01-19-2021  8:06 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Online Events Honouring Dr Martin Luther King are Underway

 From a jazz concert and a reading challenge to an online film festival we are all invited to celebrate Dr Martin Luther King and complete his work

Interview: Portland Physician on Coronavirus Vaccine, Reaching Out to Wary Communities

Black Americans report highest levels of distrust as country distributes millions of Pfizer and Moderna Vaccines

Blumenauer Calls for Resignations of Kevin McCarthy and Steve Scalise

Congressman Blumenauer said: "We need to ensure our Republican colleagues acknowledge and accept the consequences for their own involvement in encouraging this insurrection..."

Officials: Republican Lawmaker Let Protesters into Oregon Capitol

House Speaker Tina Kotek said during a news conference about the Capitol operations safety plan that Rep. Mike Nearman, R-Independence, had allowed protesters into the building.

NEWS BRIEFS

St Andrew's Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Features Marilyn Keller

On Sunday, Jan. 17, the St. Andrew community will celebrate the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the 9:30...

VA Portland Ramping Up COVID-19 Vaccinations for Portland, Vancouver-area Veterans

Portland and Vancouver-area veterans 75 years of age and older to receive a phone call to schedule their COVID-19 vaccination. ...

NFL Reaches More Than $95M in Contributions to Further Advance Social Justice

The Oregon Justice Resource Center will use funding from the NFL to support the Women’s Justice Project – the first and only...

Oregon State Police Warns Against Armed Takeover of Capitol

The agency also asked Oregonians to report anyone who may be planning an armed takeover to authorities. ...

Oregon Marijuana Sales Soared in 2020, Topping $1B

Oregonians began buying a lot more recreational cannabis in March when Gov. Kate Brown instituted a stay-at-home order ...

Police: Thief berated mom for leaving kid in car he stole

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) — A car thief who found a toddler in the backseat of a stolen vehicle drove back and chastised the mother for leaving the child unattended before taking off again, police in Oregon said. The woman went into a grocery store about 15 feet (5 yards) from the car Saturday,...

12 arrested after blocking Interstate 5 lanes in Seattle

SEATTLE (AP) — Twelve people were arrested and two vehicles were impounded Monday after protesters blocked Interstate 5 in Seattle, the Washington State Patrol reports.Troopers responded to the scene, in the northbound I-5 collector-distributor lanes near James Street, at about 12:30 p.m....

Music City Bowl between Iowa and Missouri canceled

The Music City Bowl between Missouri and Iowa was canceled Sunday because COVID-19 issues left the Tigers unable to play.The game scheduled for Wednesday in Nashville, Tennessee, is the second bowl called off since the postseason lineup was set on Dec. 20, joining the Gasparilla Bowl. Overall, 18...

No. 17 Iowa, Missouri renew rare rivalry in Music City Bowl

Missouri (5-5, SEC) vs. No. 17 Iowa (6-2, Big Ten), Dec. 30, 4 p.m. ESTLOCATION: Nashville, TennesseeTOP PLAYERSMissouri: RB Larry Rountree III has rushed for 972 yards and 14 touchdowns on 209 carries and ranks fourth in the SEC. He’s the 23rd SEC player to surpass 3,500 career yards...

OPINION

This is America: White Privilege, Black Lives Matter, and Violence at the Capitol

The violence we witnessed in the United States Capitol on January 6 is nothing new. ...

SPLC Action Fund President: Attempted Coup Displays Organized, Extremist Violence Plaguing the United States

Insidious racism took the form of an American president openly encouraging with “love” violent extremists ...

Commentary: Exit in Disgrace

Will Trump leave in the middle of the night, embarrassed by his four years of crude, rude, lying, and beyond belief incompetence? Or will he be escorted out by a secret service detachment? ...

