Statement to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance
Statement to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler

April 2021

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance affirms our support for our Black, Brown, and Indigenous neighbors in the struggle for liberation from the scourges of racism, poverty, and militarism too long perpetuated by the City of Portland.

We are a collective of faith leaders from throughout Portland — Christian, Jewish, Wiccan, and more; straight and queer, Black, white, Latinx, and of the Asian-American and Pacific Island communities. We are faith leaders who declare ourselves of one voice with our allies who have risen up to denounce the damage Mayor Wheeler does repeatedly to us all in ignoring the roots of the social ills of our city, and thereby exacerbating them, by ignoring the will of his constituents by seeking to expand police power, and by speaking of the value of property rather than that of human life.

We denounce the efforts of the Mayor of Portland to create divisions among members of the Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities; we decry Mayor Wheeler’s attempt to demonize those who express their frustration at being unheard in the streets; we are tired of his empty words and meaningless acts. The mayor surrounds himself with members of the Black community and members of the faith community, yet those with whom he seeks to display a message of common cause do not represent the breadth and diversity of experience and perspective of Black or of faith communities in Portland, nor do they speak for our common cause of liberation.

Enough empty window-dressing, Mayor Wheeler; this is a time to break through such facades which do not serve justice. We have witnessed the deadly combination of incompetence and disinterest in the welfare of the citizens of Portland coming from the mayor’s office for too long now. For nearly a decade Portland’s police have been known to prey upon the mentally ill and the mayor has done nothing to support efforts to redress that terror. His policies ignore the urgency of the social movement that has filled our streets again and again with people desperate for change. His heart seems to be too small to empathize with the human beings who are gassed by his police, who continue to use weapons of war outlawed by the Geneva convention, and whose militaristic violence bruises, batters, and maims Portland’s citizens.

Wearing black is not a criminal act. Protesting is a sacred constitutional right. We are aghast at Mayor Wheeler’s disregard for the social injustice fueling the actions on Portland’s streets.

⁦A day is coming! We affirm the words of our allies who spoke in front of city hall on Saturday, April 24: the forces of justice are marching, and they will not cease to march. And we will be with them, witnessing and lifting up their holy call for justice.

“Justice, justice you must pursue if you would thrive.” — Deuteronomy 16.20

Portland Interfaith Clergy Resistance

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