Black Portlanders to Ask Mayoral Candidates Why They Should Vote for Them in Debate

Mayor Ted Wheeler and challenger Sarah Iannarone will participate in a debate that will a focus on Black issues.

A racial justice movement has been underway for most of 2020, and as the Portland mayor's race enters its final weeks, a Black leadership forum is giving voters a chance to decide which candidate will benefit them and their community the most.

This Sunday, the PAALF Action Fund is hosting a debate Sunday, Oct. 18, that puts Black Portland voices at the forefront. As stated in the press release, "the debate will unapologetically center Black issues."

Mayor Ted Wheeler and challenger Sarah Iannarone will participate.

During the livestreamed event candidates will answer questions about police reform, police brutality, housing displacement, climate justice, education, Black liberation and how these issues uniquely impact the Black community.

This provides Black Portlanders an empowering space to talk about issues that directly impact them and how (or if) the mayoral candidates intend to address them, according to the press release.

The event will be available in several African immigrant languages, including Arabic and Somali, and there will also be an ASL interpreter.

The livestreamed debate at 5 pm this Sunday can be viewed on Twitch, Instagram Live, Facebook, YouTube, public access channels Pulse of Portland, on Xfinity channels 29 and 329 (in HD), and CenturyLink channels 8004 and 8504 (in HD).

Renate Ray Mayer, digital organizing manager at PAALF, helped coordinate the event and says it's about time for an event like this to happen.

"It's important to have a safe space for Black voices to be heard. Something that people forget or even know is how powerful the mayor's seat really is," Mayer says. "We're talking about money, we're talking about resources. The budget must reflect our racial justice equality. It's not enough for candidates to say Black Lives Matter."

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