Cameron Whitten

Cameron Whitten (born April 8, 1991) is an American community activist[1] best known for advocacy on affordable housing, racial justice, and LGBT rights.

Cameron Whitten
Rally to remember Cameron Whitten (9287284653).jpg
Whitten in 2013
Personal details
Born (1991-04-08) April 8, 1991 (age 30)
Sterling, Virginia, U.S.
ResidencePortland, Oregon, U.S.
OccupationCommunity activist

Early life and educationEdit

Whitten grew up in Sterling, Virginia, outside Washington, D.C. He moved to Portland, Oregon in 2009 and experienced homelessness at the age of eighteen. He later enrolled at Portland Community College.[2]

Political activismEdit

A Portland resident for three years, Cameron Whitten, 20, joined the Occupy Portland movement from the start, on October 6. He camped in Lownsdale and Chapman squares for the 38 days of the occupation.[3]

Whitten was arrested four times.[4] He helped plan the Jamison Square occupation in October, and was arrested when police cleared it out. He was arrested during some occupiers' last stand in Chapman Square. And then he was arrested during a theatrical occupation of tiny Mill Ends Park downtown. He also has another arrest in January 2012 for actions during an Occupy the Courts rally.[5]

Whitten got his start in politics as a candidate for mayor of Portland, Oregon, in 2012. He campaigned on a platform of diversity and inclusion.[6][7] Although among the favorites in The Oregonian "most intriguing political figure" poll,[8] Whitten was not elected mayor. He was subsequently nominated by the Oregon Progressive Party for the position of state treasurer.[9]

Whitten has served as the Executive Director of Q Center, and is the founder of racial justice nonprofit Brown Hope. He is also co-founder of the Black Resilience Fund and serves on the Board of Directors of local nonprofits such as REACH CDC, Venture Portland, and Pioneer Courthouse Square.[10][11]

Further community involvementEdit

Also in 2012, Whitten embarked on a hunger strike on the steps of City Hall[12] to protest the housing crisis in Portland, and to demand immediate action from city leaders.[13][14][15][16][17] The strike lasted almost two months, eliciting a statement from housing commissioner Nick Fish,[18][19] and ended after concessions were made by the Portland Mayor's Office.[20][21] Whitten continued to speak publicly about homelessness.[22]

In 2013, Whitten was in the news again when he participated in the campaign for the legalization of same-sex marriage in Oregon.[23] Also in 2013, Whitten protested the banning of community members who set up 24/7 vigil for the homeless, and their replacement with a fast food cart. The cart was then removed and the furniture put in storage.[24]

In 2014 Whitten was executive director of the organization Know Your City.[25][26][27] In this role he conducted history-related walking tours of Portland.[28][29] That year several of his articles about excessive use of force by police were published in local magazines and news outlets.[30][31] He served on Portland's Transit Equity Advisory Committee.[32] Also in 2014 Whitten joined cyclists to protest the dangerous state of Portland city infrastructure after a cyclist was killed while riding in a bike lane.[33]

In 2015, by then a student at Portland State University,[34] Whitten was in the news again when he was arrested after complaining about conditions on a Portland streetcar.[35][36] In 2016, representing Know Your City, he spoke at a Portland City Council meeting about the importance of culturally relevant education.[37]

In 2017, Whitten took part in protests against Donald Trump's executive order banning travelers from specific countries to the US. During one protest he filmed a violent incident and his footage was used in news reports.[38][39] Whitten was later interviewed about the ban by Fox News; interviewer Tucker Carlson questioned Whitten's knowledge of the text of the order.[40]

In 2018, Whitten founded a racial justice nonprofit named Brown Hope. Later that May, he launched Brow Hope's first event, called Reparations Happy Hour, which garnered significant attention in international news outlets.[41][42][43] Whitten was later interviewed about the event by Fox News; interviewer Tucker Carlson questioned Whitten about whether the event was offensive.[44]

LGBT rights activismEdit

In July 2018, Whitten became the Interim Executive Director of Q Center, a community center serving Portland's LGBTQ+ community, and was hired to help with an unexpected leadership transition. Shortly after, he accepted a Light a Fire award from Portland Monthly Magazine on behalf of the organization for its years of advocacy for Portland's LGBTQ+ community.[45] In February 2019, Whitten led the organization of an emergency LGBTQ2SIA+ town hall after a series of reports of physical attacks against LGBT individuals in Portland.[46] In June 2019, Whitten launched a capital campaign that raised of $100,000 to renovate Q Center.[47]

2020 Metro Council campaignEdit

On January 21, 2020, Whitten announced his campaign for Metro Council, with endorsements from US Representative Elizabeth Furse and several Portland city councilors.[48][49] He resigned his position with Q Center in order to focus full-time on the campaign.

