Thank you to everyone who has been showing up and taking action for Black lives. Portland City Council failed to pass the police budget yesterday (read more below) which gives us one more week to ramp up the pressure. Click here for all the events and marches to show up to, and see below for all the remote action you can take.
Over the last two weeks the demand to defund the police has swept the country, with an increasing number of communities advocating to take money from police and reinvest it in services like housing, community health, education, and access to jobs. In most cities, including Portland, police is by far the highest cost to the taxpayer, and has increased every year while other agencies have been cut. In the context of the renewed focus on police brutality and racism, as well as the coronavirus economic crisis, 350PDX believes now is the time to push for a large reduction in the budget of the Portland Police Department in alignment with PAALF’s demands. We’ve been getting a few emails asking about this topic, so we wanted to share a bunch of articles and resources to dig into two key questions:
What does defunding the police mean?
- Portland specific demands from PAALF and Unite Oregon
- Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matter – explains defunding the police
- What does ‘defund the police’ mean? The rallying cry sweeping the US – The Guardian
- What does it mean to dismantle a police department? – Video interview
- Alternatives to Policing Flyers
- Frequently asked questions about defunding or abolishing the police – MPD150
- Budgeting for Safety – letter to Portland City Council we co-signed onto on May 19
What is the connection between racial justice and climate change?
- Defending Black Lives – short video from 350.org
- What We Must Do to Dismantle White Supremacy – 1 hour webinar from 350.org
- Climate Activists: Here’s Why Your Work Depends on Ending Police Violence
- I’m a black climate expert. Racism derails our efforts to save the planet
- Divest from Racism, Invest in Justice [Stop the Money Pipeline]
Fighting for racial justice is a crucial part of the fight to end the climate crisis, but we want to stress that even if it wasn’t, the 500 years of horrific injustice against Black communities demands that we do everything we can to fight for racial justice right now. And if you need a reminder of that, watch this powerful 6 minute video of author Kimberly Jones.
Here’s your 350PDX weekly update.
Many of you may be feeling that you want to do more for the movement for Black lives, and so we’ve made a 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 support the movement, and more.
Portland City Council votes on its annual budget, including the funding for the police, next week! Can you email and phone the mayor and commissioners once per day until they pass the budget the movement is asking for? Click here for the phone and email info, bookmark the page so you can do it every day, and send it to your network!
Multnomah county also votes on its budget next week and provides a large amount of funding for the police. Demand that the City demilitarize and defund the Portland Police Bureau, and to keep the National Guard out of our community. Click here for the info. See PAALF’s demands here for more context.
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!
Yesterday, after 732 people signed up to testify, with around 730 of them reportedly in favor of significantly reducing the police budget, the city council put forward and voted on a budget that would shrink the Portland Police Bureau’s budget by 11%, or $27 million. This number is far from the minimum of $50 million in cuts demanded by community organizations like PAALF, Unite Oregon, and the Rose City Justice Collective (who is organizing many of the nightly marches).
Only Commissioner Chloe Eudaly voted no on the proposed budget, stating that “this moment demands bold action” and that we go further in defunding the police. The vote required unanimous support so the 3 – 1 vote budget was not passed. The council will likely vote again on a budget on Wednesday or Thursday next week, giving us time to ramp up the pressure on Mayor Ted Wheeler, Commissioner Amanda Fritz, and Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty.
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.
- 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 from Revolution Hall
Every night @ 6:00PM – 11:00PM – details here
Every night from Revolution Hall (SE 13th & Stark) 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. Marches have typically gone downtown or moved around NE Portland, and even took over the I-84 freeway a few nights ago. 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.
- Voices of a Hidden Empire: Panel on Militarism & Climate Crisis
Sat June 13, 8:00PM – 9:30PM @ Online – RSVP here
Join the Earth Day to Tax Day Coalition for their third webinar “Voices of a Hidden Empire: International Experiences of Militarism and Climate Crisis” on Saturday June 13th at 8pm.
They will be joined by panelists from around the world exposing the direct effects of militarism and the climate crisis, and how the US military is used against their people.
- Racism, Protest, and Law Enforcement: Historical Context for Contemporary Times
Thurs June 18, 12:00PM – 1:00PM @ Online – RSVP here
“Images of anti-racist and of anti-government protesters have filled media feeds during recent weeks, making us eager to consider the historical context for such uprisings. Bringing together scholars who have studied the physical and economic displacement of Black Americans as well as the Black Power movement and white supremacist organizations, including their interactions with the police, this program will offer perspective on the news of today.”
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