Our Stance on Nonviolence

This country was established on centuries of violence against Black and Indigenous people, and has been a violent place for them and for other oppressed communities ever since. 350PDX will always use nonviolent tactics in our campaigns, but we’re not here to criminalize or condemn those who use property destruction when they see it as their only way to push back against oppression. The real violence comes with the brutal police backlash, of tear gas and impact munitions, and the use of weapons of war on its citizens based on their own subjective biases.

350PDX’s organizing model is nonviolence – we engage in nonviolent tactics, and we remain committed to nonviolent tactics, and condemn the violence done to protestors by the police. What we don’t do is condemn those fighting for their own liberation for the methods of protest they believe are right. We recognize that during times of unrest, the police by and large exist to serve wealthier and whiter neighborhoods while pushing the chaos towards poorer communities of color to burn. 

We also recognize the dramatically different ways that conservative protesters have been treated by police, as opposed to those protesting for racial justice. As we have seen again and again, such as in the State Capitol in Salem in December 2020 and the US Capitol siege in D.C. in January 2021, property that is damaged even while being occupied by lawmakers, is not immediately looked upon as arrestable offenses or as justifying the deployment of police force if the perpetrators are also mostly white and conservative.

It is an oppressive tactic to try to split protesters into good ones and bad ones, and we refuse to take part in it. When we condemn “bad protesters” it makes us complicit in the punitive and incarceral state and makes it easier for those in power to throw those people into jail for a long time.

“Civil unrest is the voice of the people when they can no longer tolerate being overlooked and silenced. We reject the “good protestor vs. bad protestor” wedge. The police will not dictate the terms nor the pace of change; our community united together, will. We, an organization of people from the African Diaspora in Portland, do not accept the narrative that protesters are the instigators of violence, nor that the federal agencies now in our streets are the primary problem. We reject these false narratives. We are clear that the police incite violence, and show up to do so; furthermore, they have been violently harming our communities since the PPB was founded in 1870, without a just process for accountability.”“Defund Portland Police & Protect Communities: Imagine Black (formerly Portland African American Leadership Forum/PAALF) Action Fund Statement”

Finally, we should question the media or police report language and their descriptions of violence at these protests. Words like “riots” and “projectiles” paint a different picture than what may be happening on the ground, which are generally nonviolent gatherings. 

Whether or not you personally agree with the tactics being used during a protest, we at 350PDX believe it is important to reflect and recognize the implications of white privileged folks criticizing the protests of Black and other oppressed people, as called out in Martin Luther King Jr.’s important ‘Letter from a Birmingham Jail:’ 

“I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.”


350PDX’s JEDI Plan Launches!

Historically, mainstream narratives around climate change were not about righting its root causes of racial, economic, or social injustice, but the preservation of land/species while maintaining inequitable power structures. Few voices pointed out how the profit-making impulse that extracts value from the earth – and destroys it in the process – is the same impulse that rationalizes the exploitation of Black, Brown, and other historically marginalized communities. Both stem from putting profits before life.

But we are wiser now. We recognize a just, fossil free world hinges on actively dismantling personal, organizational, and systemic oppression. And that vision drives 350PDX’s Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) work. That is why we are thrilled, after over a year of brainstorming, strategizing, and planning, to be launching our 2020 – 2022 JEDI Plan!A circle of people hold up a pink lotus with the Earth in the center. Justice First reads across the bottom. Art by Celeste Byers (http://www.celestebyers.com/) as part of Amplifier Art.

We invite you to join us on our journey to build an organizational culture and structure that is transparent, inclusive, equitable, and accountable to each other and to those on the frontlines of climate chaos and the industries driving it, because a vision is nothing without action.

Read our JEDI Plan here!

