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NORTHWEST NEWS

Controversial Washington Lawmaker Spreads Views Across West

Republican Rep. Matt Shea was suspended from the Republican caucus in the wake of a December report that found he was involved in anti-government activities and several lawmakers have called on him to resign, something he says he will not do

2020 Census Begins in Remote Toksook Bay, Alaska

Census takers begin counting remainder of 220 remote Alaska villages as part of national headcount

St. Andrew Parish Presents 2020 Martin Luther King, Jr. Awards

The awards are given to people whose service embodies the values of Dr. King, who used nonviolence, civil disobedience, and Christian teaching to advance the cause of civil rights in America

The Skanner in Step With Changing Times

Celebrating a history of service

NEWS BRIEFS

Shari's Restaurants Celebrate National Pie Day

Receive a free slice of pie with any entrée purchase at participating Shari's locations from 4 p.m. till 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan....

Nashville Airport Store Seeks Works by African American Authors

The store, a namesake project of Mrs. Rosetta Miller-Perry and The Tennessee Tribune, will open March 2020 ...

Annual “Salute to Greatness” Luncheon Celebrating Students, Community & Civic Leaders

Keynote Speaker: Ms. Rukaiyah Adams, Chair of Oregon Investment Council & Chief Investment Officer at Meyer Memorial Trust....

Grant High School Students to Read Their Own Work at Broadway Books

Local author and writing instructor Joanna Rose will lead thegroup of young writers at the event to be held on Wednesday, January 22 ...

AG Rosenblum Announces $4 Million Settlement with CenturyLink

Since 2014, Oregon DOJ has received more than 1,200 consumer complaints about CenturyLink ...

Man convicted of murder in mother's death escapes custody

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — An Oregon resident who was convicted of murder in the death of his mother in her Eugene home in 2004 has escaped from the supervision of the Psychiatric Security Review Board, officials said.The Register-Guard reports the review board sent a notice Thursday asking for the...

Coalition of states sue over rules governing 3D-printed guns

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorneys general in 20 states and the District of Columbia filed a lawsuit Thursday challenging a federal regulation that could allow blueprints for making guns on 3D printers to be posted on the internet. New York Attorney General Tish James, who helped lead the coalition...

New Missouri coach Eli Drinkwitz predicts success

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz was saying all the right things after being introduced as the new football coach at Missouri, laying out his vision for the once-proud program with unwavering confidence and bold proclamations.Then the former Appalachian State coach made a minor...

LSU's Burrow, Auburn's Brown named AP SEC players of year

LSU quarterback Joe Burrow is a unanimous selection as the offensive player of the year on The Associated Press All-Southeastern Conference football team.The top-ranked Tigers also have the SEC’s coach of the year in Ed Orgeron and the newcomer of the year in freshman cornerback Derek...

OPINION

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 ...

How Putting Purpose Into Your New Year’s Resolutions Can Bring Meaning and Results

Only 4% of people report following through on all of the resolutions they personally set ...

I Was Just Thinking… Mama in the Classroom

I wrote my first column in 1988 for a local newspaper about a beloved Dallas guidance counselor and teacher that most students called “Mama” ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Democrats struggle to build broad support on eve of voting

OSAGE, Iowa (AP) — As Joe Biden wrapped a bus tour of Iowa this week, the elderly crowd gathered at VFW Hall 7920 was a stark reminder of the former vice president's struggle to attract young people. Bernie Sanders, meanwhile, needs to strengthen his standing with older voters. Elizabeth...

NFL initiative yields PSA on man killed by Dallas officer

DALLAS (AP) — A public service announcement honoring the life of a black man killed in his living room by a white Dallas police officer who said she mistook his apartment as her own debuted as part of an NFL initiative aiming to promote social justice and racial equality.The two-minute video...

Plea change set in African American church fire case

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A suspect set for trial next month in a series of fires at African American churches in Louisiana is now scheduled for a change-of-plea hearing. Holden Matthews has pleaded not guilty to federal charges arising from the arson fires at south Louisiana churches. However, a...

ENTERTAINMENT

'NewsHour' host and debate moderator Jim Lehrer dies at 85

NEW YORK (AP) — Jim Lehrer, longtime host of the nightly PBS “NewsHour” whose serious, sober demeanor made him the choice to moderate 11 presidential debates between 1988 and 2012, has died, PBS said Thursday. He was 85.Lehrer died “peacefully in his sleep,”...

Brittany Howard looks past and forward ahead of the Grammys

NEW YORK (AP) — Leaving a successful band is never easy. For Brittany Howard, stepping away from the roots-rockers Alabama Shakes wasn't easy — but it was necessary.“Being on my own was really important to me creatively. It was a really big risk and it was a really big...

Review: Um, what? 'The Turning' is a muddled take on madness

It's really not a good sign when a movie ends with a bold, shocking flourish and much of the audience can be heard muttering through the credits: “Wait, um ... WHAT?”Not, “Ooh” or “Wow” or “Hmm" or "Interesting!” Nope, this is more like an...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

15-year-old Gauff upsets '19 champ Osaka at Australian Open

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) — Coco Gauff plays nothing like what her age — still just 15 — or...

Russian Auschwitz survivor: Only coincidence that I lived

MOSCOW (AP) — The 75 years since Yevgeny Kovalev was a teenage prisoner in Auschwitz have been marked by...

Book reveals 2 fathers linked by grief to 2015 Paris attacks

PARIS (AP) — Lola Salines happily accepted the last-minute concert ticket from a friend the night of Nov....

Thunberg brushes off mockery from US finance chief

DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — Climate activist Greta Thunberg on Friday brushed off criticism and mockery from...

Russian Auschwitz survivor: Only coincidence that I lived

MOSCOW (AP) — The 75 years since Yevgeny Kovalev was a teenage prisoner in Auschwitz have been marked by...

N Korea names sharp-tongued army figure as foreign minister

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — North Korea has named a sharp-tongued former army officer with little foreign...

McMenamins
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."

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