Nearly one hundred Portland leaders met in Pioneer Courthouse Square this morning to address people intent on spewing hate and throwing punches at a Saturday, August 17 protest.
“We’ve come here together, united as one, putting aside any differences we may have to send a clear and unifying message,” said Mayor Ted Wheeler, who coordinated the morning event. “We stand in opposition to the rising national tide of hate, intolerance, bigotry, and white supremacy.”
Wheeler’s comments were followed by short speeches by a range of progressive politicians, activists, and business leaders. Some explicitly decried the Proud Boys—the alt-right group behind the weekend demonstration—and others condemned any protesters seeking a fight. But despite their varied phrasing, the group’s collective statement against hate was a rare sign of unity in a city that’s been splintered by divisive protests.
“We are here to use our words to help our community resist fascism strategically and intelligently,” said Avel Gordly, a civil rights leader and former Oregon state legislator. “We are here because our children need to see us in this act of standing together. Our children need to see us acting to protect them in a time of traumatizing fear in this nation.”