Georgia Senate Races Will Decide the Fate of Biden’s Presidency 

Voter turnout is reportedly lagging in the more rural and conservative areas of Georgia and is higher in more traditionally Democratic areas of the state ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Oxygen-starved city in Brazil’s Amazon starts immunization

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Amazonian city of Manaus in Brazil began administering vaccines against the coronavirus, providing a ray of hope for the rainforest’s biggest city whose health system is collapsing amid an increase in infections and dwindling oxygen supplies.Amazonas state...

AP-NORC poll: Virus, economy swamp other priorities for US

WASHINGTON (AP) — Containing the coronavirus outbreak and repairing the economic damage it has inflicted are the top priorities for Americans as Joe Biden prepares to become the 46th president of the United States, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public...

South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer dies of virus

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South Africa's trailblazing Black food writer Dorah Sitole's latest cookbook was widely hailed in December as a moving chronicle of her journey from humble township cook to famous, well-traveled author.The country's new Black celebrity chefs lined up to praise her as a...

ENTERTAINMENT

Phil Spector, famed music producer and murderer, dies at 81

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Phil Spector, the eccentric and revolutionary music producer who transformed rock music with his “Wall of Sound” method and who later was convicted of murder, has died. He was 81. California state prison officials said he died Saturday of natural causes at a...

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Jan. 24-30

Celebrity birthdays for the week of Jan. 24-30Jan. 24: Fiddler Doug Kershaw is 85. Singer Ray Stevens is 82. Singer Aaron Neville is 80. Singer Neil Diamond is 80. Actor Michael Ontkean (“Twin Peaks”) is 75. Country singer-songwriter Becky Hobbs is 71. Comedian Yakov Smirnoff is 70....

Garth Brooks joins lineup of entertainers at Biden inaugural

NEW YORK (AP) — Add Garth Brooks to the lineup of entertainers at the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.“This is a great day in our household," the country music superstar said during a virtual press conference Monday, two days before Biden is to be sworn in. “This is...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Oxygen-starved city in Brazil’s Amazon starts immunization

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) — The Amazonian city of Manaus in Brazil began administering vaccines against the...

Exhausted hospital chaplains bring solace to lonely, dying

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Inside hospital rooms across America, where the sick are alone without family to comfort...

Mets fire GM after he sent explicit texts to female reporter

NEW YORK (AP) — Jared Porter went from rising star to unemployed — literally overnight.Just more...

Earthquake injures 3 in Argentina; tremor also felt in Chile

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck in northwestern Argentina near the border...

Thai court gives record 43-year sentence for insulting king

BANGKOK (AP) — A court in Thailand on Tuesday sentenced a former civil servant to a record prison term of...

Meghan seeks court ruling over 'serious breach' of privacy

LONDON (AP) — Lawyers for the Duchess of Sussex asked a British judge on Tuesday to settle her lawsuit...

MLK Breakfast 2021 Watch Now
By Kenneth J. Cooper of Americas Wire for The Skanner News

Since 2005, Shirley J. Wilcher has directed the American Association for Affirmative Action, a professional organization that is based in Washington, D.C., and has 1,000 members. During the Clinton administration, she ran the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, a Labor Department agency that enforces a legal mandate that government contractors practice affirmative action.
Her experience in civil rights law extends back three decades to summer internships at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund when she was a student at Harvard Law School.
In a recent interview with America's Wire, Wilcher asserted a continuing need for affirmative action, criticized ill-defined diversity programs at some colleges and companies, urged federal investigations of employers that have stopped advertising jobs in minority-oriented publications and rejected proposals to limit affirmative action to native-born African-Americans or low-income members of minority groups. She also said the George W. Bush administration had prohibited civil rights officials from using the term "affirmative action." Here is an edited transcript of her remarks:

Q. Is affirmative action still needed?
A. "All you have to do was go to the EEOC [Equal Employment Opportunity Commission] website to look at the number of [discrimination] charges that are being filed. Ninety-something thousand last year. Affirmative action's purpose is to prevent discrimination as well as to remedy past discrimination, the theory being that if a company is vigilant and it looks at its employment practices, including pay, that it will fix the problem and promote equal opportunity. We are not talking about 'preferences.' We are talking about opportunities. We still need affirmative action.
Some [employers] now are assuming that if you went to an Ivy League school and you are African-American, you were admitted through affirmative action and you're not as good. So you're still a victim if you graduated from Harvard or Penn or Yale. Somehow they can't quite believe you're good enough even though nobody [else] takes your exams.

