A Black Lives Matter protest group organized by Don’t Shoot Portland disrupted a Portland Public School Board of Education meeting convened to help elementary schools in the district achieve greater racial balance in the classroom.
Don’t Shoot Portland was formed in response to the fatal shooting in August of a black man by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The raucous protesters wore t-shirts reading “I Can’t Breathe” in reference to the death of Eric Garner and held up signs saying, “No Vote Until Our Voices Matter,” and “Black Lives Matter.”
The activist group created more havoc by sitting in the chairs of the Board of Directors forcing the members to remain standing up or sitting in seats with the audience.
According to the Oregonian, the board met to vote on changes designed to make the district’s enrollment and transfer policies more equitable. The proposed changes would restrict the amount of white and affluent families from leaving low-performing schools according to a report by Reuters.
Even though the new policies are designed to keep local schools more integrated and avoid white and Asian flight to better performing school, the demonstrators claimed that they don’t trust the board to set policy that benefit people of color.
“It’s not because we think it’s a bad thing or a good thing, it’s because people are not informed on what it means and how it’s going to benefit their children,” protester Teressa Raiford argued at the meeting. “So until that happens there will not be any decisions made about our children’s education in the year of 2015.”