Press conference: Demetria Hester, Sandy Hudson, and Jayana Future Khan

Hosted by: 
Produced by: 
KBOO
Program:: 
Air date: 
Fri, 08/14/2020 - 10:00am to 10:30am
Demetria Hester standing with a fist raised in front of press conference microphones


Earlier this week, Demetria Hester, activist and head organizer for Moms united for black lives was arrested during a protest in North Portland. Hester has been a consistent presence at protests, leading her group of moms in the front lines of protests.

On the evening of Sunday, august 9th, police arrested Hester in front of the police association’s headquarters for disorderly conduct and interfering with a peace officer.

Monday morning, the district attorney announced that they were dismissing all charges against her. 

Don’t shoot portland held a press conference that same day behind the Justice Center in downtown portland.

Two organizers from the national Back Lives Matter movement, Janaya Future Khan and Sandy Hudson spoke about why they had come to Portland and the importance of the sustained protest that, during the time of this recording, had taken place for 75 days. Here we listen to the entire press conference.

A full transcript and archive of the audio can be found on our website at KBOO.fm. First to speak was Demetria Hester who had been released from police custody shortly before. 

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TRANSCRIPT

Demetria Hester: I just want to say thank you for your support because that means so much and to be able to show the world that we are united, that we are together. And that we stand together as one and let the world know that this is happening all over the world. So jump on board with the unity, with the love, with the prosperity, with the reparations so we can heal. We need to heel and the only way as a community as a new America is to unite together, get reparations and live comfortably. We do not have to spend money on anything, anything as corona has taught anything. They have money for us to be happy. They have money for us to have reparations. Demand it. We are and we not stopping because Black Lives Matter. The is about our future. This is about our peace, our peace of mind to walk down the street and care for each other again. Peace to go to your neighbors and say I love you. What do you need? That part. Write in Teressa Raiford in so that's a start. And we need to choose a Black president woman. We can write her in. We can write her in. I said, we can write her in. We do not have to settle. You don't understand me about reparations, y’all. You don’t have to settle when you have reparations and that’s what we're doing. We're not gonna settle. We're gonna write a queen in. How you like that? Cuz you not gonna control a strong sister. Cuz we about Black Lives Matter.  If you feel the way we do, do your part. Reparations, Teressa Raiford, write a queen in for President, point blank period. Got it? Stay woke. Stay woke.

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: Stay woke. 

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: I don't see your fists up. Stay woke.

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: Stay woke. 

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: I said, stay woke. 

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: I said, stay woke. 

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: I said, stay woke.   

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: I said, stay woke.   

Crowd: Stay woke.

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: Reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: I said reparations. 

Crowd: Reparations. 

Hester: We are here for this revolution if you hear do your part. Thank you.

Danialle James: Hi, everybody. I just want to say thank you everybody for being here. Demetria. Yaya. [inaudible] are people that were arrested. I'm sorry that happened. I love y'all. I have so many feelings around these arrests.Demetria's specifically, y'all know who she is. It wasn't right. This was targeted. Demetria's known for being what's called a peaceful protester, a non violent protester. Except having to sit out here all those hours and wait for her, and then when she gets out, we hear these stories and not be able to help her. I'm sorry, my mind is everywhere.

Unknown person in crowd: We love you

James: Make sure you that y'all are helping her push the lines and put that pressure on and keep it on until she doesn't have anything but an arrest record to get expunged because this ain't right. That was an illegal arrest. The pigs. I'm sick of this.

Unknown speaker: Up next we have Sandy Hudson. He's with the National Black Lives Matter movement has done work internationally. In Canada, Palestine, works in LA. They're here to support Portland. They're here for Black liberation by any means necessary and Sandy is gonna drop some knowledge to you and try to inspire you to keep up being in the streets.

