Local social justice and activist group Don’t Shoot PDX held a children’s march and rally Wednesday at Dawson Park in Portland.
The group formed in 2014 in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri, after the shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old African-American man, by a white police officer.
Wednesday’s event, called “We Do Matter!”, focused on children of color, specifically African-American children and the effects of racism at a young age. It drew over 100 people.
Don’t Shoot PDX organizer Teressa Raiford said the event was organized as a safe space for protesters after Don’t Shoot’s last Black Lives Matter protest on Thursday resulted in a counter-protester bringing a gun.
“I wanted to do something in a space that we would all consider safe, which is our park, Dawson Park,” said Raiford. “I grew up in this park. A lot of people have and so we’re inviting everybody into the community, just to come back and talk about the dynamics of safety — talk about the dynamics of community.”
Along with various community speakers, there was a craft area for children to make signs for the march and a free barbecue for the community.
Before the march, which looped around Dawson Park in North Portland, Oregon’s chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union gave a short informational talk to both children and adults alike about basic rights and how to interact with law enforcement.
Sarah Armstrong, communications and outreach director at the Oregon ACLU, spoke about the Fourth and Fifth amendments: the right to refuse unreasonable searches and the right to remain silent.
Both these rights apply to every person in the United States, regardless of their citizenship status, Armstrong said.
The march blocked off various busy intersections, but the protesters had no interaction with the police.