04-22-2024  7:45 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
  • Cloud 9 Cannabis CEO and co-owner Sam Ward Jr., left, and co-owner Dennis Turner pose at their shop, Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024, in Arlington, Wash. Cloud 9 is one of the first dispensaries to open under the Washington Liquor and Cannabis Board's social equity program, established in efforts to remedy some of the disproportionate effects marijuana prohibition had on communities of color. (AP Photo/Lindsey Wasson)

    The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

    A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting.  Read More
  • Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

    Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

     Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color Read More
  • A woman gathers possessions to take before a homeless encampment was cleaned up in San Francisco, Aug. 29, 2023. The Supreme Court will hear its most significant case on homelessness in decades Monday, April 22, 2024, as record numbers of people in America are without a permanent place to live. The justices will consider a challenge to rulings from a California-based federal appeals court that found punishing people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to unconstitutional cruel and unusual punishment. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)

    Supreme Court to Weigh Bans on Sleeping Outdoors 

    The Supreme Court will consider whether banning homeless people from sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking amounts to cruel and unusual punishment on Monday. The case is considered the most significant to come before the high court in decades on homelessness, which is reaching record levels In California and other Western states. Courts have ruled that it’s unconstitutional to fine and arrest people sleeping in homeless encampments if shelter Read More
  • Richard Wallace, founder and director of Equity and Transformation, poses for a portrait at the Westside Justice Center, Friday, March 29, 2024, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Erin Hooley)

    Chicago's Response to Migrant Influx Stirs Longstanding Frustrations Among Black Residents

    With help from state and federal funds, the city has spent more than $300 million to provide housing, health care and more to over 38,000 mostly South American migrants. The speed with which these funds were marshaled has stirred widespread resentment among Black Chicagoans. But community leaders are trying to ease racial tensions and channel the public’s frustrations into agitating for the greater good. Read More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

Earth Day Announcement: Mt. Tabor Park Selected as a 2024 Leave No Trace Spotlight

Mt. Tabor Park is the only Oregon park and one of just 24 nationally to receive honor. ...

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon Launch Program to Expand Early Childhood Education Access Statewide

Funds include million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing. ...

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

Bank Announces 14th Annual “I Got Bank” Contest for Youth in Celebration of National Financial Literacy Month

The nation’s largest Black-owned bank will choose ten winners and award each a $1,000 savings account ...

With homelessness on the rise, the Supreme Court weighs bans on sleeping outdoors

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court wrestled with major questions about the growing issue of homelessness on Monday as it considered whether cities can punish people for sleeping outside when shelter space is lacking. It's the most significant case before the high court in decades...

Oregon lodge famously featured in 'The Shining' will reopen to guests after fire forced evacuations

GOVERNMENT CAMP, Ore. (AP) — Oregon's historic Timberline Lodge, which featured in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 film “The Shining,” will reopen to guests Sunday after a fire that prompted evacuations but caused only minimal damage. The lodge said Saturday in a Facebook post that it...

KC Current owners announce plans for stadium district along the Kansas City riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ownership group of the Kansas City Current announced plans Monday for the development of the Missouri River waterfront, where the club recently opened a purpose-built stadium for the National Women's Soccer League team. CPKC Stadium will serve as the hub...

Two-time world champ J’den Cox retires at US Olympic wrestling trials; 44-year-old reaches finals

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (AP) — J’den Cox walked off the mat after dropping a 2-2 decision to Kollin Moore at the U.S. Olympic wrestling trials on Friday night, leaving his shoes behind to a standing ovation. The bronze medal winner at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016 was beaten by...

OPINION

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Mississippi lawmakers move toward restoring voting rights to 32 felons as broader suffrage bill dies

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Mississippi legislators advanced bills Monday to give voting rights back to 32 people convicted of felonies, weeks after a Senate leader killed a broader bill that would have restored suffrage to many more people with criminal records. The move is necessary due...

William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist, scholar and friend of Malcom X, has died

BOSTON (AP) — William Strickland, a longtime civil rights activist and supporter of the Black Power movement who worked with Malcom X and other prominent leaders in the 1960s, has died. He was 87. Strickland, whose death April 10 was confirmed by a relative, first became active in...

