 11/22) || 6:30-8:30pm
Location: SE Uplift || 3534 SE Main St

It's easy to feel powerless in our current climate: we hear heartbreaking stories in the media and on the streets, but don't know how to act. But what if we had the power to change the script and add our own stories to the world? In this course, we will examine how stories personally affect us and advance a better society. Cognitive linguistics research and social movements throughout history prove that stories inspire true change. By advocating for new narratives and making them visible to mainstream culture, we can call others to action.

Over four weeks, seasoned storyteller Matt Kinshella will help students flesh out stories of their own, understand the complex roots of social movements, and challenge preconceived notions along the way. His storytelling has elevated the profile of social services and motivated people to take action in their communities. Matt will teach you to tell compelling stories, and even change the course of history.

Nov 7, 2017
Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs (PUGS course) - advance registration
HatchLabs, 2420 NE Sandy

Mass Incarceration and the War on Drugs:
Understanding & Moving Beyond the Current Prison Crisis

Mass incarceration is the racial justice issue of our time. The U.S. incarcerates more people per capita than any country in the world, and incarceration rates are acutely and disproportionately concentrated in communities of color. What are we going to do about it?

Tuesdays, November 7 to December 12 || 7:00-9:00 pm
Location: Hatch || 2420 NE Sandy Blvd

Many Portlanders are free to close their eyes and ignore mass incarceration, while others must face the legal system’s injustices every day. We can’t allow this to happen any longer. In this class, we’ll learn the roots and real-life experiences of mass incarceration, and we’ll hear from local experts who have been directly impacted by the system and are working for change. By better understanding the history, impact, and complexity of mass incarceration, and connecting with those already working to address it, we can develop meaningful ideas to disrupt the status quo. We'll plan what we can do individually and collectively to join the movement to dismantle mass incarceration within Oregon.

In class meetings, we’ll discuss the lecture material and gather critical information to put into action. In the last two classes, we will co-create class projects aimed at disrupting mass incarceration at the local level. Let’s work together to end mass incarceration and transform our community!

PUGS Instructor
Nicole Lindahl has worked to dismantle mass incarceration for the past 20 years. Most recently, she earned her PhD from UC Berkeley researching the life histories of people who were convicted of violent crimes and served long sentences in California.

Feb 1, 2018
Crop Diversity: Change Your Palate, Change the Future (PUGS)
through SE Uplift, 3534 SE Main

NOTE: There is no class February 8th.

Agrobiodiversity refers to the variety of crops and organisms that make up an agricultural system. This diversity is necessary for the system to function, adapt to a changing climate, and fight pests and diseases. It’s what keeps our food growing.

Historically, we knew and used more crop varieties than we know and use today. A lot of that change has to do with our picky palates. In this course, we will explore why (and how) our current food system makes us vulnerable. You’ll learn how to cultivate agrobiodiversity through your palate, plate, and pocket so you're eating more sustainably and ensuring crop production and food security for the future. We’ll also learn about “gleaning,” the process of collecting leftover crops, and about gleaning opportunities in the Portland area.

Instructor: Dr. Neeraja Havaligi is a practicing agriculturist, educator, scientist and a life-long learner of the power of growing, cooking, and sharing food. Her background is in agronomy and plant physiology and her current focus is urban agrobiodiversity.

Feb 3, 2018
How to Apologize (PUGS)
Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont

Apologies have been in the news lately, but have you ever thought about how to make a good apology and why it's so hard to do so?

Join us in this one day workshop as we learn how to make a skillful and conciliatory apology. We will review recent high profile "apologies" (Matt Lauer, Kevin Spacey, Louis CK) along with examples from the past (Bill Clinton, Bob Packwood). In deconstructing them, we’ll identify the difference between an apology and non-apology and the barriers (emotional, legal, PR) to a good apology.

In the end, an apology is good when one shows they understand the offense and humbly seeks forgiveness. When we subject ourselves to another in hopes of healing and emotional growth for each of us, we’re doing our small part to keep compassion, justice, and grace at the center of our shared humanity. With that in mind, let’s ask ourselves: Who do I need to ask forgiveness from? And to whom do I need to offer it?

Instructor: Douglas Tsoi, JD, is the founder of Portland Underground Grad School (PUGS), a school for everyday life. Before PUGS, he managed a $4 million education and training program at the Northwest Energy Efficiency Alliance. Previous careers include teaching high school history and ethics, as well as being a intellectual property lawyer. A nationally renowned education expert called Douglas "the best teacher I've ever seen teach."

Feb 6, 2018
Portland's African American Boys: How to Be an Ally (Portland Underground Grad School)
through Taborspace, 5441 SE Belmont

Deadly police violence against Black men and boys sparked the #BLACKLIVESMATTER movement. But that violence represents a wider problem in American society: the fact that our national consciousness persists in viewing Black males through negative narratives. In this course, we will attack those narratives and ultimately become better allies to Black boys and men in Portland.

We will learn about the past, present, and future faced by Black men in Portland. We will confront society’s perceptions and biases, as well as our own, and we will consider how Black men are working to change them. We will also learn how to take personal and collective action to make a difference. In the end, we will be equipped to engage and support Black men without being another source of harm, and we'll have a concrete plan for moving forward.

Instructor: Justice Rajee is a program manager at Portland Opportunities Industrialization Center, serving Black young men on probation, and the Justice Subcommittee Chair for Black Male Achievement Portland. He is also the creator/host of the Ask Your Oldhead podcast.

Sign up here: