“We are still reeling…”

5/31/17: Shared with permission from Mindy Nettifee’s facebook page — 
“We are still reeling in Portland. Like a fishing line we cast is now being pulled by some powerful creature under the water. Violence is like that. This terrifying current both on the surface and beneath. We stagger. We get sick with fear and anger.
“There’s an uneasy feeling,” said Peter Simpson, a Portland police spokesman making a statement to the press. “It’s something we really haven’t seen here.” Not exactly true Peter.
No one I have personally spoken with has expressed surprise that a hate killing was committed here. Rather, Portland is an extremely stressful place to be a person of color, who must share public spaces with radicalized white supremacists and whites performing liberalism alike. There is a history of racist killing in this city—Mulugeta Seraw’s killing in 1988 being the most well-known. Racist harassment and violence are everyday occurrences, and are largely tolerated institutionally. The national fever of support for the presidency of Donald Trump has now legitimized these beliefs, this racism masquerading as patriotism. This is exactly the kind of cultural space where the mental and spiritual illness of racism takes root and blooms.
But, this also seems important—no one I have spoken with is desensitized, either. Which means we owe a debt of gratitude to the therapists and the body workers and the activists and the artists of this city. It’s not a given in this culture that we get to stay sensitized and able to feel.
I should clarify, I know there are those out there who are surprised, and numb. I just haven’t heard from them personally. What I have heard from the folks I’ve been with in the last four days is that, in addition to just absorbing the shock wave of this, they are struggling to hold this tension between the aspects of this incident that are heartening and disturbing. It is heartening that these white men put their bodies in between the violent white man and the teenage girls of color. That so many others even did not flee, but engaged, following the attacker, helping the wounded. That feels like community. It is also disturbing that, because white lives were lost, the public reaction is BIG. Deafening. That hurts. And it’s a part of this. Even as we express our sincere and enormous gratitude to Rick Best and Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche, who lost their lives, and Micah Fletcher, who survived but has a long recovery ahead, for embodying the best of us in that moment.
This violence is already being contextualized; the world keeps turning. Quinault tribal member Jimmy Simth-Kramer reportedly also lost his life a few days ago to a white supremacist, who ran him over with his white Chevy while screaming racial slurs. The president is on the edge of having the U.S. withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Bombs exploded in Kabul this morning, in the diplomatic quarter, killing nearly 500 people.
I’ve lived in this city for five-and-a-half years now. This city is my home now. So, for whatever it’s worth, I am with all of you who are still reeling. I don’t mind saying that I didn’t used to pray. Now I pray petty much daily. I pray to keep my heart centered on the tasks at hand, on all the work there is to do. Now, and I guess in writing this, I am praying for the girls on that train, and for all the others who know that it could have been them. I am praying that in the ratio of love and hate that they are receiving from this horrific act and its aftermath, that the love and support and treasuring outweighs the hate and fear tenfold. Twentyfold. Athousandfold.”