10-05-2022  10:50 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Media Roundtable in Renton Helps Set the Stage for the Nov. 8 General Election

Washington Secretary of State Steve Hobbs and King County Elections Director Julie Wise addressed election myths, issues, challenges, and opportunities. Event included a guided tour of King County’s elections headquarters.

University of Portland Begins New School Year with First Black President

Robert Kelly is also the first non-priest to lead the private Catholic university.

Tiny Oregon Town Hosts 1st Wind-Solar-Battery 'Hybrid' Plant

A renewable energy plant being commissioned in Oregon combines solar power, wind power and massive batteries to store the energy generated there is the first utility-scale plant of its kind in North America.

Update: State Senator Weighs in on Lottery Issues

Sen. James Manning of Eugene voices concerns about the Lottery’s special treatment of two of its managers

NEWS BRIEFS

Bonamici to Host Webinar on Student Loan Forgiveness Plan

On Thursday, Oct. 6 Congress member Suzanne Bonamici will host a webinar on the Biden-Harris Administration’s transformational...

SUNDAY: “No More Gun Violence” Block Party in North Portland

Event marks final in summer series aimed at bringing people together to reclaim their neighborhoods and fight for a future free of gun...

HBCU Homecoming Experience Highlighted at National Museum of African American History and Culture

Museum will also highlight stories of LGBTQIA+ African Americans (and allies) for LGBT History Month ...

Morrison Bridge to Close for Paint Project Work

The Morrison Bridge will close on October 14-17 and October 21-24 starting at 10 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday. ...

Lawyer: Wash. ruling in Black man's case showed racial bias

SEATTLE (AP) — The attorney for a Black man serving a virtual life sentence for shootings he committed at 17 has asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider a split ruling that upheld his sentence, saying the leniency it granted white defendants in similar situations reveals racial bias. ...

Settlement reached in fatal police shooting lawsuit

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — The City Council in Vancouver, Washington, has approved a 5,000 settlement in the police shooting of a man who was experiencing a mental health crisis in April 2020. William Abbe, 50, was shot and killed by three Vancouver police officers. The shooting was...

No. 2 Georgia's defense looking to reclaim championship form

ATHENS, Ga. (AP) — Back-to-back unimpressive wins over Kent State and Missouri did more than knock Georgia from the top spot in the AP Top 25. Giving up 22 points in each of the two games also put at least a temporary end to talk that No. 2 Georgia's defense can match the standard...

AP Top 25 Takeaways: Bleak outlooks for Oklahoma, Wisconsin

Can't hide problems when conference play starts. The second month of the college football season often reveals issues that nonconference play might have masked and which teams could be in for long seasons. Things have quickly gotten bleak for No. 18 Oklahoma and...

OPINION

No Room for Black Folk

A recent interview with Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and an associate professor, reveals the inability of certain white Americans to share the benefits of our society ...

The Cruelty of Exploiting Vulnerable People for Political Advantage

There is always a new low for Trump Republicans. And that is pretty frightening. ...

The Military to American Youth: You Belong to Me

The U.S. military needs more than just money in its annual budget. It needs access to America’s young people as well — their wallets, their bodies, and their minds. ...

Financial Fairness at Risk With Proposed TD Bank-First Horizon Merger

As banks grow larger through mergers and focus on growing online and mobile services, serious concerns emerge on how fair and how accessible banking will be to traditionally underserved Black and Latino communities. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Low-income communities learn to tackle climate-fueled heat

PHOENIX (AP) — Reggie Carrillo knows firsthand that where you live can determine how hot your neighborhood gets. The environmental activist and educator resides in a largely Mexican American area of south-central Phoenix, where segregation once forced Black and Hispanic people to...

Lawyer: Wash. ruling in Black man's case showed racial bias

SEATTLE (AP) — The attorney for a Black man serving a virtual life sentence for shootings he committed at 17 has asked the Washington Supreme Court to reconsider a split ruling that upheld his sentence, saying the leniency it granted white defendants in similar situations reveals racial bias. ...

NC judge suspends sheriff taped disparaging Black employees

WHITEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A North Carolina judge has suspended a sheriff who was recorded calling Black employees by derogatory names and saying they should be fired. The suspension of Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene on Tuesday comes after District Attorney Jon David sought his...

ENTERTAINMENT

Ringo Starr tour on hold as he recovers from COVID-19

NEW YORK (AP) — Ringo Starr has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the former Beatle to cancel several scheduled concerts in Canada with his All Starr Band. Five concert dates from Tuesday to Sunday — in Winnipeg, Manitoba; Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Lethbridge, Alberta; and the...

With Geffen Hall, NY Phil gets a fresh, better sounding home

NEW YORK (AP) — Forced from their offices early in the pandemic, key leaders of the New York Philharmonic and Lincoln Center met in July 2020 under the trees of the venue’s Capital Grove patio to try to finally solve a decadeslong problem. Could they accelerate the timetable to...

‘A Soldier’s Play’ playwright Charles Fuller dies at 83

NEW YORK (AP) — Charles Fuller, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright of the searing and acclaimed “A Soldier’s Play” who often explored and exposed how social institutions can perpetuate racism, has died. He was 83. Fuller died of natural causes on Monday in Toronto, said his...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Ian deals blow to Florida's teetering insurance sector

Daniel Kelly and his wife bought a 1977 doublewide mobile home in May for about ,000 at Tropicana Sands, a...

