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Oregon nonprofits ask for $100M federal investment to address white supremacy

White Sup
Jon Tyson

Oregon nonprofits are asking the Biden administration to invest $100 million to address white supremacy in the state.

The nonprofits — including the Latino Network, Unite Oregon, PCUN, Causa, Immigrant & Refugee Community Organization, Verde and APANO — provide services to communities of color. In a joint letter addressed to President Joe Biden, they say Oregon is susceptible to domestic terrorist attacks against people of color.

They are asking the administration to invest in two areas: federal agencies that can increase surveillance and prosecutions, and community-based organizations that can increase social and health services.

“We need investment, we need partnership, and we need our federal government to treat the white supremacist insurgency targeting communities for what it is: an existential threat to our way of life,” the letter reads.

Tony DeFalco, executive director of the Latino Network, said the letter was prompted by this year’s deadly mass shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York. The white gunman in Buffalo killed 10 Black people in an attack the president has called “hate-filled domestic terrorism” and a “racially motived hate crime.”

“These recent events have communities of color really feeling on edge,” DeFalco said. “This level of volatility and vulnerability is urgent and demands action from our federal government.”

The letter notes that Oregon ranks sixth in the nation in the number of violent extremist attacks between 2011 and 2020, according to an advisory report by the Oregon Secretary of State’s Office. The report, published in March, suggests new laws and policies that could help the state prevent extremist attacks.

Oregon is one of only 16 states that doesn’t have a law defining and outlawing domestic terrorism and violent extremism. These cases are usually handled by the federal government, but the report recommends Oregon lawmakers come up with state laws that can help cases where federal laws fall short.

Copyright 2022 Oregon Public Broadcasting. To see more, visit Oregon Public Broadcasting.

April Ehrlich, Jenn Chávez, Tiffany Camhi