Community Calls for Healing and Long-Term Change
The climate in Portland is emotionally and politically charged right now. The escalation of attacks on our communities and defenders of human rights place us at a critical juncture: a city in mourning, a state with a history of organized White nationalist/supremacist groups, and a nation with growing populations of immigrants, refugees, Muslims, LGBTQ people and communities of color who increasingly face threats of violence. We hold the families of Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, Micah David-Cole Fletcher, and the two young women who were targets of racist and xenophobic harassment in our hearts. We call on Oregonians to center healing and create long-term strategies to that will redirect our state towards a world where all people live without fear of discrimination, exclusion and harm.
We continue to affirm our support for those who have been terrorized and traumatized, and seek community-driven solutions to address the root causes of oppression. We uplift local efforts including; 1) ending racial profiling and establishing strong community centered police accountability; 2) ensuring all students have access to quality ethnic studies education; 3) creating safe cultural spaces for communities to gather, and; 4) educating to counter hate ideologies and indoctrinations especially amongst our youth.
Our communities are experiencing an intensification of neighborhood hate incidents, school bullying and threats of violence. APANO directly observed the April 29, 2017 White nationalist/supremacist march in Montavilla and Lents Neighborhoods along 82nd Avenue that appears to be part of a pattern of gatherings devised to incite violence against communities of color, immigrants, refugees, LGBTQ and Muslim communities. The April 29 march included known criminal and suspected perpetrator of the recent fatal stabbings on the MAX, Jeremy Christian, reportedly a long-time actor within White nationalist/supremacist circles, who regularly incites violence through social media. He was observed joining in and leading chants with Patriot Prayer rally organizers promoting racism, Islamophobia, white superiority and general fear-mongering - in part while brandishing a weapon.
These are examples of the ways in which hate speech builds a climate that enables violence, as was tragically evidenced by the terrorizing of two young women of color and the fatal knife attack against those who courageously took steps to disrupt and defend them from attack on the TriMet MAX train at 42nd Ave Hollywood Station. These same groups, some with a history of violence, are now preparing to rally in Terry Shrunk Plaza on June 4. We applaud the community and political leadership, including Mayor Ted Wheeler, who boldly called out the hate and violence in a direct and timely manner, that has now led to the cancellation of the June 10 anti-Muslim rally. Due to the time, place and manner of the event, APANO also calls for the cancellation of the June 4 White nationalist/supremacist rally planned in Oregon, including if needed, revoking the permits as they pose a real danger of violence to our children and families. We also urge our officials, business and civic leaders to:
- Speak out publicly and not remain silent;
- Resource our communities so we can heal and protect ourselves from further physical harm and trauma;
- Fully investigate and report back to our communities the actions of Jeremy Christian and any networks that enabled his violence;
- Engage trusted organizations in community-driven solutions to create public safety, ensuring law enforcement is accountable to communities most affected and not perpetuating racial profiling;
- Reject calls for militia groups to serve as security at marches
These times of fear and violence require us to reflect deeply on root causes, and is not an excuse to over-police our communities. May more Oregonians take action to interrupt hate and stand for love. In these terrible moments, we are reminded of our fragile humanity and the need to build institutions that function as systems of care and are focused on the inherent worth and dignity of all people.
Rev. Joseph Santos-Lyons, Executive Director
APANO and APANO Communities United Fund
- Kayse Jama, Executive Director, Unite Oregon
- Paul Lumley, Executive Director, NAYA Family Center
- Amanda Manjarrez, Advocacy Director, Coalition of Communities of Color
- Carmen Rubio, Executive Director, Latino Network
- Alan Hipolito, Executive Director, Verde
- Khanh Le, Oregon State Director, Main Street Alliance
- Lee Po Cha, Executive Director, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization
- Roberta Phillip-Robbins, Executive Director, MRG Foundation
- Shweta Moorthy, Researcher, Coalition of Communities of Color
- Katherine McGuiness, Board President, Network for Reproductive Options
- Amy Fellows, Executive Director, We Can Do Better
- Mindy K. Johnston, Vancouver Office Community Director, Lutheran Community Services NW
- Adam Lyons, Executive Director, Northeast Coalition of Neighborhoods
- Nkenge Harmon Johnson, Executive Director, Urban League of Portland
- Jim White, Executive Director, Nonprofit Association of Oregon
- Tyler TerMeer, Executive Director, Cascade AIDS Project
- Jo Ann Hardesty, President, NAACP Portland Chapter
- Prism Health
- Kelley Weigel, Executive Director, Western States Center
- Sisters Of The Road
- Katrina Holland, Executive Director, Community Alliance of Tenants
- Portland Japanese American Citizen’s League
- Rev. Cecil Charles Prescod, Minister for Faith Formation, Ainsworth United Church of Christ
- Rae Anne Lafrenz, Coordinator, Interfaith Movement for Immigrant Justice-IMIrJ
- Rev. Sue Ayer, Unitarian Universalist Community Minister
- Rev. Tracy Springberry, West Hills UU Fellowship
- Rev. Leslie Becknell Marx, Unitarian Universalist Minister
- Rabbi Debra Kolodny for Portland's UnShul
- Rev. Bill Sinkford, Senior Minister, First Unitarian Church of Portland
- Rev. Tom Disrud, Associate Minister, First Unitarian Church of Portland
- Rev. Emily Brault, Community Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Willamette Falls
- Amy Beltaine, Unitarian Universalist Minister
- Rev. Duane H. Fickeisen, Unitarian Universalist Minister Emeritus
- Rev. Katie Larsell, Executive Director, Oregon Unitarian Universalist Voices for Justice
- Rev. Marcia Stanard, Minister, Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Willamette Falls
- Rev. Richard R. Davis/ UU Congregation of Salem, OR
- Rabbi Ariel Stone, Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
- Lisa Hubbard, Organizing Director, SEIU Local 503
- Steve Demarest, President, SEIU 503
- Brian Rudiger, Executive Director, SEIU 503
Links and Notes:
Community Statement on May 26th, 2017 Killings by White Supremacist signed by over 425 community leaders and members.
Southern Poverty Law Center on ACT for America’s Racist Anti-Muslim Sentiment “[T]hroughout its existence, ACT has stayed true to its mission by working to advance anti-Muslim legislation at the local and federal level while flooding the American public with wild hate speech demonizing Muslims.”
For folks planning on attending one or more events (whether listed here or elsewhere), APANO wants to make sure you are equipped with the knowledge of your rights and protections. Below are a few resources for those attending an event this month or in the future:
- ACLU’s Know Your Rights, which includes a section on the rights of protesters
- CLDC’s Know Your Rights for Immigrant Communities
- CLDC Know Your Rights Powerpoint
- United We Dream Know Your Rights Cards in Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and English
Mayor Wheeler May 29, 2017 Statement:
“On Friday three men Rick Best, Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher stood up against bigotry and hatred. Two paid with their lives. A third was seriously injured.
Our community remains in shock and mourning. But we are also tremendously grateful to our heroes and their families for their selflessness and heroism. They will serve to inspire us to be the loving, courageous people we are meant to be.
As Mayor, I wanted to update you on a few developments:
1) I have reached out to all of the victims and their families, including the two women who were terrorized and subjected to such hatred and bigotry. I have offered my unconditional assistance and support, day or night.
2) I have confirmed that the City of Portland has NOT and will not issue any permits for the alt right events scheduled on June 4th or June 10th. The Federal government controls permitting for Shrunk Plaza, and it is my understanding that they have issued a permit for the event on June 4th.
3) I am calling on the federal government to IMMEDIATELY REVOKE the permit(s) they have issued for the June 4th event and to not issue a permit for June 10th. Our City is in mourning, our community’s anger is real, and the timing and subject of these events can only exacerbate an already difficult situation.
4) I am appealing to the organizers of the alt-right demonstrations to CANCEL the events they have scheduled on June 4th and June 10th. I urge them to ask their supporters to stay away from Portland. There is never a place for bigotry or hatred in our community, and especially not now.
5) I am calling on every elected leader in Oregon, every legal agency, every level of law enforcement to stand with me in preventing another tragedy.
6) When and if the time is right for them, I would like to work with the families to find an appropriate way to permanently remember their sacrifice and honor their courage. Their heroism is now part of the legacy of this great city and I want future generations to remember what happened here, and why, so that it might serve to both eradicate hatred and inspire future generations to stand up for the right values like Rick, Taliesin, and Micah did last week.”