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Sunday, February 21, 2021

Reparations, 2021

Men and Women protesting in the Twin Cities area, holding signs reading "Economic Justice," "Reparations Now" & "The World is Watching"
Photo credit to Fibonacci Blue

In 1619, the ship, White Lion docked in Jamestown with 20 African slaves, the first generally accepted African slaves sold in what would become the US. By 1661, Maryland had passed the country's first laws preventing inter-marriage among the races. 

By 1960, 21 states had such laws enacted. By 1790, slaves composed a significant portion of the population in slave states. In South Carolina, 43% of the population were African slaves, In Virginia, 39.1%, Georgia, 35.5%, Maryland, 32.2%, and North Carolina, 25.5%. 

In 1860, fifty years after importation of slaves into the US had been banned, the schooner Clotilda smuggled in the last group of African slaves. With slaves no longer allowed to be imported, massive chain gangs were formed on the east coast and slaves were marched hundreds of miles to Alabama, Texas and other cotton states in the interior. 

There are competitive streams of historical narratives bouncing between white guilt, white supremacy, and even the white man’s burden. While one can debate intent, It is undisputed that European colonizers dislocated millions through the slave trade and the institution of slavery as well as through the exploitation of native tribes. It is also undisputed that at the time those engaged in the slave trade knew it was immoral, although it was legal.

By 1838, scholarship existed documenting the brutality of colonization of the new world on both native tribes and slaves.

“It was not enough that the lands of all newly discovered regions were seized on by fraud or violence; it was not enough that their rightful inhabitants were murder or enslaved; that the odious vices of people styling themselves the followers of the purest of beings (Christians) should be poured like a pestilence into these countries. It was not enough that millions on millions of peaceful beings were exterminated by fire, by Sword, by heavy burdens, by base violence, by deleterious mines, and unaccustomed severities- by dogs, by man-hunters, and by grief and despair-there yet wanted one crowning crime to place the deeds of Europeans beyond all rivalry in the cause of evil,- and that unapproachable abomination was found in the slave trade.” (1)

The land was seized and people were enslaved and turned into property for the exclusive purpose of producing a profit for the plantation: but not just property, private property. Private property where individuals could be denied every human right precisely because the slave was not viewed as a person but rather as an engine of production for private gain. 

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Clackamas County Democrats Support Alex Josephy for Oregon City Mayor

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


Oregon City, OR. - Clackamas County Democrats have endorsed Alex Josephy in his campaign to become Oregon City’s next mayor. The election is March 9 and ballots have already been mailed out.

Josephy, an Oregon native, is an indigenous/Portuguese man who has led the conversation in solving Oregon City’s homelessness challenges and uniting Oregon City. Alex was previously the Secretary of the Democratic Party of Oregon and has served as a national delegate to the Democratic convention.

Learn more and get involved at: alexjosephy.com

 

Contact: Charles Gallia 

chair@clackamasdems.org

 

Tuesday, February 2, 2021

Black History Month 2021 - Celebrating a Legacy of Non-violent Protests

         

 
 
A Sharing Moment from Rosa Colquitt, PhD, Chair, DPO Black Caucus 

 

“We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence.” 

 – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

 

The celebration of Black History Month comes within days of the national holiday commemorating the birth of civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose leadership story is even more amazing and inspiring in 2021 in the context of the January 6th, 2021 Insurrection on the U.S. Capitol.


Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, Co-Chair of the National Poor People's Campaign, has described the event as an "attack, fueled by hate, lies and racism, carried out at the behest of a narcissistic President and his enablers, who have followed a divisive political strategy that is as old as the deconstructionists of the 1870s and the Southern strategy of the 1960s." 


This year's Black History Month is an opportune moment, especially for those who may be carrying a heavy heart over the anti-democratic events of January 6th, to uplift and to celebrate the victories gained in the 1960s non-violent civil rights movement. The primary "weapons of protest" used against a racist and unjust society were kneeling, sitting, praying, singing, boycotting, peacefully marching and sit-ins. The protestors strategically organized with the strength of human dignity and an unbending respect for all human life, their own and that of all others. 


American history records many peaceful civil rights protests led principally by Dr. King from the mid-1950s through 1968, the time of his death. One of the earliest memories is the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott. Lasting just over a year, the boycott was a protest campaign against racial segregation on the public transit system in Montgomery, Alabama. The protest began in December 1955, after African-American Rosa Parks was arrested for refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white person. The next day, Dr. King organized a citywide boycott of public transportation which proved to be effective in causing the transit system to nearly run into bankruptcy. I recall seeing many documentaries and movies of the old buses running through the city literally empty. Their primary paying customers became their primary boycotters, Black Alabamians. Eventually in June 1956, a federal court found that the laws in Alabama and Montgomery requiring segregated buses were unconstitutional. The boycott's official end signaled one of the civil rights movement's first victories. Indeed we celebrate the fact that as a non-violent protester, "Rosa sat while Martin organized." While the words sound simple enough, these non-violent actions changed the course of American history in the fight for equality for Black Americans.


