Sappho

Hate, Fear, Sadness, and Hope

I sincerely apologize in the delay in this month’s post. My heart has been heavy for the past few weeks. As many of you may have heard, there was a major hate crime in my community. It has been surreal -- while I am aware of the anger, pain, and hate from White Supremacists who live and exist in my state (and city) and having experienced some myself -- it still hurts my heart and mind when another act of hate is committed against my community. It is not the first act, nor it is one I am unfamiliar with. THis is the life I have lived for many years. There were threats of violence or insinuations of violence against me because of my race/ethnicity. I also had violence done against me, by my ex, for the pure reason of being a ‘woman’ who ‘deserved it because I let them do it to me.’

When I first moved to Oregon, I was unaware of Oregon’s history. I was looking for a community that would be similar to where I moved from in the midwest. Since moving here, I learned the truth about Oregon’s ‘rich’ history. I learned the following:

  • 1998: This is NOT the first act of hate committed against our community. There was a murder of an Ethiopian immigration by skinheads in 1998. (NPR Portland White Supremacy).
  • 1920s: The KKK history and influence is entrenched within Portland. The Klan rose to power in the 1920s, with considerable political power. For example, the Klan-dominated Oregon Legislature passed an Alien Land Law barring Japanese land ownership.
  • 1940s: Oregon also was one of many states to arrest American Japanese and eventually bussed them to internment camps.  (Oregon History: KKK. JACL Asian American History).
  • 1951: Oregon repealed its law prohibiting interracial marriages. (Oregon History).
  • Early 2000s: It was not until the early 2000s when Oregon finally removed excluding blacks from residency from its Constitution, even though it legally was removed decades ago. (NY Times Oregon History).

When I read through the aforementioned articles, my heart hurt even more.

Yet, a piece of me remains hopeful. There are activists -- other People of Color and allies who are moving towards removing the hate as well as educating the masses. Yesterday evening, I attended a discussion and potluck on Racism in Oregon. I was able to stay for 2 hours, yet the discussion went on for at least 6 hours. This tells me several things:

  • I am with good people who will fight alongside with me to stop the hate, to stop the violence.
  • My children will grow up learning the necessary tools to be safe, and to be aware of their surroundings.
  • My children will grow up feeling knowledgeable, safe, aware, and awoke.
  • There are opportunities for each of us to be engaged and to embrace the good, while pushing aside and push back against the bad, ignorant, and hate.
  • That I can do this, that I can take action to stop the hate, to stop the pain, and to educate those who will listen.

This reminds me of a statement from Martin Luther King Jr. “Hate begets hate; violence begets violence; toughness begets a greater toughness. We must meet the forces of hate with the power of love.” (1958) MLK Statement.

I can only hope that we, too, can achieve a better world and environment, not only for ourselves, but for our future, and the legacy we leave to them.

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