Since May, Portland, Oregon has often found itself in the national spotlight during the largest civil rights movement in US history.
For the last several months the city’s deeply racist roots have become exposed as the city’s citizens show up nightly demanding change.
The Gulley family is no stranger to Portland’s racism and brutality. Just one year prior to the death of George Floyd that sparked a national uprising, Tete Gulley was found hanging from a tree in Rocky Butte Park.
Hinnessy and Tete had moved to the Pacific Northwest with a dream of escaping the brutality of Kansas City toward Black Trans Femmes and Lesbians. That dream, sadly, turned into a nightmare.
The police ruled Tete’s death a suicide. The community vehemently disagreed as did Tete’s family.
A survivor of significant gun violence and trauma herself, Hinnessy Gulley, has led the charge to keep Tete’s case elevated and investigated over the past year. A talented illustrator, tattoo artist and musician, Hinnessy has had to shelf her aspirations to start a business to find justice for Tete.
The Gulley family’s move to Portland has come at a significant cost. Not only the loss of Tete, but the lack of partnership from the Portland police, the rampant racism and white supremacy in this city, the cost of a private investigator and the deeply emotional toll living in the “the whitest city in America,” has had on this family without the racist threats and lack of social support they’ve received.
Every resource in Multnomah County that has been created to help families like the Gulleys is either unavailable to them or without funding. Due to her injuries, depression, COVID, and time dedicated to finding Tete’s murderer it’s been incredibly difficult for Hinnessy to find employment that benefits her without breaking her.
On top of all this, Hinnessy is facing targeted discrimination and harrassment at her transitional housing location and was just served a 30 day eviction notice. A legal team has reviewed the case and agrees that it’s discriminatory and could be fought in the courts.
Yet another thing to fight through for this family and to stay in a location where they are clearly being targeted is another risk they’d have to face.
This family deserves community support since the city of Portland AND the state of Oregon has failed them.
The money raised in this GoFundMe will help them secure a new, safe, culturally-informed place to live, get Hinnessy’s 1990s ford fixed up, provide access to mental health support services and hopefully be able to give them a cushion for food/medication/daily living so that they can find a new home and begin again in a new city since Portland took so much.
Daily life as a Black American living in Portland is –in itself– an act of resistance since the state was intended to be a “white utopia.” Oregon has a long history of white supremacy and racism. It was illegal to be Black in the state until 1926, less than 100 years ago. This racist history permeates everything from public policy to policing. It also greatly informed how the city of Portland came to be a moniker that still applies today.
The strength of Hinnessy and this family is clear. Though it should not be based on how much trauma they can endure. The ongoing fight for racial justice in Portland is the fight for racial justice everywhere. This family is a perfect example of a racist system at work. As a community, please help us show this family that we care. And that we are here to combat racism and white supremacy in all its evil forms. Support them in this healing journey since this system, this city, the state have not.
DefensefundPDX is raising money on behalf of Hinnessy Gulley.
DefensefundPDX is a non profit mutual aid group in Portland, Oregon. We have been in direct contact with Hinnessy and she will be receiving 100% of these funds and using them for the things outlined above.
- Christopher Gonzalez