The Portland African American Leadership Forum helps our Black community imagine the alternatives we deserve and build our civic participation and leadership to achieve those alternatives.


The Portland African American Leadership Forum envisions a world where people of African descent, enjoy the rights, resources and recognition to be a thriving, resilient and connected community.


The following values are based on the 7 Principles of Ma’at, the Kemetic laws of righteousness. Kemet (Kmt) was the name given to ancient Egypt by its people; it means “The Black Land”—a description of the fertile soil and the color of the skin of those who lived there. Ma’at are the values that guided ancient Kemetic governance and laws, a system that is thousands of years old. This maintained Kemet as a peaceful, productive and orderly civilization. Ma’at means the “way of righteousness” and as a leadership practice for PAALF embodies the principles which we set for ourselves and the promise that awaits us upon fulfilling them.


Truth is honesty, sincerity, and authenticity in our words. When we speak truth we are bonded to its wisdom and morality. Truth of who we are as Black people, our ancestry, our traditions, has been stolen from us, yet the truth of our bond persists. We will both reclaim and speak our truths as a people, and uphold our integrity by seeking the truth in ourselves and one another.


Justice occurs when one’s humanity has been restored, enabling equal pursuit of opportunity to fulfill one’s potential. To be just is to see the humanity in others, to honor it and to fight for it as if it were your own.


To act with propriety is to act with humility and accountability towards those we serve and
honor. First, we must honor and serve our ancestors and elders who have sacrificed and paved the way for us. We must honor and serve our children and unborn generations, and our responsibility to create for them a future that is better than our present. We must honor and serve our community, particularly those whose voices are least heard and hurting most. We must honor and serve the organization as a means by which to accomplish the changes we need.


Harmony is achieved when the diversity of our community effectively works together towards common goals. We practice inclusion; everyone is valued for their unique contributions. Our strength is in our ability to come together across our differences.


The practice of balance is not binary, it is multi-disciplinary. It is the effective management of the range of diverse characteristics, interests, and issues that we face. It is the ability to be nimble and adaptive. It is the ability to simultaneously see the forest from the trees and the trees from the forest, the short-term obstacle and the long-term goal.


To do unto others as you would have them do unto you requires empathy and compassion.
This is the glue that bonds our connections as a community. To be reciprocal is also to model the highest standards thereby influencing others to achieve the same.


Consistency, transparency, clarity of expectations, and operations rooted in the highest moral standards create the structure by which order can be attained. Order is preserved through personal and group accountability. Good order is the outcome of effective organizing and power building.


Black Queer Feminist. 

What is a Black Queer Feminist Lens?

The Black Queer Feminist (BQF) is a political theory and practice developed out of Black feminist and LGBTQ movements for liberation. Together, this praxis (thought + action) is like putting on a pair of glasses in order to understand the conditions of Black people and what we must transform in order to liberate all oppressed people. Lenses, of any kind, impact how we see the world. They magnify, protect, and clarify.

The BQF gives a more holistic understanding of our conditions and connectedness as Black people. As a result, we understand that liberation for all Black people can only be realized by lifting up the voices, experiences and prioritizing the issues of historically silenced and vulnerable groups within Black communities – specifically, queer, trans and GNC, femme, poor, disabled, working and undocumented people. Simply put, it means that as organizers we have to take Fannie Lou Hamer’s words seriously: “Nobody is free until everybody is free.”

- language courtesy of BYP100.