Sociologist: Portland protests can regain focus now that feds gone

2020 Protests

Dr. Blazak says opportunity has presented itself to steer movement back on course

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Though the tone of the ongoing protests in Portland has shifted following the departure of federal officers last week, pockets of violence continue to pop up around the demonstrations.

On Monday, one woman was stabbed in the chest at Lownsdale Square Park. Later in the night, multiple fires were set near East Burnside and Southeast 57th, which led to two arrests.

Sociologist and Chair of the Oregon Coalition Against Hate Dr. Randy Blazak is confident, however, that the absence of federal officers will provide protests organizers with a chance to refocus the overall message of the continued demonstrating.

“There is now an opportunity to be really clear to the community, ” he said. “Especially the Black community in Portland. What it looks like to have real change and not just a little tidbit here, that looks like they’re trying to appease the protesters to have real systemic change and I think that’s where we are.”

Blazak said federal officers derailed the message of the protests by turning the clashing into a separate conflict altogether. The issue became federal interference with nightly protests rather than promoting the idea of justice for George Floyd and the dozens of other unarmed Black Americans who have died at the hands of police officers.

Blazak added that he is working to setup a dialogue between protesters and community stakeholders.

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