Black Lives Matter protests swept the country in 2020. As many as one in 10 adult Americans attended a protest. They got a taste of the world Sean Kealiher had been inhabiting for years before he was killed. And in Portland, the culture war over race and politics would turn deadly.
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Ani Raven is a longtime activist and community radio host in Portland. She was also one of Sean Kealiher’s mentors when he joined the Occupy movement at 15 years old.
After Sean Kealiher was killed, his mother Laura was subjected to brutal harassment from conservative trolls at her home and online—and it was Sean’s antifascist friends who provided her security, not the Portland police.
When Sean Kealiher and his friend Micah Fletcher began confronting racists in their community, neither one could have predicted the consequences.
Oregon’s long history of racism was what brought Sean Kealiher and so many protesters like him to the streets. That history is part of the reason Laura Kealiher believes Portland police aren't solving her son's killing.
In this episode, we look at who was in the streets leading up to one of the most significant years in American protests, and what brought them there.
Sean Kealiher was killed Oct. 12, 2019, near a popular bar for Portland’s anti-fascist scene. An SUV ran him over and crashed outside the Democratic Party of Oregon headquarters. Gunshots rang out through the night sky, and whoever was driving fled the scene, leaving the vehicle behind. Now, almost two years later, his mother Laura Kealiher is demanding police answer why his killing remains unsolved.