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Black leaders rally against violence, displacement

Embracing common goals

Zachary Senn | 6/28/2017, 2:05 p.m.
Leaders from Portland’s black community are rallying around common goals as they address issues of violence in the community, displacement ...
Portland black leaders rally around common goals during a meeting at Self Enhancement, Inc. Kenneth W. Berry photo from SEI website

Leaders from Portland’s black community are rallying around common goals as they address issues of violence in the community, displacement and other issues.

Self Enhancement, Inc. (SEI) founder Tony Hopson and civil rights activist and Albina Head Start executive Ron Herndon navigated a community discussion last week that drew some 200 community representatives to SEI’s headquarters in north Portland.

The recent double murder on public transit of two men coming to the aid of two young women facing racist and Anti-Muslim taunts on the MAX, and suspected gang activity that saw the shooting of a Gresham woman and her son last month, were mentioned as examples of escalating violence impacting people of color.

The gathering also covered ways that the city’s black community can fight back against gentrification and displacement from inner north and northeast Portland. Herndon called on community members to come up with specific policies and steps that local governments could take to help black residents return to their inner-Portland communities.

Education issues were also addressed at the meeting. Herndon said that Portland Public Schools should let black students attend Jefferson High School, regardless of where they live. He also said that the district should renovate the school’s building, even though it was not part of the bond measure passed by voters last month.

The need for Portland’s black community to come together to fight back against white supremacist violence, gentrification and educational disparities was emphasized.

Hopson and Herndon also urged attendees to show their support at last weekend’s annual Good in the Hood festival, which had been targeted by racist threats. The three day event and parade drew widespread support and was held under added security without any incidents.