KATU: Protesting isn't only way to help make change
Author: Kellee Azar
Posted: June 4, 2020

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VANCOUVER, Wash. — Protests drawing thousands of people have popped up in the Portland area over the past week in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

But that’s not the only way to get involved. People can make change without being in protests. For some, marching for miles or standing in warm weather for long periods of time just isn’t possible.

The demonstrations don’t appear to be slowing down, and Dr. Shirley Jackson with Portland State University’s Black Studies Department said that is encouraging.

But there is something everyone can do that goes beyond marching.

“Having conversations with individuals, whether that’s your family, your close friends, neighbors -- have those discussions, and they are not always comfortable,” Jackson said. “But people come into this often thinking, well, I can’t do anything. I feel helpless -- a lot of us feel that way right now.”

In Portland, you can join groups like NAACP, Coalition of Communities of Color, Black Lives Matter, Word is Bond and Don’t Shoot PDX.

And while they accept donations, they also welcome those who wish to donate their time by volunteering.

Beyond that Dr. Jackson says education is also important. She says we all need to be willing to learn and listen.

She also says this movement feels different.

"I have to say, the people that I have spoken to and what's happened around the country and the way movements and events have been working, it's interesting that this one has a different feel to it. We have definitely done this before. Someone mentioned to me that the people who saw what happened to Trayvon Martin are now adults, adults now participating in the movement," Dr. Jackson said.

Her hope is that difference makes real change.