10-19-2019  5:22 am   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Washington State to Vote on Affirmative Action Referendum

More than two decades after voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered in state employment, contracting, colleges admissions is back on the ballot

Merkley Introduces Legislation that Protects Access to Health Care for Those Who Cannot Afford Bail

Under current law, individuals in custody who have not been convicted of a crime are denied Medicare, Medicaid, and veterans’ benefits

New County Hire Aims to Build Trust, Transparency Between Community and Public Safety Officials

Leneice Rice will serve as a liaison focused on documenting and reporting feedback from a community whose faith in law enforcement has been tested

Hank Willis Thomas Exhibit Opens at Portland Art Museum

One of the most important conceptual artists of our time, his works examine the representation of race and the politics of visual culture

NEWS BRIEFS

GFO Offers African Americans Help in Solving Family Mysteries

The Genealogical Forum of Oregon is holding an African American Special Interest Group Saturday, Oct. 19 ...

Third Annual NAMC-WA Gala Features Leader on Minority Business Development

The topic of the Washington Chapter of the National Association of Minority Contractors' event was 'Community and Collaboration' ...

Building Bridges Event Aims to Strengthen Trust Between Communities

The 4th Annual Building Bridges of Understanding in Our Communities: Confronting Hate will be held in Tigard on...

The Black Man Project Kicks Off National Tour in Seattle

The first in a series of interactive conversations focused on Black men and vulnerability takes place in Seattle on October 25 ...

Protesters Rally in Ashland to Demand 'Impeach Trump Now'

Activists are rallying in Ashland Sunday Oct, 13 to demand impeachment proceedings ...

Oregon panel recommends barring ICE from courthouse arrests

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Seeking to halt federal agents from arresting people in courthouses for immigration violations, a panel of judges in Oregon has asked the state's Supreme Court chief justice to impose a rule stating that no one should be subjected to arrest without a warrant.Several judges...

Washington state to vote on affirmative action referendum

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — More than two decades after Washington state voters banned affirmative action, the question of whether one's minority status should be considered as a contributing factor in state employment, contracting and admission to public colleges and universities is back on the...

No. 22 Missouri heads to Vandy, 1st road trip since opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Missouri coach Barry Odom knows only too well the dangers of going on the road and how a few mistakes can prove very costly.While some of his players my not remember that stunning loss at Wyoming to open this season, Odom hasn't forgotten."We're going to treat it just...

No. 22 Missouri ready to test road skills at Vanderbilt

No. 22 Missouri (5-1, 2-0 SEC) at Vanderbilt (1-5, 0-3), Saturday at 4 p.m. EDT (SEC Network).Line: Missouri by 20 1/2.Series record: Missouri 7-3-1.WHAT'S AT STAKE?Missouri can show they play as well on the road as at home coming off a five-game home stand. A win keeps them atop the SEC East....

OPINION

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

“Hell No!” That Is My Message to Those Who Would Divide Us 

Upon release from the South African jail, Nelson Mandela told UAW Local 600 members “It is you who have made the United States of America a superpower, a leader of the world" ...

Rep. Janelle Bynum Issues Response to the Latest Statement from Clackamas Town Center

State legislator questions official response after daughter questioned for ‘loitering’ in parking lot ...

Why Would HUD Gut Its Own Disparate Impact Rule?

"You can’t expand housing rights by limiting civil protections. The ’D’ in HUD doesn’t stand for ‘Discrimination’" ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Sharpton searches for the words to eulogize _ and galvanize

A life taken at the hands of police. A grieving family. A divided nation. A stirring eulogy by the Rev. Al Sharpton.The 65-year-old civil rights activist has become a constant of the Black Lives Matter era with his presence in the pulpit after police shootings of African Americans, showing up in...

Buttigieg removes attorney from fundraiser after backlash

WASHINGTON (AP) — Pete Buttigieg is returning campaign contributions from a former Chicago city attorney who led a vigorous effort to block the release of a video depicting the shooting of Laquan McDonald , a black teenager whose death at the hands of police stirred months of protest and...

Wisconsin students walk out to protest racial slur firing

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Students at a Wisconsin high school skipped class Friday and marched through the streets of the state capital to protest the firing of a black security guard who was terminated for repeating a racial slur while telling a student not to call him that word.Scores of...

ENTERTAINMENT

Adam Lambert: Happy to see more LGBTQ artists find success

NEW YORK (AP) — Adam Lambert, who rose on the music scene as the runner-up on "America Idol" in 2009, says he's happy to see more mainstream LGBTQ artists find major success."I think it's less taboo to be queer in the music industry now because there's so many cases you can point to like,...

Jane Fonda returns to civil disobedience for climate change

WASHINGTON (AP) — Inspired by the climate activism of a Swedish teenager, Jane Fonda says she's returning to civil disobedience nearly a half-century after she was last arrested at a protest.Fonda, known for her opposition to the Vietnam War, was one of 17 climate protesters was arrested...

Naomi Wolf and publisher part ways amid delay of new book

NEW YORK (AP) — Naomi Wolf and her U.S. publisher have split up amid a dispute over her latest book, "Outrages."Wolf and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt announced separately Friday that they had "mutually and amicably agreed to part company" and that Houghton would not be releasing "Outrages."...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

LeMahieu, Hicks lift Yanks over Astros, close to 3-2 in ALCS

NEW YORK (AP) — James Paxton was filled with nerves, and so were New York Yankees fans, worried the season...

Asylum-seeking Mexicans are more prominent at US border

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico (AP) — Lizbeth Garcia tended to her 3-year-old son outside a tent pitched on a...

Trump outstripping Obama on pace of executive orders

WASHINGTON (AP) — It wasn't too long ago that Donald Trump derided presidential executive orders as "power...

Millions march in Iraq in annual Arbaeen Shiite pilgrimage

KARBALA, Iraq (AP) — Millions of pilgrims made their way on foot to the Iraqi city of Karbala on Saturday...

Officials: Blast at Afghan mosque kills 62 during prayers

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — An explosion rocked a mosque in eastern Afghanistan as dozens of people gathered...

Failed raid against El Chapo's son leaves 8 dead in Mexico

CULIACAN, Mexico (AP) — Mexican security forces aborted an attempt to capture a son of imprisoned drug lord...

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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