Oregon Students of Color Conference 2016

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[Image Description: A black, red and white flyer for OSCC 2015 Conference centers a pillar and tree-like structure with a heart at the center. Under the image it says, “The lover passion is power”]
In my work with the Center for Intercultural Organizing (CIO), I’ve been able to work with organizers from all across Oregon and across the U.S. to talk about policing, racist violence, and how to dismantle systems of oppression. In 2015, hundreds of students, professors, community workers, and organizations came together for the 15th Annual Oregon Students of Color Conference at Portland State University in Oregon. I was excited to host a QTBIPOC Immigrant and Refugee Solidarity workshop with a comrade and reconnect with students from across Oregon. Here’s an excerpt of my speech below (TW: xenophobia, police state, surveillance, 911, KKK, anti black violence, rape, hate crime )

“What’s up OSCC?! I’m honored to share the day with you all because students are leading so many movements for justice today. Students know how to build power and yall are shaking government and academic institutions and it just gives me chills. My name is Adrian and I am the End Profiling Coordinator with the Center for Intercultural Organizing aka CIO. CIO has been organizing in solidarity with immigrant and refugee communities for the last 13 years in Oregon. CIO started in post 9/11 Portland during a time of anti-Muslim sentiment and hostility toward immigrant and refugee communities (much of which still exists today). On September 8, 2002, Portland law enforcement arrested Sheik Mohamed Abdirahman Kariye, a well-known Portland Imam and leader of the As-Saber Mosque while traveling at the airport. Airport officials falsely claimed his brother’s luggage contained traces of TNT. CIO’s founders organized a march and protest outside of the federal building in downtown Portland in response to the profiling incident. CIO believes  that no one should be profiled by the state because of their race, ethnicity, ability, sexual orientation, gender, religion, national origin, or political ideology. At CIO we work to build, activate, and organize our supporters.

Locally, across the state, and nationally we have seen how students have built power to get their voices heard. To the students working to disarm PSU- yo te apoyo! To the black, brown, and indigenous students of color in Mizzou who have been harassed and are facing death threats at their racist academic institutions – yo te apoyo! This week, students took action with the Million Student March all across the nation to demand debt-free college, student loan forgiveness, fair wages for workers on campus, more black representation in faculty and staff, and a strategic plan in response to racist crimes that have happened on the campus of Mizzou. Students here in this room are envisioning their demands for justice and equity; some of you may be wondering how you fit into this movement .

That’s why students are my favorite, you’re here and I’m glad we can share and build on our revolutionary ideas. CIO has been working tirelessly with our coalition partners to pass HB2002 the End Profiling Act in Oregon . HB 2002 created legal protections for Oregonians by defining and banning profiling in the state; making it illegal for law enforcement to stop someone solely based on their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, language, housing status, sexual orientation or gender identity. Since the passage of HB2002, the End Profiling Act created The Law Enforcement Profiling Work Group.  The Work Group consists of ten members who were appointed by  the Senate President, the Speaker of the House, by the Governor, and is chaired by the Attorney General herself. I’ve been able to sit at these work group meetings where the goals are to:

  1. Propose a process to identify any patterns or practices of profiling as defined by HB 2002.
  2. Identify methods to address and correct patterns or practices of profiling
  3. Prepare a report of legislative recommendations to address profiling by s December 1st, 2015.

The work group has met over the last few months and is finalizing recommendations for legislation in the areas of data collection, law enforcement training, and transparency and accountability. We are working on an HB2002 toolkit to inform community members about the profiling complaint process and need the help of leaders across the state. If you are interested in becoming a trainer of the Profiling Complaint Toolkit please sign up to volunteer with us, or see your program for my contacts. 

Amidst all this amazing work, we found out that there has been surveillance of black leaders using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter here in Oregon. One of the people identified in the “threat assessment” is a lawyer who is the DOJ’s head of civil rights enforcement. Under Oregon law, it is illegal for state law enforcement to gather information about people’s political, religious, and social views, associations, or activities. The details of the investigation are pending and we still believe that no one should be profiled, monitored, or surveillanced, for who they are or for their political ideologies. We want to send a message today to Attorney General Ellenor Rosenbalm that Oregon students of color are watching and monitoring her response to all forms of profiling in the state and in her office. Right now volunteers are going to pass out End Profiling postcards, will you fill it out and tell our AG why profiling is important to you?

There have been reports of the KKK doing recruitment in Gresham, Oregon City, and Portland in the last few weeks. Sgt. Cynthia Gates from the Oregon Police Department, responded and said, “They’re not targeting anyone or threatening anyone” to which I say REALLY!?

Let’s honor and remember Ethiopian immigrant Mulugeta Seraw who was violently murdered by the Portland Klan in 1988. Let’s honor and remember Keaton Otis who was murdered by 32 bullets from the Portland police . Let’s continue to fight for black women and put a stop to sexual violence enacted by law enforcement (looking at you former Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw ). These people and so many more were wrongfully targeted, brutalized, and murdered. This is a chilling testament as to why law enforcement need to respond in accountable and transparent ways. This conversation is not about blue lives, this is about black lives and BLACK LIVES MATTER!”

Thanks to Mario for your leadership in OSA, this work is so crucial for students of color in Oregon. Shout out to the OSERA/OSCC board and staff, thank you for shifting the conversations and building political power with LGBTQ, immigrant, and refugee communities! Shout out to Ahsante because your brilliance, leadership, and talent are creating big waves for students of color in Oregon!

12265831_988192551245292_2039349608338518211_o[Image Description: A smiling Adrian addresses a crowd of students at the Oregon Students Of Color Conference] Photo courtesy of OSA

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