Sandy Hudson: Thank you, Portland. Thank you all so much. I know how hard it is to risk your body, to risk your livelihood, to put yourself on the line every single day. And it has been 75 days. And I was out there. I was out there a couple of days ago. [inaudible]. I got there a couple days ago. It was such peace, such joy. Demetria came up here and she was speaking her voice is hoarse because she's been saying Black Lives Matter over and over and over again for days. And she's not stopping. She's not stopping. And you're not stopping. And you folks have inspired people across the country because they try to break you. I'm standing out there. I'm chanting. I'm singing with y'all. And I'm seeing them attack us for it. Is there any wonder why we need to come out here night after night and say that Black Lives Matter again, and again and again? Is there any wonder why we need to do that? They're supposed to keep us safe? Is this safety? They are showing us what their true purpose is. It is to constrain. It is to restrain Black people. It is to interrupt our lives, which they do on a regular basis. And that has got to stop. How could you be out here for 75 days. And they are continuing to pull this shit. Let me tell you something. This morning, Demetria said to me, "We're gonna win." And you know what, I know that. I know we're gonna win. Do you know we're gonna win? I hope you know we're gonna win because let me tell you, this only comes down one of two ways. Either they win by eliminating us all and they've been trying. Ain't worked yet. Or we fucking win. And let me tell you something about everybody out there. We talking about things like reform, like doing the study like doing our best to try to change the system. The system is working like it was meant to work. Policing is an irredeemable institution. Do you hear me? Policing is an irredeemable institution. Policing is an irredeemable institution. Policing is an irredeemable institution. Policing is an irredeemable institution. We can create systems and institutions that works for us, that actually keeps us safe. Isn't making sure that we have access to housing keeping us safe? Isn't making sure that we have access to food keeping us safe? Isn't making sure that we have access to health keeping us safe? Isn't making sure that our children are taken care of keeping safe? What the fuck are these people doing? Ain't none of that. Ain't none of that. This is the largest movement the world has ever seen. And Black people are bringing it to you. Let me tell you, this is a revolution moment. When you see all these people out here to support people that they have tried to take away from us, what that means, what that means is you are showing them that they will not win. You are showing them that they cannot take one of us and we're just gonna go away. We're gonna be out here saying we are not going to leave our comrades behind. And that needs to be kept up. Let me tell you how inspired I am to see how many of y'all keep coming out on the streets in the face of fascist response, sending in the Feds to terrorize you and y'all have refused. You have said I refuse. You have said we refuse as a community to back down to this. They tried to break you. They said Portland is the place where we're gonna break them. And you said Nah-ah, b. No, no. Okay. And that's for everyone. That is for everyone across the United States. That is for everyone beyond across the United States, across the globe, who is working against anti-blackness. Black lives they matter. Black lives they matter. Black Lives Matter.

Unknown speaker: Up next we have Future Khan, who's also with the national international Black Lives Matter movement. They came to Portland because Portland had the world's attention. And we could use that support right now

Janaya Future Khan: Everywhere that we have gone. Every city in this country has a police problem. Where there are Black people, people of color, Native people, people who are -- have mental health struggles, people who are houseless. Everywhere that there are people, there is a police problem. And I want to take a moment to congratulate you in the time of infinite content and finite intention. The struggle here in Portland has become almost ground zero because what we've seen under this administration is the kind of flexing that we haven't really seen in our generation ever. The kind of danger -- the kind -- a new precedent set and how far oligarchs and this administration will go to protect property over people. Let me tell you something about protests. People only protest when politicians and policies and police have failed to protect them. That is the only time that people protest, risking life and limb. This pandemic. This pandemic has been revealing. Because what we know, what we know is the ineptitude and the cowardice of our leadership on both sides of the party has made it very clear that capitalism is a catastrophe. It is a catastrophe. At a time when millions of people are hungry, and facing mass  evictions, the working class people of this country are bailing out billionaires and bailing out mega corporations. And at what point is our so called leadership going to rise up and do their damn job? We the people are bailing out billionaires because the only reason that billionaires can exist and mega millionaires is because They are holding the stolen wages of the working class. Let me tell you something. What this has taught us and revealed to us is something that so many of us have known all along: poverty is on purpose. Poverty is a manufactured state. And there is a vested interest in keeping people poor in this country. And they build so much shame around us, don't they? They say, you don't work hard enough. Let me tell you something. If wealth and money was around how hard people work, single mothers will be the wealthiest people in this goddamn country. So would the working class. So would undocumented people and trans people and Black people. And they rely on the stigma of poverty so that we don't demand more. I'm going to tell you something about this country, this country that since its conception has put a dollar value on people's bodies. And right now, and this so called stimulus moment where we're supposed to be supported, they have made it very clear that up till this point, up until this executive order, that each and every one of us was worth, what, $300 a month. Now, there's been an executive order signed under this administration of what $400, even less than what people got. And 25% of that is supposed to come from states, which means that each and every state that decides that they're going to actually invest and support their working class that supports them, right? Through our taxes through our work, that a new system is going to have to be built to do it, which means people are not going to get the support that they need. Renters and homeowners alike, are seen as disposable because there is no support for them. So once again, I want to be really clear about this manufacturer state of poverty and the shame that we have to carry and the stigma that we have to carry. We don't want a goddam handout. We want a hand over. We don't want a handout. We want to hand over. And that in the failure of our leadership across this country to show up. That is what we are fighting for today. That is why we are fighting to defund the police because in major cities in this country about 50%, almost 50% of the city's budget is going into policing. Is going into policing. And you've got to ask yourself, why? Why at a time when people are hungry when children are hungry why at a time when millions of people in this country are facing mass eviction? Why so much money is going into policing. And I'm going to tell you something about this whole concept of defunding the police and how it's so scary for people. Let me tell you, if you live in a middle class, upper middle class and wealthy neighborhood in this country, you know exactly what it's like to live in a world where there aren't police constantly surrounding you. And defunding is not a new concept because our public education system has been defunded for years. So let's, let's call it like it is, what people are afraid of. What people are afraid of is that people like you and people like me. Right? And it's very limited and inherently racist kind of thinking around why it is that we need the police so badly is they're afraid that people like you, and people like me are going to leave our ghettos. We're going to leave our projects and we're going to go into those wealthy neighborhoods, and we're going to rob them for what's theirs. Let me tell you something about that limited racist logic. The best way to make sure that people are safe is to make sure that people have what they need. And what they need is healthcare, and housing, and education, and food. And what we need as a people is to demand the handover that we've been paying into our entire lives. So let's be really clear, about something, as Sandy said they're going to try to say what we need is to put more money into research. What we need are more documents and papers suggesting what could what could possibly happen, what we could do. They're going to say, we just need a couple of resolutions. I'm going to tell you that we've been there before. We don't need resolutions. We need revolution. We have been investing, and investing and investing into a sense of safety and security that we've only ever had temporary proximity to. And if this moment has taught us anything, if this moment has taught us anything, all of us, in America and even around the world, what this moment has taught us and why we have movements like Black Lives Matter is that so many of us, we are living in a precarious state. And our relationship to security and stability is precarious at best. We are an imperiled people. And so we have got to demand more and better and they are going to do everything that they can to keep us apart aren't they. Because there's something very dangerous about what happens. There's something very dangerous when we come together when we protest. And again, people only protest when politicians and policies fail to protect them. And so we've got to keep seeking each other out. We've got to keep rising up. And we've got to keep demanding change because nothing, nothing that could be called justice in this country has ever been given. It's been won by people like you. We win change. And this fight is going to be go along past this election cycle. So I need you all to see the power that you have. The power, the thing that you've been denied your entire life. The fact that we've all been made to shrink and become contortionists to fit into a status quo, into a mythical norm for a temporary proximity to power that was never ours and would never be ours. We have learned across social locations across race and across jobs, just how disposable we are to this administration and to this country. And so we've got to let go of the old American gods of greed and capitalism. They don't serve us and we don't serve them anymore. What we've got to understand is that capitalism funds racism. They create economic incentive to keep us apart. And we've got to stop betraying our purpose here on this planet. And we got to keep seeking each other out because remember, we don't need resolutions. We need revolutions. So we're going to keep calling to defund the police. We're going to make sure that these mayors hear our voices. And that we fight to control city budgets because we don't want handouts, we want handovers. Local sites, local discourse. Change is what's possible on the national scale and people are ready and people are hungry and they're not just hungry for food. They're hungry for justice. And so we're gonna keep fighting until we get it. We got to protect each other. And you got to keep showing up. And each and every one of you, you have made this revolution irresistible. And you have shown the world what true power is. And you have shown the world what beauty is. We are all so deeply connected in this human condition and look at you all in your power. I want you to see and feel how beautiful you are and how powerful you are. We are done living half lives. We are done. We are done living half lives. You are in your purpose now. And now that we have found each other, we must never let each other go. Black Lives Matter. Thank you.

