Mayor Ted Wheeler on Monday offered all city of Portland employees 40 hours of uncontested bereavement leave to mourn 400 years of African-American oppression, including the police killings of African-Americans across the country.
Wheeler made the announcement in a June 8 email to city employees. The offer came after more than a week of large protests over police brutality, including the death of African-American George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.
"We're witnessing a dramatic shift in our nation, one that is urgently charting the path forward for restorative justice, inclusion and understanding. I feel tremendous responsibility, as well as tremendous privilege, to be a part of this historic movement," Wheeler said.
Here is the full text of the email:
As a nation and as a City we continue to grieve the recent loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, and others in the country and in our community. We acknowledge that Black employees are experiencing a collective grief and trauma coming from a culmination of oppression that is over 400 years old.
We hear and understand that many of our employees, especially our BiPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) employees, are deeply impacted by these recent events and are hurting.
I want to give our employees space to grieve and reflect: 40 hours of bereavement leave as allowed under HRAR (Human Resources Administrative Rules) 6.03.
I am directing managers and supervisors to approve the leave without question.
I am hopeful that other employers in our community will do likewise.
We're witnessing a dramatic shift in our nation, one that is urgently charting the path forward for restorative justice, inclusion and understanding. I feel tremendous responsibility, as well as tremendous privilege, to be a part of this historic movement. Thank you for walking that path with me as we continue to serve the City of Portland.
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