Donna and I are both dizzy these days. As we walked up 21st Avenue, she wobbled on her walker and I staggered beside her, looking for all the world like two babes teetering home from a tipple. She’d been at City Hall for a presentation concerning the next police contract, an issue of great interest to families of those killed by police. It’s now two and a half years since her grandson was killed. We met for lunch (no tippling) and then stumbled our way over to my place to talk about our projects together, including her first play. We don’t yet have a production group ready to take it on, but we’re working on that.
Donna is part of Oregon DA for the People, whose spiffy new website was composed with my photographs and much research and study by Donna and others. In the USA, it’s the District Attorney (DA) who is tasked with bringing police to court for excessive force or improper conduct, and it is almost always the DA who clears the police of any blame or responsibility. If you have time to peruse the site, you’ll see an action portrait of Donna on the Platform tab and lots of good ideas about how to prevent more deaths like that of her grandson.
Today I grabbed this portrait of her as she gazed out my tenth-floor window at the city. “Look,” she pointed out to me, “there’s the so-called Justice Building where the city jail is.” I had never before realized I could see it from my window. “It’s sad how many people I know who’ve spent time in that building,” she mused. Worth noting: the only people I know who have spent time in that jail are activists who got themselves arrested intentionally by actions of civil disobedience. Among those, only one has had to do serious time in jail. He’s Black.