Bringing Healing and Justice to Portland's Black Community

Bringing Healing and Justice to Portland's Black Community

By Cameron Whitten, Founder and CEO of Brown Hope

tweet me:
.@Comcast's contribution to Brown Hope — @blackresiliency's parent nonprofit — will provide real and tangible support to members of Portland's Black community: https://bit.ly/2FmXfrs
Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 11:00am

CONTENT: Blog

It’s been just over three months since George Floyd was murdered. When I first heard of his death,  I honestly didn’t expect much to happen. As a longtime Black Lives Matter activist, I anticipated the usual hashtags, maybe a rally or two, and plenty of thoughts and prayers. 

Instead, we’ve seen George’s 6-year-old daughter Gianna’s words come true. “Daddy changed the world.”

Here in Portland, some of that change started with a Facebook post. Just a day after I heard George Floyd’s name, I was surprised by a deluge of messages from white friends and colleagues. They wanted to know if I was okay, and if I needed any personal support. I was privileged to be doing relatively okay, but I knew there were too many Black Portlanders who were not getting the support they needed. 

So, that Sunday I went to Facebook and posted, “We need healing. We need justice. And that requires action.” In less than 11 hours, over 100 Portlanders rallied to raise $11,000 for Black Portlanders. The next day, the Black Resilience Fund was officially launched on GoFundMe and raised an additional $55,000. Lifelong Portlander, friend, and policy advocate Salomé Chimuku soon joined the team as Co-founder. We fielded inquiries from Portlanders who wanted to support with more than just their dollars, so we started recruiting volunteers to help. Word kept spreading, and Portland kept showing up. 

Now, as of early September, 15,600 contributors have donated more than $1.6 million to the fund. We’ve distributed over $1 million directly to 3,000 Black Portlanders for groceries, rent, utilities, and other basic expenses. Over 300   volunteers helped build a mutual aid network for distributing food boxes, performing household repairs, yard work, emotional support, and more. 

When one of these volunteers reached out to a Comcast colleague about joining the call to action, Comcast listened. As our biggest donor to date, their $50,000 contribution to Brown Hope—now the Black Resilience Fund’s parent nonprofit—will provide real and tangible support to 140 of our Black neighbors. 

I’m glad I was wrong about the reaction to George Floyd’s death. By working together, we are advancing the hard, but necessary work of racial justice. And I hope more companies follow Comcast’s example by making meaningful investments in social justice and a thriving vision for our Black communities.

With our nation grappling with a global pandemic and centuries of unresolved justice, we believe that together we can send a powerful message of hope, resilience, and healing. And that starts by taking care of our neighbors. 

To join us, visit BlackResilienceFund.com to donate, and follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.