- Steph Noll
Grieving, Learning, Talking, and Acting: Black Lives Matter
We want to acknowledge the grief so many of us are experiencing right now from the sustained violence against Black individuals and communities. While racism persists, we know we will never reach our Coalition’s vision for a statewide network of sustainable trails that connect Oregonians of all backgrounds and abilities to the outdoors. Covid-19 has magnified the health and economic disparities in communities of color, and the recent murders of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd have shined a spotlight on the threat of violence that persists for Black individuals in our public spaces due to the racism that permeates our institutions and communities.
We are a Coalition driven by collective action. We hope all our members are taking time to reflect, share in the grieving, listen to the calls to action from Black community members, and gather wisdom and strength for long term commitments to dismantling racism and white supremacy in our communities, institutions, agencies, and organizations.
Listening to our Black community members, we are hearing that we must be in it for the long haul, AND there are meaningful actions we can take now:
Support mutual aid and Black-led organizing projects. Please take some time to research local organizing efforts, but here are some national and Oregon organizations who could use your help. Moving money is one important way to address persisting resource inequalities.
Check in with your friends, family, co-workers, and loved ones who may be affected or feeling this moment particularly hard.
Demand accountability from your leaders and law enforcement. Policy reform can lead to justice. For example, Portland Commissioner JoAnn Hardesty is calling on us to reach out to state legislators to amend Oregon’s Officers’ Bill of Rights (ORS 236.360), the state law that protects officers engaged in misconduct.
Speak up. We all need to be vocally anti-racist and call out injustice, racism, and inequality when we see it. That may mean having difficult conversations with people around us, including close friends and family members.
Learn. Follow Black community leaders, and Black-led organizations like the ones above to learn about and participate in campaigns for justice.
The National Museum of African American Art and Culture just released a free new portal of resources for learning and talking about race and racism.
And here is a list of anti-racism resources for white people.
We all must act so that all of our community members can equally experience the joy and renewal of our trails and outdoor spaces in safety. We are committed to continuing to listen, learn, talk, and act to dismantle racism. Reach out any time with your ideas for collective action.