04-18-2024  4:30 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

Four Ballot Measures for Portland Voters to Consider

Proposals from the city, PPS, Metro and Urban Flood Safety & Water Quality District.

Washington Gun Store Sold Hundreds of High-Capacity Ammunition Magazines in 90 Minutes Without Ban

KGW-TV reports Wally Wentz, owner of Gator’s Custom Guns in Kelso, described Monday as “magazine day” at his store. Wentz is behind the court challenge to Washington’s high-capacity magazine ban, with the help of the Silent Majority Foundation in eastern Washington.

NEWS BRIEFS

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

Bank Announces 14th Annual “I Got Bank” Contest for Youth in Celebration of National Financial Literacy Month

The nation’s largest Black-owned bank will choose ten winners and award each a jumi,000 savings account ...

Literary Arts Transforms Historic Central Eastside Building Into New Headquarters

The new 14,000-square-foot literary center will serve as a community and cultural hub with a bookstore, café, classroom, and event...

Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Announces New Partnership with the University of Oxford

Tony Bishop initiated the CBCF Alumni Scholarship to empower young Black scholars and dismantle financial barriers ...

Mt. Hood Jazz Festival Returns to Mt. Hood Community College with Acclaimed Artists

Performing at the festival are acclaimed artists Joshua Redman, Hailey Niswanger, Etienne Charles and Creole Soul, Camille Thurman,...

Idaho's ban on youth gender-affirming care has families desperately scrambling for solutions

Forced to hide her true self, Joe Horras’ transgender daughter struggled with depression and anxiety until three years ago, when she began to take medication to block the onset of puberty. The gender-affirming treatment helped the now-16-year-old find happiness again, her father said. ...

Pro-Palestinian demonstrators shut down airport highways and key bridges in major US cities

CHICAGO (AP) — Pro-Palestinian demonstrators blocked roadways in Illinois, California, New York and the Pacific Northwest on Monday, temporarily shutting down travel into some of the nation's most heavily used airports, onto the Golden Gate and Brooklyn bridges and on a busy West Coast highway. ...

University of Missouri plans 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium

ROLLA, Mo. (AP) — The University of Missouri is planning a 0 million renovation of Memorial Stadium. The Memorial Stadium Improvements Project, expected to be completed by the 2026 season, will further enclose the north end of the stadium and add a variety of new premium seating...

The sons of several former NFL stars are ready to carve their path into the league through the draft

Jeremiah Trotter Jr. wears his dad’s No. 54, plays the same position and celebrates sacks and big tackles with the same signature axe swing. Now, he’s ready to make a name for himself in the NFL. So are several top prospects who play the same positions their fathers played in the...

OPINION

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

COMMENTARY: Is a Cultural Shift on the Horizon?

As with all traditions in all cultures, it is up to the elders to pass down the rituals, food, language, and customs that identify a group. So, if your auntie, uncle, mom, and so on didn’t teach you how to play Spades, well, that’s a recipe lost. But...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

US committee releases sealed Brazil court orders to Musk's X, shedding light on account suspensions

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — A U.S. congressional committee released confidential Brazilian court orders to suspend accounts on the social media platform X, offering a glimpse into decisions that have spurred complaints of alleged censorship from the company and its billionaire owner Elon Musk. ...

Convenience store chain with hundreds of outlets in 6 states hit with discrimination lawsuit

The Sheetz convenience store chain has been hit with a lawsuit by federal officials who allege the company discriminated against minority job applicants. Sheetz Inc., which operates more than 700 stores in six states, discriminated against Black, Native American and multiracial job...

Choctaw artist Jeffrey Gibson confronts history at US pavilion as its first solo Indigenous artist

VENICE. Italy (AP) — Jeffrey Gibson’s takeover of the U.S. pavilion for this year’s Venice Biennale contemporary art show is a celebration of color, pattern and craft, which is immediately evident on approaching the bright red facade decorated by a colorful clash of geometry and a foreground...

