I want justice for victims of racial violence. The world has gone mad. It is disgusting. 

Everyone has been talking about the Trayvon Martin (learn about it herecase...frankly I am glad it is getting so much press. It has brought up a lot of strong feelings in my community here and I want to touch on how it relates to the injustice of the system here in Portland.

It's been about a month since the shooting of Trayvon Martin, and on March 13th a local Latino man (link: Alberto Flores-Haro) was shot in the stomach by our notorious police force when he came out into his yard to check for intruders late in the evening.

On top of that, I discovered today that the Portland Police Bureau is considering reinstating Ron Frashour (AFTER HE WAS FIRED!), the officer who shot a mentally-unstable, unarmed Black man in the back with an assault rifle (Jason Campbell) last January. An arbitrator for the case states that "it was reasonable to believe that he could be armed" (Portland Mercury, 2012). What was the justification for this? Was it reasonable because he was Black and upset? The record states that it "appeared" he was reaching for a gun as he ran away but many local citizens are unsatisfied by that idea. I am one of them.

The Trayvon Martin case stirs up a lot of feelings for those of us living here in Portland because of the nature of the crime: An unarmed young Black man being shot to death. The Portland Police Bureau has a sordid history (google Portland Copwatch) of shooting unarmed homeless, disabled and/or people of color. With the possible reinstating of Frashour,it appears that we cannot control the police and we have no voice for justice in our city.

Is there justice anywhere?


Worst F*cking Nightmare

In light of the recent gentrification topics, I found this image particularly hilarious.

It's the Holy Trinity of what I want to avoid while walking down the sidewalks of Portland: liberal heterosexual White couples, their kids and their dogs.


Bike Lanes: White People Ruin Everything

Well, that's it. Today I found out that the North Williams Stakeholder Advisory Committee has reached a decision and decided to go ahead with the bike lane expansion on North Williams Avenue. This, after months of debate, is yet another blow to the historical African American community in North Portland. What disgusts me most were the circus antics of the committee and City Council, pretending to give a shit what residents think. 

One of the biggest problems with the average Portlander is they have no idea what gentrification is, or how they're contributing to it. Portland used to have a vibrant Black community centered by a "main street" that is now occupied by the Rose Quarter transit center and highway ramps. Now as then, the city has ignored the history and legitimacy of the Black community in Portland. 

People continue to move here, and these people are overwhelmingly White, upper-middle class educated heterosexual couples. One such citizen, Angela Goldsmith, was interviewed by the Portland Mercury in their article "It's Not About the Bikes" (http://www.portlandmercury.com/portland/its-not-about-the-bikes/Content?oid=5619639) and opined: "I'm not selling my property so I don't give a shit." Really classy. Turns out Goldsmith was one of the first gentrifiers to swoop in after the construction of the Legacy hospital (which displaced hundreds of Black families and shut down local business) and buy a house. She now owns three properties in the area. I feel like Ms. Goldsmith is a prime example of the issues surrounding gentrification and the N. Williams Avenue problem. It's easy for a White person with power, privilege and money to dismiss the concerns as trifling.

I'm not really sure what else to say. I'm really angry right now, but honestly not surprised. I should have expected it. Right now I'm just questioning what I can do to fight back on behalf of the Black community. At least I'm talking about it.

For further reading about Portland's sordid history of gentrification and discrimination, please read Karen J. Gibson's "Bleeding Albina, A History of Community Disinvestment, 1940-2000". It can be found here: (http://www.kingneighborhood.org/history/Bleeding%20Albina:%20A%20History%20of%20Community%20Disinvestment,%201940-2000.pdf)



I don't know if the universe is trying to tell me something, or trying to prepare me in some way, but in the last week I have run into many people from my past. It's not as if I was trying to escape the past, I chose to leave those people behind for various reasons. Some of those people were from school, some were fair-weather friends, some work colleagues...it doesn't matter. I didn't want them to be in my life anymore. I don't think life is trying to make me confront them or something about them or maybe reconcile myself with them, but I think it's trying to tell me something. That much I am sure of! 

Interestingly enough, in all but one encounter there was no approaching nor recognition They all stayed away. It seems as though I have a reputation for cutting people out of my life and them staying cut off. I can't say whether that is true or not, all I know is that I don't have any contact with those people anymore for a reason. It's not as if I sat them down and told them off, I just let myself disappear from their lives. Each situation is different, of course. I feel however, that I have to hold on to my principles so I don't end up getting hurt or compromising who I am.


Speaking up, speaking out

Lately I am running out of things to say, it seems. I have been harping on the same subjects over and over and to what end? There have been myriad encounters and stories like my previous post here in this city. It's something that doesn't seem like to change. I want to challenge people to think outside their privilege and see the reality of our society but at the same time I am having issues getting past the anger I feel when I am being discriminated against. 

I'm tired of being told that I'm demasiado intenso, that I just need to have a positive outlook, that I shouldn't be so mean. Most of the people telling me this are my White friends. It probably doesn't help that most of my friends here are White...but what do you expect? My cousin Armenia, on the contrary, reinforces me against giving in to complacency. She thinks it is a positive trait that I am so outspoken and that I will confront people who are being racist/homophobic/classist/sexist etc. 

I guess the issue is that I need to find some happy medium without giving up the fight. I think maybe that I don't have to be so combative, but I also don't have to stay silent.



I’m reflecting on last night, where again I have found myself the only non-White person at a party. Something in me urges to write about this experience, I’m trying to be nonplussed about it, but it’s hard. It’s always hard.  I realized today that I’m sick of letting myself be co-opted for whiteboyworld’s entertainment. I know I live in Portland, where it’s 85% Caucasian, but I’m still breathing, still a part of that other percentage that all the White activists ignore when they rail about classism.

Back to the party…I remember when me and two other of my companions sneak our way back up the stairs on a mission masquerading as a smoke break to really clear our heads. Some of the partygoers leak out after us and strike a conversation in the driveway. We all introduce ourselves. Predictably there is an audible silence after me and the quintessential nicewhitegirl says how she likes my name, how it’s a cool name. Oh yay, the tokenism has begun. At least they didn’t ask me where I was from. I just smile awkwardly and that’s the last time I speak directly to anyone I don’t previously know at this shindig. I realize it’s time to go when some newcomers have a side conversation about what’s the PC term for a Native American while one of them is wearing some Urban Outfitters shit with a “Navajo” design fluttering above her tiny midriff.

I can’t stand this world. I feel like more analogously Caucasian faces and thought-patterns are slowly blotting me out.  I’m tired of being the only coloured person at the party, the only Latino in the “Hispanic” food section of Fred Meyers, the only guy on my block who rocks a skullcap. I’m not a token, I’m not going to be colonized for someone else’s mental well being because they have a friend that is queer/of colour/Jewish etc. I’m not going to teach you a pithy lesson from my homeland; I’m not going to teach you Spanish.

Yes, I am going to be offended by your racist good intentions. I’m going to talk back; I’m going to correct your perceptions. I’m going to make you mad, I’m going to dismantle your co-options, and I’m going to throw your world for a loop. I’m not going to sit here and let you blot me out for this anti-septic, White, bourgeois vision of what you think your community should be. Fuck that noise.
I’m decolonizing that shit.