Personal lifeEdit

Whitten identifies as queer.[50]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ The evolution of Cameron Whitten: Portland's most famous young radical wonders what's next The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 1, 2015.
  2. ^ "Armchair Mayor: Cameron Whitten". Neighborhood Notes, March 2012
  3. ^ Renee Guarriello Heath; Courtney Vail Fletcher; Ricardo Munoz (August 29, 2013). Understanding Occupy from Wall Street to Portland: Applied Studies in Communication Theory. Lexington Books. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-7391-8322-9.
  4. ^ "Cameron Whitten: 15 People Who Made a Difference in 2015". GoLocal PDX, December 23, 2015
  5. ^ "Faces of Occupy Portland: Cameron Whitten, from the camp aiming at City Hall". The Oregonian/OregonLive, February 2012.
  6. ^ Saker, Anne. "Cameron Whitten, from the camp aiming at City Hall". Faces of Occupy Portland. The Oregonian. Retrieved February 20, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  7. ^ Theriault, Denis C. "Occupy Portland Activist Formally Launches Mayoral Bid". Retrieved February 20, 2012. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  8. ^ "'Most intriguing' politico results: Three move forward, re-vote needed on one matchup".
  9. ^ "Oregon Progressives nominate Cameron Whitten and marijuana petitioner Bob Wolfe for statewide office". The Oregonian/OregonLive, August 2012.
  10. ^ The Black Resilience Fund is an emergency fund dedicated to healing and resilience by providing immediate resources to Black Portlanders.
  11. ^ Portland activists built resilience fund inspired by racial justice protests
  12. ^ "Cameron Whitten keeps stirring the pot on housing justice". Street Roots, July 11, 2012.
  13. ^ "Cameron Whitten Enters Day 29 of Hunger Strike for Housing Justice". Daily Kos June 30, 2012.
  14. ^ "Cameron Whitten camps, stages hunger strike at Portland City Hall". The Oregonian/OregonLive, June 2012.
  15. ^ Mattos, Nick. "Hunger Striker Cameron Whitten’s Video Interview with PQ Monthly". PQ Monthly
  16. ^ "Cameron Whitten ends hunger strike, Portland City Council announces housing summit". The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 2012.
  17. ^ "Portland activist Cameron Whitten's hunger strike goes on; can anyone stop him?". The Oregonian/OregonLive, July 2012.
  18. ^ "Nick Fish Issues Statement on Cameron Whitten's Hunger Strike". BlueOregon
  19. ^ "Statement from Commissioner Fish regarding Cameron Whitten's hunger strike". The City of Portland Blog, Oregon"].
  20. ^ Theriault, Denis C., "The End of a Hunger Strike". Portland Mercury.
  21. ^ "Housing activist ending Portland hunger strike". Spokesman, July 26, 2012
  22. ^ Cannon, Kelly. "Social activist visits InTech High after students send letters". The Herald Journal.
  23. ^ "Why Oregon Is 2014's Marriage Crucible". Gay City News.
  24. ^ "Food cart leaves Portland city hall". KOIN August 29, 2013
  25. ^ "African American Leaders: What Portland Can Learn from Ferguson". March 13, 2015, Annie Ellison, GoLocalPDX
  26. ^ "Activist Whitten named Know Your City's new exec". Portland Tribune
  27. ^ "Cameron Whitten named executive director of nonprofit Know Your City". The Oregonian/OregonLive, November 2015.
  28. ^ "Know your city's hidden histories". Portland Tribune
  29. ^ "Get out of your bubble with walking tour". Portland Tribune
  30. ^ Matt Pizzuti. "Where Does the Community Have Oversight Over the Police? A Chat with Cameron Whitten". PQ Monthly. December 18, 2014
  31. ^ "Ferguson shooting: Why does it matter to Portlanders?". The Oregonian/OregonLive, November 2014.
  32. ^ Young, Arashi. "Cameron Whitten Steps Into New Role". The Skanner 30 November 2015
  33. ^ "Jury decision expected today in Kathryn Rickson wrongful death lawsuit". Bike Portland, 26 February 2014.
  34. ^ "The evolution of Cameron Whitten: Portland's most famous young radical wonders what's next". The Oregonian, July 1, 2015. Casey Parks.
  35. ^ "Activist Cameron Whitten refuses to leave Portland Streetcar, cited after complaining about leaky vent" Archived September 24, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, The Oregonian/OregonLive, Molly Harbarger, May 2 1015.
  36. ^ "Portlanders come to the support of cited civil leader". Portland Sun Times, By DeMario Phipps-Smith 05/05/2015
  37. ^ Young, Arashi. "Advocates Push for Culturally Relevant Education". The Skanner 4 February 2016
  38. ^ "Man shot on Morrison Bridge during Portland anti-Trump protest". The Oregonian/OregonLive, November 2016.
  39. ^ "Mayor Charlie Hales calls for investigation into police use of force in activists' arrest". The Oregonian/OregonLive, November 2016
  40. ^ "'Have You Read the Orders?': Tucker Takes on Anti-Trump Protest Organizer". 30 January 2017. Fox News Insider, January 30, 2017.
  41. ^ 'Reparations Happy Hour' Invites White People to Pay for Drinks The New York Times, Daniel Victor, May 26, 2018
  42. ^ This Nonprofit is Calling out Racism in Unexpected Places Next City, Emily Nonko, October 31, 2018
  43. ^ Portland Racial Nonprofit Seeks To Heal Communities With Reparations Power Hour, Erica Morrison, October, 18, 2018
  44. ^ 'Reparations Happy Hour' invites whites to pay for drinks Fox News Channel, May 31, 2018
  45. ^ At Portland's Q Center, the Fight for Queer Rights is Far from Over Portland Monthly Magazine, Eden Dawn, October 17, 2018
  46. ^ Amid Anti-LGBTQ Violence, Many Queer Portlanders Don't Trust the Police for Protection Portand Mercury, Blair Stenvick, February 25, 2019
  47. ^ On Stronger Footing: Q Center support serves diverse community The Portland Observer, Danny Peterson, July 17, 2019
  48. ^ Cameron Whitten announces for Metro Council Portland Tribune, Jim Redden, January 21, 2020
  49. ^ Cameron Whitten Joins Race for Metro Council Portland Mercury, Alex Zielinski, January 21, 2020
  50. ^ Staff, "Portland Mayoral Candidate Cameron Whitten". KATU. Retrieved June 1, 2018.

External linksEdit