“Destroy white supremacy, not each other.”
That’s the message plastered on several new billboards across the Portland area. The provocative message is displayed between a large gold-colored bullet that includes a superimposed image of a slave ship.
At a Monday unveiling of one of the new billboards, the artist behind the image — Portland native Elijah Hasan — said the bullet, like a slave ship, is a vessel of trauma for Black people.
“It is my intention to remind the Black minds inside these Black bodies that they may think that these bullets fly because someone snitched or even killed a loved one,” said Hasan. “But I am suggesting that this is not the reason you’re shooting. But instead, it’s a symptom of the environment you find yourself in.”
Motivated by Portland’s recent homicide rate increase, community organizations and anti-gun violence advocates — including the No Hate Zone, the Portland Rotary Peace Builders Committee, Love is Stronger, and Books Not Bars Oregon — came together to create the billboards. Their goal is to “directly connect the issue of Black-on-Black gun violence to the self-hate that is procreated by racism.”
The organizers hope to “reveal the impact that anti-Black trauma has had on the psyche of Portland’s Black community,” said Sam Sachs, founder of The No Hate Zone, a Portland racial justice organization. “The billboard campaign is done out of love and compassion, with the intent to bring awareness, action and solutions to the overwhelming number of shootings that impact communities of color, but more specifically Black men in Portland.”
Portland Police Bureau data as of May 10 shows 30 homicides this year, which includes 22 deaths from gunshots, including one fatal shooting by a police officer. There have been about 370 shooting incidents, and 118 people injured in shootings.
Read the complete article at: Oregon Live