Dear Portland State community,
On the night of May 31, thousands of protesters marched across the Burnside bridge into downtown Portland. The sun was setting behind the hills, and the sky was aflame with colors. Many chanted, “Black Lives Matter,” and “Say his name: George Floyd,” as they approached the west side of the bridge. The police appeared reluctant to allow the protesters into downtown, where another march of thousands was already taking place. Eventually, however, they realized they would have to let them through and coalesce with the other march—their numbers were too great to be stopped. (By some accounts, more than 10,000 took to the streets of Portland that night). Any aggressive police response would have led to disaster, as escalation from police so often does.
That moment felt indicative of the larger movement. Millions of Americans are fed up with violent police tactics that lead to senseless death, used disproportionately against Black and Brown citizens. Until the police structure in America is radically reformed to become an arbiter of peace instead of violence, the marches will continue. Until police are consistently held accountable for their actions, the marches will continue. Until Americans get justice for those fallen like George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and countless others, the marches will continue.
The marches will continue until those in power recognize that peace and negotiation is the only way forward. There are simply too many Americans demanding that racial inequality be promptly and adequately addressed to be put down with tear gas and rubber bullets. On June 1, President Trump stated that “if a city or a state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then [he] will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.”
What about the staggering amount of Black lives lost at the hands of police? When will cities and states—and America as a whole—take the necessary actions to ensure that senseless police killings be put to an end? Why hasn’t the issue that sparked these protests in the first place—systemic racism—been given the kind of immediate government response given to the protests themselves?
Until these questions are answered, the marches will continue.
It’s important in these times to have difficult conversations about race, police reform, protests, and countless other subjects that define this moment. I encourage all PSU students and faculty members who want to speak their voice to submit a Letter to the Editor. Vanguard is dedicated to sharing your voices by being a platform for constructive debate and the healthy exchange of ideas. Regardless of your political viewpoint, we would love to hear from you.
If you’re interested, please send your thoughts, opinions and ideas to [email protected]
It’s more important than ever to listen to Black voices and to do what we can to understand the legacy that led to this moment. Here are some resources you can check out to help you stay informed and to take action:
Vanguard will always remain dedicated to serving the PSU community with timely, accurate, comprehensive and critical content while upholding the highest journalistic standards. You can find our final issue of spring term, along with all of our previous issues, on our website and at Issuu.com.
We will be working as hard as we can to cover the current moment and to bring our community the news that matters.
Good luck with finals, and I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy. Black Lives Matter.