Foundation to convene 3rd annual summit on anti-Asian hate, building AAPI coalitions

NEW YORK (AP) — A foundation launched in the wake of anti-Asian hate will hold a wide-ranging conference bringing together Asian American and Pacific Islander notable figures for a third year. The Asian American Foundation will hold a Heritage Month Summit next month in New York...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Toxic: How the search for the origins of COVID-19 turned politically poisonous

BEIJING (AP) — The hunt for the origins of COVID-19 has gone dark in China, the victim of political infighting...

Biden marks Earth Day by going after GOP, announcing billion in federal solar power grants

TRIANGLE, Virginia (AP) — President Joe Biden marked Earth Day by announcing billion in federal grants for...

Satellite photos suggest Iran air defense radar struck in Isfahan during apparent Israeli attack

JERUSALEM (AP) — Satellite photos taken Monday suggest an apparent Israeli retaliatory strike targeting Iran's...

Chinese general takes a harsh line on Taiwan and other disputes at an international naval gathering

QINGDAO, China (AP) — One of China's top military leaders took a harsh line on regional territorial disputes,...

Mexico's likely next president has a Jewish origin. Is that relevant in a deeply Catholic country?

MEXICO CITY (AP) — By mid-2024, Claudia Sheinbaum will most likely become Mexico’s first female president. She...

A cluster of earthquakes shakes Taiwan after a strong one killed 13 earlier this month

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A cluster of earthquakes struck Taiwan early on Tuesday, the strongest measuring 6.1...

Eric Arnold Oakland Local

Ed. Note: Oct. 25 marks one-year since Oakland Police clashed with one of the nation's largest Occupy encampments in front of Frank Ogawa Plaza. While there has been talk of attempts to retake the plaza to commemorate the anniversary, disputes within the movement may be helping to stymie efforts at reenergizing it.

A year ago, when Occupy Oakland began, it seemed like the beginnings of a new grassroots political movement, uniting social, economic and institutional justice movements under one banner.

Twelve months later - on the anniversary of the Oct. 25, 2011, police raid on Occupy's downtown encampment - the movement has become a mucked-up mess, smeared by in-fighting and finger-pointing, which has overshadowed its larger goals.

In the past few weeks, several Occupy-affiliated factions have issued pointed communiqués through various websites and blogs, both official and unofficial. Instead of focusing their energies on targeting an unjust system, what we've been seeing is — cue the banjoes — dueling propaganda aimed at internal divisions within the movement itself. The irony is so thick, you could cut it with a knife.

On Oct. 9, Oakland rapper Boots Riley, one of OO's more visible faces, wrote a Facebook post denouncing vandalism, which was widely circulated through the blogosphere. Riley stated, "The use of the blac bloc tactic in all situations is not useful. As a matter of fact, in situations such as the one we have in Oakland, its repeated use has become counter-revolutionary."

Riley went on to add, "When almost every conversation I have with folks from Oakland about Occupy Oakland has the smashing of windows brought up as a reason people don't like that grouping … it means the tactic is not working."

On Oct. 12, a poster identified as "OccupyTheMob" posted an online diatribe against the Oakland Commune – an OO-identified group largely populated by anarchists – whom it labeled "agents of mass vandalism" and a "racist, criminal organization" composed primarily of "a group of ideological extremists relocated to Oakland in order to foment chaos and destruction."

On Oct. 16, Occupy Oakland Media – a splinter group, which branched out from OccupyOakland.org and launched its own website last March – issued a "Collective Statement on the Oakland Commune." In it, OOMedia distanced itself from the Commune, who they called a "vanguard clique."

According to OOMedia, the Commune's "disruptive beliefs and actions" include: "embracing destruction for its own sake … actively co-opting the encampment by renaming it according to their values … shutting down all critical conversation of violence, vandalism and 'diversity of tactics' … alienating and swaying opinion against peaceful protesters … [and] planning to infiltrate and instigate unrest in Oakland with or without the participation or consent of the people."

OOMedia went on to note, in addition to an Oct. 25 press conference, they were planning to start "an apology campaign to heal the rift between the community and Occupy Oakland."

For many in the community who had initially been supportive of Occupy, but had grown disenchanted after it became evident that no disavowal of violent tactics and vandalism was forthcoming from OO's official media engine, this was exactly what they had hoped to hear. The only problem was, it seemed to come several months too late, long after the tens of thousands who shut down the Port of Oakland last Nov. 12 had stopped supporting the movement.

