Day 50: Fridays4Freedom march, candlelight vigil in Portland

2020 Protests

Protests come amid tensions between city and federal agents

In a Fridays4Freedom Black Lives Matter march, demonstrators walk from NE Killingsworth to Peninsula Park. July 17, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Protests against police brutality continued in Portland Friday after the arrival of federal agents have ramped up tensions in the city this past week.

A youth-led protest movement called Fridays4Freedom organized a #SayHerName event at 18 NE Killingsworth St at 3 p.m. According to a Facebook post from Black Resilience Fund, who shared information from the event organizer, it is an event to demand justice for “Black womxn who have lost their lives to police brutality.”

The Fridays4Freedom event includes an art auction and performance series in collaboration with the 122 Campaign and Snack Bloc. The program ends with a march to Peninsula Park at 6 p.m. featuring “dance, poetry, singing and storytelling experiences by BIPOC womxn.”

“This event is to highlight Black, BIPOC students and youth in the Portland area,” event organizer Adia Jones told KOIN 6 News. “We really wanted to…give them the platform, speak their truth and hear them and listen to them.

“Today is in partnership with the 122 Campaign out of Minneapolis, Minnesota, fighting for Black women to have movements, too,” added Asukulu Songolo, another organizer of the event. “Because of the resurgence of gun violence in our city but then across the country, with Breonna Taylor, it’s been really important for us to fight for Black women and to make sure that they have the movements that they deserve as well.”

A peaceful candlelight vigil with Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the Justice Center “to protect Portlanders’ rights to free speech and assembly and call an end to the violence perpetrated against protesters,” according to Hardesty’s official Facebook page.

Hardesty said she is calling on elected officials, faith leaders, and community members to join her to demand an end to violence from police as well as “for federal police to stop occupying our city and our PPB officers to cease collaboration with the troops.”

Thursday, Acting DHS Secretary Chad Wolf came to Portland to meet with officials, many of whom declined. He later tweeted, “I offered DHS support to help locally address the situation that’s going on in Portland, and their only response was: please pack up and go home. That’s just not going to happen on my watch.”

The federal response to protesters in Portland, which has included the use of tear gas, shooting one protester in the head by an impact munition Saturday and unidentified federal agents detaining protesters and putting them into unmarked cars. These actions have been ridiculed by Oregon lawmakers, Mayor Ted Wheeler, and Oregon Governor Kate Brown.

Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese even leveled criticism after declining to meet with Wolf. Reese wrote in part in a statement to KOIN 6 News that “the actions by out-of-state federal agents last weekend failed to display good decision making and sound tactical judgment. The use of force did not appear proportional to the actions of the demonstrators.”

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