LWVOR Statement on Portland Protests
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 7/27/2020 |
Rebecca Gladstone, President 503.581.5722 www.lwvor.org firstname.lastname@example.org
[Salem, Oregon] – The League of Women Voters of Oregon (LWVOR) calls for civil discourse amid Portland’s ongoing protests. We reaffirm Americans’ First Amendment right to peaceful protest. Our 100 year-old League defends every American’s constitutional rights for racial justice, voting rights, and equal opportunity.
Courthouses should be havens of justice and safety for all but attention to structural vandalism is obscuring racial justice efforts. Pandemic defense and recovery funds fall short while federal spending to “dominate” frightens citizens. This unconstitutional approach is failing as more citizens become enraged. The federal help we desperately need is clear response to the protest issues: centuries of racial injustice, discrimination, and continued racial inequality. Governments at all levels need to promote economic opportunity, improve voting rights for all, combat police brutality, and honor our constitutional rights to free speech and to “peaceably assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”
“Unrequested federal intervention is obstructing legitimate public demands. The Portland protesters are mostly peaceful, from all backgrounds, ages, and professions. Our Leagues, LWVUS, LWVPDX, and LWVOR, call for racial justice and police reform. Unconstitutional and criminal actions must stop.” — Becky Gladstone, President, LWVOR
We support Oregon’s police reform bill passed in June: HB 4208 To proclaim Black Lives Matter, review current and historic police experiences; prohibit tear gas except during riots, require adequate announcements and warnings.
NEW: We will testify to Oregon’s new Joint Committee on Transparent Policing and Use of Force Reform for these “legislative concepts” directly relevant today:
LC 742 Regulate “chemical incapacitants, kinetic impact projectiles, and sound devices; define riot conditions”. Think of tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, and sound bombs.LC 743 Establish police ID and visible identification requirements (show ID on request), define police uniform and vehicle marking requirements.LC 744 Officers are required to intervene and report misconduct by another officer.LC 745 Restrict “choke holds”; amendments are being discussed to ban them.LC 746 Establish state-wide policing standards. If an arbitrator finds misconduct, discipline cannot be overturned and discipline matrix/guidelines will not be part of collective bargaining.LC 748 (not yet publicly posted) Police who relocate to avoid discipline will be tracked in a state-wide police database being established. Those hiring police must consult previous employers.
“The overwhelming majority of our protesters are peaceful. Most of our police are conscientious individuals trying to do a good job. We now need to get together as human beings and work out practical policies to reduce racism and unnecessary use of force.” – Barbara Ross, LWVOR Public Safety Advocate.
See the LWVUS response to Portland protests and in Portland, LWVPDX Demands Equal Rights for All and is studying police accountability and reform. The League continues to monitor and advocate at local, state and national levels.
Read this press release online here.###
Rogue Valley League of Women Voters Speaks Out Against Racism
“The League of Women Voters grieves the murders of George Floyd and the countless other Black lives that have been tragically taken at the hands of rogue law enforcement officers who are rarely held fully accountable for their actions. We also mourn those who have lost their lives or been harmed, mentally or physically, as a result of America’s pervasive culture of anti-blackness. The systems of oppression that have perpetuated the myth of white supremacy in our country must be dismantled if we are ever to become the nation we pledge to be –indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. . . .”
The League of Women Voters Rogue Valley (LWVRV) joins the national League (LWVUS) in expressing condolences for these criminal losses of life and in speaking out against systemic racial injustice and inequality. As Chris Carson, LWVUS President, so eloquently stated, “We acknowledge that the League hasn’t taken such a strong stance against racism in the past, and as we move into the next century of work, we hope to play a bigger role in fighting for social justice. I hope you’ll join us.”
In the coming weeks and months, the LWVRV will follow the lead of our national organization and do the introspective work necessary to make real and lasting change. We will review our priorities and positions with a view toward dismantling systemic racism and racial injustice through our advocacy work.
The LWVRV stands with the black community and all people of color or minority status. To quote national social justice leader and political consultant Esperanza Tervalon-Garrett, “True democracy can only be achieved when we, all people, especially those who democracy has failed the most, are not only considered but centered. Like water in the harbor, true democracy lifts all boats.”
It is beyond time to remove—root and branch—the systemic racism, inequality, and racial injustice that have pervaded our democratic institutions for too many centuries. Change must come. Even after the protests die down and the media attention disappears, the LWVRV pledges to work for that change.
Democracy doesn’t stop and neither do we.
The process for drawing congressional and legislative district boundaries has for too long been controlled by politicians. Oregon needs an independent, citizen-led redistricting commission.
The League of Women Voters of Oregon and People Not Politicians are working together, making sure Oregonians can vote for a fair, transparent, and independent redistricting citizen’s commission this November. Join us by signing the petition to get a fair and transparent redistricting process on the ballot in November. Your signature today makes all the difference.
It’s simple. Just visit the People Not Politicians website and take a few steps.
The LWV Oregon is taking on Redistricting this year, and for starters we need a good census count. Census postcards have already been mailed, and as of March28, 34.8% of Jackson County residents have answered (with 31.9% doing so on-line). In Josephine County 30.6% have responded (with 23.8% on-line) [See https://2020census.gov/en/response-rates.html].
The League of Women Voters of Rogue valley is now a 501 (c)(3) – a not-for-profit organization. Your membership and other contributions are deductible to the extent allowed by the IRS.
LWVRV PO 8555, Medford OR 97501.
Women’s March of Southern Oregon will be moved to October 2020, on this momentous 100 year anniversary of the women’s full enfranchisement. Just Too Risky to have this in March of 2020.