Teressa Raiford is the founder of Don't Shoot Portland, a Black-led and community-driven nonprofit in Portland, Oregon.
On the morning of September 26, 2010, Raiford's nephew Andre Dupree Payton was shot and killed in downtown Portland. In response, Raiford started Don't Shoot Portland, a group of activists who work for police accountability within the Portland Police Bureau and Multnomah County Sheriff's Office.
In 2015, Raiford was arrested, charged and jailed for obstructing traffic and disorderly conduct by five officers, at a march she had organized to honor Michael Brown. In 2016 the case was dismissed by a jury. In 2017, Raiford filed a countersuit claiming damages of $500,000, claiming she was "signaled out for her outspokenness against police violence" and claiming officers made disparaging comments as they arrested her. The case was dismissed by a judge in 2019.
In June 2020, Don't Shoot Portland filed a class-action lawsuit against the City of Portland for seeking a temporary restraining order to force the Portland Police Bureau from using tear gas in the city. Don't Shoot Portland also published an in-depth report on Riot Control Agents, describing the irreparable harm caused by RCAs during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In July 2020, Don't Shoot PDX and Wall of Moms filed a federal lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, claiming that President Trump's deployment of federal forces to Portland was unlawful.
Portland, the time is now to write-in Teressa Raiford for mayor. For too long we’ve been fed the narrative that we have to choose between the two candidates that acquire the most money, some of which comes from our tax dollars. We now are being forced to choose between the “lesser of two evils,” something we are far too familiar with.
Already, people have committed to writing Teressa Raiford on their ballots on November 3rd based on her decade of direct action and demand for accountability from the PPB. Some of these write-in endorsements include The Portland Trailblazers' Damien Lillard, Albert Lee (Congressional Candidate), Kee’s Loaded Kitchen, The Kiki House of Flora, community activists, and foundational Black community members. In the May 2020 primaries, Teressa Raiford garnered 18,310 votes, 8.4%, 3rd place in the race to be elected Portland’s mayor. The results were disappointing because Portland missed a real chance at profound progress.
Teressa’s mayoral campaign has been a genuine people’s campaign from the beginning. This write-in campaign is a revitalized extension of that. She’s not backed by wealthy elites because she refuses to be indebted to special interest groups. She isn’t enrolled in tax-funded programs because she knows that those dollars should be going to resources for Portland. This campaign is fueled by human necessity and human dignity, the will to thrive, and strengthened by people who have, for too long, been silenced and reduced to statistics.
We’ve seen an influx of over 130,000 people into Teressa’s networks since May 19th. Not only are we experiencing heightened awareness and explosive social advances against status quo in the past several weeks alone, but we expect a massive social shift that will only continue to develop. It’s potent and exciting and we can all be a part of it.
Portland needs our first ever Black mayor. Who better to uphold the cause of Black Lives, of civic accountability, and of community safety than the Black woman who has already been doing precisely that work so effectively for years? Teressa continues to persist despite enduring constant oppression. It’s time we ALL invest in our community and show up for a 4th-generation Black Portlander that has always shown up for us. Let’s place Teressa Raiford in the mayor’s office. Let's show up for Black lives.
Can we count on you to write-in Teressa Raiford for Mayor November 3rd?