Teressa Raiford is a contemporary Civil Rights leader and a native Portlander. She fights for housing, jobs, vast improvement to our city’s infrastructure and public safety for all. Teressa, a long time community organizer, has been working to end gun violence.
In 2010, Teressa’s nephew was killed in Portlands’ Old Town Neighborhood. The trauma connected to his death inspired her to demand accountability from leaders and lawmakers surrounding the safety of children. She wanted a clear understanding of how communities became labeled as ‘disadvantaged’, ‘at-risk’ and ‘demarginalized’. This advocacy led to community organizing. On 2016 Teressa established a human rights organization, Don’t Shoot Portland. The organization focuses on civic education, art and nonviolent direct action while providing legal access to vulnerable communities.
In the 9 years since her nephew’s death, she has demanded audits in our foster care systems, housing, criminal justice and education. She has advocated side by side with families to change local and state policies while simultaneously engaging a new generation with political activism.