Unknown speaker: Janaya. Yep, Janaya Future Khan. So look them up on Instagram. Up next we have Elisha. We're talking about knitting communities together and making this a national effort from the Portland spectrum. They're gonna tell you how to do that next and I want you to write it down. I want you to listen.

Elisha Rene’e: Hello, everybody. So I am a mom and I've been out here since May 29. I've been tear gassed. I've been hit with pepper balls. I've been hit with the little rubber bullets. You name it. It's happened. So now this has happened. We actually want to take this on a national level. So if you guys are able to help out. We now have a new page started. I know people knew the wall of moms. That's not us. We are Moms United for Black Lives. That is the new page if you want to go follow. Please just answer all the questions. And we also have a GoFundMe going. And the GoFundMe is for us to get to Washington DC. Myself. Danialle, Demetria. We have about three other female Black activists from Portland. We have one male activists from Portland and we actually have two coming from New York. So the GoFundMe is called Moms United for Black Lives PDX and NYC to DC. So if you guys can please go to that page it's going to help us get there. The money is going to pay for housing, it's going to pay for our airfare, it's going to pay for our food, is gonna pay for any PPE, and then anything left over we will make sure that that back into our Black community. So the name again is Moms United for Black lives Portland and NYC to DC. Please go and support. Black Lives Matter

Demetria Hester: It's real y'all. Reparations is here. We're gonna be on the 57th anniversary. MLK March, y'all. I am from Memphis, Tennessee. My heart is at Memphis, Tennessee. I'm born and bred to do this. It's a dream come true. So support Black Lives Matter because this is a revolution and we're getting reparations and we're taking it to DC baby.

Unknown speaker: So the GoFundMe one more time is Moms United for Black Lives PDX and NYC to DC. They're gonna take this fight to the doorstep. How many you all going to be out tonight now? Louder. How many y'all going to bring 3 friends? We got 75 days down let's make it a fucking hundred and take it all the way to November. Thank you. We still got comrades in the clink. So you're all welcome to be out here and make a racket. So they get released because they were unlawfully arrested exercising their first amendment rights on behalf of civil rights. And we're here to show ppb that that's just not acceptable.