Portland protesters rally against 'it's OK to be white' banner
Several dozen people rallied in downtown Portland Friday in support of the Black Lives Matter movement — and to speak out against a banner reading, "it's OK to be white," which had been displayed in the city during Black History month.
They carried signs reading, "it's not OK to be a white supremacist," and "hate has no home here."
"That's what we got to stand here and say. It's never OK," said Jocelyn Leighton-Cory of South Portland. "It doesn't matter if it's now, if it's yesterday or if it's tomorrow. It's never OK to tell somebody that they're not welcome here, that they're not welcome in their own home, that they're not safe in their own home, and that they should be afraid because of the color of their own skin. White people do not have to fear that, ever."
Three or four people stood on the opposite side of Congress Street, with signs reading, "Unborn Lives Matter," and shouted, "all lives matter," through a bullhorn.
Protesters responded with a chorus of "Black Lives Matter" chants. A few anti-racist protesters stood in front of the "it's OK to be white" banner," attempting to block it from sight. They described the banner as a hateful "dog whistle."
One activist who asked that she be identified by her first name only said she joined the rally in response to recent displays of white supremacy in Portland.
"We're here to outnumber them and to just show that the way of the future is with justice and care, and that Black Lives Matter is a movement of peace and hope," she said.
Friday's rally comes weeks after Portland City Councilor Victoria Pelletier described the threats and hate mail that she received after she made a social media post condemning the "It's OK to be white" sign, which hung in Congress Square Park on the first day of Black History month.