05 24 2016
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  • On Tuesday, a judge ordered the 78-year-old Cosby to stand trial on sexual assault charges 
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  • The judge concluded Officer Edward Nero played little role in the arrest and wasn't responsible for the failure by police to buckle Gray in  
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  • Bill Cosby faces a preliminary hearing Tuesday to determine if his criminal sex-assault case in suburban Philadelphia goes to trial.Prosecutors had declined to charge the comedian-actor over the 2005 complaint, but arrested him in December after his explosive deposition in the woman's lawsuit became public. In the testimony given in that deposition, Cosby is grilled about giving drugs and alcohol to women before sex; making secret payments to ex-lovers; and hosting Andrea Constand at his home. They knew each other through Temple University, where he was a trustee and she managed the women's basketball team. Bill Cosby's wife refused to answer dozens of questions during a combative deposition in a defamation lawsuit filed by seven women who say the comedian branded them liars after they accused him of sexually assaulting them, according to a transcript released Friday. Camille Cosby was subjected to intense questioning by the women's lawyer, who repeatedly pressed her to say whether she believes her husband "acted with a lack of integrity" during their 52-year marriage. The lawyer also asked if her husband used his position and power "to manipulate young women." Camille Cosby didn't answer those questions and many others after her lawyer cited marital privilege, the legal protection given to communications between spouses. She repeatedly said she had "no opinion" when pressed on whether she viewed her husband's behavior as dishonest and a violation of their marriage vows. About 50 women have publicly accused Bill Cosby of forcing unwanted sexual contact on them decades ago. Cosby has denied the allegations. He faces a criminal case in Pennsylvania, where prosecutors have charged him with sexually violating a former Temple University employee, Andrea Constand. He has pleaded not guilty. Camille Cosby answered questions in the deposition Feb. 22 and again April 19 after her lawyers argued unsuccessfully to stop it. A judge ruled she would have to give a deposition but said she could refuse to answer questions about private communications between her and her husband. Camille Cosby's lawyer, Monique Pressley, repeatedly cited that privilege and advised her not to answer many questions asked by the women's lawyer, Joseph Cammarata. The exchanges between Cammarata and Cosby became testy at times, and she admonished him: "Don't lecture me. Just keep going with the questions." Using a transcript of a deposition Bill Cosby gave in a civil lawsuit filed by Constand in 2005 and a transcript of an interview she gave to Oprah Winfrey in 2000, Cammarata asked Camille Cosby about extramarital affairs her husband had. "Were you aware of your husband setting up trusts for the benefit of women that he had a sexual relationship with?" Cammarata asked. She didn't answer after her lawyer cited marital privilege. Cammarata asked her about Shawn Thompson, a woman who said Bill Cosby fathered her daughter, Autumn Jackson, in the 1970s. Jackson was convicted in 1997 of attempting to extort money from Bill Cosby to prevent her from telling a tabloid she's his daughter. He acknowledged he had an affair with her mother and had given her money. "Was it a big deal when this came up in the 1970s that your husband had — big deal to you that your husband had an extramarital affair and potentially had a daughter from that extramarital affair?" Cammarata asked. "It was a big deal then, yes," Camille Cosby replied. She said she had "no opinion" on whether her husband's admission he obtained quaaludes to give to women with whom he wanted to have sex violated their marriage vows. Her lawyer objected and instructed her not to answer when Cammarata asked her if she ever suspected she had been given any type of drug to alter her state of consciousness when she had sex with her husband. A spokesman for the Cosbys declined to comment on her deposition. The Cosbys have a home in Shelburne Falls, an hour's drive from Springfield, where the lawsuit, seeking unspecified damages, was filed. An attorney handling a separate lawsuit against Bill Cosby revealed Friday that Playboy magazine founder Hugh Hefner provided sworn testimony Wednesday. In the sexual battery lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Judy Huth says Cosby forced her to perform a sex act on him at the Playboy Mansion around 1974, when she was 15. Bill Cosby's former lawyers have accused Huth of attempting to extort him before filing the case and have tried unsuccessfully to have it dismissed. Huth's attorney, Gloria Allred, said Hefner's testimony will remain under seal for now. Hefner also was named as a defendant in a case filed Monday by former model Chloe Goins, who accuses Bill Cosby of drugging and sexually abusing her at the Playboy Mansion in 2008.   The Associated Press generally doesn't identify people who say they're victims of sexual abuse, but the women accusing Cosby have come forward to tell their stories.___AP Entertainment Writer Anthony McCartney contributed to this report from Los Angeles.
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Artists Eatcho lays down at the Black United Fund of Oregon mural

Not much about the Black United Fund of Oregon’s building on Alberta Street makes it jump out as the powerful civic and economic conduit that it is.

