08-04-2020  10:13 pm   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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Portland Police Declare Unlawful Assembly During Protest

Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley and Portland City Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty addressed event organised by NAACP focused on Black Lives Matter

Shootings Increase During Portland Protests

Between June 1 and end July 31, 2020 there were 125 reported shootings compared to a total of 59 shootings in 2019

Portland Protest Scene Relatively Calm After US Drawdown

Under the deal announced by Governor Kate Brown, the federal agents will withdraw in phases.

Portland Approves $114 M Relief Budget with Focus on Communities of Color

Commissioner Jo Ann Hardesty voted no, arguing for better houseless resources.


New Rule by The U.S. Department of Education Would Misdirect $11M from Oregon Public Schools

U.S. Rep. Suzanne Bonamici, Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley, and Reps. Peter DeFazio and Earl Blumenauer called a...

Barbara Bush Foundation Partners with Barbershop Books and Penguin to Provide Child-Friendly Reading Spaces in Baltimore and Detroit Barbershops

Developed in Harlem, Barbershop Books is a community-based program that leverages the cultural significance of barbershops in...

All Classical Portland Awards Grant to Support Emmanuel Henreid's 'Livin' in the Light'

Livin’ in the Light documents Onry’s experience as a Black, male, professional opera and crossover singer in Portland, Ore. ...

House Approves Legislation to Stop Trump Attack on Fair Housing

Ocasio-Cortez, Blumenauer amendment would block rollback of anti-discrimination rule ...

Louis Mair Named as New Principal at Harriet Tubman Middle School

Louis comes to Harriet Tubman from Georgia, where he was a leader in building an inclusive and supportive learning community. ...

Inslee advances to November ballot in governor's race

OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democratic incumbent Gov. Jay Inslee easily advanced through Tuesday’s primary, and Republican police Chief Loren Culp took a strong lead over other Republican challengers who were vying to join Inslee on the November ballot.And in the race for lieutenant...

Seattle mayor, police chief urge slow down of police cuts

SEATTLE (AP) — Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan and police Chief Carmen Best said Tuesday they are against proposals by City Council members to reduce the police force by as many as 100 officers this year through layoffs and attrition.In a remote news conference, Durkan and Best urged the council...

Missouri's Drinkwitz takes side in mask-or-no-mask debate

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Eli Drinkwitz has been the head coach at Missouri for just over seven months. He has yet to lead the Tigers onto the football field, much less win a game, yet his role in the community already has forced him to take some important stands.First, it was supporting his new...

Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner hurt in jet ski accident

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Iowa defensive back Jack Koerner sustained serious injuries when he and a passenger on a jet ski collided with a boat on the Lake of the Ozarks in Missouri.According to a police report, Koerner and Cole Coffin were hurt at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when their watercraft...


Da 5 Bloods and America Abroad

Even before I returned to the United States from my combat tour in Vietnam, I had decided that we were fighting an unjust war. ...

Falling Behind: COVID, Climate Change, and Chaos

Multiple Crises, Multiple Obstacles ...

Bill Deiz urges Oregonians to Defend their Constitutional Rights

Elements of federal police, sent in by our president, are nightly tormenting our citizens with tear gas, impact munitions, kidnappings and beatings, and other criminal acts, in order to suppress our rights of free speech and free assembly ...

The Power of Love

Powerful lessons for me today on forgiveness. ...


St. Louis prosecutor chided by Trump wins primary race

ST. LOUIS (AP) — St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, whose job performance has been lauded by some civil rights activists and criticized by President Donald Trump and other leading Republicans, held off a challenge from a former homicide prosecutor in Tuesday’s primary...

Police facing scrutiny in Elijah McClain case get new chief

DENVER (AP) — The interim chief of a suburban Denver police department has become the first woman to permanently lead the agency that's looking to regain public trust following a tumultuous year since the death of Elijah McClain, a 23-year-old Black man officers stopped on the street and put...

Washington lawsuit says protective gear costs impede protest

SEATTLE (AP) — A lawsuit filed in Washington state claims the costs of protective clothing and equipment has impeded the civil rights of Black Lives Matter protesters.The lawsuit filed by five plaintiffs in U.S. District Court in Seattle alleges their right to peacefully demonstrate is hurt...


Review: More supernatural horror from ‘The Strain’ writers

“The Hollow Ones: The Blackwood Tapes Vol. 1,” by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan (Hachette Book Group)The writing team behind “The Strain” trilogy is back with a new evil incarnate. This time it’s more demonic than vampiric, possessing bodies and driving them...

Winfrey picks Isabel Wilkerson's 'Caste' for her book club

NEW YORK (AP) — If not for the coronavirus, Oprah Winfrey says, she would be out in the streets and marching with the Black Lives Matter protesters. She has instead found other ways to add her voice. She is working with Lionsgate on a multimedia adaptation of The New York Times' “1619...

Review: A sweet fable in Seth Rogen’s ‘An American Pickle’

The funniest part of “ An American Pickle ” isn’t even really in the movie. It’s a little scene in the middle of the credits in which Seth Rogen’s Herschel Greenbaum, a 1920s laborer who wakes up 100 years after falling into a vat of pickle juice, watches...


Questions being raised after Kodak's stock has a big moment

Eastman Kodak's potentially lucrative deal to help the U.S. government make more generic drugs domestically is...

US sending highest rep to Taiwan since 1979 break in ties

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is scheduled to visit Taiwan in...

Hiroshima survivors worry that world will forget

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — The atomic bomb that exploded over Hiroshima 75 years ago didn't just kill and...

Hiroshima survivor recalls working on tram after A-bomb

HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — Tetsuko Shakuda was a frightened 14-year-old when she resumed her work as a...

