Oregon Coalition Against Hate Crime

Fighting hate by networking resources

Remembering one murder in this time of hate. — October 30, 2018

Remembering one murder in this time of hate.

October 30, 2018

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Thirty years ago, the brutal murder of an Ethiopian immigrant by racist skinheads put Portland, Oregon on the map and put the problem of hate crimes into the national consciousness. Now, in the wake of racist murders in Kentucky and Pennsylvania and right-wing bomb threats across the country, we are called to remember the killing of Mulugeta Seraw and the work that must be done to confront the seemingly growing wave of hate in our communities.

The CAHC is honored to support the Urban League of Portland in the holding of a Conference to Commemorate Mulugeta Seraw on Tuesday, November 13, 9 am to 2 pm, at Portland State University. The conference will include participation from the local Ethiopian community (including Mulugeta’s uncle), attorneys involved in the civil suit against the White Aryan Resistance, Portland United Against Hate, and the Coalition Against Hate Crime. To register, please click the link below:

CONFERENCE REGISTRATION

If you are interested in a scholarship to attend the conference free of charge, please click here: Scholarship Application Form

The city also has plans to add street top signs with Seraw’s name in the Southeast neighborhood where the murder occurred. The announcement for that ceremony is forthcoming and is being planned for the morning of November 14 at the intersection of SE 31st and SE Pine.

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Seraw’s murder and the current racial violence that has gripped our nation remind of us of the hard work required to move us towards a more equitable society. Let’s honor Mulugeta by doing this work now.

We hope to see you on November 13.

 

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How We Respond to Hate — August 27, 2017

How We Respond to Hate

August 26, 2017

On August 12, the Coalition Against Hate Crime, with the assistance  of the Department of Justice – Community Relations Service, held a free forum, entitled How We Respond to Hate. The forum, hosted at the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, had a capacity audience. The original motive for the forum was to help the city heal and respond to the May 26 Max train attack, but the events occurring in Charlottesville, Virginia that weekend were on everyone’s mind. Much networking was done and there was good coverage from the local media:

Portland leaders discuss hate crimes

The forum was made possible thanks to a generous grant from Emily’s Fund and with help from the Genocide Studies Project at Portland State. Emily’s Fund also made available “HATE NOT IN OUR TOWN” yard signs that participants took home. The day was built on three important panels, with the participation of committed community leaders.

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Welcome and Introduction 12:30 – 12:45 pm:

Randy Blazak, Coalition Against Hate Crime

Law Panel

Law and Law Enforcement Panel: 12:50 – 1:45 pm

Responses to hate from local and federal law enforcement agencies

Moderated by Knight Sor, DOJ/Community Relations Service

Caryn Ackerman, Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation – Oregon

Hannah Horsley, U.S. Attorney’s Office

Jeff Sharp, Portland Police Bureau Bias Crime Detective

Sheriff Pat Garrett, Washington County

Jeffery Howes, Multnomah County District Attorney’s Office

Community panel

Community Voices Panel 1:50- 2:45 pm

Perspectives from communities that have been the target of hate

Moderated by Harpreet Singh Mokha, DOJ/Community Relations Service

Gurpreet Kaur Singh, representing the Sikh community

Seemab Hussaini and Zakir Khan of CAIR-OR, representing the Muslim community

Steve Wasserstrom, Reed College, representing the Jewish community

Reid Vanderburgh, PFLAG, representing the LGBTQ community

Resource Panel

Resource Panel 2:50 – 3:45 pm

Preventing and responding to hate

Moderated by Amanda Byron from Portland State’s Conflict Resolution Department

Hillary Bernstein, Anti-Defamation League

Rachel Cunliffe Portland State Conflict Resolution

Shweta Moorthy, Portland United Against Hate

Chase Jones, Department of Homeland Security

Harleen  Kaur, Sikh Coalition

Wrap Up and Networking 3:45 – 4:00 pm

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Hate continues to be a problem in our state. On August 20th, as motorists from around the region drove north on Interstate 5 to view the solar eclipse, many were greeted by banners hung by neo-Nazis from bridges in the Eugene-Albany area. Our rapid response team (i. e., Jeff Gottfried) delivered nearly 200 yard signs to churches, temples, and synagogues in the area, letting neighbors know that hate has no place in Lane County.

