Portland’s mostly white ‘Wall of Moms’ implodes amid rising racial tension

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Just weeks after the mostly white “Wall of Moms” demonstrators in Portland supporting the nightly assaults against federal agents in a federal courthouse gained national notoriety, a local black activist group is complaining that their message of racial inequality is being drowned out.

After being accused of “anti-blackness” by leaders of Don’t Shoot Portland, a group aligned with Black Lives Matter that formed six years ago, Wall of Moms leaders abdicated their positions to women of color last Friday, The Oregonian reported.

Wall of Moms leaders, formed to protect BLM demonstrators from police and federal agents, relinquished their positions to executive director of Don’t Shoot Portland Teressa Raiford, Demetria Hester, and Danialle James.

But apparently the gesture wasn’t enough.

Days later, Don’t Shoot Portland took to Instagram urging Portlanders not to support the Wall of Moms, adding the black-led group is no longer working with them.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CDO2rh_hNJR/?utm_source=ig_embed

“After leaving vulnerable Black women downtown after marching, failing to support those on the ground that put trust in them, @wallofmoms leadership also found time to make THREE registrations through Oregon’s Secretary of State,” the Instagram post read.

“This was all done in privacy and without the knowledge of the Black leadership WOM was claiming to implement. The lies are finally clear and we are sad but ultimately not surprised that anti-Blackness showed it’s [sic] ugly face with Wall of Moms,” the group added, claiming that the issue of the safety of black mothers has only come to the forefront over the past day or so.

In response, the Portland Wall of Moms group tweeted, “Lots of us are trying to regroup and do things the right way,” adding #BlackLivesMatter.

Don’t Shoot Portland leaders were particularly upset that Beverly Barnum, founder of the WOM movement, quickly incorporated into a 501(c)(3) charity group so it could receive tax-free donations.

In addition, though she figuratively gave up her leadership position last week, she listed herself as the president of the newly incorporated charity.

She acted in secret, Don’t Shoot Portland claimed, “and without the knowledge of the Black leadership WOM was claiming to implement.”

“The announcement of the 501c3 really hurt some of you,” Barnum posted to the WOM’s private Facebook group early Wednesday, The Oregonian reported.

“That was never my intention. In fact, it was just the opposite. WOM will be led by a BIPOC board and BIPOC advisor committee. WOM is a group that supports BLM, not a BLM group,” she wrote.

“If that is not good enough for you, please feel free to leave this group. And if you currently volunteer your time, please feel free to leave your positions.”

Meanwhile, a new Facebook group called “Moms United for Black Lives” has been formed. According to a post from Faith Lightsy, a member of the group, wrote that she and others are in contact with Raiford, Hester, and James.

“This group is only a few hours old with 3k members already…please be patient with us. I am in direct contact with Teressa and she has asked repeatedly this group be centered around Demetria and Danialle,” she added.

The Washington Examiner’s Byron York summarized events on his Twitter feed.

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Jon Dougherty

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