Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Addressing systemic racism in Oregon

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Oregon House David Gomberg

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

We are fortunate to live in a special part of America that values racial, ethnic, religious, and cultural diversity. But anyone paying attention this week knows that problems persist. Systemic, institutional, and interpersonal racism remains in our country and in our state that must be addressed.

Like many of you, I was heartsick, angry, but sadly not surprised to see another man of color die in police custody last week. And while Minneapolis may seem far away, the shameful killing of George Floyd is a national tragedy that affects us all. I understand the frustration and grief that has brought millions of people across the country, throughout Oregon, and even in our small towns to the streets raising their voices in response. I know that even in our special part of America, that people of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and religious minorities often feel at risk.

Our challenge is to work together so that a legacy of bigotry and unequal treatment no longer infects our institutions or our hearts. That effort must address stubborn disparities in education, housing, employment and health care.

The point of peaceful protest is to raise public awareness, to put a spotlight on injustice, and to facilitate change. Eventually, aspirations have to be translated into specific laws and institutional practices.

In recent years, Oregon has taken a variety of actions to dismantle institutional racism and advance equity. We created a new law to address hate crimes, we’re collecting data on police stops, we passed a law to penalize those who call 911 for frivolous or discriminatory reasons and advanced legislation to hold law enforcement officers who commit misconduct accountable. In the House, we voted to end non-unanimous jury convictions. The Legislature also established a framework for local police departments to implement the use of body cameras. And I sponsored legislation to help minority and women-owned businesses get the money they need to start up or expand.

We are now considering new proposals brought forward by my colleagues on the Oregon Legislative People of Color Caucus:

  • Recommend changes to the state’s laws regarding use of physical force or deadly physical force in making an arrest or in preventing an escape.
  • Prohibit an arbitrator from lessening disciplinary action against a law enforcement officer if the arbitrator and the law enforcement agency determine that the officer has committed misconduct.
  • Require the Attorney General to investigate and prosecute, if the evidence dictates, any death or serious physical injury resulting from the use of force by a law enforcement officer.

These ideas and others will be considered in either a special legislative session or when the legislature reconvenes in January.

The waves of protests across America represent a genuine and legitimate frustration. The overwhelming majority of participants have been peaceful, courageous, responsible, and inspiring. That was particularly true here in our district. Public discourse deserves our respect and support – something that our local police commendably understand.

On the other hand, the small minority who’ve resorted to violence in various forms, whether out of genuine anger or mere opportunism, are putting innocent people at risk, compounding the destruction of neighborhoods that are often already short on services and investment, and detracting from the larger cause.

Let’s be very clear. Protest is good. Lending your voice to a cause you believe in is constructive. Violence and vandalism are bad and contribute to the discord and divisions in our communities. During these difficult and stressful times, I continue to urge patience, respect, and ethical engagement. If we a seek real and constructive change in our society, we must each model that behavior ourselves.

Warm Regards,

Representative David Gomberg
House District 10

email: [email protected]

phone: 503-986-1410
address: 900 Court St NE, H-471, Salem, OR, 97301
website: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/gomberg

Oregon House Rep. David Gomberg
Oregon House Rep. David Gomberghttps://www.oregonlegislature.gov/gomberg
David Gomberg (D-Otis) represents House District 10, which includes Yachats, north to Tillamook along the coast, and inland as far as Sheridan and Falls City to the east.

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5 COMMENTS

  1. I was born and raised in Oregon. I have known hundreds of people, the only racism that I ever saw was on TV in Portland , so, how is Oregon racists? Don’t let the ignorant people bait you into something that is not true.

  2. I don’t understand why this is being brought up? We have riots in Portland and this kind of article just gives them more reason to riot. If the press just shut up about it this madness would stop. Just goes to show you that the left loves to have drama. Just drop it!!!!!

  3. Love, kindness, respecting elders and others begins at home, not from CULT PEOPLE who are encouraging our young to be disrespectful, hateful and violent. Throwing bottles at police or anyone, breaking into businesses, starting fires, damaging police vehicles and murder are being taught to these young people by the LEFT/Antifa and democrats.

  4. More kneejerk reaction from those on high. The state health director even blames racism for the higher prevalence of Covid in non-whites. Personal responsibility doesn’t exist in nanny states. Does my skin color lower my risk of contracting Covid? No, following the rules does.

  5. don’t systemic racism me you milk toast piece of dog flop.
    I’ll tell you from experience that there are reasons for everything. My nephew and niece are have a black father, their saving grace is that their mother raised them with respect and made them into the people they are.
    Too many spew out kids and let them run wild, I’ve known plenty of blacks, and most of them weren’t even honest criminals.
    You reap what you sow, and if you want to jump around like an animal, you’re going to get stereotyped, people blame Trump for this, well bad
    news, Obama did more to set back black people than Jefferson Davis.
    Oh woe is me, I’m a victim, give me money, and if you won’t give it to me, I’ll take it, you owe me because you’re white. Come take my
    stuff, and see what happens, it’s not my fault the country is in anarchy,
    as far as I’m concerned, blacks are lucky to be here, if it wasn’t for our
    idiot ancestors bringing slaves here, these rioters would be arguing with
    a lion, instead of innocent bystanders. What ever you give, it’ll never be
    enough, they could go and shoot all 4 of those jerk cops, and it still wouldn’t be enough.

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