J.U.I.C.E. is a coalition of pro-activists that was cultivated during the movement in 2020. J.U.I.C.E. stands for Justice, Unity, Integrity, Community, and Equality. This crew came into fruition in the midst of the fight against the federal agents that was dispatched by the Trump administration into the ‘Anarchist Jurisdiction’ in July of 2020. J.U.I.C.E. began as a medic and de-escalation response team but is consistently evolving and shape shifting as the movement continues on.
“JUICE is here cultivating lasting solutions that uphold the pillars of:
JUSTICE- We are continuing the work paved by previous civil rights activists to provide continuous justice for future generations.
UNITY- Bringing people together for a unified goal to bring an end to systemic racism.
INTEGRITY- The value we intend to hold our public leaders and justice system to, we live ourselves.
COMMUNITY- Advancement of a self sufficient community.
EQUALITY- We aim to achieve legal and systemic change addressing all discrimination against POC’s. We believe in creating a just society where people of color are treated with the same rights and opportunities as non people of color. “
Danielle Anderson and Dre Miller are two of the black leaders for the racial justice crew- both were born and raised in Portland, Oregon. Dre Miller has been involved in activism since 2011 and Danielle joined the effort in the summer of 2020. When I asked Dre what it was like growing up black in one of the whitest cities of America he responded; “I think it was different for me having a black father and a white mother and seeing my mother get a lot of opportunity. Where my father kind of struggled.”
Dre’s mother worked in the judicial system growing up and his father worked with the Black Panther party chapter here in Portland and was a social worker prior to his drug addiction. His father was born in 1944 but was not allowed to be born in Oregon, Dre’s grandmother had to go to Vancouver to give birth to his father. This echoes off the black exclusion laws that were written in Oregon’s constitution not allowing African-American’s to live or move to Oregon as the settler’s dreamed of a white only region.
Dre recalled on his 3rd birthday his white neighbor-who peddled drugs and weapons in the KKK and white supremacist circuit, unloaded multiple assault rifles on the hood of his truck aimed at him and his family while feeding his Rottweilers black barbie dolls. Danielle witnessed similar racial inequities and inequalities growing up in a biracial family being raised by a white mother and a black father. She recalled the time her father was driving with her and her sister in the car when a white man shot at the car, aiming for the children's heads. Luckily her father hit the brakes and the bullet lodged into her father’s side, saving the girls from a potential bullet wound to their cranium.
George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery’s murders generated the tipping point for Dre, Danielle and millions more Americans. Protests began to flood the streets on May 25th 2020, despite the ongoing global pandemic; risking their lives in the name of racial justice. Both Danielle and Dre believe that racism was hidden behind closed doors in Oregon but racist Oregonians became more emboldened by the Trump administration leading to the uprising in police brutality and race related hate crimes in the United States. Dre spent the duration of his past activism learning and listening to past leaders but found himself a different role during this movement. He decided it was time to pave a path for his children to follow in his footsteps- as a leader.
Dre and the rest of J.U.I.C.E. found themselves doing medic response and de-escalation on the ground work during the day marches into the night. “Once the feds actually came the marches died down from a nightly thing and was more so protests down at the Justice Center. The group we had already solidified and were working with on the frontlines- we kinda moved them into de-escalation and medical response team on the ground at the Justice Center.” Dre said, “Making sure outside agitators didn’t
come in, making sure the protesters were safe from police brutality. Making sure that if there were victims of police brutality; they were taken care of by medics.” Then on July 22, 2020- Dre was shot in the head at close range by a CS gas canister.
Danielle was with him that evening at the Justice Center serving as a medic to frontline protesters. “All I remember really is that we were retreating, there was a lot of smoke in the area. I looked one way and then as I was looking back I had got shot- I felt something hit me in the corner of my forehead. I looked back at Danielle and said I got hit! The whole time I was live recording.” Danielle recalled; “The whole time we were getting hit. Pinged with impact ammunition.” The surreal scene of combat hung heavy in the frame of time that night. There were thousands of people running in the streets, screaming and gasping for air as the tear gas choked their lungs. Flash bangs sung a tune similar to bombs in the ears of anyone in the downtown area. Impact ammunition and pepper balls flew through streets, hitting frontline protesters shields, helmets and taking unprepared Portland citizens down one by one.
