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At a press conference prior to Saturday’s rally, Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty told the crowd, “I unequivocally support people who stand up against white supremacists, white nationalists, and people who are filled with hate and bile.” (Photo by Saundra Sorenson)
By The Skanner News
Published: 30 October 2020

Portland, OR - This week, Mayor Ted Wheeler joined elected officials and community leaders across the state in a letter uniting against hate and election-related violence. Mayor Wheeler, Governor Kate Brown, and more than sixty individuals and organizations signed onto a joint letter to, “unequivocally condemn white nationalism and other movements that use bigotry to build political power.” 

The letter states, “Oregonians have faced tragedy on multiple fronts this year, and we anticipate further challenges in the weeks to come. The pandemic, wildfires and misinformation about racial justice protests have served to boost fear and anxiety—providing a fertile environment for alt-right and paramilitary organizing. These groups preach fear and division, seize on civil unrest and chaos to recruit and build power, and promote violence. They see Election Day as their next great organizing opportunity.”

Along with Mayor Wheeler and Governor Brown, the letter was signed by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum, Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner, members of the Portland City Council, along with many others.

The full text of the letter can be found here: 

 

October 28, 2020

Oregon State and Community Leaders Unite Against Hate and Election-Related Violence

A Joint Statement by Elected Officials and Civil Society Groups

Oregonians have faced tragedy on multiple fronts this year, and we anticipate further challenges in the weeks to come. The pandemic, wildfires and misinformation about racial justice protests have served to boost fear and anxiety—providing a fertile environment for alt-right and paramilitary organizing. These groups preach fear and division, seize on civil unrest and chaos to recruit and build power, and promote violence. They see Election Day as their next great organizing opportunity.

We unequivocally condemn white nationalism and other movements that use bigotry to build political power. We also condemn political violence and accelerationism from any part of the political spectrum.

Paramilitary and alt-right activity is a challenge to our values of inclusive democracy in Oregon.

These groups use threats, intimidation and even violence to chill democratic practice, threaten community safety and undermine civil society. But we won’t be intimidated. We believe in an Oregon that is inclusive, and protects the right of every person to live, love, work and worship free from fear and bigotry. We are committed to working together to protect our democracy and democratic institutions.

We have seen in recent weeks that when we come together with one voice, we can shut down hate and violence. We are building upon that foundation to prevent extremists from gaining a greater foothold in our state. Aligning our voices and the power of our positions as government or civil society leaders can close the space for white nationalist and alt-right groups to spread fear.

We are unified in these beliefs and we will use every available power and resource of our state and local governments, and our communities, to protect our values, our democratic institutions and our most vulnerable community members.

As elected leaders, we will:

  • Continue to communicate clearly that voter intimidation and political violence will not be tolerated, and follow those communications with action;
  • Use the power of our offices to pursue legal remedies to prevent and enforce consequences for voter intimidation and political violence, including:
    • Providing clarity from prosecutors and law enforcement about consequences for voter intimidation and a commitment to enforce laws in an unbiased manner;
    • Working with election officials and law enforcement to prioritize de-escalation;
    • Pursuing all legal options to prevent the use of firearms for intimidation purposes at or near polling places;
    • Pursuing the enforcement of any applicable anti-paramilitary laws;
    • Opening lines of communication with community partners who can flag emerging situations that require intervention;
    • Providing straightforward options for community members to report voter intimidation;
  • Clearly set expectations for voters that they will be able to vote safely, freely, and without intimidation harm.

As civil society leaders, we will:

  • Work within our communities to provide safety information so that everyone is able to vote free from fear and intimidation;
  • Work with elected officials to communicate the needs of our communities and propose aligned strategies to meet those needs;
  • Strengthen our relationships with other civil society organizations so that we can act quickly and in a coordinated manner to respond to any incidents of voter intimidation or political violence.

We call on our colleagues in government, in the business community, in faith communities, in organized labor and nonprofits across Oregon to join us. When we all come together, there is no room for hate or violence.

Elected & Government Leaders:

Oregon Governor Kate Brown
Oregon Attorney General Ellen F. Rosenblum
Oregon Senate Majority Leader Rob Wagner
State Senator Ginny Burdick
State Senator Shemia Fagan
State Senator James I. Manning Jr.
State Representative Janelle Bynum
State Representative Maxine Dexter
State Representative Chris Gorsek
State Representative Akasha Lawrence Spence
State Representative Rob Nosse
State Representative Karin Power
State Representative Jeff Reardon
State Representative Andrea Salinas
Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler
Portland City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly
Portland City Commissioner Amanda Fritz
Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty
Thuan Duong, Equity & Inclusion Manager, City of Portland Housing Bureau
City of Portland Office of Equity and Human Rights
Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis
Eugene City Councilor Greg Evans
Eugene City Councilor Jennifer Yeh
Chair Joel Iboa, Eugene Human Rights Commission
Lane County Commissioner Joe Berney
Beaverton Mayor Denny Doyle
Durham Mayor Gery Schirado
Forest Grove Mayor Peter B. Truax
Gresham Mayor Karylinn Echols
King City Mayor Ken Gibson
Milwaukie Mayor Mark Gamba
Tigard Mayor Jason Snider
Tualatin Mayor Frank Bubenik
West Linn Mayor Russ Axelrod
Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury
Multnomah County Commissioner Susheela Jayapal
Multnomah County Commissioner Jessica Vega Pederson
Hermiston City Councilor Roy Barron

 

Civil Society Leaders & Groups:

Nancy Haque, Executive Director, Basic Rights Oregon
Ashley Henry, Executive Director, Business for a Better Portland
Tyler TerMeer, PhD, Executive Director, Cascade Aids Project
Adriana Miranda, Executive Director, Causa Oregon
Marcus C. Mundy, Executive Director, Coalition of Communities of Color
Andrea Paluso, Executive Director, Family Forward Oregon
Ricardo Lujan-Valerio, Director of Advocacy, Latino Network
David Saez, Executive Director, Latinx Alliance of Lane County
Christel Allen, Executive Director, NARAL Pro-Choice Oregon
Samantha Gladu, Executive Director, Next Up
Huy Ong, Executive Director, OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
Susannah Morgan, Executive Director, Oregon Food Bank
Judy Margles, Executive Director, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education
Bobbin Singh, Executive Director, Oregon Justice Resource Center
Kelly Kupcak, Executive Director, Oregon Tradeswomen
Steve Pedery, Conservation Director, Oregon Wild
Board of Directors, Oregon Women's Investment Network (WINPAC)
Emily McLain, Executive Director, Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon
Reyna Lopez, Executive Director, PCUN, Oregon’s Farmworker Union
Jess Campbell, Executive Director, Rural Organizing Project
Meg Niemi, President, SEIU 49
Melissa Unger, Executive Director, SEIU 503
Lori Bosteder, Erica Barry, Carter McKenzie, Nadia Telsey, Rose Wilde and Kaseja Wilder, Springfield-Eugene Showing Up for Racial Justice
Tony DeFalco, Executive Director, Verde
Eric K. Ward, Executive Director, Western States Center

 

Other Leaders:

Former State Senator Jane Cease
Former Oregon Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum

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