PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The call for an end to police brutality and discrimination against Black, Indigenous and people of color continue in Portland Saturday after six straight weeks with a planned march and “rollout” beginning in the afternoon.
According to the website PDX Black Lives Matter Events, a Hip-Hop 4 Blk Lives Fundraiser was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. at Irving Park. It included acts such as DJ Swerv, DJ Encrypted, Swiggle Mandela and many more. The event was to benefit the group Don’t Shoot PDX and the poster said masks were required due to COVID-19. It was set to wrap up around 5:30 p.m.
A Direct Action event was planned to start at the Burnside Bridge at 4 p.m. and included a march to the Justice Center, put on by the organization PDX Standing By.
A Black/Indigenous/People of Color Worldwide Rollout PDX event at Fern Hill Park began at 5:30 p.m. It was a call to all rollers: skaters, rollerbladers, bikes, wheelchairs, scooters, heelies et al to come join Portland in answering rollerblader CeCe Skatefantacee’s call for a global BIPOC-led rolling demonstration against hate and to celebrate BIPOC joy.
The meetup began with a land acknowledgment and announcements. Shortly after 7 p.m. a crowd of about 100 demonstrators rolled out. The music is expected to go on until 11 p.m.
“As a Native and African American, this was important because I want to raise awareness for people of color,” explained an organizer of the roll out event, Gloria Bigback, of Team Indigenous Youth. “This is a fun thing to do to get out of our feelings and just to have fun, you know?” She added it’s a way to “raise our voices.”
“We’re here because it’s spreading awareness,” said Co-Organizer Teila Jurado, also of Team Indigenous Youth. “There’s so much that’s been going on with Native individuals, with Black individuals, people of color, that people don’t really care about and we’re here to spread that and say that we care.”
In addition, a Stronger Together Black Lives Matter event was organized at Gateway Discovery Park in East Portland for 6 p.m. It was a sit-in where speeches were shared and there was general community building.
Though a march was originally planned, organizers said there were not enough people who showed up to safely march down streets. They hope to hold marches in the future, including at a planned event again at Gateway Discovery Park Sunday 07/12 at 6 p.m.
“I’ve been involved in the Black Lives Matter movement since it began in 2013. With the resurgence of everything that’s been happening–the violence that’s been happening–I’ve gotten more involved,” said community member Ragina Gray, who helped organize Gateway Discovery Park the event. “And I wanted to make sure that there was a presence in ‘the numbers,'” added Gray, who clarified she is not affiliated with any organization nor is she a professional activist.
Mariah Harris, another community member who helped organize the event and is also not affiliated with any group, elaborated on the importance of holding Black Lives Matter events in East Portland.
“Due to the gentrification that has happened substantially throughout the years, obviously a lot of African Americans were living in North Portland and now they’ve been displaced out here to ‘the numbers,'” Harris said. “So that was one of the very important reasons why we wanted to come out here and start making noise and presence out here in ‘the numbers’ for Black Lives Matter.”
KOIN 6 News will update this story throughout the evening.