In recounting the legacy of non-violent activism, the Civil Rights Movement takes us to the Birmingham Campaign of 1963. This decisive protest lasted about two months and was led by local Black leaders in the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC). Their purpose was to end the de jure racial segregation in Birmingham, Alabama's public facilities. When businesses refused to change their policies, protesters held sit-ins and marches with the intent of getting arrested. Dr. King encouraged these nonviolent tactics so that the city's jails would overflow to capacity. Police used high-pressure water hoses and dogs to control protesters, some of whom were children. Still, they responded with non-violent resistance. By the end of the Birmingham campaign, many of the segregation signs at Birmingham businesses came down — "Whites Only, Coloreds Enter in the Back." Of the non-violent tactics used in this protest for racial and social justice for Blacks, Dr, King said this: "The purpose of ... direct action is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation." Of course, he was speaking of peaceful negotiation.


One other civil rights moment that America will always remember and celebrate during Black History Month, and hopefully throughout the year, is the "March on Washington" for Jobs and Freedom, 1963. The purpose of the march, which drew over 250,000 peaceful protesters of all ages, races and ethnicities, genders and spiritual beliefs from across the country, was to advocate for civil and economic and rights of Black Americans. At the march, Dr. King was the final speaker who stood in front of the Lincoln Memorial and delivered his historic "I Have a Dream" speech. Victories of peaceful protests became greater possibilities as the civil rights movement advanced forward from 1963.


This remarkable legacy of non-violence has given America much to celebrate, yet an even greater urgency to continue the "peaceful" campaign for an America where all people can live with equality and human dignity.


In the era of Zoom meetings, The DPO Black Caucus is proud to celebrate with ALL of Oregon, the screening of the award-winning documentary, "Standing on My Sisters' Shoulders." In sponsorship with the Greater Portland Chapter, National Organization for Women (GP NOW), we can think of no better way to honor the commitment and non-violent leadership of many of the most courageous of Mississippi's civil rights heroines. Our Caucus can only imagine their pride in the historic election of America's first Black and Asian American Vice President, the Honorable Kamala Harris. Please use this link to purchase your ticket early for a February 13th, 6:30 p.m. pre-show, movie screening and follow-up panel discussion. 


Happy Black History Month to ALL from the Democratic Party of Oregon!


Rosa Colquitt, PhD

Chair, Democratic Party of Oregon Black Caucus


Monday, February 1, 2021

Bigotry deserves to be canceled

 by Candace Avalos 

“I am running for County commissioner to stand up for you the people, your families and your businesses, and to work for a brighter future for all of us.”

These are some of the first few words you can read on Mark Shull’s campaign page for Clackamas County. But after it was uncovered recently that the newly elected commissioner has a documented history of disparaging Black and brown communities, some of us are wondering what he really meant when he said he’d work for “all” of us.

As the daughter of Guatemalan immigrants and Black Americans who grew up in the Jim Crow South, watching leaders spew hateful rhetoric about marginalized communities is incredibly personal. I have spent the last year working with so many Portlanders who are pushing for government reform to benefit all our diverse communities. Yet, despite these good intentions, I, along with other community leaders for racial justice have been receiving hateful, racist letters threatening to murder us for daring to speak out and wanting better for our community. These anonymous threats, mailed to our homes, are directly connected to the continued inability to confront hate towards marginalized communities—especially when such hate comes from our leaders.


And add your voice to the thousands calling for Mark Shull to resign: recallmarkshull.com



Thursday, January 28, 2021

Building BIPOC Leadership in Oregon

Join Oregon Futures Lab and Color PAC  at a February 2nd virtual gathering at 6 pm, in celebration of Leaders Like Us: Building BIPOC Leadership in Oregon. These two groups invite you to join in a celebration and recognition of achievements:

“As we close a devastating chapter in our nation’s history, and the healing continues, we invite you to ground with us for a moment in hard-fought local victories. Learn the names and faces of some of Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and AAPI elected officials –– leaders who work earnestly to turn protest into policy, and policy into power. Learn about their interests, their values, and their motivations to serve.

“You’ll hear firsthand from State Representative Tawna Sanchez, Washington County Commissioner Nafisa Fai, Hermiston City Councilor Roy Barron, and Beaverton School District Zone 2 candidate Karen PĂ©rez-Da Silva.”


To register for the Zoom gathering: bit.ly/ofl-leaders-like-us