It’s easy to get overwhelmed with “where to start” or how to plug back in. Remember the important thing is to commit to doing the work—today, and every day that you’re able. Here’s a list of potential actions you can take in addition to continuing to educate yourself.
Support calls to #DefundThePolice
Portland’s recent proposed city budget included an unacceptable $256 million for police. Some funds are being diverted and invested in the community, but more needs to be done.
- Written testimony on agenda items may be sent to the Council Clerk
- City Council Meeting Agenda and Information
- Demands and sample testimony language from the Portland African American Leadership Forum
- Demands and sample testimony language from Care Not Cops
- Information from Don’t Shoot PDX
- “What the World Could Teach America About Policing: Examples abound of reforms that are seen as ‘radical’ in the United States” – Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic
Make a donation that’s meaningful
Here’s a list of possibilities; it also includes links to local Black-owned restaurants and businesses. Support organizations led by other people of color, including immigrants and refugees. Engage in resource moving, addressing systemic wealth inequity stemming from colonial history and white supremacy culture, through your personal and professional networks.
In person. If it’s possible and safe for you to be on the streets, get out there! Mask up, of course. Protests are being organized by many different groups; there are regular gatherings and marches organized by Rose City Justice (text “drip” to 420420 to receive text notices of events), and two common gathering places are Revolution Hall and downtown in Chapman Square. Please remember to not take up space where people who can speak from experience should have the mic.
- Consider organizing or joining a car caravan protest, like the one organized by Pacific Northwest Family Circle.
- Get “out there” on social media. Promote the voices of Black people and other People of Color.
- Attend the Keaton Otis Vigil (12th of every month, NE 6th and Halsey Street, currently on Zoom).
Read 103 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice by Corrine Shutack
(Note that the first suggestion—to ensure that police use body cameras—is *not* a priority for the Black leadership we are following, because body cameras have not proven effective in holding police accountable, and they require more funding for police. Be sure to engage all actions with a critical eye, and to follow the lead of local organizers.)
Seek out conversations, interventions, and accountability with other white folks
Remember that much of the most important work white people can be doing starts in our homes, our workplaces, and our communities. Commit to “inviting people in” (not shaming and blaming) and having hard conversations with other white people. Commit to being uncomfortable.
- Local mutual aid efforts.
- Oregon D.A. for the People Campaign, led by a coalition that includes SURJ PDX activists.
- Actively campaign to elect people of color and candidates that support defunding the police and prison abolition.
- Buy a Black Lives Matter sign at signsofjustice.com or peacesupplies.org. You can find several local print shops and vendors selling social-justice-themed products toward the end of this list. Instead of buying a sign, consider donating that money and making your own sign. Please be aware that it is offensive for white people to post a sign but do nothing else.
- Support PDX Black Lives Matterevents.
Share resources and event information
Email firstname.lastname@example.org (include key information like date, time, cost in the subject line). Please note that we try to refrain from sending too many emails, so we may not be able to send yours, depending on current priorities. Thank you for your understanding.
Take care of yourself and your fellow activists
Even if long-overdue change happens relatively quickly from here (dismantling the police force in Minneapolis), it’s gonna be a long fight. We need you for the long haul.