The protests began in late May and quickly swelled, with that came the destruction and the violence, including tear gas and other crowd control methods from Portland police and federal officers.
Seneca Cayson has been a leader of non-violent protests in Portland. He said the social justice message has been diffused by other opposing interests. “Black lives are in the middle of all these agendas,” Cayson said. “The rocks are being thrown, obviously they gotta cross the middle before they can get to the other side.”
Cayson said some of the current distraction is coming from people who may be well-meaning, but need to take a breath. “For 100 days now, white people have gone through 500 years of education and haven’t decompressed,” he explained. “That’s what you see… the fireballs and these different things. I’m not giving them an excuse, but I’m telling you, if you go down deep in the ocean and come up too fast you will die.”
Cayson continues to speak out He’s got a new bullhorn after his first one was stolen. His message with this one won’t change. “I love people,” he said. “I love humans. What the issue is not Black Lives Matter. It’s right and wrong. And that’s the true agenda that’s been detached, that we’ve been severed from. And that’s the true narrative that’s been hijacked.”
And that’s the message he hopes others will hear and share in the next 100 days. He went on to say, “It’s time for the people with nothing to lose to step aside a little bit and let the people stand that got things to lose. I’ve got three sons. I’m here fighting for them. We have to stand. We all have to stand. I’m calling everybody who has something to lose and known that the difference between right and wrong… to stand, not to fight, to stand.”