XRPDX Statement on 9/20 Climate STRIKE Police Response
Extinction Rebellion PDX stands in solidarity with communities of color. We support the excellent and comprehensive statement issued by 350pdx on behalf of a broad coalition of groups involved in the youth-led Climate General Strike on September 20th. This statement emphasized the need to hold police accountable and dismantle white supremacy in ourselves, our organizations, and our communities.
Members of XRPDX were unnerved by the police response on the day of the event, as well as by subsequent releases of information. Bystander reports and videos of police treatment/arrest of black youths were extremely disturbing. We echo 350pdx in reminding us that videos such as these can be a form of violence against black and brown bodies and must be shared judiciously and followed up with action to repair the harms done.
Police showed clear preferential treatment for Patriot Prayer members during the event. They were unresponsive to at least one report of a Patriot Prayer member carrying a pack with a visible pickaxe who was videoing youth of color leading the march. Meanwhile, other adult Patriot Prayer members verbally baited young marchers. After a clash between Patriot Prayer and Youth Liberation Front ended with police using pepper spray, the Patriot Prayer member was treated by police medics and released, while the person from the other side was arrested and not treated on-site by medics.
This milestone event should have been safe and supportive for all members of our community. Unfortunately, the actions of Portland Police Bureau again demonstrate that Portland’s history of white supremacy is still alive and well. To cast a shadow of racist and unequal treatment is extremely harmful and must be addressed. As a non-violent organization that prioritizes the most vulnerable people and seeks reparations and remediation after generations of colonization and white supremacy, Extinction Rebellion PDX stands in opposition to police violence as well as all forms of oppression.