Onstage in Portland Oregon: Decades of Forced Sterilizations

"Oregon was part of a nationwide movement of forced sterilization of men and women beginning in the early 1900s through as late as 1971. If you were on any government assistance, welfare, foster care, if you were a minority with potential of becoming a ward of the state your most personal rights could be violated. ..."

Decades of Forced Sterilizations Cast Ripples
www.portlandobserver.com

A play about the forced sterilization of men and women during the Eugenics era, especially for minorities and the disadvantaged, takes the stage for Black History Month at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in north Portland.

A secret with historical weight that continues to cast silent, powerful ripples in our community is told in the play "Perfection," currently on stage for Black History Month at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center in north Portland.

Oregon was part of a nationwide movement of forced sterilization of men and women beginning in the early 1900s through as late as 1971. If you were on any government assistance, welfare, foster care, if you were a minority with potential of becoming a ward of the state your most personal rights could be violated.

"Perfection" explores the human fall out of social engineering through the eyes of Anna May Dobbs, both victim and collaborator of forced sterilizations during Oregon's little known Eugenics era.

In 2000, former Gov. John Kitzhaber issued a public apology to the thousands of forced sterilization victims in Oregon. It was the first time many Oregonians had ever heard of the state's eight decades of participation in the Eugenics.

Thought state sterilization laws have been removed from the books, institutionalized oppression against those who are not wealthy, healthy and white dove underground and still influences social and political policies today. "Perfection' seeks to put a face and a heart to the continuing legacy of the Eugenics movement.

The play is written by Helen Hill, a founding member of Bay City Arts Center, a thriving arts center dedicated to supporting creativity in Tillamook County. She has focused on social justice issues for stage and radio for over 10 years.

Chosen by New York's Black Experimental Theatre to be part of the 2006 Core Project, "Perfection" went on to win the 2006 Radiant Theatre's Emergence Festival of New Women Playwrights.

The edge-of-your-seat drama is directed by Drammy winner Brenda Phillips and stars Andrea White, Habiba Addo, Josh Belville, Veronica Everett, Garfield Wedderburn, Alex Fuchs, Brian Kettler.

This month's performances at the Interstate Firehouse Cultural Center, 5340 N. Killingsworth are each Thursday through Saturday nights at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Admission is $16-$20. For tickets call 503-205-0715 or visit ifccarts.org.

http://www.portlandobserver.com/story.asp?record=9503§ion=Features

  • Lyle Courtsal

    Just found out about the recent forced sterilization of 300,000 indigenous Quecha women in Peru under Fuijimori. How’s that for completely insane, delusional, and fascist? Remember Vladimiro Montesinos; dirtier than hell and funding death squads with cocaine, ya know like toto constant and poindexter.