BIPOC Liberation Collective: bringing an abolition stance to suburbia
Since protests began in May, Eugene protest culture has come to adopt a majorly anti-police stance, but when the protests were first starting out, the general emphasis seemed to be more on policy changes than police abolition. Except for one protest-group that dared suggest otherwise.
“Policy changes (are often) a nonsolution,” says an anonymous member of BIPOC Liberation Collective, (BLC). “If your house has mold in the walls, you shouldn’t paint it. You should tear it down.” BLC was the first protest group in Eugene to advocate for full-force abolition of police. BLC says that abolishing police could mean reallocating resources towards communities that need it. “BIPOC (black indigenous people of color), unhoused people, etc, need to be considered. Every type of emergency situation needs a different trained response — such as domestic violence, mental crisis, and street medic care”
Their radical ideologies embody radical action in protest. The events hosted by BLC often allow participants to actively engage rather than just march and chant. BLC’s protests, which begin in marches and chants like any others, often end at a destination — like the police station, to take down the paper ‘Back the Blue’ signs made and hung by Eugene’s pro-police community members. Or the UO campus to dismount statues of white supremacists. Or the mayor’s house outside which the group staged a Q&A, forcing the privileged politician to face the individuals she oppressed when voting in favor of allocating sixty seven million dollars to police funding.
BLC says their favorite event they organized was the teach-in at the university where hundreds gathered in the grass to listen to POC (people of color) speakers. “Folks showed up and stayed to learn. We feel that it energized the community.” It’s important we persevere with that energy going forward, BLC says. “We need to maintain that momentum.”
BLC’s vision for a society without police includes plenty of services in place of police, such as “services to deal with mental health and addiction, human trafficking, and domestic violence, and provide actual solutions for the housing crisis.”
A few resources that can be called upon in place of police already exist in Eugene, such as White Bird Clinic, (primary care for the homeless and the uninsured,) and CAHOOTS, (mobile crisis intervention.) However, these small steps are just that — small steps. BLC points out, “Police are only one system of oppression towards BIPOC folks. Ultimately, we hope to dismantle all the systems that disenfranchise black, indigenous, and people of color.”
You can show your support for BLC by venmoing them @bipoc-l-c.