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JUSTICE FOR BYRON HAMMICK--Rally 4/27; Letter-writing; Appeal to peace movement

There will be a RALLY FOR JUSTICE FOR BYRON HAMMICK Saturday, April 27, 1pm in Laurelhurst Park. There is also a call for people to write letters to defend Black community leaders who are being targeted in the media for speaking out on the Hammick case. In this post, I also make a personal appeal to my colleagues in the peace movement, who are really busy with other issues right now, to speak out on the Byron Hammick case.
Hello to my activist colleagues--

I am sending this post to a number of lists and
contacts, and apologize if the information is
duplicative. There will be a RALLY FOR JUSTICE FOR
BYRON HAMMICK:

SATURDAY APRIL 27, 2002
1 PM LAURELHURST PARK (SE 39TH AND STARK)

We will be joining the Hammick family in marching to
the SE Precinct, and demanding an INDEPENDENT
investigation into what REALLY went on the night Byron
was shot, and an end to the Portland Police's "fire at
will" policy against African-Americans. (45% of those
shot at by Portland police since January 2001 have
been people of color, who make up less than 25% of
Portland's population.)

Portland Copwatch has also called for supporters of
police accountability to WRITE LETTERS to local media
about the Hammick case, and especially, to support
local African-American community leaders who have been
targeted in the media for speaking out on the Hammick
case. I have included more information about this
below.

I want to really make a personal appeal to my
colleagues who (very rightfully) are focusing a lot of
their time and energy on what is happening overseas,
to ALSO make time and energy to speak out on the Byron
Hammick case. We do not have to go to Colombia to
find communities who live in fear of being targeted by
paramilitary forces who might kill them at random. We
do not have to go to Palestine to find apartheid-like
systems where people are treated differently, even to
the point of life and death, based on their ethnicity.
We do not have to go to Afghanistan to find
"collateral damage." All of these things are
happening in our own back yard, to our brothers and
sisters of color.

I am really not trying to be self-righteous here. I
myself wasn't at the last march for Byron Hammick
because of a scheduling conflict. But I am trying to
challenge myself, and I hope others will accept these
comments in the positive spirit of challenging
themselves, to find time to focus BOTH on world peace
issues AND police accountability issues here in
Portland. Of course, the two are inextricably
connected. But it's not enough to acknowledge that
they're connected, we need to put that awareness into
action.

I particularly want to encourage my sisters and
brothers in the anti-war movement: move your schedules
around, let something else slide, do whatever you've
got to do, to get to Laurelhurst Park on Saturday at
1pm and support the Hammick family. If you really
can't do that, stay tuned for announcements of the
next rally for Byron Hammick (the family has promised
a whole series of protest actions.) And please try to
write a letter about this, especially if you can't
come out to protest.

The media has really tried to make this into an issue
where, if you support the Hammick family, you somehow
don't care about child abuse. "The police had to kill
Hammick, to save a child's life." I hope nobody in
the progressive community is falling for this! We
have only heard the police's side of the story, and as
African-American community leaders have rightfully
pointed out, police lie--especially where young men of
color are concerned. Every time there is a police
shooting, the police try to put the victim on trial.
The question here isn't whether Byron Hammick was a
saint, but whether the police had options other than
to kill him!

Hope to see you on Saturday!

Red Emma

=====================

AND NOW FOR SOME MORE DETAILS ABOUT THE LETTER-WRITING
ACTION....

In recent weeks, local media has gone far beyond the
usual knee-jerk defense of the cops, and has been
attacking and character-assassinating Black leaders
who have spoken out on the Hammick case. Progressive
columnist Promise King of the Tribune and the
ministers of the Albina Ministerial Alliance have been
accused of "playing the race card," "reverse
discrimination," "irresponsibility," and even worse.
I have included below some examples of media coverage,
both so you can bring yourself up to speed on this
case, and so you can have a sample of what kinds of
things the op-ed pages are saying. (Taken from the
Skanner and Tribune. I hear the Oregonian is even
worse, but I didn't have the stomach to go look it
up.) Also included, from the Copwatch action alert,
is contact info for the Oregonian, Tribune and
Portland Observer.

OP-ED CONTACT INFO:

Letters to the Oregonian should be sent to: 1320 SW
Broadway, Portland OR 97201.
They can also be sent via email to:
 letters@news.oregonian.com.
Letters should be limited to 150 words, and should
include your name, address, and daytime phone number.

Letters to the Tribune should be sent to "Letters to
the Editor," 620
Fifth Avenue, Suite 400, Portland OR 97204. Or by
email,
 letters@portlandtribune.com.

The Observer can be reached at PO Box 3137, Portland
OR 97208. Or:
 news@portlandobserver.com.

BACKGROUND ARTICLES:

'No justice, no peace' - Family disputes police
account of fatal motel shooting
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=9958

Cousin offers details on motel shooting
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10093

Grand jury rules shooting justifiable
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10151

Promise King column: Shooting feeds racial distrust
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10234

Pastors lament motel death: Death underscores city's
racial problems, black leaders say
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10281

Ministers' Alliance Protests Police Shooting
Lethal force was unnecessary in Hammick case, members
say
 http://www.theskanner.com/020313/pdxnews_03.html

5 of 11 shootings by police involved nonwhite suspects

 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10293

Beanbag gun gives police an alternative weapon
It's use has been criticized, but cops point to
successes
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10506

PREVIOUS LETTERS (FROM THE TRIBUNE):

Letter slamming Black ministers
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10408

LONG letter blaming Hammick for his own death
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10416

Letters defending police
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10493

Another letter slamming Promise King & Black ministers
 http://www.portlandtribune.com/archview.cgi?id=10567