02-25-2021  5:52 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Black Restaurant Week Comes to Portland

National event highlights Black-owned restaurants, cafes, and food trucks, creates countrywide database to support Black businesses

Portland Police Launch Team to Investigate Shootings

 The Enhanced Community Safety Team will be comprised of three sergeants, 12 officers and six detectives, and will staff a seven-member on-call unit to respond to shooting scenes, examine evidence, interview witnesses and do immediate follow-up investigations

Oregon National Guard Deploys As Power Outages Persist

The Oregon National Guard will go door-to-door in areas hardest hit by last weekend’s ice storm to make sure residents who have been without power for a week have enough food and water

Vancouver Drops Most Police Killing Protest Charges

Hundreds marched through the city from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 to protest the shooting death of Kevin Peterson Jr. by two Clark County Sheriff’s Office detectives

NEWS BRIEFS

Seattle Black Artist To Be Featured in Amazon Prime Series

The Northwest African American Museum (NAAM), in Seattle, Washington, is launching a call for artist...

NIKE, Inc. and Goalsetter Partner to Increase Financial Literacy Among America’s Youth

Goalsetter uses digital platforms to engage youth and help them better understand financial well-being, while saving for their future ...

Six Trailblazing Black Judges to Discuss Overcoming Challenges Feb. 26

The online program panel judges include Justice Adrienne Nelson, the first Black justice of the Oregon Supreme Court and the first...

Launch of the Center for Black Entrepreneurship to Help Fuel Black Innovation

The facility is the first-ever academic center of its kind to assemble, educate and empower a new class of Black entrepreneurial...

Medical Centre to Screen Film and Hold Panel on Black Men in Medicine

Seattle-based Virginia Mason Franciscan Health has invited 100 students to take part in the virtual event, which aims to inspire Black...

Oregon Senate hit by another GOP boycott, now over COVID-19

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Republicans in the Oregon Senate boycotted Thursday's session, using a tactic they have employed in the past two years to assert their will by stopping work in the Democratic-led Legislature — this time over the state's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.Senate...

Governor extends Oregon’s state of emergency due to COVID-19

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Gov. Kate Brown on Thursday extended Oregon’s declaration of a state of emergency until May 2 as confirmed COVID-19 cases drop but hundreds of new cases continue to be reported daily.“Throughout the pandemic, Oregonians have made smart choices that have...

Ex-Cardinals coach Wilks new defensive coordinator at Mizzou

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Steve Wilks is returning to coaching as the defensive coordinator at Missouri.Wilks, who was hired by Tigers coach Eli Drinkwitz on Thursday, took last year off after spending the previous 14 seasons in the NFL. The stint was highlighted by a year as the head coach of...

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

OPINION

Democracy and White Privilege

“White Nationalists” who believe that America only belongs to its “White” citizens, who live and have lived according to “White Privilege” are ignoring the words of the Declaration of Independence ...

The Leadership Conference Submits Letter in Support of H.R. 40

H.R. 40 finally forces the U.S. government to recognize and make amends for the decades of economic enrichment that have benefited this nation as a result of the free labor that African slaves were forced to provide ...

Letter to the Editor Re: Zenith Energy

The time is now for Portland City Council to stop Zenith Energy’s transporting fossil fuels into and out of our city. ...

The Heroes Within Us

Black History Month, as it exists today, continues the practice of “othering” Black people in America. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

BLM launches Survival Fund amid federal COVID-19 relief wait

NEW YORK (AP) — The Black Lives Matter Global Network Foundation is formally expanding a million financial relief fund that it quietly launched earlier this month, to help people struggling to make ends meet during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.The foundation, which grew out of the...

Chief: Police heeded Capitol attack warnings but overwhelmed

WASHINGTON (AP) — Lawmakers pressed the acting U.S. Capitol Police chief Thursday to explain why the force wasn't prepared to fend off a violent mob of insurrectionists even though officials had compiled specific, compelling intelligence that extremists were likely to attack Congress and try...

US Park Police names Pamela Smith its 1st Black female chief

WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. Park Police on Thursday named Pamela Smith as its new chief, making her the first Black woman to lead the 230-year-old law enforcement agency.Smith, a 23-year veteran of the force, announced she would begin her term by establishing body-worn cameras for all Park...

ENTERTAINMENT

'Blinding Lights' and more hits the Grammys left in the dark

NEW YORK (AP) — The wattage in The Weeknd’s “Blinding Lights” wasn’t strong enough to compete at the Grammys – but the song isn’t the only electrifying No. 1 hit that the Recording Academy snubbed.The Weeknd joins an exclusive club of songs that were...

Quotes from Stephen King interview with The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King spoke recently to The Associated Press recently about his new novel, “Later,” but he also covered topics ranging from the famous people who have turned up at his readings to what happens when he looks up his own name on the Internet. And he think he...

Stephen King talks about crime, creativity and new novel

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen King doesn't think of himself as a horror writer. “My view has always been you can call me whatever you want as long as the checks don't bounce,” King told The Associated Press during a recent telephone interview. “My idea is to tell a good story,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Medical oxygen scarce in Africa, Latin America amid virus

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) — A crisis over the supply of medical oxygen for coronavirus patients has struck...

Brazil death toll tops 250,000, virus still running rampant

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll, which surpassed 250,000 on Thursday, is the...

Amnesty report describes Axum massacre in Ethiopia's Tigray

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — Soldiers from Eritrea systematically killed “many hundreds” of people,...

New US envoy starts challenge to restore US on world stage

UNITED NATIONS (AP) — Linda Thomas-Greenfield presented her credentials as U.S. ambassador to the United...