As the federal agents continued to push protesters with brutal consequences Danielle and Dre were addressing his injury. “It felt like war, it was so smokey (from the tear gas) and all I see is people running everywhere and yelling to other medics telling us that we still got to get out of the area and it’s not safe.” Blood gushed from Dre’s head making his eye close shut and he began to loose his acute awareness of his surroundings, in the moment he remembered his comrade who was shot in between the eyes by a fed who was (at the time) in critical condition. Dre feared that he may be heading into a similar state and began to say his last words. Luckily for Dre, Danielle has been in the medical field for 18 years and was there by his side for the entire duration of the incident.
As Danielle aided Dre, the team tried to get an ambulance on site but they refused to enter the area as feds stormed the streets brutalizing Portland protesters with impact ammunition, pepper balls, CS and CN gas- causing mass destruction. The ambulance met Dre and the team 7 blocks out of the protest zone and loaded him into the back of the ambulance. As everyone began to conclude that they were in the clear, the ambulance was found parked just blocks away from where the team handed Dre over; accompanied by a fire truck. The ambulance pulled over and when the firefighters on site were confronted on why they were pulled over and not on the way to the hospital- they responded by saying they were concerned for the EMT’s wellbeing and was “checking in on them to make sure they are okay.” To reiterate this moment, they were concerned about the EMT’s safety from an unarmed, unconscious black man who was suffering from a head injury and needed medical attention. This traumatic event birthed a leader over night.
J.U.I.C.E. continues to do 'on the ground' work on the frontlines but has pivoted its main focus onto the work behind the scenes. The team curated a list of demands to attach to their actions-
Policing/Jailing- We demand reform in the way we fund, train, and review police. As well as the way we treat, sentence, and hold inmates.
Housing/Property- We demand easier access for black communities to own their own home and property.
Healthcare- We demand quality healthcare that is affordable and comprised of workers who are trained to recognize and eliminate bias in the system
Education- We demand the implementation of black history and culture as well as the expansion of black educators and funded programs into the educational system.
J.U.I.C.E acknowledges we certainly do not include all of the voices of Portland and that our demands, promises and regards do not speak for everyone. We are one element of a larger, inclusive picture of what the people are demanding through peaceful revolution. We are here for the people, by the people.”
J.U.I.C.E intends on staying in the streets and being proactive within the community until these demands are met. Now that the administration has changed hands, many people have asked Dre if he intends on continuing to protest- “We weren’t protesting Trump, we weren’t protesting the administration. We were protesting black people out here getting murdered. People are still out here getting murdered by police while we are still out protesting. So yeah, until we actually see real change that will affect future generations we are gonna continue going.”
Danielle touched on her personal take on why J.U.I.C.E. will be staying in the streets by stating; “To me at this point if we don’t do anything about it this could be my son. There’s a certain point where a cute little black baby isn’t cute anymore.” She continued by saying, “We need change fast because right now at the rate in which we are dying- is unacceptable. It’s becoming society’s norm . . . the police are not the judge, jury and executioners.”
Dre and Danielle both support defunding the police and reallocating the money into different community programs in replacement of the police response. For example- instead of sending armed and ill-equipped police officers to respond to a mental health crisis, the responders would consist of properly trained mental health crisis workers and de-escalators to arrive on the site of the mental health crisis. This is just one example of the possible growth that they would like to see happen within the Portland community. To defund the police means to generate coalitions and response teams that are properly trained for the needs at hand and keep a small police task force to handle the big, bad and ugly; such as murderers and rapists. While Danielle is opposed to police abolition, Dre is open to the idea of abolition but aims for defunding the police first and foremost. Dre said he would visit the possibilities of total abolition by looking at the proper steps on how to keep the community safe without the police- when the time comes.
“Something I’ve learned in the last couple of months, especially at the Red House and with the wildfire relief that we did- is that the community can really come together and provide resources for itself. So I think that we really can get to that point and abolish the whole system and the community be able to support itself” Dre said.
J.U.I.C.E plans on continuing in 2021 to participate and host educational forums and participate in creative actions that help the movement move forward; while building relationships and a stronger framework in it’s resource network during the winter months until the spring comes back around. Pushing for legislative and policy change and supporting those whom the community would like to see in elected offices. When it is safer to be in the streets in regards of Covid-19, you will see J.U.I.C.E. out stronger than ever before doing the work on the ground supporting protests, uplifting the BIPOC youth of Portland and amplifying the voices of those who need to be heard.
To see more from J.U.I.C.E. and learn how you can contribute in supporting this racial justice team, check out their website- JUICECREWPDX