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The Kendra James Rally: "It's not time to lighten up, it's time to tighten up."

another account from the Saturday rally and march in protest of Kendra James' murder by the Portland Police

1,400 people rallied at Alberta Park at 20th and N.E. Killingsworth on Saturday, the 24th, at noon to protest the murder of Kendra James by a Portland police officer. A speaker said: "We have gathered here because we are sick and tired of what has happened in our city. ... We want justice for everyone. We want to send a clear message; we want to change the system, our police department, and the legislature. ... We want the blessings of God to be at this rally. We are one with one voice."

The whole day was imbued with religiosity. "You can't be separated from one another because we were all created together." Compared to other protests there was a large proportion of church members. The march began and ended with "We shall overcome"; rather than "someday" we sang "today". The strong desire for justice wasn't expressed with a lot of negativity but with hope. "Fear knocked on the door and faith answered," someone said. The idea of redemption was present in some of the speeches. A woman said that "whether you're a crack addict or a PhD, your life has value." Another person, in reference to Kendra's drug-use, stated, "Anybody's life can be changed."

At about 1 p.m., the crowd marched to the spot where Kendra James, mother of two, was killed. Cars and vans were at the tail of the march, many associated with local churches. Officers Barbour, Engen, Felts, Parks, and Scott, and Cash were among the unusually polite and well behaved police escorts. Approximately 925 people were counted as the march started. At MLK & Killingsworth, the estimate was at least 1,200, and it grew after that.

A truck with a sound system was out in front. People led chants and sang from it. "Justice" was the keyword for the day. The crowd was mixed in race, gender, and age. As it turned onto Skidmore, the song was, 'Let us break bread together.'

The Last stop was just past Mississippi & Skidmore, near the Greater Faith Baptist Church, where I-84 crosses. On the sidewalk two black men had a confrontation, one in uniform, one not. Officer Cash said that he's been with the police force for 14 years and hasn't shot one person. The other man said: "But you're hanging out with murderers. How can you live with yourself when you live with these Goddam devils? ... You can't even sleep with yourself." In response to all officers who have been rude and disrespectful, someone else said, "let them all be rooted out." It was pointed out that the mayor, police chief, and district attorney are our employees. "We can vote 'em in, we can [here the crowd took over] vote 'em out."

Pastor Mark Knutsen closed with prayer. He said that a meeting was cancelled because "there's always time for meetings, but there's a time to be in the street." There was a call to meet at 1552 N. Killingsworth at 9 a.m. June 4th go to Salem to speak with the legislature and demand justice. This was holy ground where blood was shed, he said. Robert Larry, of the NAACP, spoke strongly about the importance of consistency and continued community effort. "This is the straw that broke the camel's back. We have to make sure that we are consistent. Forward together and backward never. ... We have to stay together, we have to work together."

The last sign which I noticed was my favorite: "Preemptive Love".

stupid christian sheep 25.May.2003 14:27

wiccanboi

There's your problem, its the Christians. Praying to their so called god won't help them get the dead girl back. i thought that indymedia was above respect for some sort of invisible ghost in the sky, but i guess i was wrong. if indymedia keeps printing support for christians, i'm out of here. I thought we all knew that Bush is a christian, and that his religion is why we have all this war. So, somehow christians want peace? I don't think so. give it up jesus freaks. keep religion out of indymedia! ban jesus from this site!

Sheep? 25.May.2003 15:18

Thomas

For many black Americans the language of the traditional black church is the language of struggle, survival and liberation. To desparage black heratige in the way wiccanboi presumes to do is a painful reminder that even self appointed leftist radicals can be depressingly ignorant, proudly bigoted and digustingly racist.

As to his rationale, that Bush is a Christian, why does this unpleasanthuman being choose to believe what Bush says about that? I would bet plenty that he feels free to dis-believe everything else our White House Residant has to say. My take is that G. W. Bush is a hateful person posing as a Christian, just as wiccanboi looks to be a hateful person posing as a Wiccan.


Doubting Thomas 25.May.2003 19:34

Alienated ex-Christian

I hear that the majority of Americans are Christians. I think the supposed teachings of Jesus offer some very good lessons. The trouble is, most Christians don't appear to be able to retain those lessons beyond the chuch doors. Christians have murdered a lot of people in the name of their God. Thou shalt not kill. Pretty straightforward. Why do Christians have such a difficult time practicing this core principle? From the Crusades, to the ongoing extermination of indigenous peoples. The Christians seem to be one of the most intolerant groups in history. Wasn't it the Christians that invaded Africa in the first place and created the American "black Christian culture"? Offering the "savages" salvation in the form of servitude to the "superior" white Christians?

The US has just butchered thousands more in the name of rightiousness and the forces of "good", setting back the prospects of human evolution in countless ways. Who led the way? Flag wavin', do unto others as they might do unto you, Christians. What a horrible shame. Christians had the power to stop it, and only a relative handfull appeared to try. I'd be willing to bet that the heathen "wiccanboi" is putting forth a stronger effort to block the American Empire atrocities than the average Christian offers. It sure would be refreshing to see more Christians leading by example rather than preaching empty words.

I attended the first Kendra James memorial because I have personally witnessed and experienced police abuses on several occasions, and I am interested in working towards the common goal of reducing police abuse. I have little doubt that the non-white community has a great deal more knowledge and experience with police abuse than I do as a white man, and this event seemed to be a great opportunity to support my non-white
brothers and sisters towards a common cause. The racial divide is pretty obvious within the activist community and I would like to help soften this divide because I think that we share many of the same ideals. The pronounced Christian flavor of the memorial left me feeling uncomfortable, but I try to demonstrate tolerance, and I want to support the James family and friends in whatever way they choose.

That said, I reject the idea that you have to be religious to know that killing an unarmed woman is wrong. Many of the black men and women that I know are Muslems. I can't help but think that they too feel excluded at an event that is dominated by Jesus. What religion is the cop that killed Ms. James anyway? Odds are, he aint Buddhist.

Jesus said, "I am the bread of life...[so eat me]."

all good points 26.May.2003 17:29

--

but i think many of you are combining the disembowlment of Jesus' message (aka: most organized Xianity) with the spirit that appears to be Jesus. I'm not a christian and never will be. But, there are a lot of Xians working much harder than i against the injustices perpetrated by the Powers, including their own church. give them credit while not succumbing to credo.

and wiccan, this isn't just your site. pdx imc will never ban religion just for having beliefs to which we don't subscribe. this is an open forum, and they're welcome here, as are muslims and wiccans and whoever else decides to contribute.

btw: jesus was executed by the state because he openly resisted it. think about that.

pic of a minister from Nation of Islam speaking (wonderfully) at rally 26.May.2003 23:37

it's your religion of radicalism that wearies me

http://media.portland.indymedia.org/images/2003/05/265407.jpg

Great Picture 27.May.2003 01:26

This is What I'm Weary Of

US looks away as new ally tortures Islamists
27.05.2003 [05:02]

 http://www1.iraqwar.ru/iraq-read_article.php?articleId=7049&lang=en

Last week his father saw him for the first time since that day on a stretcher in a prison hospital. His head was
battered and his tongue was so swollen that he could only say that he had "been kept in water for a long time".

Abdulkhalil was a victim of Uzbekistan's security service, the SNB. His detention and torture were part of a crackdown on Hizb-ut-Tahrir (Party of Liberation), an Islamist group.

Independent human rights groups estimate that there are more than 600 politically motivated arrests a year in Uzbekistan, and 6,500 political prisoners, some tortured to death. According to a forensic report commissioned by the British embassy, in August two prisoners were even boiled to death.