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Recent coverage of our work:
For more than thirty years, Western States Center has been at the forefront of building a progressive movement for a just society and inclusive democracy, catching the attention of numerous media outlets along the way, including the Washington Post, The Guardian, The Atlantic, PBS Newshour, National Public Radio, Salon, USA Today, and many more. Read on to find some of the most recent media coverage of our work.
The Guardian: “How Republicans killed Oregon’s climate crisis bill – by fleeing the state” (June 29, 2019)
“Unlike Vegas, what happens in Oregon doesn’t stay in Oregon,” said Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, a progressive nonprofit.
He added: “It should be a warning and a wake up call to the rest of the nation that, even when a governance system exists, even if you have a supermajority, that democratic practice itself is still vulnerable to being undermined, and that’s what we’re seeing.”
Citing the presence of often-armed patriot movement groups, and the unwillingness of Republicans to draw “a clear moral line” around such groups, Ward said: “If we were in Afghanistan, if we were in Iraq, if we were in Sudan, if we were in the former Yugoslavia, and this was taking place, we would call it a political crisis, and we would call it a threat to democratic practice.”
The News Tribune: “Eatonville school board candidate is founder of group ‘with history of violence,’ activists say” (June 28, 2019)
Marshall’s announcement of the endorsement caught the attention of Western States Center, a Portland-based organization that tracks and works to combat white nationalism and extremist groups. The organization calls Three Percenters groups an anti-government movement with “a history of violence.”
“I think it’s disturbing and definitely notable (the Pierce County Republican Party) would endorse such a public, visible leader of a militia group that has threatened elected officials,” Western States Center spokeswoman Lindsay Schubiner said.
Schubiner said the group is a threat to democratic institutions.
“They’re a militia group and many of them are armed, and what we’ve noticed in their work recently is there have been multiple threats to elected leaders, government staff (and) people who are just doing their jobs,” Schubiner said.
Associated Press: “Climate fight lays bare a divide between rural, urban Oregon” (June 26, 2019)
Right-wing and nationalist groups have been increasingly visible in Oregon over the past five years as rural voters get more disillusioned, said Eric Ward, executive director of the Portland-based Western States Center.
"In frustration, there are organizations and individuals who have stepped into a leadership gap and are attempting to provide parallel leadership," he said. "But that leadership is led by ... bigotry and threats of violence."
Truthout: “Far-Right Group Patriot Prayer Is Declining. Thank Anti-Fascists.” (June 25, 2019)
“Patriot Prayer poses a threat to the safety of community members in any city they visit, particularly people of color, LGBTQ people, women, and those they view as their political opponents,” says Lindsay Schubiner from the Western States Center.
The Western States Center, a progressive nonprofit that was established in 1987 to cover the Pacific and Rocky Mountain states, has been active in opposition, supporting counter-events to Patriot Prayer since 2017.
“If we want to live in a free, inclusive and democratic society, we have to speak out and we have to organize. This organizing looks different in different places; we’ve worked with a wide variety of community members across the country, from clergy to bar owners to tenant organizers and feminist activists,” Schubiner said. “Many people in urban and rural areas already see the adverse effects groups like Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys are having on their communities and have been speaking out. By organizing, they’re keeping their neighbors informed, building new relationships, and strengthening their own visions for a free and just society.”
The Daily Beast: “Oregon Democrats Set to Back Down on Climate Bill That Sent GOP Lawmakers Into Hiding” (June 25, 2019)
The bill’s apparent failure is a blow to Oregon progressives, who failed to pass a climate change bill despite Democrats controlling the entire state government. Amy Herzfeld-Copple, the deputy director for the left-leaning Western States Center, called the bill’s potential demise a serious disappointment.
“What’s most disheartening for me in all of this is that our democratic institutions were undermined, a major political party cozied up to militia and paramilitary groups to achieve their political goals, and the planet and our children and our community’s future suffered,” Herzfeld-Copple told The Daily Beast.
The Daily Beast: “How Did the Oregon Republican Party Get So Crazy?” (June 25, 2019)
While Oregon has been characterized as hyper-liberal on shows like Portlandia, it was the only state whose original constitution forbid non-white people from living there. Those racial divisions persist in the state, according to Eric Ward, the executive director of the Western States Center, a left-leaning political nonprofit.
“Even slight demographic change is seen as anxiety-provoking throughout the state,” Ward said.
Much of the right’s anger in Oregon has been directed towards Portland. For the past two years, right-wing groups like the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer have held rallies in the city in an attempt to bait antifascist activists into fights.
“Portland is seen as this den of iniquity,” Ward said.
In January, Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson imposed a vigilante ban on wearing masks in the city and took to the streets with his allies, assaulting their political foes and pulling their masks off.
“They can no longer manipulate the democratic processes in the state, and are now relying on threats of intimidation and harassment and violence,” Ward said.
National Public Radio: “Politics Shape The Debate Over What To Call Far-Right Extremism” (June 23, 2019)
Eric Ward, a longtime civil rights activist who leads the nonprofit Western States Center in Oregon, said there are two main consequences of the administration's mixed messaging. First, it muddies the picture that law enforcement and the public have of the white nationalist threat; and, secondly, it gives at least the appearance of political cover to hate groups that have moved from the fringe to the mainstream in recent years.
"You have a white nationalist movement that, correctly or incorrectly, believed that it was part of a coalition that elected Donald Trump to the White House," Ward said. "And this administration should be saying and doing everything within its legal power and its moral voice to drive home that it wants nothing to do with that movement."
American Libraries Magazine: “Confronting White Nationalism: How libraries can anticipate and counter racist incidents” (June 22, 2019)
Nora Flanagan, a Chicago public school teacher who coauthored the toolkit, said she included five scenarios (from the anonymous use of hate symbols to actual white nationalists organizing at the school) that actually occurred at the two schools where she taught English. Each scenario includes suggested approaches that students, staff, administration, parents, and community members can take in response. The most important guideline, Flanagan said, is to “find a place in the middle. Do not overreact to a situation,” as it can quickly backfire.
Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center, an organization that helps communities strengthen inclusive democracy, offered an important distinction between white supremacy and white nationalism. “White supremacy,” Ward said, “is a historical and present-day system of exploitation in which non-whites are considered racially inferior. The civil rights movement of the 1960s effectively dismantled white supremacy as a rule of law. White nationalism is a movement that arose in direct response to that failure. Its goal ultimately is the creation of an all-white ethnostate within the United States.”
WBEZ 91.5 Chicago: “CPS Teacher Develops Toolkit To Fight White Nationalism” (June 19, 2019)
Flanagan said she believes she’s seeing the resurgence of a similar effort by hate groups to recruit students online and she worries that school communities are unprepared. So Flanagan co-authored a toolkit to help educators, students, parents and other school stakeholders recognize and fight white nationalism in student settings. The thin booklet, titled Confronting White Nationalism in Schools: A Toolkit, was published early this year by a progressive nonprofit in Oregon called the Western States Center.
“It’s for every stakeholder in a school community,” said Flanagan. “So if a student encounters a flyer taped up in the bathroom, here’s what she can do. If a teacher hears about something from one of her students, here’s what she can do ... on up through a parent finding something or hearing something from their kid.”
Already, the Western States Center has distributed copies of the toolkit — 1,400, in all — to nearly every state in the U.S., and to eight countries.
Willamette Week: “ICE Contractor Posted Bail for Proud Boy Jailed in Portland for Assault” (May 15, 2019)
An advocacy nonprofit says the association between an ICE contractor and the Proud Boys is troubling.
"Western States Center is concerned to learn that a Portland-based ICE contractor provided bail to a known member of a group that has used political violence to terrorize vulnerable communities and undermine democratic institutions across the Northwest," says Amy Herzfeld-Copple, deputy director of programs and strategic initiatives. "We encourage local and state officials to immediately open up investigations to ascertain if GEO Group is intentionally or unintentionally supporting violent paramilitary activity in the city of Portland."
Right Wing Watch: “Some Right-Wing Extremists Really Do Hate Trump—But It’s Complicated” (May 14, 2019)
Many of the intense sentiments pulsing through white nationalist communication arteries are centered on the hatred of Muslim and Jewish people. Eric K. Ward wrote for The Public Eye in 2017 that anti-Semitism is “the theoretical core of White nationalism” because it answers a question central to the ideology’s premise of a victimization of white people (Jews are not regarded as “white” in the white nationalist worldview), who are seen as being systematically evicted from the world’s power centers.
Portland Mercury: “New Legal Claims and Defendants Added to Patriot Prayer Lawsuit” (May 7, 2019)
The Western States Center (WSC), a nonprofit focused on civil rights in the Pacific Northwest, has helped inform OJRC's legal case against Patriot Prayer. During the press conference, WSC's Amy Herzfeld-Copple spoke on the broader implications that normalizing violence from Patriot Prayer, a group that's attracted white nationalists, has on democracy.
