I’m starting this week’s newsletter sharing some words from local activist and teacher Suzie Kassouf. It’s a slightly longer intro than usual, but it’s important reading.
“Yesterday as I was walking home from the protest, I had the honor of running into Kent Ford, the founder of the Black Panther Party in Portland. We talked about what’s different (some) and what’s the same (too much). He told me that in his day, the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Panther Party, and the anti-war movement all eventually united for justice and we agreed that this kind of unity is what we need today.
It has been deeply moving and beneficial for me to learn from Black leaders in my city and on the internet these past few weeks. No matter what this movement becomes, it’s clear that it must be led by the most marginalized among us – Black, Brown, poor, queer, disabled, working class, etc, etc, etc. But if these are the only people doing movement work because too many of us are afraid to speak up and step up because, “this is not our moment” then the movement will not be sustained.
@dontshootpdx posted yesterday, “There is a place for everyone in justice work. There is a place for everyone because there HAS to be a space for everyone for us to be able to take down the system. ” and I COULD NOT AGREE MORE. There is no climate justice without racial justice. Hyper extraction of resources could not have begun without the genocide of Indigenous peoples and the kidnapping and torture of Black bodies, and cannot be sustained without the destruction of Indigenous land and miles of “sacrifice zones” in Black and Brown neighborhoods. There is no racial justice without economic justice. It is no accident that Black families own ONE TENTH the wealth of white families and that racial tensions worsen when material conditions worsen.
Don’t forget that racism did not just appear. You were not born hating Black and Brown people. Black and Brown people were not born hating ourselves. Racism was INVENTED to justify and MAINTAIN the institution of slavery. Black enslaved people and white indentured servants saw themselves in solidarity with one another, would marry and form deep friendships – and, importantly, rebelled and ran away together. Early colonial governments “solved this problem” by criminalizing relationships between Blacks and whites, punishing Blacks with severely harsher punishments, and giving whites explicit power over Blacks. These efforts succeeded in creating a multi-class racial camaraderie among whites, and, as Bob Dylan says, “the poor white remains, on the caboose of the train, but it ain’t him to blame, he’s only a pawn in their game.”
We are not each other’s enemies and we are too smart this time to allow ourselves to be divided. We have enemies: Wall Street criminals, Big Pharma, Fossil Fuel CEOs, a white supremecist President and administration, milquetoast neoliberal politicians in the Democratic Party, and, ultimately, hyper late stage Capitalism that sacrifices literally all human and environmental costs for profit.
We cannot solve these problems one at a time – they are all deeply systemic. We cannot end police brutality amidst the brutality of poverty and environmental degradation. We cannot end racism while our country has less than 5% of the world’s population but ¼ of the world’s prisoners and COVID deaths (not a coincidence). We cannot end Capitalism while huge portions of our nation believes that Black and Brown people, and not this exploitative and destructive system, are responsible for their poverty. Enough. We must unite. All movements for justice are one – there is no separation. Everybody has skin in this game and everybody needs to figure out what their role is in this movement and then PLAY IT with a full and brave heart. We are the ones we have been waiting for – the time is NOW.”
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.
For years, communities across the region have asked the State of Oregon to stand with the thousands upon thousands of us in stopping the Jordan Cove LNG project by challenging FERC, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (otherwise known as the “rubber stamp machine”). Through years of powerful grassroots organizing led by folks in Southern Oregon, and thanks to support from volunteers and supporters like you!, that pressure is now working! Recently, the State of Oregon filed suit against FERC, legally challenging the agency on the Jordan Cove LNG project! This is a HUGE deal, and the kind of action from Governor Brown we’ve been demanding for! Can you join us and our coalition partners in sending Gov. Brown a quick thank you for standing with our communities and challenging a FERC approval?
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.
Critical Resistance presents “Breaking Down the Prison Industrial Complex.” The videos in the series explore the current state of the prison industrial complex and how people are fighting back to resist and abolish it. There are more Black men in prison today than were enslaved in 1850 (source), and it is interconnected with the racial injustice of the police that we are currently fighting to defund.
In this op-ed, Rev. Lennox Yearwood Jr. of Hip Hop Caucus explores and explains why the destruction of our planet means greater harm to Black and marginalized communities.
- 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.
