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Roy Jay: Portland Can Do it Better Than Ferguson

Tuesday, November 25, 2014


A girl with a sign that reads "hands up don't shoot" at an August Ferguson rally at Portland Dawson Park

The case of Michael Brown is unfortunately not unusual. We see it every day, every week- the killing of a young African Americans and Latinos without real justification.  

The issues in Ferguson are not so far off. Portland has seen several unarmed suspects who have been shot or who died while in police custody. So many, in fact, that this year the U.S. Justice Department ordered the Portland Police Bureau to reform its use of force policies and how it trains its officers.

While the demonstrations happening in the city are a reflection of people who are frustrated with what has occurred in Ferguson, but also what has been going on in Portland for too long.  The good thing for us is that both the police and many of the activists in Portland are trying to do something different.

In Portland, Oregon there are people from all races, nationalities and genders that are trying to get have dialog about the Michael Brown grand jury verdict and they have worked hard to come up with a strategy that will prevent local violence while allowing people to demonstrate, protest and have their voices heard on the issue of police violence, racism and poverty in America.

Everyone from high ranking Portland Police officers to local community and religious leaders have been working so make sure that Portland’s demonstrations would not pour gasoline on a tinderbox.

It’s a challenge.  These issues impact people deeply. Some in the African American community can feel like they are literally fighting for their lives.  So tensions can run high, and a demonstration can quickly go sideways if protestors or police lose their cool.

The logo from the organization Don't Shoot PDX

In some cases, it only takes one individual. It’s usually a person that has nothing going for themselves- someone who wants to brag about why everyone is wrong and they’re right.  In the Michael Brown case, there may be enough guilt to go around on both sides, but community leaders are texting, setting up phone trees and call downs to work collectively to prevent demonstrations from getting out of hand. 

Yes, it could happen in Portland, but a growing handful of business owners, government officials and professionals are seeking answers.   But we want to live in a town, where riots don’t happens, and where unarmed teenagers of any color don’t get shot and killed by police or anyone else.

Sitting around at your private club, having that special glass of wine and watching everything unfold on TV, your IPAD or smart phone won’t help to build that kind of community. Individuals, like you, need to come together in a time like this and try to start the healing before our suspicion, fears and distrust of one another erupts into violence. 

We hope that the people in Portland area will unify, empathize and engage, rather than divide, withdraw and cast judgment on others when trying moments in our society like these occur.

Distance yourself from “haters” and people that bring nothing but negative to the table. It’s not a good formula for understanding and healing.

Blessings to those that are currently organized and those that will join the peaceful assembly to end these types of incidents.

Roy Jay is a businessman with a footprint from coast to coast and beyond. He has been ranked as one of the most intriguing people in Oregon politics, yet he does not hold office. Learn more at: RoyJay.Com


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