I was waiting for a city bus in downtown Portland, OR and a white, youngish male started to harass an older Black female rider who was sitting waiting for a bus. He called her the ‘n’ word and used menacing body language near her. From a short distance I shouted out that his behavior was not okay and to leave her alone. He was startled and stopped his harassment. Another white man joined in with me to tell him to stop harassing her, and then, unfortunately, the 2 men got into an ugly verbal argument, but at least he left the woman he was harassing alone. In the meantime, the Black woman said to me, “no one has ever done that for me” (to defend her). How sad that we have tolerated this kind of hateful behavior for so long.

I want people to know that its okay to interrupt behavior like this when you witness it. Its up to each of us to speak up and do something about harassment when we see it.