"To characterize white nationalist violence as a free speech issue or as isolated outbreaks of street brawling ignores the growing political crisis," says Herzfeld-Copple. "That's why it's critical for local government to clearly denounce white nationalism."
She applauded Portland City Council's February passage of a resolution doing just that. According to Herzfeld-Copple, members of the WSC are meeting with city hall staff to plan employee-wide trainings on white nationalism.
Portland Press Herald: “Baseless narratives about Jewish secrecy, power gaining ground – even here” (May 1, 2019)
White nationalists have long believed that Jewish “outside agitators” are behind every left-leaning protest and political cause. Indeed, in his article “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism,” scholar-activist Eric K. Ward explains that anti-Semitism is a core component of white nationalism. Rather than understanding that fights for racial and economic justice represent the interests and ambitions of groups that are left out by a dominant culture that is white and Christian, white nationalists hold that Jews are “manipulating the social order behind the scenes,” Ward notes.
Two examples are particularly illustrative: Last October, a flier was posted at Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, stating: “Every time some anti-white anti-American, anti-freedom event takes place, you look at it, and it’s Jews behind it.” Depicted on the flier were several Jewish public figures, including Soros, with Jewish stars superimposed upon their foreheads. Former Gov. Paul LePage was making the same point when he recently claimed that the Democratic Party is funded “for the most part” by Jewish people.
Haaretz: “White Supremacist Terror Is a Global Epidemic but Trump Won’t Name It, Let Alone Fight It” (April 29, 2019)
As Eric Ward explains in the article “How Anti-Semitism Animates White Nationalism,” it is an ideology that shares the belief that a “secret cabal, some mythological power, must be manipulating the social order behind the scenes. This diabolical evil must control television, banking, entertainment, education” and through this is “brainwashing White people, rendering them racially unconscious.” It is the Jews whose “machinations have prevented the natural and inevitable imposition of white supremacy.”
Salon: “Fox News and the synagogue shooter: Right-wing network airs similar views every day” (April 29, 2019)
As civil rights organizer Eric Ward told Salon last year, white nationalists simply cannot accept that women and people of color are smart enough to agitate for equality and social justice all on their own, and therefore blame "a global conspiracy by Jews" for masterminding the whole thing.
Philanthropy.com: “How Philanthropy Can Curb the Rise of Hate: Count It, Condemn It, Confront It” (April 29, 2019)
The Western States Center also raised the alarm against threats to our communities and leaders, pointing to an increase in white-nationalist rhetoric and recruitment in schools and a spike in anti-government activity and threats to government officials.
As Western States Center also noted in its testimony, "White nationalism is also deeply rooted in historic and contemporary anti-Semitism and misogyny. It falsely promotes the conspiracy theory that Jews, people of color, women, and immigrants are responsible for perceived threats to white demographic, cultural, and political dominance."
Western States Center, Political Research Associates, and the Anti-Defamation League are providing research, analysis, and training to help the country understand white nationalism so we can see the threat for what it is and push back effectively.
The Times of Israel: “Fresh synagogue shooting appears to highlight spread of deadly hate” (April 28, 2019)
Eric Ward, an expert on extremism and the executive director of the Western States Center, said the letter was designed to propagandize the white nationalist cause.
“The manifesto reads like textbook white nationalist ideology: the idea of replacement theory, the false idea that white people are facing extinction,” Ward told the Times of Israel. “It’s a call for individual lone wolf attacks on Jews. It’s a call to arms. What we should understand, for this shooter, is that it’s an act of political theater.”
“He wants this manifesto out there,” Ward went on. “He wants the media to circulate the manifesto, he wants to let this shooting becomes the vehicle to spread the ideas in this manifesto.”
Ward said the dissemination of white nationalist ideology is creating the environment for the next outbreak of violence, and he warned that media outlets dissecting the document were fulfilling the shooter’s wishes.
“The goal is to generate free publicity. Some folks refer to it as the art of terror,” Ward said. “You commit an act of terror not because of the actual violence, but for the larger theater built around it for propaganda value.”
The Spokesman-Review: “Rep. Matt Shea links to white nationalist website, defends running background checks on political opponents” (April 24, 2019)
Meanwhile on Tuesday, the Washington State Democratic Party and the Western States Center, a progressive group based in Portland, continued calling for Shea to be expelled from the GOP caucus.
