Peaceful protesters continue to march in Portland, St. Helens, Grants Pass, Forest Grove, Happy Valley, Hood River, Monmouth, Newport, Salem, Sisters, and other areas across Oregon to mourn the loss of George Floyd and to advocate for racial justice reform.
“The killing of George Floyd is a stain on this country. To everyone who is hurting right now, I hear you. I stand with you. And I add my voice to yours,” said Governor Kate Brown. “As we mourn George Floyd’s death, let us remember the many Black lives that have been taken by unnecessary violence. And let us commit ourselves, and our country, to fundamental change. We must commit ourselves to racial justice. Words are not enough. We need collective action.”
Governor Brown passed juvenile justice reforms last year and has worked for justice reinvestment to reduce harsh prison sentences and reinvest the savings in crime prevention and drug treatment. She’s holding listening sessions with Black community organizations to gather ideas about how to make the most impactful, meaningful changes. “But we are only scratching the surface,” she says. “I was pleased to see several very thoughtful proposals for reform issued by the legislature’s People of Color Caucus this week. I look forward to working with legislators to get these proposals to my desk so I can sign them as soon as possible.”
Being a good ally, an effective activist, and supporting Oregon’s Black and African American communities means doing the emotional labor to educate yourself about how to be anti-racist. A great starting point is reading these Guidelines for Being Strong White Allies and this advice from activists, as well as watching this talk in the video below on structural racism, trauma, and violence, given by OHSU professor Alisha Moreland-Capuia, M.D. The book How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi is helpful, as is this conversation between Ta-Nehisi Coates and the author of The Color of Law. For resources on talking to your kids about race and racial injustice, this is a helpful roundup; the Coretta Scott King Book Award Winners honor outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults. In addition, here are the police accountability recommendations from the Oregon Legislative People of Color Caucus.
May 2017 Multicultural Day Training - Keynote Speaker: Dr. Alisha Moreland-Capuia from Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare on Vimeo.
Many Oregonians are asking how to sustain the momentum of this moment, and how to harness this energy toward making true progress. President Barack Obama offered this guidance: “The point of protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to make the powers that be uncomfortable. But eventually, we have to translate those aspirations into specific laws and institutional practices,” he said this week. “To do that, we have to know which levels of government have the biggest impact. Changing the federal government is important. But the elected officials who matter most in reforming police departments and the criminal justice system work at the state and local levels.”
Local action has a tremendous impact. Here is a list of resources of local organizations where you can get involved, take action, and affect change in our own communities across Oregon. There are many organizations working for this message across the state; here is a small sampling to get you started.
For additional resources, view The Skanner's list here. View a list of US Black-owned newspapers, here.