In the past five months 350PDX’s JEDI Committee have created:

  • A staff, Board, and volunteer Code of Conduct & Anti-Discrimination Statement which outlines expectations around anti-oppressive and inclusive behavior
  • A Climate Justice 101 training, part of our upcoming four-part Climate Movement Foundations Training series, and have also integrated climate justice education, why we center frontline community leadership, and other equitable organizing skills into the other three Foundations Trainings
  • A framework for a cohort of team representatives who will dive deeper into JEDI training and understanding to bring this framework into all our teams’ work
  • A Movement Building Plan to make our organizing more accessible by training up volunteers, planning scalable and accessible actions, and finding new ways to support volunteers

We are thrilled to continue this work and use our JEDI Plan as the foundation for our 2021 – 2023 Strategic Planning. This is just the beginning, we know we have a lot more to do. Read about our next steps in the JEDI plan.

Are you excited by the idea of supporting 350PDX to integrate JEDI principles and tactics better into our everyday work? If so, consider joining our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee! We are currently accepting applications. Folks of color, youth, or low-income people strongly encouraged to apply. Get more info and apply here.

Do you believe in a fossil free future which uplifts and centers those most impacted by the effects of climate chaos and the industries causing it?

Please consider supporting our mission by becoming a monthly sustainer or making a one time donation.

Donate here!

Thank you all for the work that you do, be kind to yourself, be kind to each other,
Anais, Barbara, Brooke, Chris, Ellen, Jordan, and Lucy – The 350PDX JEDI Committee

Know Your Rights

Protests are continuing across the country in response to the tragic murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police – and as further killings by law enforcement occur.

Activists like you are taking to the streets to express their pain, their outrage, and their demands for racial justice and an end to police violence against Black people. As this happens, we want you to have what you’ll need to know your risks and know your rights.

Emerson Sykes, staff attorney for the ACLU’s Speech, Privacy, & Technology Project, shared these essentials in a video direct from the New York City protests over the weekend.

Please, share this video on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook for anyone in your circle who may need it in the coming days – and educate yourself on its crucial message below.

As you come out to protest, here’s what the video notes to keep in mind:

  1. The right to protest is a fundamental human right guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment.
  2. If you get stopped, ask if you are free to go. If the police say yes, calmly walk away.
  3. You have the right to record. The right to protest includes the right to record, including recording police doing their jobs.
  4. The police can order people to stop interfering with legitimate police operations, but video recording from a safe distance is not interfering.
  5. If you get stopped, police cannot take or confiscate any videos or photos without a warrant.
  6. If you are videotaping, keep in mind in some states, the audio is treated differently than the images. But images and video images are always fully protected by the First Amendment.
  7. The police’s main job in a protest is to protect your right to protest and to de-escalate any threat of violence.
  8. If you get arrested, don’t say anything. Ask for a lawyer immediately. Do not sign anything and do not agree to anything without an attorney present.
  9. If you get arrested, demand your right to a local phone call. If you call a lawyer for legal advice, law enforcement is not allowed to listen.
  10. Police cannot delete data from your device under any circumstances.

Join the JEDI Committee

We’re looking for new volunteers for our Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee! The JEDI Committee plans and implements our JEDI work, supporting 350PDX as a whole to integrate JEDI principles and tactics better into our everyday work. Our mission is to support 350PDX in implementing a JEDI Plan that incorporates these values throughout our organizational structure, internal systems, and theory of organizing.

You can read the JEDI plan here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1LUSeDAULV-aZ_0dJlcR1xtgFj4fI3q4F/view?usp=sharing

The JEDI Committee works to implement the 3-year JEDI Plan developed in 2019, for 2020-2022. This work entails everything from designing training for 350PDX volunteers around JEDI concepts to developing systems and policies to make 350PDX more accountable to JEDI values.

The JEDI Committee includes volunteers, staff, and board members from various levels of leadership to lead the work to make JEDI principles central to 350PDX’s work. We meet twice a month and do some work between meetings – roughly 3-8 hours a month, depending on project commitments. Our space has purposefully been cultivated to be safer, inclusive, and welcoming, especially for those who are marginalized in greater society and sometimes at 350PDX.

You can apply here!

Thank you for considering joining this important organizational committee at 350PDX! We are happy to arrange for childcare, ADA accessible spaces, and other accommodations as requested.

For any questions, please reach out to chris@350pdx.org.

JEDI Committee