Spokane Public Radio: “Shea Responds To Criticism Over Web Chat” (April 24, 2019)
Lindsay Schubiner is a spokeswoman for the group Western States Center, which works to counter alt-right and White Nationalism. She says the XYZ site is openly white nationalist.
“Even a cursory look at the site shows deadly anti-semitism such as the harmful conspiracy theory blaming Jews for the 911 attacks. That was in an article published on the site this past fall. Throughout the site you can finds nationalist conspiracy theories that say white people will be replaced by people of color,” Schubiner said.
The Guardian: “Republican discussed violent attacks and surveillance with rightwingers” (April 20, 2019)
The Western States Center, a progressive organization, has also previously criticized Shea. Its executive director, Eric Ward, said via email: “The violent extremism that Representative Matt Shea espouses is a clear threat to our democratic institutions and has no place in mainstream political discourse.
“We call on Washington State Republican Party leaders to censure Representative Shea if these allegations are true.”
Oregon Public Broadcasting: “Responding To White Nationalism” (April 16, 2019)
White supremacy propaganda increased nearly four-fold in the U.S. between 2017 and 2018, according to a report by the Anti-Defamation League. A new toolkit from the Western States Center aims to help educators and students recognize and respond to white nationalist activity and recruitment in schools. We talk with Jessica Acee, an educator at St. Mary’s Academy and the co-author of “Confronting White Nationalism in Schools.”
Wyoming News: “LCSD1 officials decline to denounce white supremacy” (April 6, 2019)
Sami Alloy, lead researcher and organizer with the civil rights group Western States Center, was one of the people who asked Brown if he would denounce white supremacist groups. She said it was important for the district to reject white supremacy, particularly because white nationalist organizations recruit from schools.
Alloy’s organization published a toolkit for schools on confronting white nationalism. She offered Brown that resource and additional information on how to identify white nationalist recruitment in schools, which Brown accepted.
The Advocate: “Wyoming GSA Sponsor Penalized for Calling Out Hate Speech” (April 6, 2019)
Cook said she knows that homophobia, white supremacy, and bullying in general are problems that go far beyond McCormick. Sami Alloy, lead researcher and organizer at Western States Center, a regional civil rights group based in Portland, Ore., seconded that and said bigoted groups are recruiting young people.
“White nationalist and alt-right groups are targeting youth throughout the country, and Wyoming is no exception,” Alloy said. They’re feeling emboldened in the current political climate, she noted.
Western States Center has created a free tool kit to help schools deal with such groups. The organization has offered it to the Laramie County district, Alloy said.
“Schools have a responsibility to maintain an environment in which students feel safe,” she said.
National Public Radio: “How Portland is Dealing With Civil Protest Escalating To Civil Unrest” (March 26, 2019)
ERIC WARD: We really did draw a moral barrier against hate. […] People came together - Republican farmers, law enforcement, community activists. We may not have agreed on very much, but we agreed that bigotry and overt hatred didn't have a role.
Salon: “Eight mistakes the media makes about anti-Semitism in America today” (March 21, 2019)
From around 1980 onward, white nationalists have focused on the Pacific Northwest with the avowed intention of creating a white homeland, freed from the grasp of “ZOG” (“Zionist Occupied Government," the white nationalist term for the United States). Their actions there clarify the essence of what they’re about, and those who have opposed them on the ground and tracked these struggles have a level of understanding all Americans should seek to learn from.
One such person is Eric Ward, now executive director at Western States Center, who summarized some of what he’s learned in a 2017 article “Skin in the Game: How Antisemitism Animates White Nationalism.” Ward was a black punk rocker who moved to Eugene, Oregon, with a multiracial group of Los Angeles punks, and subsequently became an organizer who, despite his skin color, was adept at infiltrating the white nationalist movement, precisely because it saw Jews as its main enemy.
Tri-City Herald: “Inslee, Ferguson at odds with sheriffs over gun-control initiative” (March 16, 2019)
A Portland, Oregon-based human rights group called the Western States Center has complained that initiative opponents are trying to intimidate elected officials into not enforcing the law.
“We encourage the state of Washington and its elected officials to stand firm in the face of intimidation,” said Eric Ward, the group’s executive director.
Ward said sheriffs in about half of Washington’s 39 counties, many of them rural and conservative, have said they won’t enforce the new law until the courts decide whether it is constitutional.
USA Today: “New Zealand mosque shootings: Some rights leaders say US is exporting extremism” (March 15, 2019)
The attack in New Zealand reflects a growing maturation of the white nationalist movement globally, which increasingly appears to be taking its inspiration from attackers in the U.S., says Eric Ward, executive director of the Western States Center in Portand, Oregon, which monitors hate crimes and provides tools to combat extremist views.
