Yesterday morning Portland City Council passed its annual budget, with a $15 million cut for the Portland Police Bureau. This is the first time the police budget has been decreased and not inflated in years, but it is also only a 3% reduction to the budget, and it falls far short of the $50 million cut advocated for by PAALF, Unite Oregon, Rose City Justice, and other supporting groups including 350PDX. Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty and Commissioner Amanda Fritz voted yes on the budget, with only Commissioner Chloe Eudaly voting no. Watch all four of their statements here.
Three police units with a history of racial discrimination will be dissolved – the Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT), a program known for disproportionally targeting Black Portlanders; the School Resource Officer (SRO) program; and PPB’s transit police program. The budget cuts also includes relocating $2.3 million in cannabis tax dollars from PPB toward restorative justice grants, and redirecting $4.8 million to Portland Street Response, a program that sends trained mental health workers to respond to certain 911 calls instead of police.
This reallocation of funds is a big deal, but whether it is the transformational change needed right now is up for debate. Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, the first Black woman on City Council, and former NAACP Portland chapter president said in her statement that the cuts represent a historic moment for Portland, whereas Rose City Justice, the group organizing the nightly marches of thousands said that this is a move in the right direction, but it doesn’t go far enough, and that they’ll be in streets every day until their demands are met.
What everyone agrees on however is that the mass uprising of the past three weeks has led to faster and deeper policy change than years of less disruptive campaigning. When we show up in huge numbers day after day we can change things remarkably fast. At the start of what needs to be the decade of the Green New Deal, the movement for Black lives is not only a prime example of the type of movement we need, but it is also the crucial first step in an ongoing series of uprisings that will get us to a livable future, for Black communities, and for all communities.
Protesters Tuesday night on the Fremont Bridge (Dave Killen, Oregonian)
Here’s your 350PDX weekly update.
Yesterday’s budget vote was just one major change on the way to defunding the police and stamping out racism in all areas of our life. There is so much more to do, so go ahead and fill in our new volunteer form to help connect you directly with meaningful action at whatever level of risk, whether that’s showing up to protest, phoning the Mayor from home, bringing supplies to protesters, pressuring your workplace to be anti-racist, and more.
We believe that universal preschool benefits everyone. Because it’s free for every child, universal preschool addresses a fundamental social inequity by ensuring all children are guaranteed a strong foundation on which to build their lives. We also believe that raising the next generation is low-carbon sustainable work and so is part of our vision for a thriving future with a livable climate. Multnomah County can join other communities – from Washington, D.C. to New York City to Chicago – that are already benefiting from universal preschool. Help them get on the ballot today!
Check it out for the full list of resources for self care, community care, tackling bias/xenophobia, volunteer opportunities, and organizing during this time. Take a look here.
One of the ways we at 350PDX are examining how the dominant white supremacy culture in this country affects our work and lives is using this list of cultural traits, such as defensiveness, a sense of urgency, fear of open conflict, power hoarding, individualism, etc. We encourage you all, especially white folks and non-Black people of color, to read through these traits, examine where they show up in your own life, workplaces, and behaviour, and to consider the antidotes in the text that describe ways of moving beyond these traits.
We keep a list of anti-racism and anti-white supremacy resources on a page on our website that all our volunteers should get familiar with.
Check out this great piece from 350.org North America director Tamara Toles O’Laughlin
- Portland Black Lives Matter Protests
Every day @ across the city – details here
There are protests, vigils, and marches every day and every night, with the exact location and details sometimes only becoming available a few hours before. So please check the PDX BLM events webpage for the day’s events, and show up!
- Nightly march (usually) from Revolution Hall
Every night @ 6:00PM – 11:00PM – details here
Every night there is a peaceful march of thousands of people to support Black lives, often ending up in a park or open space where a rally goes on until late with speakers and musicians from the Black community. Most nights the march leaves from Revolution Hall (SE 13th & Stark), but it has also left from Jefferson High School several times recently. You can check Rose City Justice’s Instagram page a few hours before the march to see the march route. Generally family friendly and with everybody wearing masks for COVID. Fill in the new volunteer form if you want to join a Signal chat (a phone app with encrypted texting) with 350PDX staff and volunteers to get details on where each night’s march will go, or to meet up with folks to march together.
- Juneteenth Events
Fri June 19 – Sun June 21
On June 19, 1865, Black communities in Texas finally received the news that they were free. Juneteenth (June 19th) is a day that honors Black freedom and Black resistance, and centers Black people’s unique contribution to the struggle for justice in the U.S.
This Juneteenth is a rare moment for us all to proclaim in one voice that Black Lives Matter, and that we won’t tolerate anything less than justice. The Movement for Black Lives is organizing a massive mobilization this Juneteenth weekend. There will be a historic demonstration in Washington D.C, as well as actions across the entire country. More emails to come with details, or keep an eye out on the map.
- Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington Digital Justice Gathering
Broadcast on June 20, 2020 at 7 AM & 3 PM and on June 21 at 3 PM at June2020.org
This pandemic and economic collapse, along with the recent wave of police brutality and racist murders, have forced this nation into an unprecedented season of crisis and action. Much continues to change day by day, but here is what we know: this emergency results from a deeper and much longer-term crisis, of systemic racism, inequality, and a society that ignores the needs of 140 million people who are poor or a $400 emergency away from being poor.
Over the last two years, the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival has worked to lay the groundwork for a broad movement that could unite poor and impacted communities across the country. People across the nation are joining the Campaign to confront the interlocking evils of systemic racism, poverty, climate change and ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the distorted moral narrative of religious nationalism. They are coming together to demand that the 140 million poor and low-income people in our nation — from every race, creed, gender, sexuality and place — are no longer ignored, dismissed or pushed to the margins of our political and social agenda.
The link between climate justice, racial justice, and economic justice is more apparent than ever — that’s why you should register today for June 20, 2020.
Thank you all for the work that you do, stay safe, and we’re all in this together,
Ashley, Chris, Chuck, Dineen, Lucy – the 350PDX staff