02-17-2020  8:04 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Trump Appointees Weigh Plan to Build Pipeline in Oregon

If the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission approves the project, which lacks state permits, it would likely set up a court battle over state's rights

Oregon Lawmakers Ask U.S. Attorney to Investigate Whether Local Police Violated Black Man’s Civil Rights

U.S. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley and U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer said this racial targeting of Michael Fesser "reflects the worst abuses of African-Americans in our nation’s modern history"

DA to Investigate West Linn Cops Handling of Wrongful Arrest

Former West Linn Police Chief Terry Timeus had his officers initiate an unwarranted, racially motivated surveillance and arrest of a Black Portland man as a favor to the chief’s fishing buddy

State and Local Leaders Push Back Against Fair Housing Changes

Trump administration proposes weakened regulation, tracking of housing discrimination

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Pacific University Hosts Music Events

Seattle Pacific University invites the public to a series of free music events during the months of February and March ...

A Celebration of Portland’s Role in the Negro Leagues to be Held Thursday, Feb. 20

The community is invited for a celebration of Black History Month and the 100th anniversary of Negro League Baseball in America ...

Kresge Foundation Selects PCC To Participate in Its National Boost Initiative

The $495,000 grant awarded to PCC and Albina Head Start will help connect low-income residents and students to services and...

Attorney Jamila Taylor Announces Run for State House of Representatives in Washington

Taylor pledges to continue outgoing Rep. Pellicciotti’s commitment to open, accountable government in a statement released today ...

Legislation Introduced to Prohibit Irresponsible Government Use of Facial Recognition Technology

The technology heightens the risk of over-surveillance and over-policing, especially in communities of color ...

Jury decides convicted Oregon meth dealer should lose home

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A Yamhill County jury has concluded that police can seize the home of a woman convicted of a felony drug crime under Oregon’s civil forfeiture law.Sheryl Sublet, 62, pleaded guilty in 2018 to to selling less than 1,000 grams of methamphetamine, The...

Police seek suspect who robbed 3 Portland banks in 1 hour

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man robbed three Portland banks in less than one hour last week, according to the Portland Police Bureau.The robberies occurred Friday, The Oregonian/Oregon Live reported.The man wore glasses, a black beanie and flannel shirt.He robbed the Bank of the West on...

OPINION

Black America is Facing a Housing Crisis

As the cost of housing soars the homeless population jumps 12 percent, the number of people renting grows and homeownership falls ...

Trump Expands Muslim Ban to Target Africans

Under the new ban on countries, four out of five people who will be excluded are Africans ...

Martin Luther King Day is an Opportunity for Service

Find out where you can volunteer and make a difference to the community ...

Looking to 2020 — Put Your Vote to WORK!

Ronald Reagan, who turned his back on organized labor and started America’s middle-class into a tailspin, has recently been voted by this administration’s NLRB into the Labor Hall of Fame ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Ex-South African leader de Klerk sorry for apartheid comment

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — Former South African president FW de Klerk on Monday apologized and withdrew his statement that the country's former harsh system of racial separation known as apartheid was not a crime against humanity.De Klerk, the last president under apartheid, caused an uproar with...

Portugal leaders rally around racially abused soccer player

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The president and the prime minister of Portugal added their voices to a national outcry Monday over racist abuse aimed at a black FC Porto soccer player who walked off the field after hearing monkey chants.Prime Minister Antonio Costa said the incident was...

2020 Watch: Who can show strength with voters of color?

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Presidential politics move fast. What we're watching heading into a new week on the 2020 campaign:___Days to Nevada caucuses: 5Days to general election: 260___THE NARRATIVEWith Iowa and New Hampshire behind them, the Democrats' 2020 field lurches toward a decidedly more...

ENTERTAINMENT

Snoop Dogg apologizes to Gayle King for rant over Bryant

NEW YORK (AP) — After days of blistering criticism, Snoop Dogg has finally apologized to Gayle King for attacking her over her interview with former basketball star Lisa Leslie about the late Kobe Bryant.“Two wrongs don't make no right. when you're wrong, you gotta fix it," he said in...

Voigt shocked paper ran her photo with Freni's obituary

Deborah Voigt was in California earlier this week when she got a text from a friend on the East Coast."So sorry to hear the news of your passing," read the Monday message.The Gazzetta di Parma newspaper in Italy had run an obituary of Mirella Freni, the great Italian soprano who died Sunday at age...

Lizzo talks diversity, self-confidence and femininity

MEXICO CITY (AP) — Fresh from winning three Grammys, singer Lizzo visited Mexico City for a private concert, surprising her fans with acoustic versions of her hits and a toast with tequila.The star from Detroit, who won best pop solo performance (“Truth Hurts”), best...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Rain postpones Daytona 500, dampening event, Trump's visit

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — The Daytona 500 has been postponed by rain for the first time since 2012,...

Portugal leaders rally around racially abused soccer player

LISBON, Portugal (AP) — The president and the prime minister of Portugal added their voices to a national...

GM plans to pull out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand

DETROIT (AP) — General Motors decision to pull out of Australia, New Zealand and Thailand as part of a...

Popular Rwandan gospel musician found dead in police cell

KIGALI, Rwanda (AP) — A popular Rwandan gospel musician who in 2015 was found guilty of conspiracy to...

Pompeo in Africa visit praises Angola's moves against graft

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in his latest Africa stop on Monday praised...

Syria military hails advance against rebels in 'record time'

DAMASCUS, Syria (AP) — Syria praised its troops Monday for rapidly taking over rebel-controlled territory...

McMenamins
Jay Reeves Associated Press

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (AP) -- For some believers and church leaders, opposing Alabama's toughest-in-the-nation law against illegal immigration is a chance for Bible Belt redemption.