“Extremists in other parts of the world are now taking their cue from the increase in violence here,” Ward says.
PBS Newshour: “How teachers are trying to stop the spread of hate” (March 15, 2019)
Western States Center, an Oregon-based group that provides training to city employees grappling with far-right extremism, recently published “Confronting White Nationalism in Schools” as a resource for high school educators. The report identifies modern hate symbols like Pepe the Frog, a cartoon character co-opted by white nationalist groups into a popular social media meme.
That kind of curriculum aims to help students combat racism not only at school but also online.
“There are some groups intentionally targeting young people for recruitment and that’s really dangerous for those students,” Lindsay Schubiner of Western States Center said, referencing video games as one platform where hate groups try to reach teenagers. “School administrators need to be aware of the signs so they intervene.”
LGBTQ Nation: “The Proud Boys beat up a man & shouted ‘fa**ot.’ Now they’re facing charges.” (March 15, 2019)
Lindsay Schubiner, program director of the Western States Center – who is representing Ledwith and another person in conjunction with the attack – said in a statement, “Today’s development is an overdue but highly encouraging indication that local law enforcement is taking Proud Boy violence seriously.”
“It should be the first in a series of steps to counter violence and intimidation by racist and sexist organizations active in our region,” Schubiner added.
Washington Post: “A new guide for schools to stop white supremacists from recruiting kids to their cause” (March 15, 2019)
“Confronting White Nationalism in Schools: A Toolkit” was written by two educators in partnership with the Western States Center, a liberal nonprofit organization working toward social, economic, racial and environmental justice.
The tool kit — which was also written by Lindsay Schubiner, a program director at the center, and Jessica Acee, an educator and community organizer in Portland, Ore. — offers common scenarios that educators, administrators and others can recognize and offers recommendations on addressing them. It is free and can be obtained on the Western States Center website, here.
The authors sought the advice of teachers, administrators and stakeholders as they compiled best practices for stakeholders in each community. “It’s not a one-size-fits-all tool,” Acee said. “There’s a lot for different school communities to adapt.”
Schubiner said that when she has talked about the tool kit, people are surprised by the recruitment of kids.
“People are surprised at how intentionally white-nationalist groups are targeting young people and how widespread the impact can be and how they can show up in diverse ways,” she said. “Andrew Anglin of the Daily Stormer [a neo-Nazi website] has said his website is designed mainly to target children as young as 11, and that is surprising to a lot of people and deeply disturbing.”
The Forward: “Ilhan Omar Should Lead The Fight Against Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia” (March 13, 2019)
As a representative who is black, Muslim, and a woman, Omar will always face an unfair level of scrutiny for her words and decisions. This is exactly why her leadership is so desperately needed when it comes to addressing anti-Semitism and Islamophobia: the disproportionate focus on Omar allows her to raise the bar and set a standard that the rest of Congress will be obliged to follow.
New York Daily News: “Proud Boy arrested for Portland assault, another indicted in June attack” (March 13, 2019)
Lindsay Schubiner, program director at the anti-white nationalism organization Western States Center, told the Daily News that the center had encouraged Ledwith to file a police report.
“Today’s development is an overdue but highly encouraging indication that local law enforcement is taking Proud Boy violence seriously,” she said in a statement. It should be the first in a series of steps to counter violence and intimidation by racist and sexist organizations active in our region.”
KATU: “Proud Boy member pleads not guilty to assault charges” (March 13, 2019)
The district attorney isn’t releasing much information about the assault, but Western States Center released a statement saying it is representing two of the alleged victims in the case.
The statement identifies one of the alleged victims as Timothy Ledwith. It also says this development “should be the first in a series of steps to counter violence and intimidation by racist and sexist organizations active in our region.”
The Oregonian / OregonLive: “Proud Boy member Donovon Flippo arrested, charged with assault in June 8 attack in NE Portland” (March 12, 2019)
Lindsay Schubiner, a program director for Western States Center, which works to counter white nationalism and promote inclusive democracy, said the center had encouraged Ledwith to file a report after the alleged assault.
"I think this development today is overdue but it’s encouraging because it means local authorities are taking Proud Boy violence seriously,'' she said.
The Oregonian / OregonLive: “Follow new gun law even if your sheriff doesn’t, Washington’s governor and AG tell gun sellers” (March 8, 2019)
Also Thursday, a Portland-based human rights group called the Western States Center complained that initiative opponents are trying to intimidate elected officials into not enforcing the law.
