Portland, Oregon:  a city on the brink

Two Muslim teenage girls of color were attacked on a Portland, Oregon light rail platform on Friday afternoon, May 26, 2017, by a hate spewing anti-immigrant White supremacist. Three White American men came to their defense and saved them. Two of the three men were killed and the third seriously wounded.

Was it indifference by the White House to delay response until the third day, and then only to call it “unacceptable?” Why was it that the White mayor, Ted Wheeler, and the White ecumenical community spoke up immediately, but not the major Black organizations in Portland?

Mayor Wheeler presides over a city on the brink of the chaos, the result of negative racial bias. He is asking the federal government to revoke a June 4, “Trump Free Speech Rally” and a June 10, “March Against Sharia” event. Some say both rallies are anti-Muslim. Both permits were issued prior to attacking the two young girls.

The rallies are scheduled to be held at the plaza where the federal government controls issuing the permits.  To keep the peace, Mayor Wheeler wants to cancel the permits. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) supports the demonstrators, saying permits cannot be revoked based on the viewpoint of demonstrators.

If not for the voices raised by the White ecumenical community and the White mayor of Portland, the knowledge of the action of these three White men against the well-trained White supremacist, might have been suppressed. The three White men were assisted by courageous additional White by-standers who prevented the assassin from escaping.

Young people of color in Portland and in cities across the country are asking anxious questions: Is there no one in our communities who care about their safety and future?  Is there no one who will speak to the threats against young Americans of color?  The White mayor and the White ecumenical community in Portland have spoken in support of the three White Americans who put their lives on the line to protect the young women of color.

Portland is known as the “Whitest city in America,” but Portlanders did not wait — they acted, which is why the men who were attacked will be forever memorialized as individuals who stood for righteous justice and protection for all. They would not stand idly by as a White terrorist tried to kill two teen age girls of color whose “sin” was being out to enjoy the spring beauty of America’s Rose City. May we make it so for all.

Why are there no panel discussions on major cable and broadcast networks regarding how we have reached this dangerous plateau of racial chaos? Two young ladies of color owe their survival to three White Americans who acted and made a difference to preserve life. This is what all of us must do, if we are to have peace in our cities. Portland citizens have shown it can happen. Will we see it in Minneapolis?

I write this about Portland within the context of the upcoming peace summit to be in held in North Minneapolis, June 17. “[The purpose of that summit] will be to reach out to members of subcultural organizations (formerly called gangs) “in hopes of quelling violence … in the area.” It will address “some of the root causes of violent behavior — including poverty and unemployment,” and “will encourage a greater role for both local churches and families in dealing with violence.” Stevie Wonder will be the keynote speaker.

Will White and Black leaders of Minneapolis listen to questions and suggestions offered at the peace summit? Watch for a suggested violence intervention initiative outline to be added to our website’s solution section.

Stay tuned.


For Ron’s hosted radio and TV show’s broadcast times, solutions papers, books, and archives, go to www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. To order his books, go to www.BeaconOnTheHillPress.com.