The next market
The Rosewood Initiative will be hosting the third and final 2023 Saturday Celebration this week on Aug. 26th from noon to 4 p.m. at 14127 SE Stark St. in Portland.
This story was co-authored by Maia Wiseman.
An East Portland Saturday market creates a safe, welcoming, supportive and low barrier space for residents from all over the world to showcase their cultures and celebrate their heritage. The Rosewood Saturday Celebrations 2023 is an annual maker’s market and opportunity resource fair hosted by The Rosewood Initiative, a nonprofit community-based organization serving the East Portland community.
The third annual summertime Rosewood Saturday Celebrations looks a little different this year at The Rosewood Initiative’s new location, but the sense of community remains the same. The Rosewood Initiative moved to 14127 SE Stark St. in Portland last year with a big plan and vision for the future of the community gathering space.
The Rosewood Saturday Celebration hosts various local vendors, music, food and free face painting. The market has an engaging and festive atmosphere for attendees. Additionally, the resource fair provides residents and vendors with access to a diverse range of resources. Family of Friends Mentoring, Latino Network: Juntos Aprendemos, East County Bridges, Portland Bureau of Transportation, Multnomah County Library and Oregon Department of Human Services: Foster Care are just a few who were in attendance.
Saturday Celebrations highlight the rich diversity of the community and remove barriers to participation for the makers and the community at large.
The Rosewood Initiative provides tables, tents, chairs, advertising and professional promotional photographs from FLI Social Creative Media for vendors. They also provide community vouchers called Rosewood Bucks, spent like cash in $5 increments, to subsidize the shopping for community members. After signing in, community members receive $10 in Rosewood Bucks.
“[Rosewood Bucks are] a great way to put dollars directly into the hands of our residents in East Portland and then increase revenue for our vendors,” Madalyn Bach, The Rosewood Initiative's development director, said. “It also creates an opportunity for our neighbors to connect and celebrate together.”
The Rosewood Bucks program received funding from Metro’s 2023 Community Placemaking grant cycle. The Rosewood Initiative was awarded a $14,880 grant to support the Saturday Celebrations. These grants support community-driven, equity-centered, arts and culture-based efforts that strengthen people’s connections to each other and the places they care about.
Tsering Sherpa, Rosewood’s Programs Director, views the Saturday Celebrations as a launchpad for entrepreneurs and a program that fits perfectly into their Economic Development Program Area. Sherpa says that Rosewood strives to provide resources that don’t exist elsewhere.
“There really is a gap, when it comes to providing that wraparound support for new entrepreneurs, especially if they face certain barriers, whether it be education, cultural, language,” Sherpa said. “The hope is, if you have a certain skill set, you want to become an entrepreneur, then we're going to be there from ground zero and make sure that this is like the perfect launchpad to get into bigger markets and have a full-fledged small business.”
“I love events like this that bring the community together,” Ruthie Rhone, lifelong Rosewood resident, said. “[I] learn about the different organizations that’s out here, and the kids love it too. I love that they have the free face painting and henna. I learned a lot about different organizations I didn’t know about, especially for the kids. They've got some mentorship programs that I didn’t know about.”
Veronica Jeronimo of Morenita Linda started her business in 2020, the same year as the first Rosewood Saturday Celebration and has attended every Celebration since.
Morenita Linda means “sweet or beautiful brown skinned” and was inspired by the powerful women in her family. Morenita Linda is multigenerational family affair.
The business provides a second income for Jeronimo, who also works as a Family Care Manager at Latino Network, and is a way for her to connect with her family and community in Oaxaca, Mexico.
In 2020, there was a fire at the local market in Oaxaca that left makers without a place to sell their goods. Jeronimo and her grandmother in Oaxaca saw an opportunity to ship the handmade goods to Portland for Jeronimo to sell. Jeronimo started with a box of just 24 shirts, and now, her double-sized booth boasts three tables of brightly colored embroidered clothing and bags and beaded jewelry.
“We really wanted to represent our culture. We wanted to represent who we were [and] the woman that we come from. In my family, there's a lot of women, so we really wanted to showcase that,” Jeronimo said.
Cassandra Meskimen of Beautiful Soul Cosmetics also started her business in 2020 during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beautiful Soul is inspired by Meskimen’s own history as a survivor of domestic violence and addiction. She said that self-esteem was one of her biggest struggles.
“I just remember back during my hard times in abusive relationships that the one thing that kind of got me through was [when] I would get in the mirror, and I would put body oil on and I would put body spray and I would fix myself up. And for that moment in time, I felt like I was somebody,” Meskimen said.
Meskimen grew alarmed when she saw the statistics for domestic violence start to increase, and not only for women and children she says, but also for the LGBTQIA+ community.
She decided to create her line of body oils, lip glosses and lotions. Her goal is to help others build self-esteem and self-confidence. The store mantra, which can be found on merchandise, business cards, and social media, is “I am worthy, I am purpose, I am a beautiful soul. IBY (Inspired by You).”
“I believe in repetitiveness. When you hear something and you see something over and over and over again, you tend to believe it,” Meskimen said. “That's what the business is about, self-esteem and building self-love.”
Meskimen has also sold her products at the MESO Makers Market in Northeast Portland and plans to grow her business so that she can donate both her products and financial support to domestic violence shelters.
The Rosewood Initiative’s future
The Rosewood Initiative is looking forward to a new early childhood education center, greenspaces and a suite of classrooms and workspaces that can be shared with the community. Their new building was purchased in partnership with P:ear, a local organization that provides mentorship opportunities to homeless youth through various programs including bike repair and barista training programs.
A dream for Rosewood’s new space is to one day house a café in partnership with P:ear where parents can drop their kids off at the early childhood education center (at low to no cost) and then have a cup of coffee and connect with other parents and community members.
“The goal is that we’re providing wraparound support to individuals that’s helping them in the long term,” Bach said. The Rosewood Initiative strives to provide thoughtful, intentional, long-term care for community members. Rosewood employees focus on these values when providing various programs in three areas: economic development, community resilience, and health and wellness.
The new location has ample greenspace that the nonprofit plans to turn into a park and community garden to eventually host gardening classes. They have secured funding from the Portland Clean Energy Fund to accomplish this vision. Rosewood also hopes to partner with the Youth Conservation Corps to provide paid environmentally focused internships for youth.
Metro is accepting applications for the 2024 Community Placemaking cycle now through October 6 at noon. Up to $200,000 will be awarded in grants ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 and no matching funds are required. Ten to thirteen proposals will likely be selected, and grant awards will be announced in early January. Learn about eligibility, preview the application and see upcoming info sessions on the grant program’s how to apply page.