"We encourage the state of Washington and its elected officials to stand firm in the face of intimidation," said Eric Ward, the group's executive director.
Ward said sheriffs in about half of Washington's 39 counties, many of them rural and conservative, have said they won't enforce the new law until the courts decide whether it is constitutional.
Newsweek: “What Is Anti-Semitism? Ilhan Omar Comments Prompt Resolution and Bitter Fight Over Israel Criticism” (March 7, 2019)
“It is perfectly acceptable to critique and discuss particularly foreign influences on U.S. policy and politics. It’s not acceptable to accuse any community of dual loyalty,” Eric Ward, the executive director of the Western States Center and an expert in anti-Semitism, told Newsweek.
“We have seen this historically with the Irish immigrant community in America being accused of being puppets of the Catholic Church in the 1800s. We saw it recently with Donald Trump accusing Judge Curiel of not being able to be an honest broker because he was of Mexican descent, and we have seen the Muslim community experience Islamophobia with accusations of serving two different functions, not being able to be loyal Americans,” Ward continued.
“And it is no different to accuse the Jewish community of being dual loyalists as well. It is offensive, it is not accurate, and in this case it certainly is an anti-Semitic trope.”
The Atlantic: “The Fight Over Ilhan Omar Is a Fight Over the Identity of the Democratic Party” (March 7, 2019)
“We carry some responsibility on the left for not acknowledging that anti-Semitism just exists in American society,” says Eric Ward, the executive director of the Western States Center, which trains Jewish and Muslim leaders on anti-Semitism and Islamophobia. “It is not simply a phenomenon of the right, nor a phenomenon of the left. It is in the air we breathe. If we aren’t conscious of it, we will sometimes act out anti-Semitism, in the same way that we may act out sexism or homophobia or racism.”
Anti-Semitism highlights the tension inherent in Democrats’ effort to be the party of the marginalized: Sometimes defending one group can come at the expense of hurting another. In general, it can be difficult for Jewish fear to be heard in progressive spaces. “We live in a society that is based off of the binary race definition of black and white. Most Jews are not people of color,” Ward says. “For the left, it has become very difficult to understand that there are people in the United States who aren’t people of color, yet still face a form of racialized bigotry.”
“Whether it is antiblack racism, whether it’s Islamophobia, whether it’s anti-Semitism—it has no place within the halls of Congress. And we should have a party that is strong enough to hold one another accountable without demonizing one another, and without disparate treatment based off of race or religion or gender,” Ward says. “Two years [and] 44 days of Donald Trump find the political left in this country rearranging deck chairs on the [Titanic] … throwing each other overboard.”
KGW: “Wheeler orders independent investigation over police texts with Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson” (February 15, 2019)
Wheeler also said he and Police Chief Danielle Outlaw will implement training around how to identify white supremacy based recommendations from the Oregon Justice Resource Center, Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon and the Western States Center.
Portland Tribune: “Wheeler orders independent investigation into police bias” (February 15, 2019)
No details about the investigation were announced. But Wheeler said Police Chief Danielle Outlaw agreed with the need for such an investigation, and that they are going to implement training for the bureau around how to identify white supremacy, based on the recommendations of such anti-racist organizations as the Oregon Justice Resource Center, Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon and the Western States Center.
Portland Mercury: “Portland Leaders Respond to Texts Between the Police Bureau and Patriot Prayer” (February 15, 2019)
Hardesty also echoed a joint statement released last evening by CAIR Oregon, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, and the Western States Center—all anti-racism, social justice-oriented organizations—which demanded an independent investigation into the relationship between PPB and Patriot Prayer.
City-wide training on identifying and rejecting white supremacy and far-right extremism had already been approved in a resolution denouncing white supremacy that City Council passed last week. The Western States Center has been tasked with designing the training, which would be provided to every city employee.
"First and foremost: Chief [Danielle] Outlaw and I are going to implement training for the Portland Police Bureau around how to identify white supremacy based on the recommendation of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, Council on American-Islamic Relations Oregon and the Western States Center," Wheeler said in a Feb. 15 statement.
KATU: “Portland City Council passes resolution condemning hate groups” (February 7, 2019)
Later Thursday, the groups CAIR-Oregon, the Oregon Justice Resource Center, and the Western States Center, indicated they were supportive of the resolution. They also proposed six action items for the city to address. The hope is those action items will give the ordinance teeth.