PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — It’s been three decades since Ethiopian refugee Mulugeta Seraw was murdered in Southeast Portland.
On Nov. 13, 1988, Seraw was beaten to death with a baseball bat by a member of a racist skinhead gang called “East Side White Pride.”
“Mr. Seraw had his life taken from him by vicious murderous thugs who are not that dissimilar [from people] who parade through our streets on weekends today in 2018,” Nkenge Harmon Johnson, president of CEO of the Urban League of Portland, said.
The Urban League of Portland wants people to remember these events from the past, so history doesn’t repeat itself.
“If we don’t do something together, if we don’t stop them right now, we see what can happen because we saw it 30 years ago right here in our city,” Johnson told KOIN 6 News.
While the brutal murder happened long ago, it remains fresh in the minds of many who lived through that time and for people who still experience discrimination and hate today.
“I remember what it was like growing up as a kid in the parts of town that weren’t safe, including Pioneer Square right in downtown,” Johnson said.
On Tuesday, Seraw was remembered by the public. His death is being marked by a series of tributes and memorial events.
“The marked block where he lived, where he studied, where he grew,” Johnson said. “Where he was seizing a piece of the American dream for himself and for his family.”
As for the fight for social and racial justice continues, organizers said the mission of Mulugeta Seraw commemoration is for all to remember — for us to learn and for us to change.