‘Brought dumplings, flowers, set the table’: as the Slavic Diaspora supports the police in Portland

The local authority decided to reduce the police budget by 15 million. The protesters believe the measure is insufficient. And representatives of Diaspora, particularly the “Slavic Advisory Council” that works with police, said a hasty decision, says the “Voice of America”.

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: Shutterstock

To cut funding for the police means to jeopardize the quality of life of local residents. So say the activists of the organization “Slavic Advisory Council”. She works with the police and represents the interests of immigrants from Eastern Europe.

“For us this is important because the population of Portland increased by approximately 20% over the last 5 years. And more people — more accidents and violations,” — said the head of the organization Andrey Shumik.

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

The protesters believe the city can do without the police. They need to cut the budget of law enforcement agencies, and eventually to eliminate the system of police.

“Look, not all slave owners were racist, says Margo Smolyan, one of the protesters. — But, nevertheless, they are still owned by people regardless of their views. Same thing with the police. Many believe that among police officers there are good and bad. But they are still police, and the police system is a racist system, and we want to get rid of it.”

Margo Smolyan — an American of Ukrainian descent. Her opinion is not shared by all immigrants. “Slavic Council” conducted a survey among the Diaspora about the attitude of mass protests. Most condemned the violence, support police reform, but disagreed with the decision of the authorities to cut funding for law enforcement.

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

“We do not agree that the local Council hastily made decisions about the programs that have been developed over the years,” says Andrew Sumik.

A police officer Natasha Hansberger immigrant from Serbia. She believes that the reason for the protracted protests — the lack of constructive dialogue. And the police, in her opinion, the rap for injustices against blacks for centuries.

“This problem is broader than the issue of the police, she says. — It just so happened that we became thus the trigger for the national struggle. And we all have to answer for the actions of a few people. All of our previous efforts, our commitment is now in question or even mitigated.”

For more than 3 months, she sleeps for 5 hours a day. Says to work overtime, police are ready. It’s much harder to be the object of anger and hatred of the public.

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

“When every day we hear resentment in his address, psychologically it’s very difficult, — says Hansberger. — We’re all someone’s children, wives, mothers. We are very aware that in Serbia, Ukraine or Russia would be very difficult to go to the police station, to spit in the face of a police officer to call him and not to worry for their safety.”

Protesting Margo says that such feelings are useful for the police.

“What they feel now, a lot of people feel every day because of their colour, she says. — People with black or brown skin and gay — they still fear for their lives. So maybe this attitude will help the police to understand people, which formed so many stereotypes.”

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

However, there are those who support the police. For example, activists of Slavic communities decided to feed law enforcement dumplings.

“Called one woman from the “Slavic Council” — says Hansberger. Says: “Our grandmother wanted to bring you food.” I thought, “We’re in the middle of the crisis, how was the food?” Well, well. Came two grandmothers, one from Ukraine, one from Russia. Brought dumplings, flowers, set the table for the police… It was so cute, I cried. So matter how demoralized we were, they gave us hope and reason to continue to carry out their work”.

'Принесли вареники, цветы, накрыли стол': как славянская диаспора поддерживает полицейских в Портленде

Photo: scenes video of “voice of America”

Informed the police of Portland was permitted to withdraw form the stripe with the names because of security reasons. Stripe had replaced the police rooms.

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