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Nonprofit that supports Black families discusses social justice and changes needed in Portland

October 14 would have been George Floyd's birthday. His murder prompted nightly protests in Portland, calls for police reform and an end to police brutality.

PORTLAND, Ore. — October 14 would have been George Floyd's 48th birthday and the date has renewed conversations surrounding social justice and change in Portland. Floyd's murder prompted nightly protests in the city, calls for police reform and an end to police brutality.

Bahia Overton is the executive director of the Black Parent Initiative, a nonprofit that provides resources and support for Black families in the Portland metro area. Overton said the discussion surrounding social justice should happen year-round. 

She spoke with KGW about a range of issues the African-American community faces in Portland including crime and the displacement of many in the Black community. 

RELATED: What Portland police has changed in the year since the murder of George Floyd and the resulting civil unrest

"Systematically we have completely pillaged this community so much so that the youth have lost hope of ever having a sense of normalcy and community ever again," Overton said. "If there's no hope for community, if there's no hope for people to show that they care for me and love me, then why should I care for and love anyone else."

Overton said the protests following Floyd's murder last summer showed a lot of unity in the city, but more structural changes need to happen.

"Instead of saying 'what's wrong with the people and how can the people change so the system doesn't damage them,' you have to figure out how to shift the system. It doesn't go the other way around," Overton said. 

The Black Parent Initiative will put on a symposium in January called "Be the Healing." Nonprofit members will discuss ideas and strategies about how to make the community stronger.

RELATED: Derek Chauvin sentenced to 22.5 years for the murder of George Floyd

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