Say His Name: Quanice Hayes
Last Friday, on a dark and rainy afternoon, Kirsten and I attended a funeral service for Quanice Hayes, the black teen killed by police in early February. Earlier in the week, a Multnomah County grand jury ruled that the Portland police officer who killed Quanice was “justified in his actions” and no criminal charges would be filed against him. At the time of the shooting, Quanice was unarmed and on his knees. He was shot three times.
The service was held at the Philadelphia Missionary Baptist Church in NE Portland and it was a lively mix of singing, biblical quotations and anecdotes from friends and family about Quanice, a vibrant, respectful and good-natured young man, whom they fondly remembered as “Moose.”
Terrence Hayes Speaks
One of the most powerful speakers was Quanice’s cousin, Terrence Hayes, who used this platform to speak about the tensions between the police and the African American community in Portland and across the country. He told the young men and women in the audience: “You all are still acting like the Portland Police and other police bureaus around this nation look at young black men differently, but that’s a lie. At some point, enough graves have to be stacked for you all to get serious about the reality.”
He told them: “Stop acting like you all are not second class citizens. It’s for real” and he urged them to recognize their value and to respect themselves.
He also recounted a story about seeing two white boys and a Mexican boy playing with toy guns outside his home. When his sons asked if they could play too, he had to tell them no and explain why it was not safe for them to play with toy guns; even green, yellow and orange ones.
Say His Name: Quanice Hayes
As we filed out of the church, about 50 people gathered in the street and Don’t Shoot Portland took out a banner that said “Justice for Quanice Hayes.”
We stood in the pouring rain and did a call and response chant: “Say his name: Quanice Hayes.” This chant went on for at least ten solid minutes and it was incredibly powerful. We were then led in other chants such as “Black Lives Matter” and “Hands Up: Don’t Shoot.”
Demand Reform and Accountability
The number of African American boys and men killed by police is the highest in recorded history. This injustice is alarming and we need to demand reform and accountability for the officers involved.
Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX plans to support this effort as much as possible and to help lobby for bills that support people of color.
Lobbying with the ACLU
Kirsten and I spent last Thursday in Salem, lobbying with the ACLU for several bills, including:
HB 2355 - End Profiling and Defelonize Possession: Although Oregon has already banned profiling by law enforcement, more work is needed to identify and correct patterns and practices of profiling by Oregon law enforcement. This bill supports:
Statewide stop data collection and analysis of traffic stops and pedestrian searches
Mandatory anti-profiling training for all levels of law enforcement
Accountability when patterns of profiling are identified, including technical assistance by the Department of Public Safety and Standards Training and public engagement through Local Public Safety Coordinating Councils
This law would also defelonize small-scale possession of drugs, which will move Oregon toward treating drugs as a public health issue and reduce the harsh collateral consequences of drug possession convictions. These harsh sentences have damaged families and ruined lives and, although people of color possess drugs at the same rates as everyone else, they are much more likely to be arrested.
SB 496 - Grand Jury Recording: Recording is necessary to ensure grand juries serve their constitutional function of protecting individuals against abuse of the grand jury process. Secrecy undermines public confidence in our judicial system and reinforces perceptions that the system is rigged. SB 496 will ensure transparency in Oregon by disclosing grand jury recordings in circumstances where a public official accused of criminal misconduct was not indicted and it is in the public interest to disclose the recording.
SB 82 - End Youth Solitary: Solitary confinement can have devastating effects for anyone, but it is especially damaging to young people who rely on human interaction for healthy development and rehabilitation. SB 82 will prohibit the Oregon Youth Authority from placing youth offenders or others alone in locked rooms for punishment. This bill will make Oregon a leader and a model for the rest of the country, setting an example of how to transform youth facility practices in a way that will create positive and safe outcomes for our youth and communities.
How You Can Help
Please contact your legislators and urge them to support these bills.
Albina Ministerial Alliance (AMA) Coalition for Justice and Police Reform
NWGSDPDX has offered to donate $5,000 (in late April/early May) to Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform, who are working toward these five goals:
A federal investigation by the Justice Department to include criminal and civil rights violations, as well as a federal audit of patterns and practices of the Portland Police Bureau.
Strengthening the Independent Police Review Division and the Citizen Review Committee with the goal of adding power to compel testimony.
A full review of the Bureau's excessive force and deadly force policies and training with diverse citizen participation for the purpose of making recommendations to change policies and training.
The Oregon State Legislature narrowing the language of the State Statute for deadly force used by police officers
Establishing a special prosecutor for police excessive force and deadly force cases.
We hope you will join NWGSDPDX to support these efforts.
It is important that we don’t stop saying his name: Quanice Hayes.
Ali King is a founding member and president of Nasty Women Get Shit Done PDX. She lives in SE Portland, Oregon and is the mother of two young women.