Portland, Ore. is the place to be if you’re looking for “reparations.”
The hipster city is the new home of a so-called “Reparations Happy Hour” where Black attendees receive $10 in cash, mainly from white donors, according to Raw Story. The event, which happened for the first time Monday night, was created by longtime social justice activist Cameron Whitten as part of his new group Brown Hope.
“It’s exactly what it sounds like,” Whitten told the news site. “What I want to do is end the cycle of exploitation. For Black, brown and indigenous people — you face so many barriers, whether it’s tokenization or straight-up poverty.”
The local activist said plenty of white people have contributed to his cause and signed up to be monthly donors. He’s received generous donations from Black folks as well, he said.
“I felt so good. That was my best part of the night, just giving out that money,” he added. “I feel like Oprah—like, f*ck, I’m Portland’s Oprah right now. And I want to give more than $10.”
Whitten’s activism is well-known around the city of Portland. According to Raw Story, he held a 55-day hunger strike at city hall in response to the city’s housing crisis and later exposed racism within a city housing-advocacy group. In one shocking incident, a group of white activists were caught mocking an indigenous person’s request not to sing “This Land Is Your Land.” The group taunted the individual by locking them from the room and singing the song loudly from inside.
The damning revelation forced the woman who headed the advocacy group to resign, the news site reported.
Whitten was recently fired from his job with the city’s Office of Neighborhood Involvement, which he claims was racially-motivated. He said he plans to sue over his termination.
“In Portland in general, when they say ‘people of color’ they mean light-skin, white-passing Asian and Latino,” he said. “Very often we don’t see black people in charge of things. And we see a lot of anti-blackness.”
Through programs like Reparations Happy Hour, Whitten said he hopes he can help Black Americans feel more welcomed and comfortable in the majority-white city.
To learn more about Reparations Happy Hour or to donate, click here.