The Oregon Senate just passed a law making it illegal to make racist 911 calls.
via Woke Video / YouTube

Jennifer Schulte (aka 'BBQ Becky') was captured calling 9-11 on two black men who were just trying to grill up some meat.

In an era where everyone has been deputized with a smartphone, people are beginning to realize how people of color are often harassed for doing things white people take for granted.

Over the past two years, people of color have had people call law enforcement on them for:

Barbecuing in Oakland, California.
Eating on the train.
Picking up trash.
Golfing too slowly.
Napping in a university common room.
Selling bottled water.
Swimming in a pool.

This type of harassment is not just unnecessary, it means that people of color have to live in constant fear of being harassed by the state. The harassment could lead to being unnecessarily incarcerated or murdered.

"It's not just an inconvenience when a police officer stops me," Oregon state Senator Lew Frederick told The Associated Press. "When a police officer stops me, I wonder whether I'm going to live for the rest of the day."

On June 3, the Oregon state Senate decided to help stop this unnecessary harassment by passing a law that would make it a crime to have the police contact someone without reasonable concern of suspected criminal activity.

If the bill is signed into law by Oregon governor Kate Brown, victims could sue for up to $250 if they can prove law enforcement was called due to racist intent.

One of the bill's co-sponsors, Representative Janelle Bynum, an African-American woman, has a personal connection to the law. Last July, a woman called the cops on her as she was knocking on doors to canvass for reelection.

"The real issue is about increasing public safety," Bynum said according to The Huffington Post. "People of color just want to live freely, and that's an assertion that we need to continue making."


Photo by Cacophony / Wikimedia Commons

The bill was passed with a near-unanimous vote, but Republican Senator Alan Olsen voted against it saying it would make "our communities less safe" by deterring people from calling law enforcement.

The bill was inspired by an op-ed that appeared in The Oregonian written by attorney Erious Johnson, Jr.

While it is catching the nation's attention, this upsetting phenomenon is not new. Racism, entitlement, and privilege rely on the government sanctioned power to enforce one's opinion of superiority over another. This sentiment formed the basis for slavery, which was solidified by the fugitive slave provisions in the United States Constitution. Then, Black Codes and Jim Crow accompanied newly freed slaves into emancipation. And in 1857, United States Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, ruled that African Americans "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect."
People subjected to these shocking encounters are left humiliated. They are uncertain of their ability to live in peace in their own communities. They have no redress to recoup their time, money, or dignity.
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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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Getting vaccine information from a random individual doctor isn't generally advisable, since there are plenty of misinformation mongers with impressive degrees out there. (They are one reason we have medical associations and public health institutions to maintain standards of research and information.) However, sometimes an individual doctors have a knack for taking scientific information and translating it into layman's terms.

Comedian and actor Ken Jeong did just that with the Delta variant and vaccine efficacy on The Late Late Show with James Corden. Jeong is best known for his TV and film roles, but prior to his success in Hollywood, he had a whole career as an internal medicine physician. Watch:

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