Black Lives Matter protests take place in Downtown Bend
Amber Reed/ The Broadside
On Tuesday, June 2, a protest for the Black Lives Matter movement occurred in Bend, Oregon. Protestors met outside of McMenamins Old St. Francis School, at the corner of Louisiana and Bond street, and marched through downtown Bend chanting, holding signs, and calling for police reform and justice for the murder of George Floyd and other black civilians who lost their lives from police officers.
The protest was organized by Jade Jagers, Maxwell Freidmen, Maya Hopewood and Isa Merel. Jagers wanted to hold a protest and was able to gain attention for the event through the help of her friends and social media. Her hope for the protest was to have a peaceful demonstration that brought attention to the issue.
“We don’t want violence, we are here in solidarity as allies,” says Jagers.
The Bend Police Department was notified of the protest and was present but did not get directly involved. The officers followed the principles that were outlined on the Bend Police Department’s Facebook page which stated that they would “1. Respect rights of people to peacefully assemble; 2. Not unreasonably interfere with, harrass, intimidate, or discriminate against persons engaged in the lawful exercise of their rights; 3. Preserve peace, protect life and prevent destruction of property.”
There were tables set up in the grass where protestors could get food, water and sunscreen or to rest. Shortly after noon, protestors formed a circle and the leaders gave speeches to the crowd about why they were protesting and what it meant to them. Hopewood’s speech included examples of what her experience was like with police growing up and how they might perceive her.
“Am I giving them a reason to doubt my worth?” Hopewood asks at one point.
After the speeches were over they led the crowd in a march through downtown Bend chanting “no justice, no peace,” “black lives matter” and reciting the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Tony McDade. As marchers passed by local shops, customers came out to the street to shout their support, join in chants and observe the demonstration. One bystander Larna Nolte said that she didn’t know that a protest would be taking place.
“I applaud all of the protestors for wearing masks,” said Nolte. She appreciated the demonstration and “people need to be more aware.”
There were also people passing by protestors in cars who honked their horns in support and some even held signs out the car windows as they drove by.
Some of the protestors that attended were Central Oregon Community College students. Lucia Loveland and COCC graduate Carlee Richardson were two students who participated. Both stated that they had heard about the protest from friends that had posted a flyer with the information on social media. Loveland, when asked about her reason for getting involved in the protest and how she felt about the role of students in this movement, stated “I got involved because this is something that I feel very strongly about. Racism is not okay with me. We are all one. I think it’s really important for students to be involved.”
The Director of Campus Public Safety at COCC, Peter Ostrovsky, and Campus Public Safety Supervisor Scott Brown commented on the demonstrations that have been taking place in Bend. Both Ostrovsky and Brown have 30 years of experience in law enforcement.
“I’m a big believer in people exercising their first amendment rights,” said Ostrovsky.
Peter and Scott have began giving presentations to the students and staff of COCC. These presentations are not meant to show how to protest but instead how to be prepared for the changes that may come from day-to-day life. The duo spoke about the constant change that they experienced when working in law enforcement and how everyday was different. In order to be successful in their work, they had to know how to adapt. They are now passing this information to the people of COCC to help in this time of change.