Q. So what is the state of affirmative action today?
A. Clearly, there have been attacks on affirmative action so much that people are even afraid to even use the term anymore. We've even had debates within my group, the American Association for Affirmative Action—should we change the name? So far, the group view is we will not change the name because it has somehow fallen out of favor.
In private industry, they use the term 'diversity' now. [There are] a lot of diversity programs. But if they don't deal with the issue of opportunity in hiring and promotions, the representation of women and minorities in the workplace, you might as well call them "Kumbaya programs," as far as I'm concerned. "Let's celebrate Black History Month." Maybe they go out and give speeches about the importance of diversity and the bottom line. A lot of affirmative action/diversity programs make you feel good. Maybe they're good for morale, but they make no change, so therefore they make no difference.
Some of our members who used to report to the chancellor now report to the head of [human resources]. It creates conflicts of interest. You lack the independence you had when you could monitor every office. Our staffs are being cut. Some of them now have diversity jobs on top of what they did to [prepare] affirmative action plans and deal with equal opportunity complaints or discrimination complaints.

Q. Some companies have stopped advertising jobs in minority-owned publications because, the employers say, openings are posted on the employers' websites. Is that adequate or effective outreach to assemble a diverse pool of candidates?
A. It's not enough, because not everyone is going to go to their website. Unless you know about a job, why would you go to some company's website? When I was hired by the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities [in 1990], I learned about that job from reading Black Issues in Higher Education [now Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, a biweekly magazine].
If they're federal contractors, they really do need to cast that net widely and advertise with the minority media. I don't think they're really touching the population they claim they want to reach. Frankly, maybe the federal agencies need to look into this.

Q. Some people have suggested narrowing affirmative action for blacks to those descended from Africans enslaved in this country, leaving out immigrants from the Caribbean and Africa. Others, including President Barack Obama, have suggested that black children from prosperous families should be excluded from affirmative action in college admissions.
A. I don't support either concept. I wouldn't want a college or university to have students declare that they're a descendant of African slaves. It flies in the face of the reality that if you're perceived as African-American, undoubtedly, you're treated that way. It's the treatment that this turns on, or the potential treatment. It is not ancestry per se.
I do believe that colleges and universities need to do a better job of recruiting African-American students in the inner cities, instead of taking, to me, a kind of line of least resistance in simply admitting students from certain ethnic and national backgrounds.
I have no problem with colleges recruiting first-generation whites whose families never went to school. I do have a problem with excluding African-Americans because they're middle class or upper middle.

Q. What do you think of President Obama's record on affirmative action? Does his not talking much about it impact what the private sector does or doesn't do?
A. I think we understand why he doesn't—because of the flak he gets when he addresses any issue involving race. It's as though those who didn't even vote for him are fearful that he will be the president for one group instead of for everyone. So it puts him in a box, and that's unfortunate.
But judging his administration [should be determined] by what the civil rights agencies do—[the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs in] the Department of Labor, [the Civil Rights Division in] the Justice Department, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Frankly, [their leaders are] all my friends, colleagues who were in the civil rights community and very deeply believe in equal employment opportunity and affirmative action. I believe they're even using the term [affirmative action] again. You know, during the Bush administration, they weren't using the words. They couldn't use it. I'm not joking.
I think the [Obama] administration should be judged by what happens with the agencies and, from what I can see, they're in the business of enforcing the law. So I'm very encouraged.



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