Meghan O'Donnell, 29, from St. Louis, prays at the spot where Michael Brown was killed, Sunday evening, Aug. 10, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo. A few thousand people have crammed the street where a black man was shot multiple times by a suburban St. Louis police officer. The candlelight vigil Sunday night was for 18-year-old Michael Brown, who died a day earlier. Police say he was unarmed. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes)
Portland community groups are organizing a rally Saturday in support of protesters in Ferguson, Mo., and to protest increasing police militarization in the United States. Outrage grew after police shot an unarmed black teen, Michael Brown, in Ferguson. And when police in Ferguson responded to the protests in military gear and by deploying tanks, the outrage mounted. After clashes between police and protesters for several days, peacekeeping tasks in Ferguson were handed to the Missouri Highway Patrol.
The military has given police departments across the country surplus gear. The New York Times published this interactive map showing law enforcement in Multnomah County has 88 assault rifles. Clackamas County has 90 assault rifles and four armored vehicles. King County has 120 assault weapons, two helicopters and a tank.
The Center for Intercultural Organizing, Portland African American Leadership Forum, OPAL Environmental Justice and the Urban League of Portland plan to rally at 1 p.m. Saturday Aug. 16 at Lownsdale Square SW 4th and Main in downtown Portland. Here's the press release:
Portland, OR -- A coalition of Portland-area community-based organizations dedicated to racial and social justice will rally in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, Missouri, as their community protests following the police killing of unarmed teenager Michael Brown.
Portland Solidarity With Ferguson: Demilitarize Our Police, part of a national day of solidarity and action, will take place on Saturday, August 16th, at Lownsdale Square (SW 4th Ave. & Main St.) in downtown Portland at 1pm.
“The killing of Michael Brown and the aggressive police response to the community’s justified anger are sickening. This violence against people of color is nothing new, though,” said Kayse Jama, Executive Director of the Portland-based Center for Intercultural Organizing. “In Portland, we have a police force which has also targeted, maimed, and killed black youth, while ignoring the community’s demands for transparency, accountability, and justice. Tomorrow, we stand up to say: we will no longer be silenced.”
The coalition demands that Portland Police Bureau and other local law enforcement agencies publicly account for their own military-style equipment and tactics, and that they commit to immediately and permanently ending their use. We also call for a national dialogue on racial justice, to collectively work to invest in our youths rather than killing them.
“Again, America is confronted by the tragic loss of one of our young adults, in a violent and horrific way,” said Cyreena Boston Ashby, Director of the Portland African-American Leadership Forum. “We stand in solidarity with others who rally for justice and for a full examination of the justice system that was designed to serve and protect ALL Americans that most seemingly operates under the double standard of institutional racism.”
Coalition members include the Center for Intercultural Organizing, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon, Portland African-American Leadership Forum, and the Urban League of Portland.