The NAACP held a press conference at the Benton County Courthouse to address the ongoing controversy over the arrest of 21-year-old OSU student Genesis Hansen.
Angel Harris, president of the Corvallis/Albany branch of the NAACP, began by emphasizing that no criminal charges have been levied against Hansen.
“We are here because there is a systemic problem, and we want to see the system changed,” Harris said. “There is much work to do to change a system that criminalizes us. Implicit bias, racial inequity and systemic racism are the real fight.”
She indicated that a dialog has been initiated with the Chief of the Corvallis Police Department and the Benton County District Attorney, both of whom the NAACP has a good relationship with.
Harris also voiced displeasure over the title of an article from the Corvallis Gazette-Times, NAACP: Hansen arrest was racist, commenting that the word “racist” was not used once in their press release. Beyond the article’s title and opening sentence, Harris stated no other objections to the article.
“We will continue to stand and work together to protect the right to just live,” she concluded.
Speaking after Harris was Rev. E.D. Mondaine, vice president of the Alaska Oregon Washington State-Area Conference. He denounced the arrest of Hansen, stating that it was “fortunate day” for her, as unlike many other young people of color, she lived to tell her story. “Now Corvallis has made bicycling while black an egregious thing in these United States of America.” The reverend urged the citizens of Corvallis to recognize and stand against racism in the community.
The NAACP declined to take further questions.
Story and photo by Brandon Urey