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Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall sees cause for hope, while recognizing much work remains in battle for equity and inclusion.

Gresham Mayor Travis Stovall

One year ago, before he was successfully voted mayor of Gresham, Travis Stovall watched all 8 minutes and 46 seconds of the video of George Floyd being murdered under the knee of those tasked to protect him.

"We as Black men are feeling that could have been anyone of us," Stovall said last June. "In that moment the officer was judge, jury and executioner."

Now, like the rest of the world, Mayor Stovall watched as the jury found Derek Chauvin guilty on all charges. He said though justice has run its course, this is a situation where everybody still loses.

"There is the sadness of someone losing their life yet again in the journey toward equity," Stovall said. "To see this keep happening crushes our hearts. Today is not a win by any stretch of the imagination."

When he first moved into a new neighborhood in Gresham, the future mayor was confronted while standing with some friends — all three Black. As they spoke, and laughed, a stranger walked up and asked, "What are you doing here?"

Eventually the white man assumed they were working a job, not believing Stovall could afford a home in the neighborhood, and left them alone.

Stovall described that encounter as embarrassing, and one of many encounters he has faced.

But he said things are slowly beginning to move toward a better place across the country, as more people are speaking up against hate and rally together in support of diversity, equity and inclusion.

"It is powerful when people speak up for others," he said. "The folks who spoke up in the 'Stop Asian Hate' situation, or have backed BIPOC communities, they are making a difference."

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