01-20-2022  7:24 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Blumenauer Boosts Efforts to Put Three Black History Landmarks on National List

Congressman makes case for Mt. Olivet Baptist Church, Dean’s Beauty Salon and Barber Shop, and the Golden West Hotel’s importance to city history and heritage.

PHOTOS: The Skanner Foundation 2022 Scholarship Recipients

Scholarships were awarded to an impressive group of 28 students at The Skanner Foundation 36th Annaul Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

Lawsuit Says New Majority Latino District in WA a 'Facade'

A Latino civil rights organization and others filed a federal lawsuit Wednesday that says new political maps in Washington state approved by a bipartisan redistricting panel intentionally dilute Hispanic voters' influence.

Washington Students' Test Scores Drop Significantly

Reports show that between 2019 and 2021, the overall percentage of students who met state standards on the math portion of the exam fell by 20 percentage points.

NEWS BRIEFS

PassinArt Introduces ‘Play Reading Mondays’

The Spanish Jade and The Learning Curve, both directed by William Earl Ray premiere in February ...

Revamped TriMet Website Makes Planning Trips Easier With Map-Based Tools

Riders can now track real-time locations of buses and trains on their smartphone ...

PHOTOS: Founder of The American History Traveling Museum: The Unspoken Truths Honored

Delbert Richardson's Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha XI Chapter fraternity brothers presented him a plaque that reads “Your commitment to...

St. Andrew Parish Announces 2022 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

Tony Jones was honored with the 2022 Parish Service Award, and the award for Community Service went to Terrance Moses ...

Culture + Trauma: An Artist Comes Home

An installation at the Alberta Arts Salon curated by Bobby Fouther is a visioning of the uncensored Black life. ...

Portland city workers take initial step toward strike

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — More than 1,100 municipal trade workers may strike as Portland leaders and a coalition of public employee unions remain at an impasse on a new contract agreement. Members of the District Council of Trade Unions (DCTU) voted to authorize a strike after...

Oregon residents decry proposed 'permanent' mask mandate

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Hundreds of Oregon residents claimed government overreach on Thursday, as officials at the state’s health authority consider indefinitely extending the current indoor mask requirement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Oregon Health Authority held a public...

UNLV promotes interim AD Harper to full-time job

LAS VEGAS (AP) — UNLV has promoted interim athletic director Erick Harper to serve in the job full time. Harper's hiring, announced on Monday, was effective Jan. 1. He had served as interim athletic director since Desiree Reed-Francois left UNLV for Missouri in August. ...

Army stuns Missouri in Armed Forces Bowl on last-second FG

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Cole Talley kicked a 41-yard field goal as time expired and Army rallied to beat Missouri 24-22 in the Armed Forces Bowl on Wednesday night. After the Tigers took a 22-21 lead on a touchdown with 1:11 to play, third-string quarterback Jabari Laws led Army...

OPINION

OP-ED: A House Divided Against Itself Cannot Stand

January 6th, Voting Rights and the Tyranny Threatening America ...

Support Nikole Hannah-Jones and The 1619 Project

This important and ambitious project pulled back the curtain of euphemistic rhetoric composing American historiography that points only to the good in our history and sweeps under the rug the evil deeds perpetrated against people of color ...

In 2021, Organized Labor is Again Flexing its Muscles

We have seen dramatic change in the makeup of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) under President Biden. ...

Study Reveals Racial Pay Gap for Social Media Influencers

The racial pay gap has long presented issues for African Americans in Corporate America and other industries. It’s now filtered to social media. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Jury in federal trial in Floyd killing appears mostly white

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A jury of 18 people who appeared mostly white was picked Thursday for the federal trial of three Minneapolis police officers charged in George Floyd’s killing, a case that the judge told potential jurors has “absolutely nothing” to do with race. The...

The 18 jurors picked for federal trial over Floyd's killing

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Eighteen people were picked to hear the federal case against three former Minneapolis officers who are charged with violating George Floyd's civil rights during the May 2020 arrest that led to the Black man's death. Twelve jurors will deliberate and six are alternates. Most...

'Sanford and Son' at 50, 'double-edged' Black sitcom pioneer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — When Demond Wilson heard that Redd Foxx was going to star in a TV sitcom, the actor brushed it off as a joke. Foxx was a killer stand-up comic, with a trademark raunchiness that Wilson figured to be a nonstarter for the timid broadcast networks that were...

ENTERTAINMENT

Review: 'Yinka, Where is Your Huzband' funny and big-hearted

NEW YORK (AP) — “Yinka, Where Is Your Huzband” by Lizzie Damilola Blackburn (Pamela Dorman Books) Yinka Oladeji is a 30-year-old, Oxford educated, British Nigerian woman with a good job, living in London who happens to be single. Her accomplishments should carry weight within...

Spears case drives California bid to limit conservatorships

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Disability rights activists and advocates for Britney Spears backed a California proposal Wednesday to provide more protections for those under court-ordered conservatorships, while promoting less-restrictive alternatives. Their move came as the volatile...

