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sarah iannarone @sarahforpdx
, 26 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
Full house for @UrbanLeaguePDX conference commemorating 30-year anniversary of Mulugeta Seraw's murder by white supremacists on the streets of Portland. @rblazak gives attendees a brief history of Oregon's roots as a white supremacist Utopia.
Oregon's small Black population is not coincidental; it was by design-- the design of the KKK. The Klan elected Portland mayors and they marched in the Rose Parade. There were Klan rallies where the Timbers now play.

This anti-Black racism extended to Jews and Catholics as well.
This white supremacist foothold didn't weaken in the 1920s or 40s or 60s. It was still going strong (arguably strengthening as white supremacists from other parts of the county migrated to seek refuge here) in the 80s & 90s w rise of skinheads/neo-Nazis (inc Eastside White Pride)
It makes me quite sad that 30 years later, says Blazak, we've still got groups echoing the same rhetoric on the streets today. But also disturbing is the insidious institutionalized racism of displacement and gentrification that tears Portland's Black communities apart.
What's different today?

How we respond.

There must be no room for hate in this city, period (my words, not his) 💕✊🏼💕✊🏾💕✊🏿💕 #SanctuaryCity #HateFreeZone #MoreLoveLessHate
Psyched to hear from @BulldogShadow and @inafutureage about policy solutions for battling back white supremacy.

(Their orgs @WStatesCenter and @OJRCenter are doing great work-- you should follow them.)
Make no mistake, I says Ward: white nationalists do not seek to return to a white supremacist state; they seek to establish a brand new white ethnostate.

They are not white supremacist America; they are at war with America.

It's not about exploitation; it's about removal.
Their tools are evolving: they're invested in violence, and but also in politics.

Usually they track 20-25 white nationalist candidates; this election cycle they tracked 300-350+
They are attracted to Portland, Oregon this Oregon because they see potential for their cause here.


Equitable, just, with shared prosperity.

Most importantly: we must be hypocrisy-free.
"It is time for us to step up and show [we are anti-racist] in tangible ways....

I'm not an optimist, but I am hopeful. This conference is what a multi-racial democracy looks like. We'll give you the tools, but you must get to work."
(those quotes all attributed to @BulldogShadow BTW)
@inafutureage speaking now. Points out that these white nationalists have no real affinity for the U.S. Constitution; rather, the contrary: they're exploiting it to their advantage against good natured people who truly believe in free speech and the other freedoms it affords.
Cops (being diplomatic here) don't really understand what's going on w these white nationalists right now.

Bold statement: the reason we're not able to charge and prosecute the Patriot Prayer and Proud Boys to date comes down to both sidesism at play in Portland.
So what can we do? City of Charlottesville used VA constitution to bring lawsuits against 20 paramilitary groups for their lack of organization-- essentially using their own rules against them using the "unlawful militia" statute and impersonating a police officer!

(LARPers 🤣)
IMHO (says Chavez) we can't stop them from showing up, but but we can at the very least keep them from showing up with guns.

We are the civil power and we can stop them from bringing this violence to our city and streets.
The concern is that the tools we develop to deal w the alt-right and white nationalists can be welded against the left.

Which is counter-productive (duh).
A woman speaking now (who's name I did not catch, ugh) is presenting data on how people are feeling about the rise of white nationalism and the alt-right.

Americans disagree w their racist BS, but they're under-informed about who's doing what and how and why.
Men and GOP members generally more supportive of the ideology and core tenets of white nationalism (go figure).

[Also, this data is national, but Oregon stats mirror the findings.]
It should blow your mind that a majority of white people in the U.S. perceive their oppression as being equal to that experienced by people of color.

(sorry the pic is ugly, but you get the point is ugly so whatever)
Is this economic or cultural?

It's cultural anxiety about demographic shifts and amplified by rise of Trump.

(These fools are fine w authoritarianism, BTW, as long as it keeps Amerikkka white.)
My take away? Ignorance is making this possible. Too many Americans don't understand the causes & effects of what's happening.

We need to:
✔️ Continue to chip away at economic disparities
✔️ Organize around shared POSITIVE vision of the future/sense of place
[Love this audience question: how do we bottle best practices for dealing with these white nationalists and get them to cities for effective implementation?]
Always stay for the Q&A folks-- @BulldogShadow nails it: We need strong municipal leadership that doesn't mimic Trumpiam rhetoric and methods but instead counters them.

I'm telling you: toeing the "good people on both sides" line will be the death of American democracy.
(sorry the thread is so janky. wasn't planning on live-tweeting that, but it was too good to not share. y'all just have to sort it out if you care to.)
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