ENTERTAINMENT

Robert MacNeil, creator and first anchor of PBS 'NewsHour' nightly newscast, dies at 93

NEW YORK (AP) — Robert MacNeil, who created the even-handed, no-frills PBS newscast “The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour” in the 1970s and co-anchored the show with his late partner, Jim Lehrer, for two decades, died on Friday. He was 93. MacNeil died of natural causes at New...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 21-27

Celebrity birthdays for the week of April 21-27: April 21: Actor Elaine May is 92. Singer Iggy Pop is 77. Actor Patti LuPone is 75. Actor Tony Danza is 73. Actor James Morrison (“24”) is 70. Actor Andie MacDowell is 66. Singer Robert Smith of The Cure is 65. Guitarist Michael...

What to stream this week: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift will reign

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Israelis grapple with how to celebrate Passover, a holiday about freedom, while many remain captive

JERUSALEM (AP) — Every year, Alon Gat’s mother led the family's Passover celebration of the liberation of the...

Coyotes officially leaving Arizona for Salt Lake City following approval of sale to Utah Jazz owners

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes are officially headed to Salt Lake City. The NHL Board of...

Once praised, settlement to help sickened BP oil spill workers leaves most with nearly nothing

When a deadly explosion destroyed BP’s Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico, 134 million gallons...

Zimbabwe frees prisoners, including those sentenced to death, in an independence day amnesty

HARARE, Zimbabwe (AP) — Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa granted clemency to more than 4,000 prisoners,...

Thousands of Bosnian Serbs attend rally denying genocide was committed in Srebrenica in 1995

BANJA LUKA, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Thousands of Bosnian Serbs rallied on Thursday denying that genocide was...

NATO and the EU urge G7 nations to step up air defense for Ukraine and expand Iran sanctions

CAPRI, Italy (AP) — Top NATO and European Union officials urged foreign ministers from leading industrialized...

Valeria Fern

PHOENIX, Arizona—Araceli Rodriguez had prepared herself for her son's death ever since he joined the federal police in Mexico City. But what she didn't plan for was her son's disappearance on Nov. 16th 2009.

"I demanded an investigation," said Araceli, 49. The answer that came a year and six months later brought her to her knees: "Your son is dead you are never going to find his body because they disintegrated it.'" Members of organized crime were identified as the killers.

Araceli arrived in Phoenix, Arizona last week as part of the Caravan for Peace with Justice and Dignity denouncing the war on drugs that has cost a death toll depending on the source from 50,000 to 80,000 lives and the disappearance of over 10,000 Mexicans.

This is the third caravan lead by poet Javier Sicilia, since his 24-year-old son Juan Francisco was killed on March 2011 with six of his friends.

But this is the first time he takes a journey across the border to ask the government to stop sponsoring a failed war on drugs that he believes is being waged with "Mexican blood, and Mexican pain."

"We come here to say that [the U.S.] has a tremendous responsibility on this," said Sicilia. "The war on drugs is wrong. Drugs are not a national security issue, they are a public health issue."

Sicilia gave a speech in downtown Phoenix to hundreds of people, underscoring that the so-called "war on drugs" strategy was born under Richard Nixon's administration four decades ago. But the poet also recognized that it was president Felipe Calderón who declared a war on drugs, and that corruption in Mexico is one of the biggest challenges for those who want to change the system. He also added that Mexicans have all the right to demand the U.S. government do something about the violence that rages on south of the border.

"Here [in the US] are the addicts, and in order to protect those 23 million addicts we have a war. Here are the weapons that are legally arming the Mexican military through the Merida Plan and illegally through the... sale of weapons of mass murder and assault to organized crime," he said.

Through legislation known as the Merida Initiative, the U.S. sends annually nearly $500 million to support the Mexican military in the drug war.