As we try to make sense of the events in Charlottesville (Read Randy Blazak response to the situation here: Charlottesville: America’s fork in the road), and our president’s mixed messages about racism, we redouble our efforts around this issue. We are working on a plan to better distribute the “HATE NOT IN OUR TOWN” signs to communities across the state. We are also partnering with the Portland Urban League to build towards a 2018 event to mark the 30th anniversary of the murder of Mulugeta Seraw by racist skinheads in Southeast Portland. We encourage you to be a part of our efforts.

Responding to Hate in Portland — June 19, 2017

Responding to Hate in Portland

June 19, 2017

In the wake of the brutal May 26th attack on the Portland Max train that left two good samaritans dead and a third seriously injured, the city has been responding in a number of ways. The worldwide media attention on the incident has put Portland in a spotlight it hasn’t occupied since the 1988 murder of an Ethiopian immigrant by racist skinheads. As the chair of the Coalition, I have tried to fairly represent the CAHC’s mission, as well as our city, its history, and the work that must be done, in the New York Times, CNN, NPR, the BBC,  Al Jazeera, and several other media outlets.

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Since the attack, the city has held vigils, memorial services, anti-hate rallies, community meetings with law enforcement, benefit shows and fundraisers for the victims, and on June 7, the Portland City Council approved a $40,000 grant to help improve the reporting of hate crimes in the city. On June 9, Oregon Senators and Congress members submitted a joint resolution condemning the attacks. There will a bystander intervention workshop on June 25. And the Oregon Attorney General’s Office will be hosting a hate crime forum on July 24 at the Muslim Educational Trust in Tigard.

The CAHC is working with our partners at the DOJ CRS to assemble a community forum in late July that will cover the legal issues regarding hate crimes, the experience of communities that have been targeted, and useful strategies from preventing hate crimes and responding when hate does arise. We will have more information, soon. The DOJ CRS is also helping to support our Hate Free State proclamation that is currently in Governor Brown’s office.

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All this work and more is being done to honor Ricky Best, Taliesin Namkai-Meche, and Micah Fletcher, as well as the two girls who were verbally assaulted that day. Their families should know that waves of goodness, reflection, activism, and community commitment will continue to unfold from that horrific day. We have all been forced to rededicate ourselves to this issue because of their sacrifice. Sadly, there have been several hate incidents in Oregon since that attack, and we have been tasked with the realization that hate is still a regular part of our world, even in Portland. However, the ripple of those people’s actions on that train will bring positive change for many years to come.

White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train. — May 27, 2017

White supremacist murders two samaritans on Portland Max train.

May 27,  2017

On May 26, 2017 there was a brutal attack on the Portland Max, near the Hollywood station by a known white supremacist. We encourage people to stand up to hate speech, but in this case it turned fatal. Jeremy Christian was verbally assaulting two women on the train he believed to be Muslim. Three people who tried to get him to stop were stabbed by Christian. Ricky John Best, 53, died at the scene and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai Meche, 23, died later in the hospital.. Christian is in custody.

Here is one of the media accounts of the incident.

Police: 2 killed in MAX train stabbing after suspect bullies Muslim women

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(Photo by Katherine Cook)

The women who were the initial targets of the attack fled the train and the Portland Police are hoping to interview them. Chief Marshman made this plea.

Community colleagues,

By now I am sure you are aware of the incident on the MAX train where two people were killed. Portland Police has the suspect in custody. 

We are continuing to investigate this terrible crime and will get information to the public as soon as we are able to do so. 

Preliminary information is that the suspect was yelling various types of hate speech to many passengers on the train. 

We are looking for two young women, possibly teenagers, who were on the train. We believe these two young women are witnesses to this crime. One was possibly wearing a hijab. 

With Ramadan beginning this evening, please know that the Portland Police Bureau stands by your side and will have extra police patrols for you. 

Thank you,
Mike Marshman, Chief of Police

Both Commissioner Chloe Eudaly and Mayor Ted Wheeler have condemned the incident. There is a vigil planned for tonight at the Hollywood Max Center at 6:30.

 

We know that attacks on Muslims have increased, and have spiked since the bombing in Manchester, England. It is important for us to stand with the victims and against this type of terrorism in our communities. All people should feel safe, no matter what their faith is.