Black demonstrators in Portland talk about their message being hijacked

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KBOO
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Air date: 
Thu, 08/13/2020 - 5:15pm to 5:30pm
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The trajectory of Black Lives Matter protests in Portland has been a varied one. Since the introduction of federal agents last month, some have argued that the protests have gotten off message. They say that focus shifted away from the fight for racial justice, just when its needed most.

KBOO's Michael Leverette was at the protest on Wednesday night. They spoke with Black demonstrators about the state of the protest's message, and how they keep their fight alive.
 

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Transcript

Unknown speaker 1  
I think it's positive, positive change. You know what I mean. I feel like it's definitely time for a change. You know, what I mean and like protest as far as the process goes like, without without reform or whatever, you know what I mean, nothing's gonna change totally. So, things may come together higher up, you know what I mean, as far as that goes 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
Do you feel like the message is still on track? Do you feel like it's been hijacked? 

Unknown speaker 1  
Yeah, it has been hijacked. I feel that way. Like, the whole, like, the whole, the whole idea of really is kind of hijacked in a way you know, as far as some people with their own agenda, you know what I mean. So just taking away from what the original purpose was, so. 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
If you have one message when all this is done with, because you know, it all dies down eventually and stuff, what would that be to keep like, especially black folks going and motivated? 

Unknown speaker 1  
Just keep keep the power to the people, man. I mean, just keep an open mind, positive vibes and so for sure.

Unknown speaker 2  
I think has gone in a really weird direction where people have lost focus of what it's about. And things that are happening out here aren't done by African Americans for the most part. It's done by other races from other places. People are showing videos of things that are happening in Russia and saying it's here. It's it's, it's completely ass backwards. 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
So you feel like the message has been hijacked 

Unknown speaker 2  
It is getting completely hijacked. 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
Do you feel like more Black people need to show up and step up or you feel like this is their work to be doing? They just need to stay on message. 

Unknown speaker 2  
They need to show up and step up. However, it's hard to do here. It's really hard to do here. 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
So we know like these things usually die down and everything usually returns back to normal. So what would you say to Black people to keep them motivated to keep the movement going so we can finally see some some some justice and reform happen?

Unknown speaker 2  
See something, say something, show up, be there for each other, build each other up, build up our community. When we see something that's happening that it doesn't reflect us. It's scary as hell, trying to like, what are the cops gonna do, you know what I mean? Who is going to react in what type of way to what's happening? But we just have to and it's scary but nothing will change until we're we solidify ourselves in a way that isn't violence and isn't angry and depicts who we are. We are proud, we are Black, we are strong. We are -- we are intelligent, as well. So until we start making people see it that way, they're not really going to look at us right.

Unknown speaker 3  
It's almost like it's like an international, it's a global fight we're fighting. And so we start locally, it gets to more global stage, and so I want to see change happen. Like, the more they see us out here, the daily like in our efforts we put in, they know we're serious and we should change what we're looking for because we're not here based on like how they say we're here for like, they think we're here for violence. And so like, you know, overthrow their government or something like that, but we're just really looking for fairness and equality. I feel like it's coming back to it more a few weeks ago, I felt like Oh, isn't really still centered around Black Lives Matter. But I've been seeing that it's coming more centralized back to that now. I think it kind of got carried away a little bit, I think was the feds being here. It kind of like, you know, changed like the view a little bit, but it's like now we're getting back on track moving around, actually marching. Marching for a couple months. Just know that the fight is not over. Know that your life matters, that we all matter, and that it's only a matter of time. So we do see the change because all this fight will not be for nothing, you know. 

Michael Leverette (KBOO)  
Thank you so much. I appreciate it. You have a nice night. Okay. Be safe.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai