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Black Oregon State Representative Gets The Cops Called On Her While She’s Out Canvassing

Oregon State Representative Janelle Bynum was canvassing door-to-door ahead of the November midterm elections, as almost all politicians do at some point. Canvassing is an innocent, non-intrusive task that involves walking from front door to front door, talking with residents about their plans to vote, advocating for their political party, and taking notes.

Unfortunately, the fact that representative Bynum happens to be black turned her harmless, commonplace actions into suspicious behavior for one biased resident.

One of Bynum’s constituents called the police, saying she was going door to door and then spending a lot of time on her cell phone after each house. (That’s where Bynum records her notes.)

In a rare moment of professionalism and goodwill, an officer responded and the misunderstanding was worked out with no hard feelings.

Bynum wrote in a Facebook post:

Big shout out to Officer Campbell who responded professionally to someone who said that I was going door to door and spending a lot of time typing on my cell phone after each house—- aka canvassing and keeping account of what my community cares about!

Live from the mean streets of Clackamas!!! Big shout out to Officer Campbell who responded professionally to someone who...

Posted by Janelle Bynum on Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Bynum contacted the constituent who called the police, who apologized on the phone. Nevertheless, Bynum told the Oregonian that the incident was “bizarre:”

It boils down to people not knowing their neighbors and people having a sense of fear in their neighborhoods, which is kind of my job to help eradicate. But at the end of the day, it’s important for people to feel like they can talk to each other to help minimize misunderstandings.

This is the latest in a string of publicized instances where white people call the police on groups of black people doing completely innocent things. Some of the “suspicious behaviors” that warranted a visit from the police included a 12-year-old mowing a neighbor’s grass, a Yale graduate student sleeping in a Yale common room, a little girl selling water outside her apartment building, and a barbeque in a public park.

Incidents like these are not new to the African American community but are only now receiving the coverage and denouncement they’ve always deserved.

Social media is 100% on Bynum’s side:

Far from discouraging her from canvassing, the situation convinced Bynum she’s needed now more than ever:

We all know that we’re not in a society that is perfect, and we have wounds that still need to heal, but at the end of the day, I want to know my kids can walk down the street without fear…I hope everyone gets a good look at my face, because I’m coming to your door.

H/T – HuffPost, OregonLive, Facebook


Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--