8 dead, including prison director, after Haiti jail break

CROIX-DES-BOUQUETS, Haiti (AP) — A prison director was among at least eight people killed on Thursday after...

EXPLAINER: Why is Facebook banning Myanmar military pages?

Facebook announced Thursday that it is removing all remaining Myanmar military and military-controlled pages from...

Ravi Ventkataraman New America Media/ Iexaminer.org

A week before his wedding on a summer night in 1982, Vincent Chin was enjoying his bachelor party at a suburban Detroit strip club. As the party continued on, Chin came across two laid-off autoworkers, Ronald Ebens and his stepson Michael Nitz. Tensions ran high as they traded insults.



"It's because of you little m—f—s that we're out of work," Ebens was heard saying. Like many others during that time, Ebens and Nitz blamed the Japanese for the U.S. auto industry's decline. Its impact was particularly noticed in Detroit. Chin, a Chinese-American draftsman, was the scapegoat.



A fight ensued. The wedding party and the autoworkers were thrown out of the bar. But that wasn't the end of it. Ebens and Nitz searched the area for Chin; they reportedly paid $20 to a friend to help search. The two found Chin at a nearby McDonalds. They dragged him out. Nitz held him down as Ebens clubbed Chin four times with a baseball bat.



"It's not fair," Chin spoke his last words to a friend. Chin slipped into a coma and four days later, he died in a hospital.



Thirty years after his death, Asian Americans across the nation are paying their respects to Chin: a man who died needlessly and whose death sparked many Asian Americans to argue for their civil rights throughout the 1980s and 1990s.



"I remember being shocked when I learned what had happened," Ron Chew, a prominent community organizer in Seattle, said. "In my mind, it harkened back to the anti-Chinese violence of the late 1800s and the attitudes which fueled the Japanese American internment."



In 1983, Ebens and Nitz were found guilty of manslaughter and charged three years of probation, a $3,000 fine, and $780 in court fees. For the next five years, journalist Helen Zia and lawyer Liza Cheuk May Chan contested the outcome and led the fight for federal charges.



"I remember when suddenly we all realized that it wasn't just one person we knew who seemed to have been a victim of hate crime, that it was a larger issue," said Connie So, a senior lecturer in the American Ethnic Studies department at the University of Washington.



For the first time, the Asian American community crossed ethnic boundaries and fought together for justice. Groups such as Chinese for Affirmative Action, Japanese American Citizens League, Organization of Chinese Americans, Filipino American Community Council of Michigan, and Korean Society of Metropolitan Detroit staged rallies and organized demonstrations. They demanded in writ to politicians, the press and the U.S. Department of Justice for rightful punishment for the two men violating Chin's civil rights. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center (APALC) took initiative and spoke up.



"We tried to develop a campaign to get us and the American Citizens of Justice to bring a federal civil rights prosecution against the two killers," Steven Kwoh, president and executive director of APALC, said. Together, the APALC and American Citizens of Justice (ACJ) sent a memorandum outlining the case to the U.S. Department of Justice.



In 1984, all of these efforts led to a federal civil rights case. The court found Ebens guilty of violating Chin's civil rights; he was sentenced to 25 years in prison, but posted bail for $20,000. Nitz was cleared of charges. However, an appeal in 1986 overturned Ebens' conviction—because the federal appeals court discovered an attorney improperly coached witnesses. The retrial in 1987 in Cincinnati, Ohio cleared Ebens of all charges.



The generalized disparaging view of Asian Americans and a skewed justice system—a system that placed a retrial in a city where out of 200 potential jurors, only 19 had ever encountered an Asian American—made many Asian Americans take initiative.



"I think the whole pan-Asian civil rights movement began with Vincent Chin," said So. "It was a movement that had a lot of people thinking beyond just being Chinese, just being Japanese, just being South Asian or Asian Indian, because a lot of people saw that these issues impact everyone.



"Hate crimes is one that pulls people together. The Vincent Chin trial showed that it's pan-Asian. People really don't separate."



Organizations became stronger to protect communities.



"We were outraged that the court system failed in getting justice for the family," Kwoh said. "So, we have tried to strengthen our organization to help out more families. We helped initiate the Asian American Justice Center to work nationally to fight against crimes and civil rights cases. That started up in 1990. At the legal center, there's a hate crimes monitoring system we still track."



The Vincent Chin case opened up this nationwide issue to the public eye. Hate crime victims such as Navrose Mody in New Jersey and Jim Loo in North Carolina were given the due process of law because of the case.



Yet even with these civil rights protections, the Asian American community needs to be watchful. Existing social stigmas still aren't in favor of Asian Americans.



"When it comes to things like model minority, a lot of Asian Americans may think it's very positive, but actually, it's all yellow peril," So said. She added that the stereotype of Asian Americans as foreigners taking American jobs, plus the shift of military and economic rivalry from Japan to China contributes to the consistent viewpoint.



"In fact, every Asian group inherits each of these because people don't tell Asians apart," So said. "What we show is that it still continues on."



In the past three years, data released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation show a rise in hate crimes directed at Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. In 2008, 3.4 percent of race-related hate crimes were targeted toward Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. That percentage rose to 3.7 percent in 2009 and then to 5.1 percent in 2010. This resurgence is because of numerous aspects, most notably the economic state of the U.S. and the rise of the East.



"The hatred and distrust of Japan that we saw in the 1970s and 80s is mirrored in some of the growing public attitudes about China—and this has implications for Asians here in this country," Chew said. "It's important to be reminded of the Vincent Chin case because we need to be constantly vigilant against attitudes of intolerance fed by stereotypes and cultural differences during times of economic stress."

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