While I have lived in Portland for the last 8 years, I grew up in Pennsylvania. About an hour north of Philly just outside of Allentown. When I thought of the nearby large city, it was always Philly. My dad used to work there. I have a partner that lives there now. Even though my whole family moved away from the area when I graduated high school in 2000, it’s still where I grew up. I didn’t know the racial history of the area like I should have, and I don’t know if that was ignorance on my part, or because I was privileged to grow up in a 99% white area. But I know better now. My heart goes out to the family of Walter. My frustration at the response to mental health in this country, where a cry for help is met with under-trained people with guns who are afraid of a knife is seething. My sorrow on behalf of his community who had to watch his murder in broad daylight is deep. And the anger that I feel at the system that has been allowed to continue like this for years and years is deep and broad.
I had to watch the video, even though others were saying ‘we know what it is already’, and I have to admit, my first reaction to after he was shot was “I’m surprised those cops are still alive.” I’m reminded of the Kimberly Jones monologue shortly after George Floyd’s murder, once again, where she ended with this line.
Far as I’m concerned they could burn this bitch to the ground and it still wouldn’t be enough. And they are lucky that what black people are looking for is equality and not revenge.Kimberly Jones – How can we win???
The city of Portland is facing it’s own reckoning with regards to the callous disregard of human life, it’s own systemic racism, and it’s own brutality that has drawn the attention of the world. And the current police chief of Philly, Chief Outlaw, was previously our police chief. And for that, I once again give my condolences on sending you someone who was not what your city needed or deserved. Someone who allowed her officers to kettle protesters on a freeway and gas them, knowing they had no way to escape.
I don’t know how to put the tumult of feelings that I have right now into words, but I know that others are on the streets right now putting those feelings into better words than I ever could.