“Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon, which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.”Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
As we honor the 92nd anniversary of the birth of civil rights hero, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., we are reminded of his policy of nonviolent protest. The League’s mission is to promote public participation in government—nonviolently.
We know that sometimes the changes we seek require constant advocacy over time and even may take years to accomplish. However, we also know that nonviolent advocacy is more effective and long-lasting. League members talk with the elected officials who serve in our local, state and national governments. We testify at public hearings. We sometimes participate in peaceful demonstrations. And we write letters, social media posts, opinion articles and press releases to express our views.
The League always bases its advocacy on in-depth studies of the issues—on the facts, the evidence and member agreement on each study’s findings. We also make sure our advocacy conforms to our Principles. Violence and destructive acts often turn public opinion against the stated goals of protesters. But carefully researched persuasion can gradually achieve better government policies and a more inclusive, just and equitable society.
Speaking out again for better community oversight of police
The Portland League has sent testimony to the City Council, supporting Commissioner Hardesty’s proposed charter amendment on police oversight. The City Council will discuss this proposal on Wednesday, July 29, at 3:30.
Although we recognize that it will take more than a charter change, this proposal has the potential to bring us much closer to the type of system envisioned by the majority of Mayor Katz’s workgroup in 2000. That workgroup called for an independent civilian agency guided by a community board with the power to investigate complaints of police misconduct, compel officer testimony, and make policy recommendations to the police bureau and city council.
In addition, the League’s testimony recommends building on the successful parts of our current oversight system. We also believe that improving the current system requires input from the community.
On November 12, 2019, the League submitted comments to the City Council about the process for changing City Code Chapter 3.96. This part of the City Code governs the way the Office of Community and Civic Life engages with people in Portland. Action Chair Debbie Aiona also testified at the Council’s November 14 hearing.
The City Council resolution calls for a multi-bureau work group to carry out the next phase of this process. The League urges opening the work group’s meetings to the public for observation. We also recommend following up the work group’s proposals with a thorough public process that includes a broad group of Portlanders.
The Directory of Elected Officials has phone numbers, email addresses and websites for government officials serving the people of Multnomah County. We just updated it by adding the new school board members who took office on July 1.
You can find how to contact President Trump, your U.S. Senators and Representatives, as well as state legislators, county, and city officials. You have a right to speak out on issues that concern you. Let your government know your questions and thoughts.
You can also find information in this directory about registering to vote. And there’s more contact info on this website under Advocate, Contact Elected Officials and also lots of voting info under Vote.
Make your voice heard and your vote count with information from the League of Women Voters!