Nevertheless, the OOMedia statement caused a stir within Occupy circles and social media comment boards and quickly resonated throughout the remnants of the national Occupy movement.

As blogger Kevin Zeese posted on the Occupy Washington, D.C. website on Oct. 17, "Perhaps no other Occupy has seen the turn in fortunes that Occupy Oakland has seen. Initially it was one of the most successful occupies in the country, drawing tens of thousands to their events, shutting down the port, organizing a mass general strike and having broad appeal to a diverse group of Oaklanders. Then a cadre of Black Bloc - who, we are repeatedly told, are mostly white and come from out of town - began to vandalize stores and seek conflict with the police. Now, Occupy Oakland has shrunk and lost community support. This week it has taken the first steps toward re-starting."

However, on Oct. 19, the Occupy Oakland Tribune published an article, which later appeared on on IndyBay, challenging the credibility of OOMedia, claiming, "The Occupy Oakland Media Collective does not represent Occupy Oakland … . The only true representative of the movement is the General Assembly."

The article also noted, "Occupy Oakland does not have a position for or against vandalism and activists have varying attitudes toward this tactic," and stated – somewhat tellingly – "The General Assembly no longer has large enough attendance to reach quorum–requiring at least 75 people."

Not to be outdone, an Oct. 22 post on OccupyOakland.org - OO's "official" website - attributed to the Anti-Repression Committee responded to allegations over mismanagement of funds earmarked for bailing out arrested Occupiers, which were called "baseless accusations." The post went on to note numerous threats being made against Occupiers who have refused to disavow vandalism and property destruction, noting, "anarchists amongst us have been especially targeted with threats and vigilante violence.

"We are deeply concerned," the post continued, "by the increasing demonization of 'anarchists,' the 'black bloc,' and 'outsiders' now being conflated under the term the 'Oakland Commune.'"

It's hard to know what to make of the effort to reform OO – and the backlash against that effort. There's no way to tell at this point if this is an honest attempt by a sincere group to renounce tactics widely criticized as ineffective or just a nasty internal squabble that has become public. Without the consensus of a governing body, it's also questionable whether any entity has the power to quell individuals hell-bent on wreaking destruction in Occupy Oakland's name.

At this point, some of you are probably wondering, "will the real Occupy Oakland please stand up?" Many others probably stopped caring about OO long ago. A cynic might opine that Occupy protested itself into irrelevancy or point to the millions of dollars incurred by the city of Oakland in clean-up costs and police overtime. A keen observer might note that in addition to the co-option by anarchists espousing black bloc tactics who steered the movement toward destructive ends, OO lost sight of its original goals - namely, being in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street actions against corrupt banks and connecting that struggle to the foreclosure crisis in the Bay Area, as well as ongoing social justice and police accountability efforts.

While the seemingly inexorable march toward federal receivership of the embattled Oakland Police Department initially got a boost from egregious use-of-force violations during Occupy protests, the ongoing "F—k The Police" marches - many of which have resulted in random acts of property destruction - have only sparked public outrage. In and of themselves, they've had no impact whatsoever on the ongoing court proceedings over police reform, which have been going on since 2003.

The anti-police, pro-vandalism FTP events became, for many, the most visible evidence of Occupy's continued existence in the several months since the eviction of the encampment. However, they've also completely obscured – and acted counter-intuitively to – a widely-overlooked fact: During the week of the raid on the encampment, crime in Oakland dropped 19 percent overall.

In hindsight, that statistic stands out. It seems to suggest that while Occupy remained focused on nonviolent, peaceful protest and continued to draw large numbers of Oakland residents to Ogawa Plaza area, it had a calming effect on the city, deterring crimes, which might have taken place elsewhere. That's something to keep in mind, especially given OPD's recent report that crime is up 20 percent citywide.

As we approach the presidential election of 2012, the great tragedy of Occupy Oakland is what might have been.

Had OO not dissolved into open dissent against itself, it might have continued to influence the national debate over social and economic inequity, perhaps to the point of generating a headwind of momentum toward electoral change. A once-inclusive vision became myopic. That's a shame, because as the third Obama-Romney debate showed, there is not nearly enough separation between Democratic and Republican positions on many issues, both domestic and foreign. Without the swell of populist support Occupy could have provided, in all likelihood, the November election will not result in the meaningful systemic overhaul Occupiers had hoped their grassroots movement would spark a year ago.

The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast