Since the election of Donald Trump, protests have offered Portlanders plenty of opportunities to express their anger, dismay and determination to fight on. But an event being held tonight at Mt. Tabor Park will offer something different: one giant hug.
Called "Hug it out. A gathering for hope," the event will run from 5-8 pm and give attendees the opportunity to talk, be together and, according to co-organizer Chelsea Parrett, make "this huge circle and this giant hug."
Parrett and Anne Parker, the event's other organizer, say that the plan is to gather at the reservoir on SE Reservoir Loop Dr., which overlooks the city. The big hug will happen at 7 pm and until then, Parker is hoping that people who attend will take the time "to express their fears, thoughts, concerns, hope."
The two organizers are also encouraging attendees to bring flashlights, cell phones and candles to "make this city brighter" and have reached out to organizations whose members they hope will attend, including NAYA, the ACLU and the Black United Fund of Oregon.
Above all, Parrett and Parker hope that the evening will be one of communal healing. As Parker says, "More than anything, we would just like to invite anyone and everyone and have an open place for people to come to and be together."
Both organizers feel that this event offers something unique and important. "I've been to plenty of protests," Parrett says, "but what we need first is to know that we have each other."