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Rachel Parra

Sacramento native Rachel Parra grew up in a bilingual household with six biological and two adopted siblings. "My mom is Caucasian and my dad is Spanish," she says. "I have an African-American brother." An all-state softball player, Parra married her high-school sweetheart and has three children, two of whom play on the little-league baseball team she coaches. When she started work as a bilingual assistant at HACSA (Housing and Community Services Agency of Lane County) in 2001, Parra saw employment discrimination at the agency. She took classes at the UO Labor Education and Research Center and joined the NAACP in 2005 to activate its dormant legal redress committee. "I lost my job when I began to advocate," she says. "They said I was involved with militant groups." Her job restored after she filed a grievance, Parra continues to work in a hostile environment. "My mission is bigger, to give a voice to others," she says. "My mouth is big enough." Parra organized the MLK march this year and is currently planning a three-on-three basketball tourney for late July to benefit the NAACP.

happening people

photograph and story by Paul Neevel

Eugene Weekly / 14 June 2007

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