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Aug 25, 17

Gresham, OR: Solidarity March with Charlottesville Harassed by Proud Boys

We stand in solidarity today with Charlottesville, VA from Gresham, OR! After we heard about the events that took place in Charlottesville two weeks ago we wanted to show our support for the victims and Heather Heyer. What made us organize this solidarity event also had to do with small similarities that crossed paths, because our community had been affected by a terrible incident last year.

We wanted to send a message to any fascists living in our community to get out and say they’re not welcome here. Last year on this same month outside a 7-Eleven store an African-American youth by the name of Larnell Bruce was confronted by a white supremacist couple from the European Kindred prison-gang outside the store parking lot. That white supremacist’s name is Russell Courtier who confronted Larnell Bruce and his girlfriend Colleen Hunt who was also involved with encouraging Courtier to attack Larnell Bruce.

The 19-year old Larnell Bruce pulled out a knife in self-defense after he got his head smashed into the window of the 7-Eleven store at Burnside Road and 188th Ave. Courtier and Hunt both fled to get into their 1991 Jeep Wrangler after the knife was pulled. After the two were retreating to their vehicle Larnell Bruce took the opportunity to start running back towards his home.

He was zigzagging in different directions in hopes to avoid being run down as Courtier was in pursuit of Bruce in their Jeep. Eventually he was mowed down quickly by the white supremacist. It was a hit and run tactic leaving Bruce in critical condition with serious injuries. He was taken to the hospital by ambulance and 3 days later after that horrific incident and attack on our community Larnell Bruce died. Heather Heyer and Larnell Bruce were both mowed down by white supremacists and died as the result of such an fatal and fucked up incident. Earlier today we held a rally and march in solidarity with Heather Heyer, the 19 Anti-racists who were injured, and Larnell Bruce. Members of Powell Valley Green Collective and Rose City Redneck Revolt took a photo-op together before we decided to march. Our first destination was to hit the 7-Eleven across from Plaza Del Sol one block over from us.

We rallied at Plaza Del Sol first which is right on 187th Ave and Stark St and the 7-Eleven store Larnell Bruce was murdered is at Burnside Road and 188th Ave. We marched our way to the convenient store to give a speech about Larnell Bruce. Our guest speaker was Gregory McKelvey from Portlands Resistance he gave a speech about the life of Larnell Bruce and the incident that occurred. We mourned his death while never forgetting about Larnell Bruce. We mourned for Heather Heyer who died when a Dodge charger mowed down a few dozen counter-protesters opposing the Alt-Right Rally “Unite The Right” in Charlottesville, VA two weeks ago.  After we finished with the speech we resumed marching around the old Rockwood area which is now Gresham incorporated. We marched along Burnside on the sidewalk up until 190th Ave then we crossed the street safely to march going down Stark towards 181st Ave.

While we were marching some folks in the small group of 12 people; we noticed a few vehicles constantly circling us. It was obvious intimidation while we were holding up a banner that said: “Fascists Out of Gresham, Solidarity With Cville.” The vehicles who were stalking/circling us was a white Dodge Charger with a cat graphic, white full-sized Ford truck, white wide tire Harley motorcycle, silver Nissan pickup truck, and a silver Lincoln. We were noticing some quite suspicious characters as we marched around in a full loop. We also had a lot of support from the Gresham community! Many were honking in support, giving thumbs up, waving, some cheering loudly, and had a few folks come up to talk to us. By the time we got to 181st and Burnside crossing the street in the crosswalk that’s when this same Silver Nissan pickup rolled down his window shouting loudly before making his right-turn: “Fuck Y’all!! Woooo Proud Boys!!” I also believe he shouted something about Based Stickman but I couldn’t make out anything else. The driver was an obvious Proud Boy which is considered a White Nationalist group. Our presence definitely made the Gresham PD and the fash that were circling us very uncomfortable. The Gresham Police were patrolling our group the entire time including several unmarked cars and one which was by Multnomah County Sheriff.

After that yelling incident we were marching back down Burnside again back to Plaza Del Sol getting more support from drivers as we walked by. When we finally arrived to our destination we concluded the march and used chalk to write messages on the sidewalk and inside the plaza for about 20 minutes. After that we departed without incident or problems. We were glad nobody got fucked with or confronted by any fascists today. But it was definitely a very successful event to show Charlottesville some love and solidarity from Gresham, OR. We had only about 12 people show and even though it wasn’t much we did what needed to be done. We accomplished our message even with small numbers and it was amazing!

We want to give a special shout out to Rose City Redneck Revolt for coordinating efforts with Powell Valley Green Collective making sure that everybody was unharmed and safe. They were very stoked to march along side us and appreciated the invitation.  We were appreciative for Rose City Redneck Revolt to participate in our Charlottesville solidarity event. We were thanked and in return thanking Rose City Redneck Revolt for coming out!

Rest in Power Heather Heyer and Larnell Bruce you’ll never be forgotten..
-PVGC

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