To Mayor Charlie Hales; City Commissioners Nick Fish, Amanda Fritz, Steve Novick, Dan Saltzman; and Chief of Police Larry O’Dea

On April 12th Freddie Gray sustained injuries to his spinal cord during a brutal arrest that led to his death a week later. Today begins the first in a series of six trials aimed at establishing the guilt of the officers involved in his arrest. Yet, today’s events do not happen in isolation, the lack of justice for Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, and Laquan McDonald stand as dark memories, haunting an already tumultuous criminal justice process.

It is in the memory of these young black men that we are gathered here today. This racism is systematic and manifests itself in every act of threatening hate speech, racially motivated assault and every instance of police brutality aimed at the Black body. Institutionalized racism in all forms must be constantly identified and resisted in order to create the space for Equity and dialogue.

We are here this morning in response to incidents of racism on Lewis & Clark’s campus. Mayor Hales claimed solidarity; “…while we are a city that prides itself on the broad protection of free speech, no matter how abhorrent the content may be…” Since that time, little has been done beyond empty statements of solidarity to protect and ensure the safety of Black students. Lewis & Clark students still await updates on the Portland PD’s investigation into the racially motivated assault that occurred 12 days ago.

As we told Governor Kate Brown last week, we believe that racist threats create a campus environment that is unsafe for Black Students and it is time for the government to actively work to resolve enduring state-sanctioned racism in institutions of higher education. We feel that any threatening comment, whether cyber-anonymous or verbal, should be comprehensively investigated. It is the government’s duty to ensure the rights and safety of ALL members of its community.

As stated in the Lewis & Clark Student Code of Conduct “The College will cooperate fully with law enforcement and other agencies in the enforcement of criminal law on campus.” As such, we call on you all, as our elected officials, to stand in solidarity with #LCBlackLivesMatter by suggesting that the Board of Trustees, through President Barry Glassner, expedite ongoing investigations, layout a timeline for incorporating the Official Vision of #LCBlackLivesMatter and ensuring that Black Students are an essential part of the conversation to make institutions of higher education accessible, equitable and constructive space.

 

Sincerely,
Lewis & Clark Black Lives Matter