- Should Police Unions Exist? Labor Weighs In
TOMORROW Thurs June 25, 6:30PM, Online
Join members of Portland Jobs with Justice, the Oregon Coalition of Black Trade Unionists (CBTU), and other union members, leaders, and organizers for a participatory panel discussion on the existence of police unions, police brutality and Black Lives Matter. Discuss the possibilities for change that exist that hadn’t a month ago, and what role union members, unions, and the Labor movement can and should play in the movement for Black lives, and in the coming changes to our system of policing. Facebook event here.
- Estacada March Against Racism
Fri June 26, 6:00PM – 8:30PM, Estacada High School
In recent events, the Mayor of Estacada posted that he is not in support of BLM vigils in the community and that he would be working tirelessly to end events planned. As a response to protecting Estacada’s minority communities, folks will be joining PEACEFULLY in solidarity and speaking up for the oppressed voices.
- Arts Action during a Pandemic: From Virtual to Safe Street Actions
Sat June 27, 2:00PM, online – register here
Join Arts Organizer David Solnit from 350.org & Mobilization Organizer Amy Gray from Stop the Money Pipeline for an amazing arts webinar. We will share a range of examples and practical info for arts-based people power action for a Just Recovery with Climate Justice.
VIRTUAL: How we can still make art and take action together with virtual art builds, banners, song and music choirs and videos.
SMALL GROUP HIGH IMPACT ACTIONS: Guerrilla Projections, Street Murals, visual installations.
HEALTH-SAFE PUBLIC ACTIONS: vigils, pickets, demonstrations, memorials–how to organize to keep safe and make it clear that we can speak out AND keep each other safe. this is open to anyone! Activists, organizers, artists and performers, and everyone who wants to work together to protect our people and planet and make a better world. Share on Facebook here.
- Webinar: What’s at the End of the Pipeline? Online Panel from Coos County Leaders
Tues June 30, 5:30PM – 7:00PM, Online
On Tuesday, June 30th at 5:30 pm, join local experts from Coos County for an online panel to dive into the proposed Jordan Cove LNG Export Terminal’s impacts on Tribal resources, estuary ecology, climate change, public safety, and the fishing industry. This is an important event to show up to to support people leading the fight on the ground against Jordan Cove LNG and hear directly from them about how this project would threaten the local community and ecosystem of Coos Bay. Share with your friends on Facebook here and register for the online panel here.
- Youth4Climate Summer Camp (virtual)
Session 1: June 29 – July 24
Session 2: July 27 – August 21
Summer 2020. The world is on fire, and youth are on the frontlines of demanding change. In this pivotal moment in history, join peers in discovering your voice and your power – and take climate justice actions that make a difference. Connect with a community of passionate, like-minded students for a summer experience of active engagement and fun! Organized by San Diego 350, available to all! More info here.
Who: High-school students and college-aged youth (two separate tracks, by age group)
Cost: suggested price $50-$75 – no one refused due to inability to pay
- Reclaiming Connection, Backing Frontline Leadership: Listening Tools for White Climate Activists
Wednesdays July 8, 15, 22, 29. 5:00PM – 7:00PM – online
Racism, genocide, and other oppressions are getting in the way of a united climate justice movement. We are making progress but still struggle with these divisions. This interactive series introduces listening tools we can use to move against racism and to support each other as we take steps to broaden our movement, and to help each other improve our ability to form good working relationships across divisions of “race” and other oppressions.
To register or inquire, please email Margaret at firstname.lastname@example.org, or text 503-351-4192.
- Film Screening “The Condor and the Eagle”
Sun July 5, 4:00PM, online – register here
Join us for a powerful event hosted by the 90+ groups of the Stop The Money Pipeline Coalition. Let’s get together virtually to watch and discuss this award-winning documentary with the filmmakers, protagonists and key-leaders of the Divestment Movement. With panel discussion with Tara Houska, Bill MCKIbben, Bryan Parras, Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Janet MacGillivray. Facebook event here.
- How White Supremacy Built Wall St
Thurs July 9, 4:00PM, online – register here
The United States became the wealthiest country in the world as a direct result of the land-theft and genocide of Indigenous people and the free labor of enslaved people. The sale of Black bodies (and of the cotton and cash crops they were forced to produce) was not only critical to the creation of Wall Street as a financial model, but it was also foundational to the development of modern capitalism itself.
This webinar will explore the modern-day manifestations of that history and how the finance industry continues to use its disproportionate power to counter our struggles for racial, climate, gender, and economic justice.
Join Stop the Money Pipeline and Take On Wall St. for this in-depth webinar on finance and systemic oppression. Facebook event here.
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