Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 8, Kathleen Saadat

8 Jun

Today we honor a tireless worker for social justice and equality, my very dear friend Kathleen Saadat. Born and raised in Missouri, Kathleen moved to Oregon in the 70s. She attended Reed College and received her BA in Psychology there. She held several managerial positions with the City of Portland’s CETA Job Training Programs in the 1970’s and 80’s and held the position of Executive Director for the Oregon State Commission on Black Affairs immediately prior to her appointment by the Governor as Oregon State Director of Affirmative Action in 1987.  She managed the Youth Services arm of the Portland Urban League during the 1980’s.

Kathleen has worked in a wide variety of government positions and as an independent contractor. From 1997 until 2001, she was the Strategic Plan Coordinator for Multnomah County Oregon’s Department of Community and Family Services.  During that time she also continued work as a private consultant and trainer in the areas of human diversity and organizational development and as a motivational speaker. She currently serves as a Commissioner on the City of Portland’s Human Rights Commission.  Kathleen also needs recognition for her amazing work to fight HIV and help those impacted by HIV.

Kathleen is a member of Class VI of the Oregon American Leadership Forum, a 1992 Fellow with the Advocacy Institute in Washington DC and recipient of fellowship to Hedgebrook Women’s Writers Retreat and a member of the 29th Street Writers. Her list of awards and accomplishments is too long to enumerate here but includes being listed as one of 100 Who Lead in Oregon by Oregon Business Magazine, a Harvey Milk Award, the Bayard Rustin Civil RIghts Award, and a lifetime achievement award from the World Arts Foundation in recognition of her contributions to the efforts to “Keep Living the Dream” of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Kathleen is concerned with social and economic justice, what happens to our children, and with the issues related to world peace. More than just concerned, she lives and breathes social justice. She is both passionate and compassionate, willing and able to speak her mind clearly but also able to help people move along their own path towards understanding. Her desire for positive social change is only matched by her generosity of spirit. I am privileged to know and honor her. Kathleen continues to help me learn how to build coalitions and bring disparate groups together–thank you, Kathleen.  With love and admiration!

4 Responses to “Celebrating LGBTQ History Month: June 8, Kathleen Saadat”

  1. Didion June 8, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    You know, Michael, how much I love these accounts you do — your Hero and Bigot of the Week awards regularly keep me up to date with some of the best/worst events in the news — but I have to say that this is one of my favorite of your posts, ever. Maybe in part because it’s about someone you know, someone who seems to be best known within Oregon. But it’s also a lovely personal tribute to someone who’s remarkable, and whose name is now going to be on my radar (and I see there’s an interview with her on YouTube!). Many many thanks, MHS, for this lovely post.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 8, 2012 at 6:57 am #


      What an absolutely lovely comment. Thank you. When you come to Oregon, I shall introduce you to Kathleen. She really does inspire me.

  2. Nancy Campbell Mead June 11, 2012 at 6:42 am #

    Why didn’t I think to have Kathleen speak at the Unite Against the War on Women Rally in April? What an amazing woman she is. I do not think I have ever met her personally, but it is on my “bucket list” to do just that one of these days soon.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt June 11, 2012 at 6:44 am #


      I will have to introduce the two of you. I’m sure you all will love each other as much I love the two of you.

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