PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – On Monday, groups unveiled a poster campaign to raise awareness about gun violence in Portland, with a focus on the black community.
Founder of the nonprofit The No Hate Zone, Sam Sachs helped organize the effort along with several other community leaders.
Sachs said during the press conference to unveil one of the Northeast Fremont Street and Northeast Sandy Boulevard billboards that he wanted this campaign to tackle gun violence that is killing black men in our community.
Sachs said the city needs to invest in our communities of color.
“The city said it had millions of dollars to donate to community organizations to help with this effort,” Sachs said. “And so far we haven’t seen this. So we need it to happen immediately.”
During this press conference, artist Elijah Hasan who helped create the billboards shared their meaning and purpose.
“We really wanted to get to the heart of what we think is the problem, which is the self-hatred and the environment that kind of manifested this self-hatred which I believe is white supremacy and the decisions that have taken back in time and created a cycle and perpetuation of the violence that we still see today, ”Hasan said. “We wanted to put pictures in place and get them to think about certain things more deeply than what’s right in front of them.”
The billboard unveiled in northeast Portland, organizers said, shows images of a slave ship superimposed on a gold bullet. It reads: “Racism + self-hatred = gun violence. Reject oppression.”
During this press conference, Renee Mitchell, who contributed messaging on these billboards, shared a powerful article she wrote for the Oregonian in 2008.
“We are complaining about the fair battle with this man, when we are the ones with the guns in our hands,” Mitchell said. “Take a stand Black man. Let it be known that the path of self-destruction ends with you.”
Sachs says there will be three more billboards across town at Southwest 11th Avenue and Jefferson Street, Southeast 112nd Avenue and Southeast Stark Street and Southeast McLoughlin Boulevard and Southeast Holly Avenue.
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