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Rallies For Ferguson Planned Tuesday In Oregon


Nationwide, demonstrations and rallies are coming together to show solidarity following a Missouri grand jury decision in the case of Michael Brown.

In August, 18-year-old Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson outside an apartment complex in Ferguson, Missouri. The incident has sparked widespread controversy because Brown, an African American, was unarmed. Wilson is white. The shooting ignited massive protests and conversations around race relations in the St. Louis suburb.

More than 2,000 miles away, Oregonians plan to rally in downtown Medford at noon Tuesday. The same day in Portland, groups plan to gather downtown at 4 p.m. Both are part of the .

Reverend LeRoy Haynes with the Albina Ministerial Alliance Coalition for Justice and Police Reform said the group expects several hundred people to rally at the Portland Justice Center before marching through the city.

"We’ve been at this for about 10 years, so this has been quite the struggle for us," said Haynes. "The message is police accountability."

Jason Houk, an organizer for Southern Oregon Jobs with Justice, said the Medford demonstration falls during a busy week of protests in the area, so it's hard to say how many people will be able to attend.

"Folks that are conscious about the issue will show up," said Houk. "It’s not about the numbers; it's about showing that we care."

Houk said the community will rally not only for Brown, but also to protest the militarization of local police forces and violence against "the poor, minorities and the mentally ill."

"We've had incidents in Medford," said Houk. "We certainly don’t want to see a police response (like Ferguson) repeated in Oregon anywhere."

The Atlantic reports that nationwide, there will be rallies in 90 cities in the U.S. and Canada at college campuses, public parks, churches and outside of local city halls.

Haynes said following the grand jury's decision, there's a lot of more work to come.

"We’re at a crossroad of race in our nation," he said. "We understand sincerely in order to move forward as a nation, we must facilitate conversations and move toward a systematic change and change the culture in many police bureaus throughout the country."

Copyright 2014 Oregon Public Broadcasting