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The City of Portland, Oregon

Office of Equity and Human Rights

Realizing Equity. Enhancing the City of Portland.

Phone: 503-823-4433

Fax: 503-823-4420

421 SW 6th Avenue, Suite 500, Portland, OR 97204

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Message from Dr. Markisha Webster Smith about Anti-Asian Violence

Dear Colleagues,

White supremacy takes no days off. And, through violent acts of hatred and trauma, it surfaces to remind us that we live in a country where being a person of color means that your life is not valued. To make matters worse, we are forced to watch the false, scapegoating excuses that seek to cover up the reality that racism is alive and thriving all around us.

I know many of you are reeling from the recent murders in Atlanta. I want to let you know that The Office of Equity and Human Rights and the City see our Asian, Asian American, and Pacific Islander employees and join you in mourning those whose lives were taken and in demanding a systemic response to hate crimes and violence.

Anti-Asian racism is nothing new in our society, but the surge in anti-Asian violence over the past year is a result, in part, of reckless and hateful speech and white supremacy. The Office of Equity condemns these acts of violence and encourages everyone to reach out to our Asian co-workers, neighbors, business owners, and families in support and solidarity.

At times like these we may feel helpless, but there are things we can do. Asian Americans Advancing Justice sponsors free Bystander Intervention Training and you can find out more here.

The DEEP program’s Hapa Asian and Pacific Islander (HAPI) affinity group is a resource and safe space for AAPI employees to collectively mourn and discuss related topics. 

During these troubling times, employees have resources that may be able to help with anxiety and depression. The Racial Equity Support Line is 503-575-3764 and is staffed for and by people with lived experience of racism. They offer support to those who are feeling the emotional impacts of racist violence and microaggressions, as well as the emotional impacts of immigration struggles and other cross-cultural issues.

And finally, if there are ways that the Office of Equity and Human Rights can support you during this time, please do not hesitate to reach out. We stand in solidarity and support of our Asian friends and family.


Markisha Webster Smith