BLM supporter on Night 102: ‘Timing is ripe’ for real change

2020 Protests

Labor Day 2020 filled with political activity and calls for social justice

The crowd of people gathered for a Black Lives Matter Solidarity March at Cathedral Park in St. Johns. September 7, 2020 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — On Labor Day 2020, political rallies and protests for social justice were held throughout the Willamette Valley.

A Black Lives Matter family-friendly protest was planned at Lents Park Monday evening. Organizers said, “This is a peaceful, social-distance priority, family-friendly protest. However, we are in support of the marches on the (in)justice center and police stations. Please show up for Black lives, and not to put down one protest modality or another.”

Earlier in the day, Black Lives Matter supporters rallied in North Portland at Cathedral Park and demonstrated peacefully on the 102nd straight day of protests in Portland. There was music and chanting as hundreds of people gathered in the park. Families, community members, and some union workers were among those to come out and show support.

“Teacher unions are part of the labor movement and I feel like it’s really important for people who are members of a union to step up and say, ‘Our labor supports Black Lives Matter and we are ready to organize in support of systemic change,” said educator Joanne Shepard.

She said lasting change will come from legislation.

Andre Middleton, who said he’s been to around 20 of the protests, was at Cathedral Park with his portable unit to amplify sound for the marches.

“I have a non-profit called Friends of Noise and we’ve been providing amplification and sound for marches in Portland, Lake Oswego, Lents, Rockwood, NW Portland,” he told KOIN 6 News. He came up with the idea for the mobile PA unit after going to some protests and not being able to hear any of the speakers. He wanted to “to amplify the voices of the people who were screaming for change.”

He believes “timing is really ripe” for real change to happen. We’ll know when the movement is progressing when they “see what elected officials are listening to us and who are not listening to us and see how long their careers are.”

Middleton said it was his “aspiration to end on a high note and see the commonalities as opposed to the differences.”

From the park, demonstrators marched through St. Johns as they called for justice. They then made their way back to the park where they listened to Black speakers.

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