Review: ‘Delta Man’ spotlights Allison-Spehar partnership

“Delta Man,” Bobby Allison and Gerry Spehar (Independent) The new album by longtime songwriting collaborators Bobby Allison and Gerry Spehar includes an exuberant self-assessment on “Bubba Billy Boom Boom & Me,” a tune as entertaining as its title. “We was...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Georgia DA asks for special grand jury in election probe

ATLANTA (AP) — The Georgia prosecutor looking into possible attempts to interfere in the 2020 general election...

At 113, NAACP evolves for relevance on racial justice agenda

As the NAACP turns 113, look for its voice to grow louder on issues like climate change, the student debt crisis...

EXPLAINER: Why fear of 5G halting flights has faded

The rollout of new 5G wireless service in the U.S. failed to have the much-dreaded result of crippling air travel,...

EXPLAINER: How sweeping EU rules would curb tech companies

LONDON (AP) — Online companies would have to ramp up efforts to keep harmful content off their platforms and...

Serbia scraps planned Rio Tinto lithium mine after protests

BELGRADE, Serbia (AP) — Trying to defuse large protests by environmentalists, Serbia’s populist government...

Cuban protesters await sentencing, facing long prison terms

HAVANA (AP) — Cuban courts have wrapped up the hearing phase of six mass trials for people accused of...

Mike Householder the Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) -- A teacher fired from a Michigan middle school after encouraging students to raise money for the family of Florida teenager Trayvon Martin said Tuesday she is confused by the dismissal and wants the school's administration to explain.

Brooke Harris was dismissed in March from Pontiac Academy for Excellence after she supported students' efforts to plan a wear-a-hoodie-to-school day. Martin was wearing a hoodie Feb. 26 when he was shot to death by a neighborhood watch volunteer.

A number of groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery, Ala., have called for Harris to be reinstated.

"I'm really confused why I got fired," Harris told The Associated Press. "I don't think I did anything wrong."

According to the SPLC, a national civil rights group, Harris' eighth-grade journalism students asked her about the death of Martin, 17, who was unarmed when he was shot in Sanford, Fla. No charges have been filed.

Harris gave the students an editorial-writing assignment on the shooting. But the students wanted to raise money for Martin's family and asked the school's administrators if they could each pay $1 to wear hoodies instead of school uniforms for a day, the group said. It said the school regularly has fundraisers in which students are allowed to "dress down."

The 26-year-old English teacher said she approached school administrators "through the chain of command" but that Superintendent Jacqueline Cassell said the project could not go forward. Harris said she was in the process of explaining this decision to the students when she was called for a meeting with Cassell.



The superintendent suspended Harris for encouraging the students and then fired her after she showed up at the school to drop off prizes for students when she had been told to stay away, the SPLC said.

"I didn't tell the kids, `Let's go and do it anyway.'" Harris said. "I was actually, literally, in the process of talking to my kids about what we could do instead when (Cassell) requested the meeting with me and told me that I needed to let it go."

Cassell said she couldn't discuss personnel matters but that she wanted students to focus on learning, not activism.

"I'm a child of the civil rights movement," Cassell said. But "this is not the time in the school year" to distract students from academics.

"In every situation, there are work rules," she said. "When rules are violated, there are consequences."

Harris said her teaching record was clean and that Cassell "wouldn't let me defend myself."

Harris said she still wants someone from the school to provide more details on why she was fired.

"I just want a reason," Harris said. "She's got my phone number, and I'd appreciate if she'd tell me what I did wrong."

Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the Academy's decision was a "travesty" that would only hurt students.

"It taught the students who tried to organize and tried to raise their voice in terms of social justice that they will be repressed," Walid said at a news conference Tuesday morning at King Solomon Baptist that previewed a rally that evening at the Detroit church. "Instead of empowering our children ... the Pontiac Academy is actually teaching children to internalize oppression and internalize racism."

A few dozen people who attended the rally - including a number of clergy members and community activists - voiced their displeasure over both Martin's slaying as well as Harris' dismissal.

Speaker after speaker at the rally offered their support to Harris, who sat in a chair behind the podium and smiled and nodded in appreciation.

"We're ready to protest, we're ready to march, and we're even ready to give you legal counsel," Walid said, turning and looking at Harris. "If we can't settle this in the streets nonviolently, then maybe we need to settle it in the courts of law."

Charles Williams, the church's pastor, said that if Harris doesn't have her job back by Friday, he will lead a march at the school in Pontiac on Monday.

Harris wore a blazer to Tuesday's rally, but underneath it was a hoodie.

"I thought it was appropriate," she said.

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Associated Press writer David N. Goodman contributed to this report.

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Follow Mike Householder at http://twitter.com/mikehouseholder

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The Skanner Foundation's Martin Luther King, Jr. Breakfast

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