KERSTIN ARIAS, 24
A lot of people thought this was a pro-ally group [the Central Oregon Diversity Project, which Arias leads alongside Josie Stanfield]. That this was about giving white people a chance to show that they’re not racist. And then once they saw what we really deal with, and they kind of got a taste of it, they just didn’t want to do it no more. We just had one here lately where, you know, this woman didn’t like the fact that a woman of color was yelling at cops. We eventually did have a conversation, which was: You don’t understand the hurt and anger that we carry on our shoulders—four hundred years of oppression that weighs down on our shoulders. We’re angry, and we have every right to be angry. It’s not your job to tell them that they need to sit down and shut up. It’s the other way around—you need to sit down and shut up and listen. So she went and made a whole Facebook post, and she wrote it to Josie personally and said, “You’re more Malcolm X. And I supported Martin Luther King.” She doesn’t realize saying something like that is racist. Like, “Oh, you’re not a good enough Black person. I don’t support you.” It’s like, if we’re not the good little quiet Black girls that they’re hoping to see and we’re the angry Black women, they don’t want to hear it. And we’re no longer good enough for them. So, you know, I think doing all this has shown me the colors of people who consider themselves allies.
ALSA BRUNO, 30
I kept showing up to different demonstrations and there was one particular moment when I thought, “This is just not for me. I shouldn’t be here.” Well… I’m a big-chested guy. You know what I mean? I’m a big-chested Black man. So I know that when I go into spaces, if I’m not actively smiling, there’ll be a little bit of like, “What’s his goal? What’s he gonna do?”