I just returned from the gathering at Pioneer Square, and I wanted to air some concerns about the event. I should first note that three speakers were on message, brought pointed remarks regarding police violence, and rallied the crowd vigorously. In this sense, this part of the March was a great success. At least a couple hundred people showed up, and joined the march.
Now what I was concerned about was the presence of Mumia supporters and their speaker. With a casual glance at the wall of signs at the top of the Pioneer Square stairs, there were clearly more messages supporting Mumia than supporting justice for Perez. It seemed curious to me that Mumia supporters would want to inject their voices in a March supporting justice for victims of police violence, and police accountability. Mostly for the reason that Mumia was not a victim of police violence in Portland, but also that he is accused of killing a police officer. Mumia may be a victim of a poor justice system, but I do not believe his story is one which furthers the call for police accountability in this city. My impreesion was that his story muddied the message of the March. The speaker for Mumia protesters did not adequately tie in how Mumia and Perez's story were linked. I thought it disrespectful to the cause and to Perez's death that the Mumia speaker overshadowed the reason for the March with Mumia's name.
I'm not saying that Mumia supporters don't have a right to be involved or heard--I just thought that injecting Mumia into a march specifically about Portland, its record of not pursuing justice in cases of police brutality, and Perez's murder--worked to the detriment of the message of the March. Because Mumia supporters had a speaker, i'm assuming they most likey had a hand in organizing the March--which is laudable. Thank you to the Mumia supporters, and everyone else who attended (as if I'm qualified to say thank you). I was just hoping this would be about Perez's death, which deserves deference as an issue unto itself, and as part of a larger pattern of police violence.
Go ahead and give it to me if I'm wrong.