Some Black protesters in Portland, Oregon, drafted an open letter urging allies to avoid doing harmful damage to communities while fighting against police brutality and systemic racism. Protesting downtown is usually a strategy to send messages to the business community. Such activist deployments have been successful.
The city gained national attention after the murder of George Floyd, when several protests turned into rioting. “There is no excuse for the police to murder civilians. This is completely unacceptable and every abuse of power is a stain on our nation, and an obstacle to peace. Every cover up, lie and delay prove to us further that this system is not reformable,” the protesters wrote in the open letter.
The protesters added, “As an array of Black writers, speakers, artists, activists, teachers, parents and professionals, we already struggle to survive in a state that makes every effort to reshuffle and erase us. We need our allies in this fight to understand and honor this fact.”
The coalition then stated, “Black people are not a monolith, and having a complicit Black person in your planning space does not indicate support from the Black community. For decades, efforts towards Black Liberation have suffered at the hands of both well-meaning allies and predatory opportunists, and over the last year we have watched as people have profited from and damaged our movement without our consent or approval,” The protesters then added that while “revolutionary times call for revolutionary measures,” any actions that “neither increase solidarity nor broadcast purpose while making the lives of local Black communities more difficult are not acceptable.” said the group of Black protesters.
The activists’ statement comes as the nation continues to see widespread protests against police killings of Black people. Black Lives Matter and other protesting groups are not centralized which allows organizations to carry their efforts forward with different strategies without being dictated to by one person or by one overarching group.