On August 14th, enemies of racism, anti-blackness, and state violence against citizens took to Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard to protest. They marched in the long shadow of the cracks in the walls of the police state, cracks that formed when Ferguson, Missouri residents took to the streets to decry the murder of Michael Brown by a police officer.
Protesters took to the street on MLK between Alberta and Killingsworth, near to the Portland Police Bureau’s North Precinct building. The police stayed out of the way of the protest, not sending uniformed officers to the scene, but patted themselves on the back for drawing the exact opposite lesson that protesters sought to send:
Capt. Pat Walsh, who leads the bureau’s tactical operations division, said the bureau anticipated a couple of hundred protestors Thursday night, but the officers held back. “We didn’t need to be coming and going with our police gear and be targets,” Walsh said.
Nevertheless, several hundred people gathered together to speak against injustice, and in doing so, captured the meaning of a street named for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard far more than any pizza joint or upscale bistro could ever do:
There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality… No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until “justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.” -Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., August 28, 1963.
I have my own photos from this event, some of which I’ll post here later; [section of this entry removed by request].
As it is, redevelopment of the Vanport lot to serve the consumer needs of a narrow segment of the population of inner North/Northeast Portland is a concrete example of predatory gentrification, one part of a broader pattern of violence that the state sanctions or participates in, against the already-dispossessed among us.