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More than 100 people participated, including Portland NAACP; community watch group forms

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Participants in Estacada's march against racism begin their journey from Estacada High School to City Hall.

Around 150 people gathered to march for racial equality in Estacada and were joined by Portland NAACP President E.D. Mondainé.

"We are in a new civil rights era, and we must summon the urgency and sense of purpose that animated Dr. King and the other luminaries of previous eras," Mondainé told attendees of the march on Friday, July 17. "America's negligence of the past has skewed the beliefs in progress. It has tainted the minds of many Americans and have left our non-African brothers and sisters oblivious to the severity and scope of racism in this country. As Mayor Drinkwine has modeled, many Americans lack the words to articulate the current state of importance of equality, inclusion and justice for Black Americans."

March attendees cheered upon hearing Mondainé's words. A participant in a counter gathering yelled "go home," and another person screamed an expletive.

Friday's event was the second march against racism in Estacada coordinated by the STAND UP Movement. As participants gathered at Estacada High School, PDX Resistance Assistance offered food and supplies. Masks were available for those who didn't already have them. Members of the NAACP distributed signs honoring Black people who had been killed by police or civilians, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Michael Brown and Ahmaud Arbery.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - March participants begin walking from Estacada High School to City Hall, with signs honoring Black lives.

Awakening Thunder, an Indigenous group committed to sharing their culture and honoring the land through music, performed an honor song before participants marched from the high school to City Hall.

While holding signs promoting racial equality and accompanied by the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, marchers said "Black Lives Matter" and "When Black lives are in danger, fist up, fight back."

Many counterprotesters told them that "all lives matter," and several sat next to a sign that read "Our mayor matters." One person in the counter gathering asked why there were no Black people at the march, and another yelled "You're all a bunch of hypocrites. You ought to be ashamed."

Someone else approached the group of marchers after they had gathered outside of City Hall and yelled "all lives matter" and "abortion is murder."

Community watch group forms

As march participants gathered, another group of community members were at the Veterans Memorial and coordinated people who wished to participate in the Estacada Community Watch program.

Leaders of the recently formed group stationed people in locations around town to keep an eye out for any potential instances of violence or vandalism.

Joel Litkie, one of the group's organizers, said he didn't think any potential instances of violence would come from participants in the march, but rather people arriving after the event.

"We want to be there in case it comes and get word to law enforcement," he said. "Our main goal is peace. We're not a political group. We want to see the community protected."

Community Watch participant Gail Herman sat near a memorial at Estacada High School with signs that said "Stop racism, all lives matter" and "Love one another as I have loved you."

"We want to be sure the community is protected," Herman said.

Sharing perspectives

Once the march reached City Hall, a variety of people spoke — including someone who identified herself as a counterprotester.

"I will cook you a meal. Let's have a conversation. Let's be humans. I want to see past your skin color. I will see past everything. We are all people," she said.

She added that she is unable to say that Black lives matter because she believes every human life should be honored.

"I don't see the color of skin," she said. "I can say that every human matters. I can say that you are important. Every single life is valuable."

After she spoke, marchers chanted "Black lives matter," and a participant addressed not acknowledging skin color.

"You can see that I'm Black, no?" she asked. "Do you not see this melanin? I need all of you to understand that. Just because you can walk around in a town and people do not say anything to you, until you walk in my shoes, don't say you don't see color. How do you not see color?"

Another speaker, Mark, advocated for local action and change.

"A lot of the objections are rooted in party politics. Feel free to boo if you want, but I am a Republican. And I absolutely support Black Lives Matter. This is not a Marxist coup d'état. … We're against racial profiling. And if that's a problem, you have to ask yourself, are you racist? Why is that a problem?" he said. "Let's make the change local. Let's start here, and then the sky's the limit."

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - One sign at Estacada's march against racism said that 'Silence = Compliance.'

Molly Izer, a student at Sandy High School and co-manager of Students Advocating for Equality, encouraged her fellow young people to take action.

"If you think for one second that just because you do not have a vote, you do not have a voice either, you are wrong," she said. "Every single one of us, as youth, it is our time. Just because we do not have legislative representation does not mean that we do not have an impact and that our words do not have value, because now is the time for youth to rise up."

Frank George, one of the leaders of the Estacada STAND UP Movement, said the group plans to encourage city leaders to release a statement pledging their support against racism and prejudice.

"We've gotten a lot of apologies from Mayor Drinkwine, and I believe they're sincere, but an apology is not enough. We need to take steps to not just be not racist, but to be anti-racist," George said. "There is right and there is wrong. There is no gray area. There is either supporting people of color or being against people of color. We have to get on the right side of history — not just in Portland, not just in Washington D.C., but here in Estacada, because here is where it really matters."

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Portland NAACP President E.D. Mondaine addresses attendees of a march against racism in Estacada.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Participants in a march against racism walked from Estacada High School to City Hall.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - The Estacada march against racism went down Main Street on Friday, July 17.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - One sign in a march against racism in Estacada proclaimed that racism is the real pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: EMILY LINDSTRAND - Libra Forde speaks during the Estacada march against racism.

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