Rallying for Anaheim activists
SOME 75 people rallied together at the North Portland Police Precinct on July 27 to stand in solidarity with the people of Anaheim as they protest two police murders and to call attention to the racist actions of the Portland Police Department.
The precinct in the historically Black neighborhood of Portland, Ore., marks the beginning of an approximately 20-block strip where upwards of 200 arrests occur each month.
Demonstrators marched down Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to Going Street, where the week before a routine traffic stop lasted over an hour and involved more than 10 police officers searching a vehicle and detaining the four Black passengers.
Rally organizer Jo Ann Hardesty pointed out statistics recently released by Portland Copwatch; people of color are two-and-a-half times more likely to be stopped by the police and three times more likely to be searched than their white counterparts. The same report found that when whites are stopped and searched by the police, they are more likely to possess contraband items.
After stopping to denounce the racism and unjustified use of force by Portland police, the crowd marched back to the North Portland Police Precinct chanting, "No justice, no peace! No racist police" and "No more killer cops." The march was led by a large sign listing the names of those killed recently by the Portland Police, including Aaron Campbell, Keaton Otis, Kendra James and many others.
At the precinct, a speak-out was held to provide space for people to talk about their experiences with the police. Hardesty, a police-accountability activist with the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, addressed the crowd and asked everyone present to "stop, record, and listen" whenever they witness a police stop.
She also emphasized that the police use different procedures for their stops of white middle-class people than their stops of poor people and people of color. Knowing your rights doesn't help, she said, when the police already have their hands halfway into your pockets as they ask if you consent to a search.
Lobo Negro, an anti-foreclosure activist, also spoke out at the rally, declaring the institution of the police to be inherently corrupt. "Their goal is to protect private property," he said, so "their target will always be the poor." The change we want, Negro said, "happens when oppressed people gather to throw off their oppressors through community organization."
The rally concluded with calls for solidarity with the victims of police brutality and the recent victims of FBI raids of activist homes in Portland.
A second rally to show solidarity with Anaheim is being planned for Friday, August 3, in a predominantly Latino neighborhood in Gresham, Ore., at the Rockwood Police Station, just east of Portland.