In My Shoes Walking Tour of Montavilla

This Saturday, February 18th, the Word is Bond organization will host two In My Shoes walking tours of Montavilla. The month-long project highlights stories and experiences of young Black men across Portland and Southwest Washington. Each excursion is designed and led by a community ambassador from Word is Bond, with personal stories of the ambassador’s experience and the neighborhood’s history. Talks address race, class, community investment, gentrification, community safety, and equity.

In My Shoes Ambassadors, Noor and Mubarak will meet pre-registered participants in Montavilla Park at 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. for a one-hour walk through the neighborhood seen through their experience. There is no fixed cost to attend. Tours are offered on a sliding scale from $0 to $25, depending on each person’s ability to pay. This neighborhood walk is one of eight locations featured in this year’s 2023 In My Shoes season that began on February 4th and runs through the 25th. The Word is Bond website has the full tour schedule and links to other resources.

The walking tours expose community members to the experiences of young Black men around Portland, creating dialogue about racial equity and inclusion. It is also an opportunity for ambassadors to engage their community through tour interactions and a walking community audit. People interested in attending should register soon to reserve space on the Montavilla tour or one of the other remaining neighborhood walks.

Update – February 15th, 2023: Tickets are currently sold out but they have a wait list.

In My Shoes Ambassadors Noor and Mubarak. Article images courtesy Word is Bond. Portraits by Brett Brown

Eventbrite registration Saturday, February 18th: 1:30 pm and 3:00 pm

“82nd street” tour led by Mubarak and Noor will touch on their upbringing in the Montavilla neighborhood being Muslim and Black. Noor invites us into his perspective of growing up in a neighborhood he calls “home” while others call “dangerous” and the ways in which he reminds himself, his home is safe to be in. Rewriting a narrative that is often from a white perspective, we will hear from Noor the ways in which his neighborhood has lacked the resources rather than the safety. Mubarak being Somalian and Ethiopian, he will invite us into spaces where he finds windows of what feels like home to him. From the Mosque to a Somalian food spot, Mubarak will teach us what his life has been fighting against Islamaphobia by sharing with us where he has found safety from this hate and what he calls “home bases”.