A coalition of local activists will host a free day-long safety event on Saturday, following reports of anti-LGBTQ violence in Portland.
The event, facilitated by Popular Mobilization (PopMob), will include workshops on self-defense, de-escalation, and knowing your legal rights. It will also include a queer person of color caucus, and a caucus for trans and queer youth (all ages are welcome at the event).
Portland’s LGBTQ community has been on edge the last two weeks, as reports of anti-queer attacks have circulated widely on social media. While only one police report has been filed so far, details of several other attacks on trans and queer people have been shared online.
“All of these recent attacks hit pretty close to home,” Effie Baum, a spokesperson for PopMob who uses they/them pronouns, told the Mercury. “When people get scared, they don’t want to feel alone.”
The event will also include an informational session called “Local Fash 101: Who’s Around and How to Spot Them,” which will detail the different clothing and symbols that different alt-right, racist, and anti-LGBTQ hate groups and individuals sometimes wear. Baum said PopMob wanted to provide this info for people who might not be as involved in the anti-fascist movement as others in the community.
“There are a lot of different ways to be anti-fascist,” they said. “We are reaching out to people who are not already showing up, [and] they might not be as aware of who these people are and how to identify them.
PopMob will provide free food and safety supplies during the event, which will be held from 11:30 am to 6:30 pm at the Portland Institute for Contemporary Arts.
Baum said that while the event will feature a few guest speakers, the focus will be on providing a space for lightly facilitated conversations among queer community members. People are free to drop in for part of the day if they can’t attend the entire event.
“We wanted to create an environment where people can meet and connect and build community,” they said.