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Recently we have collectively mourned and exuded righteous anger over the murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade, Nina Pop, and countless others. Despite the efforts of many, we have seen the violent response by police across the nation against protestors. I know that no statement of solidarity will fully capture the anger, fear, and hopelessness that is felt each time a Black life is lost because of their skin color. 

We have to stand together for the marginalized communities that continue to face oppression, racism, murder, and neglect simply because of their skin color. What we are facing today in 2020 is the perpetuation of entrenched and institutionalized racism that became formalized with the arrival of the first enslaved peoples in 1619. What we do today will have a lasting impact on our country another 400 years from now. We have to ensure that the lasting impact is an empowered Black community  - promoting dignity, community, and social connection. 

We must do better. We must be better. We have to - BLACK LIVES DEPEND ON IT. 

Four years ago the Black Lives Matter Movement started to combat these issues and bring them to light. Four years ago, I should have publicly stated my support for the Black Lives Matter movement. I apologize for not doing so and express it is not a representation of where I stand. We cannot be silent, especially in moments like this where people in power prey on the most innocent and vulnerable. I stand with our Black community. I stand with staff, leadership, and board members who are Black. For those of you advocating in the court system, for you standing for justice in the streets, and for you who are fighting to simply be seen and heard, I STAND WITH YOU.  

And today, I stand and take the following steps that are in my control to dismantle white supremacy in all of its forms:

First, I call on our President, Congress, and Department of Justice, and also the leadership of the City of Portland, to do better at carrying out basic civil and human rights for the Black community. 

Second, I will not tolerate any racism or oppression by any entities affiliated with myself against any Black, Indigenous or any other people of color. Affiliated entities include guests, volunteers, staff, and the Board of Directors of those I work with and work for.

Third, I will do my due diligence to increase the diversity of my circle, so that I can use a more diversified lens to better represent those I serve and to more effectively tackle issues that our community faces. 

Unless we act now and carry forward  the much needed conversations about privilege and human rights, nothing will change. Our community and myself must take responsibility for the past, present, and commitment to our future.


If not, the list of names that George Floyd has been added to will never end.

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