Becoming People Who Build a Better Community

by Jacqueline Jannotta

The Black Lives Matter protests in Portland are nearing 80 nights of activism. And as described in last week’s post, Hogwarts Meets Portland, the protests have been relatively peaceful since federal agents departed. Also, our local District Attorney has declared that prosecutors will not pursue charges in relation to the protests unless there is “deliberate” property damage or use of force.  But until systemic change happens, the protests will no doubt continue because they serve as an effective wake-up call. That’s why I’m pleased to support the local nonprofit, Don’t Shoot PDX (the abbreviation PDX = Portland).

While their name indicates what they are against, I love that Don’t Shoot PDX puts their energy into what they are for. This Black-led, community-driven organization offers a range of services including: legal and advocacy training; youth and family social justice art camps; trauma-informed meditation and yoga; as well as food and clothing distribution to marginalized families in the area. Don’t Shoot PDX works with Black Lives Matter, the ACLU, and other national groups that support local activism in the continuing fight against state-sanctioned discrimination.

The road toward fairness and equality is messy and turbulent, yet we must keep our eyes on the goal. Whether we protest or work toward change in other ways; whether it’s in Portland or another place — we can build a better future for everyone. If you’d like to put some energy toward creating harmony and justice in Portland, I invite you to support Don’t Shoot PDX. If another community calls you, please consider supporting a similar nonprofit allied with the Black Lives Matter movement. Whatever you do, keep having the conversations around racial equality, even when it’s not in your comfort zone. That alone will lay the foundation for a healthy, more equitable country.

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