What does Don’t Shoot PDX want to accomplish?

'We demand to be heard,' organizer Teressa Raiford said

Members of Don't Shoot Portland interrupted a Portland school board meeting, Jan. 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Members of Don't Shoot Portland interrupted a Portland school board meeting, Jan. 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — The same protesters marching against the police use of force have branched out to other venues, including disrupting a Portland school board meeting Tuesday night.

That raises the question: What is Don’t Shoot Portland trying to accomplish?

Teressa Raiford of Don't Shoot Portland was among a group that interrupted a Portland school board meeting, Jan. 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Teressa Raiford of Don’t Shoot Portland was among a group that interrupted a Portland school board meeting, Jan. 13, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

“With Don’t Shoot Portland, we’re trying to fight against assaults and the in- custody deaths of blacks,” said organizer Teressa Raiford.  “We believe the criminal justice system and the way we’re perpetuated in our communities is a direct reflection of something that happens early when children are in school.”

The group knows there is criticism launched their way, but they stand by their actions. There is one reason behind everything they do.

“We demand to be heard,” she said.

Raiford and Raissa Renee spoke with KOIN 6 News as they left a meeting with Mayor Charlie Hales’ staff.

Tuesday night, the Portland school board expected to vote on a new transfer policy for students in the district. Don’t Shoot Portland interrupted the meeting and went front-and-center, stopping the meeting and forcing it to be re-scheduled.

“Our whole intention for stopping that meeting was to say, no, you’re not going to vote today, you’re going to hear why you’re not going to vote and it’s going to come directly from these parents,” Raiford said.

The school board interruption comes 10 days after the group interrupted a town hall meeting where US Sen. Ron Wyden was presenting medals for heroism to a World War II veteran.

Teressa Raiford, left, and Raissa Renee of Don't Shoot Portland as they left a meeting in City Hall, Jan. 14, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Teressa Raiford, left, and Raissa Renee of Don’t Shoot Portland as they left a meeting in City Hall, Jan. 14, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

“It wasn’t an attempt to stop Sen. Wyden from talking. It was mission accomplished,” she said.

And what was accomplished?

“Social justice.”

The perception, though, was that Don’t Shoot Portland interrupted an event that had little to do with their cause.

Raiford said she hoped “the story about we shut down a memorial” wouldn’t have detracted from their message.

“But, unfortunately, that is, I guess, news.”

However, it won’t stop them from continuing to look for causes.

“We’re going to continue to reach out to people that need us to help elevate their voices,” Raiford said.

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