Sometimes we don’t always say the things that need to be said. In our private lives we don’t always say our “pleases” and “thank yous.” We don’t always tell our friends and family members that we love them.

Maybe it’s apathy. Maybe it’s just habit. Maybe it’s because we think these things are obvious and don’t need to be said. But whatever the reason, we all encounter situations that remind us that we do need to say these things, at least from time to time.

The same is true in our public life, and in the past few weeks three incidents have given us a similar reminder of what needs to be said. So let us take a moment to say that which should be obvious:

In our city, racism, bigotry, hatred and intimidation have no place. In this city, all are welcome, regardless of race, religion, nationality, gender, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or any other superficial characteristic.

Racist outbursts, violence and intimidating or disparaging graffiti are unacceptable. When they happen, the city of Portland and its elected leaders denounce them. Without qualification. Without caveats. Completely and unambiguously.

On Thursday morning, elected leaders in our city are gathering at City Hall to denounce the recent racially motivated incidents that have occurred in our city.

While not everyone can be physically present, every elected official has expressed their support for this sentiment: the mayor, every city councilor, every legislator and every School Board member.

We may not be able to un-speak, or un-write, the words of hate that have been voiced. But we can speak and write in response, and we can say the things that need to be said.

Justin Costa

District 4 city councilor