Portland has become an actual police state, with Donald Trump’s federal troops descending upon the city and brutalizing Black Lives Matter protesters and detaining people before throwing them in unmarked vans, against the wishes of both the mayor of the city and Oregon’s governor, both of whom want the feds to get the fuck out of their town. (RIP states’ rights!) And now, a growing group of self-organized moms have made it their mission to protect protesters from Trump’s feds.
Calling themselves the “Wall of Moms”—thus making themselves the only good wall in the country if not the world—dozens of self-identified moms showed up at a protest on Saturday at a federal courthouse to create a human barrier between protesters and federal law enforcement goons.
More on the scene, from BuzzFeed:
Viral videos and photos on social media showed around three dozen mothers — dressed in white and wearing bike helmets — linking arms and chanting, “Feds stay clear! Moms are here!” and “Leave our kids alone” at a protest outside a federal courthouse.
Bev Barnum, who came up with the idea for the “Wall of Moms” and spread the word via a Facebook event, explained to BuzzFeed that the moms “are about protecting peaceful citizens’ right to protest.” As she wrote on the Facebook event page, “We moms are often underestimated. But we’re stronger than we’re given credit for. So what do you say, will you stand with me? Will you help me create a wall of moms?”
Part of Barnum’s goal was to gather a group of moms—most of whom were white or appeared white—who as she put it looked “like we were going to Target,” thinking that federal police would see them and think twice before using violence. As another mom who participated, Brenna Burnett, told Buzzfeed, it was about deploying their privilege strategically. “This is about Black Lives Matter. This is not about white women coming in to save the day,” Burnett said.
But that privilege didn’t prevent federal officials from tear-gassing the Wall of Moms and other protesters on Saturday. If the feds thought that tear gas would stop the activist moms from showing up, however, they were wrong—on Sunday night, an even larger group of moms attended a protest, where they and others were tear-gassed again, which happened after protesters dismantled a fence surrounding the federal courthouse.
And it doesn’t seem like the moms are going to stop showing up. As one participant wrote in a post on their Facebook page about Sunday evening’s protest, “We showed the world that the moms of Portland will not stand for racism or police brutality. Now is not the time to let up.”