Willie Poinsette is a long-time teacher, school principal and 36-year resident of Lake Oswego. She co-founded Respond to Racism, successfully advocating for the creation and hiring of a DEI manager at the City of Lake Oswego, and meets regularly with the mayor, city manager, school district and community organizations on issues of diversity, inclusion and racial equity.
Willie says, “People think ‘Lake Oswego: oh, you have money,’ but some of us don’t. I grew up poor, in rooming houses and low-income housing projects. I like to work in low-income areas and with people I can relate to.” Her passion is ensuring that people with similar life experiences have safe, stable housing options and other vital life opportunities.
Willie is a member of Ainsworth United Church of Christ in Northeast Portland, where the community is working to create low-income housing on their land. Her family includes her husband, Bruce R., and her son, Bruce A., who is active in racial and social justice in Portland.