February 1, 2024

Portland Residents and Organizations Rally and Testify at Multnomah County for a Ceasefire in Gaza

How to start saving money

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How much money should I save?

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What percentege of my income should go to savings?

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Contacts: Zia Laboff, 206-659-3699, zialaboff@gmail.com; Nick Caleb, 541-891-6761, nick@breachcollective.org

Portland Residents and Organizations Rally and Testify at Multnomah County for a Ceasefire in Gaza

After Testimony, Commissioner Stegmann Called for the Introduction of a Ceasefire Resolution

February 1, 2024 (Portland, OR) -  On Thursday February 1, 2024, a broad coalition of groups and individuals presented testimony to the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners to call for a resolution for:

  • An immediate and permanent ceasefire in Gaza to end the unrelenting killing of Palestinians and destruction of vital civilian infrastructure;
  • Unimpeded entry of humanitarian aid to Gaza, which after a campaign of forced starvation is now home to 80 percent of the world’s catastrophically hungry;
  • Trauma support for Multnomah County employees who are directly impacted by the devastation in Gaza; and 
  • A reaffirmed commitment to combating anti-Muslim, anti-Arab, anti-Palestinian, and antisemitic speech and actions whereever they may appear in this community.

In a surprise to those who showed up to the County, Commissioner Lori Stegmann then called for the introduction of a ceasefire resolution after public testimony concluded. Stegmann says that she has written a draft of a ceasefire resolution and would like to collaborate on a resolution with other commissioners to be placed on the agenda on Feb. 22 or Feb. 29. Commissioner Beason and Chair Vega Pederson indicated they would also support working as   a board to create a ceasefire resolution. 

Polls continue to demonstrate that American voters overwhelmingly support a ceasefire in Gaza. A Jan. 25 YouGov/The Economist poll shows that 50% of President Biden’s 2020 voters believe the Israeli Government is committing a genocide of Palestinians in Gaza. In response to this groundswell, over 49 local governments in the US -- including the city councils of Seattle and San Francisco -- have passed resolutions calling for an immediate ceasefire and the unrestricted entry of humanitarian aid into Gaza. 

A substantial number of elected officials, candidates, organizations, and private individuals in Oregon -- including Multnomah County Commissioner Lori Stegmann and US Senator Jeff Merkley -- have called for a ceasefire. On January 12, the Multnomah County Democrats adopted a resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza. 

Diyala Yousef of the Palestinian Youth Movement and the Oregon to Palestine Coalition said:

Israel is committing genocide in Gaza with the full and unequivocal support of the United States government, against the objections of a majority of the American people. We are calling on the Multnomah County Commissioners to join the dozens of other local governments who are taking a stand and demanding a permanent ceasefire. 

The United States provides Israel with billions of dollars in military support and weapons each year. After Senate Democrats blocked a bill that included $14.5 billion for unconditional aid to Israel last November, President Biden began bypassing Congress to transfer additional weapons and military equipment to Israel.  

Amanda Orozco-Beach, PAC Board Chair of East County Rising said:

For us, advocating for a permanent ceasefire in Gaza isn't a distant concern; it's deeply personal. It's about demonstrating solidarity with those enduring unimaginable suffering, and recognizing the humanity in every individual, irrespective of borders or politics. As we push for a ceasefire, we remind our leaders of the funding challenges for housing, mental health, and addiction services we face locally while billions are allocated to wars and destruction abroad, a misalignment with our values that we find stark and unacceptable.

Last week, in response to an action by South Africa to enforce the Genocide Convention, the International Court of Justice ordered Israel to prevent acts of genocide in Gaza, and to allow more humanitarian aid into the territory. The Court, presided over by an American Joan E. Donoghue -- former advisor to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton -- made the ruling after hearing evidence of the killing of over 24,000 people (including over 10,000 children), the destruction of hospitals, ambulances, clinics, and other medical infrastructure, the killing of healthcare workers, aid workers, and journalists, and numerous statements from Israeli government and military officials expressing genocidal intent.  

Maxine Fookson, a nurse practitioner and member of Jewish Voice for Peace said:

"Following the brave leadership of the South Africans at the International Court of Justice, we call on our Multnomah County Commissioners to join with their moral clarity in the face of this unconscionable violence in Gaza that is creating 'a graveyard for children'. Every voice is critical to bring an end to this unimaginable level of death, pain and destruction. Let us add Multnomah County onto the list of local governments who acknowledge that nobody can remain silent when a genocide is occurring."

The organizations calling on Multnomah County to pass a ceasefire resolution include Jewish Voice for Peace-PDX, Oregon to Palestine Coalition, East County Rising, Portland Jobs With Justice, Breach Collective, Portland Harbor Community Coalition, Swana Rose Culture and Community Center, Mosquito Fleet, Bernie PDX, International Migrants Alliance, Jewish Palestinian Alliance of Oregon, Health Care Workers for Palestine, American Palestinian Council, Unitarian Universalists for Justice in the Middle East, Social Concerns Committee of the Central Lutheran Church, Veterans for Peace, chapter 72, Shift Accounting Services, Americans United for Palestinian Human RIghts, Community's Non-Profit, Portland-Metro People's Coalition, Democratic Socialists of America (DSA-Portland), Quaker Palestine Israel Network-Multnomah, Portland Institute for Contemporary Art, TeachWriteNow + VelezNation, We Rise Production, Critical Resistance Portland Chapter, 350PDX, Malaya Movement Portland, Coy & Co., Sunrise Movement PDX, APANO, American Federation of Teachers.


Link to event flier on Instagram

Link to proposed resolution

Link to Multnomah County YouTube channel for testimony