REMARKS AS PREPARED
Governor Kate Brown
Racial Justice Council
September 30, 2020
Good morning everyone, it’s so nice to see all of you back again in the Zoom Room.
I want to thank you in advance for your contributions to this council and to my upcoming biennial recommended budget and policy agenda. We want the laws that support and govern this state to serve all Oregonians, not just a small number.
Historically, Oregon’s government has not centered the voices of underserved and marginalized communities. It has stolen land, stripped funding, denied services, and even legalized white supremacy.
Before we dive into today’s meeting, I want to start with some good news: this week, I issued a new, temporary residential eviction moratorium, banning evictions for non-payment through the end of the year.
We still must work with the Legislature to deal with the issue of rent repayment and relief, but this immediate step will keep Oregonians housed – including some of our most vulnerable – as we head into cold and flu season during a pandemic.
I also want to address this weekend’s law enforcement actions in Portland. While I am grateful that the demonstrations organized by the Proud Boys and other white supremacist groups did not escalate to deadly violence, it’s still very clear that Oregon still has a long way to go toward becoming a more equitable and welcoming state to call home.
I know many of you, like me, are concerned about the events of Saturday night outside the Justice Center. Let me be clear: I take the use of force by law enforcement officers very seriously. I have asked the Independent Police Review to conduct an investigation of officers’ actions. Anyone who acted outside Oregon law will be held accountable. And, if there are deficiencies in our police accountability and review systems––well, that is the critical work that brings us here today.
This council presents a chance to build an Oregon that works to remedy past and present discriminations and racism, as well as lift up communities of color, tribal communities, rural, and low income Oregonians.
We’re on a bit of a tight timeline and I appreciate everyone’s willingness to work within these time constraints. My recommended budget isn’t the end of this Council’s work, it’s just the beginning. So, we must all remember to hold space to address the short, mid, and long term goals of this Council.
As many of you may have read in some more recent news coverage, our state’s revenue is forecasted to be less devastating than we had originally thought, though we will still face a budget deficit in the next biennium.
I am excited to be working with all of you during the full Racial Justice Council sessions, and we will be diving deep in six policy-specific committees.
Each committee will meet 2 to 4 times per month to focus on a specific policy area and craft recommendations that will be brought back to the larger Racial Justice Council as we create Racial Justice Action Plans.
I hope I can count on each of you to join one of the following committees if you haven’t already:
● Criminal Justice Reform and Police Accountability
● Housing and Homelessness
● Economic Opportunity
● Health Equity
● Environmental Equity
I know it will be difficult to choose just one. Please know that I am truly very excited to incorporate these Action Plans into my recommended budget and policy agenda for the 2021-23 legislative session.
So, thank you again in advance for the work you’re currently doing and will do in the coming weeks and months. And now I’ll turn it over to Sophorn, Shannon, Daesha, and Steph from Tusk.