I support the Black Lives Matter movement, and I reject white supremacy. I respect and uphold the right of people to assemble and express their viewpoints peacefully - whether I agree with them or not.
I am very concerned that demonstrations in Portland are increasingly becoming more violent. Antagonists are not only threatening the safety of both police officers and bystanders, but also diverting attention from the vital Black Lives Matter movement’s advocacy, mission, and call for meaningful change. I support Mayor Wheeler and community leaders calling for an end to the violence, and renewed focus on reforms needed to create true community safety for all Portlanders.
Last Sunday's attacks on the woman outside 7-11 and the people in the truck were appalling, and as one of the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement stated, "The violence with folk who are not with Black Lives Matter are taking away from the narrative". I appreciate the Portland Police for making arrests and seeking suspects. I also appreciate the Independent Police Review staff investigating reports of excessive force by police officers at demonstrations. Violence is wrong.
It has been 88 days since George Floyd was murdered on May 25th, and 161 days since Breonna Taylor was killed on March 13th. People worldwide are demonstrating for racial justice, reform, reparations and more. Elected leaders are striving to work with grassroots communities to elevate prior calls for action, identify strategies, and implement solutions. Violence at demonstrations takes focus away from that work, too.
March 13th was also when Oregon enacted emergency measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The virus has disproportionately impacted Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) communities, and people experiencing mental and physical disabilities. Almost everyone is suffering financially and worried about housing and childcare, about jobs and healthcare, about managing the strain of isolation and fear of infection. Nationally, in my lifetime the debate has never been more bitter nor the stakes higher. Every day brings something new to worry about.
Now more than ever, let's strive to remember the humanity of each person we interact with. Let's remember people act the way they do for reasons we may not know, perhaps will never understand. We need to heal as a community and that can’t happen with continued violence.
Let's look for ways we can unite with love, and each one of us take responsibility to help ourselves and each other find solutions and relief in these challenging times. Hatred doesn't overcome hatred. Love and kindness can do that. Being smarter, acting more honorably can do that.
Let's unite against hate.