AP PHOTOS: Kashmir schooling now more challenging with virus

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Children in Indian-controlled Kashmir are no strangers to lockdowns. Curfews,...

AP Explains: Kashmir on edge 1 year after major Indian shift

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Indian-controlled Kashmir has remained on edge in the year since New Delhi scrapped...

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Jairo Lerma Black Star News

As an AfroLatino New York City turns into Arizona at night because of Stop-and-Frisk Laws and my "undocumented" fears in case of an arrest.

Even though the Obama Administration okayed Deferred Action, it's still not enough. My mother brought me into this country legally at age 7 because of the lack of opportunities for Black men in my country. After our visa expired we kept living a regular life; but for me everything changed.

I followed all the instructions while in school. I had good grades, engaged with my new friends even though I had an accent.

In July 2008 my life went from being an accepted member of society to being an undocumented man full of shame. I was born In Buenaventura, Colombia, which is mostly populated by Afro-Colombians affected by poverty and violence.

At the age of 7 came to the United States with my mom and sister with a B1 Tourist Visas. My mom was fascinated with life in the USA and always wanted for me to have a better education here. We returned to Colombia with the promise that we would return to admire that New World of opportunities.

At the age of 9 my mom traveled back to the U.S. in search of a job before her visa expired. Because of the violence in Buenaventura, my mother brought me to the New Strange world; but this time, to stay. She always felt my sister was a grown up who was used to life in Colombia so she left her behind. My mother helped her with her college education by saving money in the U.S.;today she is an Odontologist. As for me, I'm just a survivor.

In 2005 my mother was deported because of her status; she overstayed her Visa. I refused to leave all my friends and professors so I promised her to achieve an education.

I attended Bronx School for Law, Government, and Justice. Not many people get accepted into this school. The school was new and designed by Black New York City Legislative Leaders. I was going to be attending this school and it made me proud. I got to wear ties for 4 years.

I struggled with my accent but it was part of my everyday life. School was the place where I started to learn about race and people. Being a Black-Latino was always a challenge because even though I look like many Black Americans I never fit in anywhere. I always felt like I was between a sword and a wall -- Entre La Espada y La Pared.

My immigration nightmare started from the beginning of my Senior year, after filling in my application for the PSAT, reality set in. My heart dropped. I was in denial. I even went to the Social Security Office. The lady at the counter called me an "Illegal" and asked, "What are you doing here?"

I grew more shameful. It ate bits of my soul and I kept it a secret out of fear that I would be made fun of.

After living 2 years with my stepfather, a man I respect for his generosity in the sense of maintaining a child that was not his, my mom decided to have me live in Brooklyn with an aunt because my grades started falling. That was never accepted by my mother who is a very educated woman.

I had to share a room with two uncles who woke up every morning at 4:45am. I had to be in school at 7am. I was naive and scared of my surroundings I hadn't integrated well before, so this new neighborhood scared me. I moved to Flatbush. My neighborhood was filled with people of color and it reminded me of life in Buenaventura, my native city. There were a lot of Blacks, many Caribbean, most of them middle class. For the first time in my life I could feel proud of being Black with a mentality of an immigrant and feel at home united by skin color.

After graduating High School I applied to many SUNY schools and got accepted. However, because of my immigration status I was always scared to go to upstate New York since it was full of conservatives and the cost of tuition was out of my reach.

I enrolled in a CUNY school; BMCC. I would be paying full tuition out of my pocket, while working in a restaurant, construction and many low-paying jobs. Because of my level of English I was always a translator between the people in the kitchen. I was always proud of my ability to help both sides. Everyone at work was happy; I was in school and at least trying to take advantage of the opportunities they never had.

Tuition kept increasing and I was forced to skip a year. I transferred into a new CUNY program at John Jay College for Criminal Justice. I always wanted to be lawyer because of the things I would hear about Colombians who paid a lot of money to a lawyer only to be lied to.

Now, I'm 22 years old and I still live in fear.

Even though New York is know as a city of immigrants. I still live in a constant fear because of Stop-and- Frisk. This program by the Bloomberg Administration and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, gives power to police officers to search "suspicious" individuals supposedly for any "concealed weapons".

The City claims the program prevents thousands of deaths; but officers need better training in social relations with the community.

They should at least have a supervisor that keeps control of the cops that abuse their power. I have been a victim of random searches by the police, but is not the fear of being arrested, it is fear because of my immigration status. My immigration status turns New York, the city that I love, into Arizona.

I'm a double target. I could be arrested for a violation like hopping the turnstile or driving without a license, be fingerprinted and that can lead to deportation. Many immigrants get taken without the right to counsel.

I'm currently an activist for The New York State Youth Leadership Council and Cabrini Immigrant service. I'm still trying to pursue my education but it has become very difficult due to economic reasons and Governor Cuomo's irresponsible behavior towards the New York State Dream Act.

One relief for many Dreamers like myself was having Deferred Action. I'm still waiting for my response so I could start driving and obtain a Social Security since all I've been using was an ITIN; Individual Tax ID Number.

I'm coming out the shadows, with this piece, demanding Congress and the Senate to pass the Dream Act and Comprehensive Immigration Reform for all the 11 million living in the shadows filled with discrimination and violence.

Violence from many, including the police, because of their immigration status. Stop the dehumanization of people. I'm willing to speak out as one of the many voices of young Latinos.

We are misunderstood by society and it is important to speak out. I shared my story with the world to voice out my struggle and my commitment to everyone in my community.

Jairo Lerma is an Afro-Latino youth activist and champion for the New York Dream Act

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