Portlanders are organizing their response to the death of George Floyd by Minneapolis police officers.
Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died Monday after Officer Derek Chauvin, a white man, kneeled on his neck for more than five minutes, blocking his airway. Floyd was in handcuffs at the time, as he had just been arrested for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill. While Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey fired Chauvin and the three other officers involved in the incident, Floyd's death inspired immediate protests by Minneapolis residents angered by the seemingly constant cycle of Black men dying at the hands of police officers across the US.
On both Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, Minneapolis police responded to the protesters with tear gas and munitions, quickly escalating the largely peaceful demonstrations. The ensuing chaos dissolved into widespread looting and arson Wednesday evening.
On Friday, two Portland organizations will hold events to memorialize Floyd and protest the police violence that led to—and followed—Floyd's death. Here's what you need to know about each:
Portland NAACP's Eulogy for Black America
Friday, May 29, 11:30 am
Terry Schrunk Plaza, 1200 SW Third
Portland NAACP will host a demonstration honoring recent victims of police brutality, including Floyd, and "calling on well-intentioned Americans everywhere to take a stand."
The event will be led by NAACP President Reverend E.D. Mondainé, City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty, Urban League of Portland CEO Nkenge Harmon Johnson, Coalition of Communities of Color Director Marcus Mundy, and several other local religious leaders.
Attendees have been asked to wear face masks and gloves, and observe social distancing. The event will also be livestreamed on the NAACP's Facebook page.
From the press release:
"For the wider public, the reality of police brutality can seem an inconvenient truth. Black suffering at the hands of police may be dismissed as a result of culture or a failure to follow police instructions. The reality is that Black people continue to be unfairly cast as an outsized threat, and Black bodies are all too often seen as disposable.
In a just nation, all citizens must be afforded the same protections under the law. America will have to earn the trust of the Black community if we are to move forward together. This starts with a painful but necessary reflection on the pattern of beliefs and behaviors that lead to tragedies like the death of George Floyd."
Vigil for George Floyd
Friday, May 29, 6 pm
Peninsula Park, 700 N Rosa Parks
Portland activist group PNW Youth Liberation Front has organized a vigil to show solidarity with Minneapolis protesters and demand justice in Floyd's death. Organizers ask attendees to wear masks.