We know that we are in a long-term fight against the forces of state violence and that we can achieve incremental yet significant victories that chip away at the power of policing and imprisonment while simultaneously building power for our communities.
Leading up to 2020, we had waged our years-long Care Not Cops campaign that began with a focus on decoupling policing from mental health responses. In seeing the ways that the system of policing in Portland was targeting primarily young Black community members through “gang policing,” we shifted our campaign’s focus to abolish the Portland Police Bureau’s gang policing unit, which was branded as the Gun Violence Reduction Team (GVRT). Lifted by the massive and inspiring uprisings following the murder of George Floyd, we achieved an enormous victory in defunding and dismantling the GVRT.
Following this, our chapter joined in partnership with other organizations in the Oregon Prisoner Coalition to support imprisoned people across the state. Additionally, we continue to host our monthly volunteer prisoner mail nights, where we maintain communication with our comrades caged in Oregon’s state prisons.
CR Portland’s outward-facing campaign work has been on pause as we have been evaluating how our chapter can most effectively organize toward advancing abolitionist goals in our current political landscape. During this time, we’ve seen that policing remains a major pillar of the PIC in Portland, and those in power have been working to maneuver around our gains. As policing has been on a deadly rise nationally since 2020 and especially throughout the past year, locally we’re seeing clear escalations of policing in our city that need urgent resistance efforts. In the past few weeks alone the mayor has made an attack on our houseless neighbors by making it illegal to sleep in a tent anywhere in the city during daytime hours. We’ve seen the launch of surveillance drones that we know will monitor and target our city’s most vulnerable populations. And, Portland Public Schools have made preliminary moves to reinstate cops in our school systems which will endanger our young people and their families.
In the coming months, we are looking forward to having community conversations to meet these threats and establish a campaign to continue to fight back against policing in Portland. We hope to work with all of you in this fight and to see you in conversation soon.
If you are interested in connecting more closely with CR Portland (CRPDX) and potentially building a new anti-policing campaign with us, please communicate your interest with us and complete this form here.
Also please note that CRPDX will be taking a pause on virtual and in-person mail nights through August 2023. We are looking forward to welcoming you all back in the Fall! Keep an eye out for updates.