Media Contact

Christina Nguyen, Communications & Storytelling Director

March 3, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. — The ACLU of Oregon issued the following statements from Policy Director Jessica Maravilla and Executive Director Sandy Chung today, in response to the Oregon Legislature’s passage of Senate Bill 1510. SB 1510 implements targeted strategies to address the disproportionate impacts of systemic racism on Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) communities. Specific strategies in the bill include: reducing racial disparities in ticket-level traffic stops not involving violence or significant safety issues, such as stops for a broken headlight, tail light, or brake light; improving success for people on probation and parole by removing barriers to success faced by Oregonians after incarceration; and investing resources in community-centered efforts to address racial disparities in the criminal legal system by creating the Justice Reinvestment Equity Program.

Jessica Maravilla, Policy Director of ACLU of Oregon: “In 2020 and 2021, millions of people took to the streets to call for racial justice in America. These actions by everyday people continued the long fight for racial justice in our country, a movement which has been led by Black leaders and the Black community in the United States. 

By passing SB 1510, legislators advanced Oregon’s commitment to equity and racial justice through an array of strategies that were developed by communities and coalitions that came together through the Governor’s Racial Justice Council.

At its core, the Transforming Justice bill implements strategies to dismantle and reverse the harmful impacts of overcriminalization and mass incarceration on Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities. This is hard but necessary work. The ACLU of Oregon is grateful to the partners, allies, communities, and people who believed in and persisted with their efforts on this racial justice legislation, even after it was unsuccessful in 2021. We are committed to continuing to work with Oregonians and centering impacted communities to realize the values of justice and equity for all Oregon communities.”

Sandy Chung, Executive Director of the ACLU of Oregon: “Since the earliest days of the ACLU, racial justice has been an important value. In our work, we have recognized that white supremacy has been embedded into systems across America, including the policing and the criminal legal systems.

Data from police departments’ own records show that Black and Brown people are often disproportionately stopped for traffic offenses, as compared to White people, and that these stops can result in disproportionate levels of injury or death for Black and Brown people at the hands of police. Government records also show that Black and Brown people are often arrested and imprisoned at higher rates than White people. These are systemic problems that continue white supremacy and disproportionately harm Black, Indigenous, and people of color communities.

In order to address systemic racism in America, it is critical that we reimagine what true public and community safety looks like. The overcriminalization and mass incarceration of Black and Brown people has not made our communities safer. To the contrary, “law-and-order” strategies that promote overcriminalization and mass incarceration have resulted in the destabilization of Black, Indigenous, and people of color and low-income communities and families. These “law-and-order” strategies have made all our communities less safe, and they have created policing and prison budgets of billions of dollars in Oregon that are not sustainable and which  rob our children of the resources needed to create safe and thriving Oregon communities now and in the future.

The Transforming Justice bill is a positive step in the fight for racial justice, and the ACLU of Oregon is committed to the ongoing and essential fight against overcriminalization and mass incarceration.”

About ACLU Oregon:
The ACLU of Oregon is an affiliate of the national ACLU which has affiliates in 50 states, Washington, D.C. and Puerto Rico. The ACLU of Oregon is a nonpartisan, nonprofit membership organization with more than 28,000 members statewide. The organization works in the courts, in the state legislature and local governments, and in communities to defend and advance our civil liberties and civil rights under the U.S. and Oregon constitutions and the laws of the United States and Oregon. 

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