But a new mural, highlighting the contributions of female African-American freedom fighters, may help to change that.

The nearly 25-foot by  100-foot piece pays homage to freedom fighters through the generations,  with  depictions of activists, leaders and artists including Ruby Bridges, Angela Davis, Coretta Scott King, Ruby Dee and Maya Angelou.

To Angelou’s left stands a young girl looking at the dynamic women. She represents the continuation of leadership across time, according to Black United Fund executive director, Kimberlee Sheng, who also oversaw the image’s creative direction. 

“I felt whatever we did [had to be] really significant in terms of this neighborhood, the history of the Black United Fund and just the grit and determination we’ve had to exhibit in order to push through,” Sheng said.

Furthermore, Sheng said, the work of women like those honored in the mural has enabled organizations like 27-year-old nonprofit she heads to continue carrying out its mission as an economic powerhouse stabilizing Black communities in Oregon.

Intersectional creative change agency Vox Siren and social justice art agency Art Uprising helped spearhead the project.

Zoe Piliafas, who founded both organizations, said after passing the Black United Fund building on Christmas Day last year she was inspired to approach the organization to create an artistic project that would honor its history.”

“I think when we think about history, and the history that has not been addressed, women of color have been ignored in public spaces and I think that’s time that that changes,” said Piliafas, who is White. I think it’s moreover a testament to the staying power of the Black United Fund and women’s history.”

Sheng said being in what is now branded an “arts district,” individuals and organizations approach her organization “all the time” with offers to redecorate it. But Vox Siren’s commitment to keeping people of color at the forefront of the project won out.

Artists Eatcho and Jeremy Nichols, both local artists of color—have been responsible for getting the painting wrapped in the next coming weeks.

For Eatcho, a muralist whose work is usually more surrealist in nature, depicting these Black historic figures has been a welcomed shift from his normal work.

While he and Nichols draw toward the finish line, he said it’s worn on him emotionally but physically too.

“When you’re out there working on a mural and it’s 25 feet high to 100 feet across, it’s 100 degrees outside and you’re on a giant scaffold and you’re going back and forth, people just want to talk to you because they see a lot of color and they think a lot of things,” he said. “But really I’m having just as much of a time of work and endurance as it seems. So I’m working, just like a house painter, or a laborer, a construction worker. So when I’m up there I’m not only feeling [emotional], but I’m also having feelings of, ‘Man I’ve got to grab this paint. I’ve got to make sure my water’s up there, I’ve got to move my body, I’ve got to keep focused so I don’t fall off this two floor scaffold and die.’”

As the Alberta area, and the neighborhoods continue to gentrify, Piliafas said monuments like these become pertinent for both residents both new and old.

“Portland and the state of Oregon has a racist past, and we don’t recognize that, [but] there are many of us in the city now that are deciding that we can collectively do better,” she said.

The new mural echoes the Albina Mural Project – a 1978 mural project with a similar focus. The murals were removed five years after completion, reportedly due to water damage.

In five separate large-sized paintings, seven artists of color documented key transitional points in the African-American experience: the transatlantic slave trade, the migration of Black pioneers to the Northwest in the late 1800s, the following influx of African-Americans to the area in the late 1940s during World War II, the devastating Vanport flood of 1948 – and, finally, the civil rights movement of the 1960s.

 Part of a Portland State documentary about the mural project is now on YouTube. In the video, painter Isaka Shamsud-Din tells the crowd during an unveiling, “I think we ought to bear in mind that we haven’t had many things of this size to happen in this community that have come all the way up from the community.”

Now once again, in a vastly different neighborhood, artists of a different generation are preparing to put their stamp on Black history once more.

“There are few community-serving organizations that are still located in this area. I think that it is significant and it does speak to the history of this neighborhood, but I think that there’s just broader implications for illustrating that we were once here in significant numbers and this was a thriving community when we were here,” Sheng said.

“And while the community may look different today, we’re still here. And we still have a place here. And there’s still a need for our work here.”




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