Faith leaders from across the Portland metro area stood in solidarity with protesters outside the Justice Center Sunday night.
The Portland NAACP Religious Services Committee and the Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance joined together for the demonstration downtown—the event began around 8 p.m. In a location that has been a flash-point for protesters and police, the clergy brought a sense of calm to at least one area of Chapman Square.
“We are to be a force of peace-keeping, common sense, and balance, while supporting the right of freedom of speech and expression and protests,” said Reverend Dr. Steven Bailey of Celebration Tabernacle. “This morning, the mayor and the police chief both called our senior pastor and asked that he bring a bunch of pastors down tonight, to see if we could help influence staying more focused on the importance of this.”
Leaders took turns speaking to the crowd and sang songs from the civil rights era together. In their speeches, the clergy denounced police violence and demanded equality and liberty for Black lives.
“We plan on standing here throughout the evening—it’s a lot of fencing,” said another clergy member.
Bailey described the protests as “a watershed moment” for the City of Portland. They said they supported the people’s right to assemble freely without fear of attack by police using war weapons.