Take action now to support Black lives

Black. Lives. Matter. 

The murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and far, far, far too many more are the latest unconscionable acts of violence against Black people in this country. We live in a country where harms large and small, frustrating to fatal, have been repeated for hundreds of years in more ways than can be counted, but that are felt by Black people every day of their lives.

350PDX condemns these brutal murders, and we demand that the police officers and murderers be held accountable and that severe, lasting, and bold police reform and defunding begin immediately.

Climate justice is racial justice. These crises are inextricably linked. Black people and Indigenous people in America have been living under crisis and emergency for hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of years. As environmental justice advocates have emphasized for decades, racism is imbued in the business model of the fossil fuel industry – there is always a “sacrifice zone,” usually a Black and Brown and lower-class community deemed unworthy of protection from pollution and economic disinvestment. Many of the same communities overrun by coal, oil, and gas extraction and pollution are also facing health disparities (and reflected in higher COVID-19 cases and deaths) and racist violence from police and civilians. This is a despicable injustice.

Honor and make space for Black people to grieve and express very, very legitimate rage. Be an active supporter and acknowledge the ongoing trauma Black people face everyday. This is a lifelong journey. More than just in this moment, adopt anti-racism as a lived value that you bring into every space throughout your life. Question yourself, and question who is centered and benefits from any work that you do or relationships you hold.

350PDX is committed to supporting the Black activists, communities, friends and family members who are threatened and grieving, today and every day, in the best way we can. We are committed to learning and engaging continuously, and we hope you will join us on this journey. Here are some actions we encourage you to take in this moment and always:

    • Support the Movement 4 Black Lives: National Week of Action In Defense of Black Life, all this week.
    • Call and email Mayor Wheeler demanding that the City demilitarize and defund the Portland Police Bureau, and to keep the National Guard out of our community.
      • 503-823-4127, mayorwheeler@portlandoregon.gov 
      • The Portland Police Bureau contract is expiring in the next year. We must keep pushing Mayor Wheeler and the City for demilitarization of the PPB, civilian oversight with actual ability to impact the PPB, and defunding their overall budget. For more information and talking points, please refer to this Police Reform Network letter from Unite Oregon, signed by 350PDX as members of the Portland Metro People’s Coalition at the end of last year.
    • Call Governor Kate Brown to demand she convene a special short legislative session right now to tackle both the COVID-19 crisis, as well as police accountability, reforms, and directly supporting Oregon’s communities of color.
      • 503-378-4582
      • For example, in the words of Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, “The Officer’s Bill of Rights is the state law that protects police officers engaged in misconduct. If you’re wondering how to impact a system where police officers avoid reprimand, we must demand our State Legislators and Governor change this on the state level. In addition to responding to the COVID-19 crisis, the Governor should make police accountability and support for Oregon’s communities of color a priority that the state must act on now.”

Let this moment hurt⁠—it should. And let’s take care of each other and our community through our action, so that some of that hurt can stop. Let us wake up each morning more committed than ever to the fight to dismantle white supremacy, against police violence, and to build a world and society that values human life and dignity above all else.

In commitment and solidarity,
The 350PDX Team

Photos – protesters in downtown Portland last night. (Dave Killen, The Oregonian)