An activist in Portland, Oregon, is on a mission to get white folks to pay for the historic and systematic racial oppression they have cause people of color with "Reparations Happy Hour."

Cameron Whitten, 27, hosted the first "Reparations Happy Hour" through the nonprofit Brown Hope on Monday, May 21. About 40 black and brown Portland residents descended upon local bar Backyard Social to take in some libations and receive reparations, reports The News Tribune

“If folks say they want diversity in this community, they need to invest in it,” Whitten said. “These spaces are critical, and these spaces need to be paid for by white people.”

Whitten's cause was possible because of donations from white locals. Black, brown and indigenous attendees were given $10 at the door from that pool of donations. As one of the whitest cities in the country, this event forced Portland to come to terms with its racial past by hopefully healing past wounds.  

“The idea of reparations is: How do we recognize pain, harm and injustice, and provide an outlet for healing?” Whitten asked. “How did we recognize the emergency of inequality?”

The first event was a major success, and Whitten plans on hosting a monthly "Reparations Happy Hour." While white people weren't allowed to participate for obvious reasons, there were seven white volunteers on hand to ward off white nationalist threats.   

“I’ve seen daily and monthly what it’s like to live in a place like Oregon, which has a spectacular history of creating policies to be a white, Bohemian utopia,” Whitten said. “If folks are saying they want black, brown and indigenous people here, we’re calling on them to pay for that to happen.”



Whitten has made a name for himself in Portland for his dedication to change. Some people were more than happy to support him and Brown Hope. Others, on the other hand, thought that his event was a joke.  



Although some have not seen past the drinking, he has big plans in store; this is only the beginning. 

“We’re creating a platform to make sure our leadership is being seen and honored,” Whitten said. “This isn’t just, ‘We’re here to socialize.’ We’re here to do the work. In a place like Portland, where our community is so fractured … our first step is to bring us back together, and then from there organize and mobilize to create policies to create justice in our communities.”