During the civil rights movement of the 1950s and '60s, many state churches didn't join the fight to end Jim Crow laws and racial segregation. Some cross-burning Ku Klux Klan members took off their hoods and sat in the pews with everyone else on Sunday mornings, and relatively few white congregations actively opposed segregation. Some black churches were hesitant to get involved for fear of white backlash.

Now that Alabama has passed what's widely considered the nation's most restrictive state law against illegal immigration, mainstream churches, faith-based organizations and individual members are leading opposition to the act. Some see their involvement as a way to avoid repeating mistakes of the past.

"I think what happened in the `60s may be a stimulus for the action that you have seen many of the churches taking on this," said Chriss H. Doss, an attorney and ordained Southern Baptist minister.

Matt Lacey, pastor of a United Methodist church once attended by Birmingham's infamous segregationist police commissioner Eugene "Bull" Connor, said there are all sorts of reasons Alabama Christians are opposed to the law. Making amends for the past inaction of religious groups is among them, he said.

"For me, as pastor of a church that was engaged in that battle, it is very important," said Lacey. "If we take redemption very seriously, then it not only covers our sins but our past actions as a church. I think for some, there is a tendency to want to be on the side of right on this issue. ... I would like to think the church just wants to do what's right."

At 56, the Rev. Al Garrett is old enough to recall some faith communities sitting on the sidelines during the civil rights movement. Garrett, who helped organize a prayer rally that drew a few hundred people Sunday night in Huntsville, said the difference now is uplifting.

"I've thanked God that I've been here to see the way people of faith are taking a stand on this," he said.

After a prayer for wisdom, members of the Birmingham City Council recently passed a unanimous resolution calling for the repeal of the law. That same day, ministers and lay people gathered to discuss opposition to the law in the same church where, more than 50 years ago, white segregationists gathered to form a group to oppose white and black children going to school together.

Urged to come to a rally and candlelight march sponsored by churches and faith-based groups, a diverse crowd estimated around 2,000 marched quietly through downtown streets on a recent Saturday night near where police dogs snapped at black demonstrators two generations ago.

An interfaith prayer walk planned for July 30 in Montgomery will pass Martin Luther King Jr.'s first church on the way to the steps of Alabama's Capitol. And more than 100 United Methodist ministers - many of them moderate to liberal, but some also on the conservative side - signed an open letter to the governor criticizing the law.

Believers are doing more than praying and protesting. The ecumenical Greater Birmingham Ministries, along with two ministers and a Montgomery-area church member who works with Hispanics, were among the groups and individuals who filed a federal lawsuit last week attempting to have the law declared unconstitutional.

Doss is struck by the differences between 2011 and 1963, when the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail" to seven white moderate ministers and a rabbi who were publicly urging him to go slower with the campaign to end legalized segregation. Many black churches also were slow initially to embrace the cause of civil rights in Birmingham, where Klan night riders roamed with bombs for years.

"There were a number of black ministers who took a more conservative position that they were not going to get involved publicly. Their involvement greatly increased through the years," said Wayne Coleman, head of archives at the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute.

Churches had little to say about the bill as it moved through the Alabama Legislature, but that could be because they were overwhelmed for weeks providing food and other assistance to victims of the deadly tornadoes that swept across the state on April 27, killing more than 240 people.

In contrast, denominational leaders were outspoken at the Georgia General Assembly as a similarly tough law moved toward final passage in Atlanta. Religious leaders have been less vocal in Georgia since legislators passed the law, but a federal judge blocked key provisions of that act this week.

Now in Alabama, leaders among the state's fast-growing Hispanic community hope the involvement of churches will help lead to a repeal of the law, signed earlier this month by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley, a Southern Baptist deacon and Sunday school teacher.

"It's huge to have the faith community come together and speak out in such great numbers against this new law," said Isabel Rubio, executive director of the Hispanic Interest Coalition of Alabama. "Because we're in the middle of the Bible Belt, we certainly expect that the faith communities' influence ... will land on folks' ears who are willing to listen."

Religious opposition to the new law - which has included not just Christian churches but Jewish and Muslim congregations - is two-fold.

Some Christians see the issue in faith terms when they compare biblical instructions to welcome strangers and love others with the law's ban on helping illegal immigrants secure a place to live, a job, health care other than for emergencies and even a ride to the store. Under the law, police can check anyone's immigration status during a traffic stop or other encounter and jail people without bond if they don't have proper documents.

Fernando del Castillo, pastor of a Spanish-speaking congregation of about 300 people in metro Birmingham, is particularly worried about a provision requiring that schools check the immigration status of students and report the information to the state. He fears some immigrant parents will be afraid to send their children to school when classes resume in August.

"Will they keep them at home? I don't know," del Castillo said.

Others are worried the law could criminalize mission work with illegal immigrants.

"They wonder if this is the beginning of infringing on freedoms that the church has considered its bailiwick," Doss said.

Leaders of the United Methodist Church, the Episcopal Church, the Lutheran Church and the Roman Catholic Church all have criticized the law as running counter to biblical teachings about caring for neighbors, helping visitors and showing hospitality to strangers.

The state's largest denomination, the Alabama Baptist Convention, hasn't taken a position publicly and likely won't since it doesn't speak for individual churches. Convention president Mike Shaw, pastor of a church in suburban Birmingham, said the law "is the toughest in the nation and personally I think all laws need to be enforced."

"I am concerned about the language concerning giving a ride in an automobile to an illegal immigrant or allowing children of illegal immigrant parents to ride on a church bus to Sunday school, vacation Bible school, or church camp," he said in a statement. "Should we ignore people who are injured or have broken down on the side of a busy interstate highway and have small children in sweltering heat with no family or friends to help them?"

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Associated Press Writer Kate Brumback in Atlanta contributed to this report.

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