Sicilia's call for peace in Mexico has galvanized many who have lost their loved ones in the war on drugs, and they decided to join his caravan to the U.S. They are here not only to lay blame on their neighbor to the north but also to plead for solidarity with the American citizenry.

When Araceli first heard about Sicilia, she had no doubt that she would join his caravan. She knew he understood her pains and would give an outlet to her grief and indignation.

"We had to go as mothers and tell them to look or else they wouldn't have done anything," she said.

Luis Angel León Rodriguez, her 23 year-old-son, and 6 other officers plus one civilian disappeared when they were on their way to Ciudad Hidalgo in the state of Michoacán to join federal police. When she heard about her son's disappearance she asked for the federal police to start an investigation, Araceli said, but it took almost a week for them to start doing something.

Over a year later, on Feb. 13th, she was told that her son and those he had traveled with had been kidnapped and executed by the drug cartel. Their remains, she was told, were set on fire and burned to ashes.

"I told them that was their official version, but I wasn't going to stop looking for him," she said.

Araceli demanded to meet face to face with the men involved in her son's killing.

"I asked to know at least were I could find a part of him, a finger, a hand, anything," she said. "Please tell me where you killed him?"

During her journey in the caravan, Araceli met Margarita López Perez, another mother who shares the same disbelief in the Mexican authorities role in investigating her daughter's disappearance.

"So many of us are with the same pain, but a different story," said Margarita, whose 19-year-old daughter disappeared on April 13th, 2011. An armed group in Tlacolula de Matamoros in Oxaca state took Yahaira Guadalupe Bahera López from her home. Her daughter had moved to the town with her husband, a member in the military special forces, but was originally from Michoacán.

"I investigated everything, because they did not do anything," Margarita said. The military and authorities told her that her daughter might have left with another man, and that she needed to wait for her to come back, she recalled.

She hired paid informants with the police to find out about her daughter's whereabouts and even went looking for her in places where young women were being trafficked for sex.

Margarita lost friendships, her personal wealth as the owner of a construction company, and in a way, her reputation -- at times, people would imply that her daughter might have been involved with the cartels.

For her, the accusations are one way in which the government's responsibility is swept under the rug.

"They stigmatize all of us, by suggesting that we have something to do with organized crime," said Margarita.

Eventually, through the help of Sicilia, Margarita reached someone in Mexico City who launched an investigation. As soon as she went to the media to share her story, they found her daughter's beheaded body.

Both Margarita and Araceli said they've received phone-calls with threats against their lives for continuing to ask questions about their son's and daughter's deaths.

"I've been told to keep my mouth shut," said Araceli. "But I'm more afraid of staying silent than speaking out."

The caravan that would end its journey in Washington D.C. on Sep. 12th, was hosted by at least 16 human rights organizations in Arizona, among them The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, PUENTE, and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ).

"What's not talked about in the media is the millions of dollars via private 'direct commercial sales' [of weapons] to the Mexican government sponsored by the State Department of the U.S.," said Nick de la Fuente, an activist from the Arizona Worker Rights Center. The private commercial sales are one of many ways in which the Mexican army can purchase weapons in the U.S.

"Politicians in the U.S. are very quick to point out the corruption in the Mexican government," said de la Fuente. "Subsequently, they provide them with as [much] arms as they want," said de la Fuente.

Sicilia knows that his quest to bring awareness and find empathy in the U.S. is challenging, especially in a state like Arizona that passed an a bill like SB 1070 that criminalizes undocumented immigrants.

He recently read this in one of his speeches during the caravan's tour, paraphrasing pastor Martin Niemöller:

"One day they humiliated Colombians/ and I said nothing / because I was not Colombian / Then they tore Mexicans apart / and I said nothing / because I was not Mexican. / One day they came to get the African-Americans / but I said nothing / because I was not African-American. / Then they messed with the immigrants/ and I said nothing / because I was not an immigrant. / And then one day when they came for me / there was no one left either to protest, to stop war or death, or to save democracy."

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast