We're betting you don't know much about Cameron Whitten, a queer mayoral candidate who's been neck-deep in activism for quite some time -- most recently helping organize the Occupy movement. We had the opportunity to talk to Cameron a bit about his candidacy -- about his beliefs, his politics, and people who say his long-shot campaign doesn't have a shot. â€œI'm the only candidate of African-American descent, hoping to be Portland's first black mayor,â€ Whitten says. â€œMy perspective is from being a marginalized citizen in almost every respect. I'm black, queer-identified, young, poor, and even get teased sometimes for being vegan. I'm someone who has not let the oppression of a less-progressive-thinking society hinder my ability to fight for my community. My vision for real change is empowering for those who have witnessed my struggle, and it sets me aside from all competitors. I didn't have life given to me on a silver platter; I am somebody the average Portlander can relate to.â€ â€œI'm a visionary of what our society has to become for its own survival,â€ he says. â€œI'm an extraordinary community activist, a voice for marginalized communities and the new age of democracy. I advocate for systemic change, transforming the culture of our government to address public power, economic equality, and social justice. I want to empower the general population of our beautiful city to become the ultimate voice in government policy, using leadership style which provides vision and inspires collaboration with people who feel excluded by the political process.â€ On his experience: â€œI'm a community activist and student. I have spent my time and energy building a strong community, gaining wisdom, and earning civic karma. I've directed marches [within the Occupy movement], wrote speeches, represented the movement countless times for the media, educated others, and so much more. I have found my calling in investing in the future of humanity.â€ On the subject of â€œmajorâ€ and â€œminorâ€ candidates: â€œThere is nothing minor about anyone. If citizens don't step up when they see a grave concern, then there will be no democracy. What is defined as a 'major' candidate is someone who is more concerned about business connections and insider politics than the general public. I consider myself to be a 'major' candidate for better reasons than that.â€
-Daniel Borgen, PQ Monthly
For more on Whitten -- including the complete interview, stay with us atÂ www.PQMonthly.com.