Ukraine nuclear workers recount abuse, threats from Russians

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Alone in his apartment in the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar in southeastern...

Fan who caught Judge's 62nd HR unsure what he'll do with it

ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — As he walked through a concourse in the outfield at Globe Life Field, high-fiving with...

Trial begins in Spain over 2013 train crash that killed 80

MADRID (AP) — A trial opened Wednesday in Spain over a 2013 train derailment that killed 80 passengers and...

Ethiopia turns over alleged people smuggler to Netherlands

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Ethiopia has turned over to Dutch judicial authorities a 38-year-old Eritrean man...

EU agrees on price cap for Russian oil over Ukraine war

BRUSSELS (AP) — European Union countries agreed Wednesday to impose a price cap on Russian oil and other new...

Moni Basu and Daphne Sashin CNN

(CNN) -- It was a homecoming rally to cheer on the Waverly Wolverines football team. They were undefeated this year. Everyone was proud.

Then, in the midst of the cheers and a sea of red and white pom poms came a 30-second skit that, for some, turned an afternoon of school pride into one of shame.



Three white male students involved in the skit made light of domestic violence, and they did it in racist manner, say some.

Two were in blackface as they re-enacted a 2009 domestic abuse incident in which singer Chris Brown assaulted then-girlfriend Rihanna. The student who played Brown was vying for the school's "Mr. Waverly" title -- a school tradition in which skits are performed and the one that garners the most applause wins the title.

On Monday, Waverly alum Matthew Dishler posted a photograph of the skit on CNN's iReport. He says someone shared the image on Facebook.

The photo went viral.

By Tuesday afternoon, the CNN iReport had more than 46,000 views and showed up on Huffington Post, Buzzfeed and Gawker and in local newspapers.

Suddenly, Waverly High School became synonymous with racism and sexism.

Twitter lit up with comments about the skit. Many were critical, but some defended the skit.

"I don't think it was offensive at all," said Chelsea House, who earned her high school diploma from Waverly last year and moved to Alabama but returned for homecoming last week and saw the skit.

"There's nothing wrong with blackface. There's nothing wrong with dressing up as a black person. Black is but a color," House said.



Waverly Central School District Superintendent Joseph Yelich said Tuesday that he did not believe the students in the skit intended to offend anyone.

Waverly resident Thomas Rumpff, a 2007 graduate of the high school, said he believed most of the kids were unaware of the historical context of blackface, a form of theatrical makeup used by white people in minstrel shows that perpetuated racist stereotypes of African-Americans.

Rumpff said the Rihanna incident had also been satirized online and on television before.

"Was this a little bit inappropriate? Yes," he said. But said the incident "has been completely blown out of proportion."

Other incidents of blackface have surfaced this year, including a Colorado Springs second-grader who offended a teacher when he painted his face black to resemble the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

The Waverly High skit was approved by school officials before it was performed, Yelich said. He acknowledged the problem and said he was speaking with students, teachers and staff at the school in the coming days.

"My concern is to start making something teachable out of this particular circumstance," he said.

The desire to win likely fuels outrageous behavior, said Fran Bialy, assistant director of A New Hope Center, an agency that aids victims of rape, domestic violence, assault and hate crimes.

Other skits at the pep rally involved Tarzan and a dairy farmer milking his cows. Last year, a student played Tiger Woods, also in blackface. "I have heard about blackface, but ... they're portraying Hollywood events," alum Ryan Bronson said. "It would be the same thing if he bought a mask."

Bottom line, Bronson said: People are being too sensitive.

"They go crazy about every little thing," he said. "The school and everybody are going to basically stop letting kids be kids."

Dishler said he posted the image not to cast a harsh light on anyone but to prod the school to do better with issues of diversity.

"I don't believe the kids really knew what they were doing is as offensive as it is," Dishler said. "The administration was watching this go on, and they let it happen."

Alum Vlad Chituc also blamed school officials.

He said Waverly, a small town off Interstate 86 just west of Binghamton, New York, could easily be seen as a place that affirmed stereotypes of all sorts.

Of Waverly's 4,444 people, 4,312 were white, according to 2010 census data.

Chituc said he was "extraordinarily offended" by the skit and ashamed that his school seemed to be OK with it.

"On the one hand, I can't blame the kids for being ignorant," Chituc said. "It's a small town, and the kids don't know any better. It's the responsibility of the administration to let the kids know this is not how you behave in 21st-century America. ... They've been failing at that spectacularly.

"The administration should be creating an environment where minorities are welcome, not the butts of racist jokes that make light of domestic violence."

Chituc contacted Waverly High School Principal Kim Forero by e-mail.

He sent CNN Forero's response, which read in part:

"Thank you for your concerns. We will continue to address issues of diversity and respect for all. The format of pep rally will need to be reconsidered. I appreciate your concern for your alma mater."

Yelich, for his part, said he could see how the skit could have been misconstrued and that he intends to set clearer expectations for behavior.

"I have some opportunities here to make positive change," he said.

CNN was not able to obtain the names of the students involved in the skit.

Whatever their intentions were, one thing was clear: Their portrayals of Chris Brown and Rihanna fell short -- the kid who played the dairy farmer was crowned Mr. Waverly.

CNN's Katie Hawkins-Gaar contributed to this report.

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