Camas yoga teacher Sheila Schmid remembers the day she realized she wanted to take her yoga practice in a different direction.
It was about five years ago and Schmid, who had been teaching and practicing yoga for nearly 30 years, was in a Northwest Portland coffee shop with her young son, when a small group of police officers walked in.
“Even back then, there was some kind of negative things directed toward the cops,” Schmid said. “And I heard a woman behind me say, ‘I can’t believe they’re in here with their guns.’ My son was about 4 or 5 and he asked, ‘Why do they have those guns?’ so I told him, ‘Those guns are part of their toolkit. They’re to protect us.'”
As someone who knew many of the police officers in her own Portland neighborhood, Schmid said the interaction gave her pause. Instead of staying silent, she decided to approach the officers.
“I walked over to them, to thank them for their service,” Schmid said.