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In Oregon

By Cait Johnson

My friend who lives in Oregon tells me the state has a long history of racism. Here in the northeast, we think that Portland represents the state, but, she says, that’s like thinking Austin is like the rest of Texas, or Asheville like all of North Carolina.

My friend who lives in Oregon has a Black Lives Matter sign on her front lawn.

A few weeks ago, my friend looked out her screen door and saw a group of young boys, around 12 to 14 years old, clustered around her sign. They were using the “N” word. They were saying, “Fucking bullshit. Let’s tear it down.”

My friend who lives in Oregon was shocked. She was afraid. Even boys can throw stones. But she went outside. She stood on her lawn and said to the boys, “Hey, that’s not okay.”

The boys jeered and snickered at her as they walked away. My friend who lives in Oregon began to cry.

“They were children,” she said. “That’s what broke my heart.”

So this is for all the children who learn hate at home. But who may grow up to think differently. In Oregon. Or anywhere. May it be so.

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