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  • Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    Judiciary Committee Votes to Advance Reparations Bill HR-40

    After decades of effort reparations advocates are celebrating the House Judiciary Committee's decision to send a bill to the U.S. House for a full vote. Democrats pushed the bill through the committee but Republicans are opposing itRead More
  • prosecutor Jerry Blackwell speaks as Hennepin County Judge Peter Cahill discusses motions before the court Thursday, April 15, 2021, in the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin at the Hennepin County Courthouse in Minneapolis. Chauvin is charged in the May 25, 2020 death of George Floyd. (Court TV via AP, Pool)

    What to Expect in Closings for Chauvin trial in Floyd Death

    Attorneys will make closing arguments in a last chance to sway the jury to convict or acquit the former Minneapolis cop on murder and manslaughter chargesRead More
  • The Rev. Jesse Jackson, center left, walks with supporters during a protest over the fatal shooting of Daunte Wright by a police officer during a traffic stop, outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Brooklyn Center, Minn. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

    Armed Patrol Group Tries to Keep the Peace in Minneapolis

    Hundreds of people have gathered outside the heavily guarded Brooklyn Center police station every night since Sunday, to protest the police shooting of 20-year-old father Daunte Wright. Despite the mayor's calls for law enforcement and protesters to scale back their tactics, the nights have often ended in objects hurled, tear gas and arrestsRead More
  • Britain's Queen Elizabeth II sits alone in St. George’s Chapel during the funeral of Prince Philip, the man who had been by her side for 73 years, at Windsor Castle, Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. Prince Philip died April 9 at the age of 99 after 73 years of marriage to Britain's Queen Elizabeth II. (Jonathan Brady/Pool via AP)

    Prince Philip's Funeral Procession Televised From Windsor

    The coffin emerged from the State Entrance of Windsor Castle as those taking part in the ceremonial procession for his funeral took their places. It was loaded on a specially adapted Land Rover, designed by Philip himself, for the eight-minute journey to St. George’s Chapel. Senior military commanders lined up in front of the vehicle, with members of the royal family following behindRead More
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Lents Park Scene of Police Shooting During Protests

Amid protests across Portland against police brutality a man was shot and killed in Lents Park after reports he had a gun. Some protesters described by Mayor Ted Wheeler as a small group of "violent agitators" lit dumpster fires at the ICE and Multnomah County Sheriff's buildings and smashed windows downtown including at the Nike store building and the Oregon History Centre

Lawsuit Describes Night of Fear for Wall of Moms Protester

In the lawsuit filed in federal court in Portland, Jennifer Kristiansen also accused a federal agent of groping her as he trapped her against a wall, leading her to fear she would be raped

Oregon Senate Votes to Extend Grace Period for Past-Due Rent

Currently, tenants have until July to pay back rent, but under the proposed bill, tenants would have until Feb. 28, 2022

Black Leaders Respond to City Council Compromise on Gun Violence Prevention

Nearly million will fund community-centered approaches to uptick in shootings.

NEWS BRIEFS

Five Lucky Oregonians Won a Second Chance at Holiday Winnings

Prizes ranged from jumi,500 to 0,000 depending on the value of the original Scratch-it top prize. ...

Girls on the Run of Portland Metro Awarded Campbell Soup Foundation COVID-19 Recovery Grant

Supporting the Campbell Soup Foundation’s focus on encouraging healthy living, Girls on the Run inspires girls to be joyful,...

Ageless Awards Honor Older Oregonians Who Redefine Age

Four Oregonians will be honored for their inspiring contributions later in life during a free, public, virtual celebration on April...

Legislators Introduce Bill to Create a Statue of Shirley Chisholm Inside the U.S Capitol

Rep. Yvette D. Clark introduced the bill as part of a larger effort to increase the representation of Black women within the Capitol. ...

Grants Available For Portland Area Black-Led and Serving Organizations

To become a more equitable and just organization, the Providence Portland Service Area Advisory Council seeks to fund community...

Fire causes partial roof collapse at textile factory

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A fire caused extensive damage to a textile manufacturing facility in Portland early Monday, officials said. The first reports of the blaze came in around 3:30 a.m. Monday at a commercial building in southeast Portland, said Lt. Liz Thompson, a...

Oregon gun storage law would be among the toughest in the US

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A proposed gun storage law that would be among the toughest in the U.S. is headed for a vote in the Oregon Legislature, with backers saying it will save lives and opponents contending it could lead to deaths. Meanwhile, in Colorado, a less sweeping gun...

OPINION

Portland Commissioners Release Statement on Recent Protests

The murder of Daunte Wright is a reminder that the call for justice for Black lives, accountability, and systemic community safety reform never stops. ...

An Open Letter To the Community From Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese

Sheriff Reese outlines Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office's strategic plan and goals to reinforce equity now and in the future. ...

Candace Avalos On The Right Track With Public Housing

Our unhoused neighbors deserve a safe and clean place to sleep ...

Providence’s Equity Pledge Should Start With Paying Workers a Living Wage

Rep. Mark Meek says Providence’s public commitment to racial equity does not match up with what’s happening inside their hospitals ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Colorado judge resigning after censure for racial slur

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado judge will resign after being censured for repeatedly saying a racial slur in a conversation with a Black employee, expressing her views on racial justice while on the bench as well as using court employees to work on personal business. The Colorado...

DeSantis signs Florida's anti-riot bill, cites Chauvin trial

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida's top Republicans cited events in cities around the country — but not the Jan. 6 riots in Washington — as Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill Monday to create tougher penalties for people who participate in violent protests. The so-called...

Myanmar junta cracks down on celebrations of new shadow govt

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Security forces in Myanmar used violence on Monday against demonstrators who sought to celebrate last week’s formation of a shadow government to serve as an alternative to the military junta that has held power since a February coup. Myanmar media and...

ENTERTAINMENT

Luke Bryan wins top ACM Award, but female acts own the night

NEW YORK (AP) — Carrie Underwood brought the Academy of Country Music Awards to church. Maren Morris won the most awards of the night, including song of the year. Miranda Lambert performed three times and held on to her record as the most decorated winner in ACM history. And Mickey Guyton, the...

Review: New collection of columns by the late Jenny Diski

“Why Didn’t You Just Do What You Were Told?” by Jenny Diski (Bloomsbury Publishing) A lot of criticism doesn’t age well because it’s tied to ephemeral moments in our cultural life. Jenny Diski’s is likely to stand the test of time because it offers readers a bracing...

Leo Carax's 'Annette' to open Cannes Film Festival

Leo Carax's “Annette,” starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, will open the 74th Cannes Film Festival on July 6, festival organizers said Monday. “Annette” is Carax's first English-language film and the French director's anticipated follow-up to his celebrated,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

2 US agencies send teams to probe Tesla crash with no driver

DETROIT (AP) — Two federal agencies are sending teams to investigate the fatal crash of a Tesla near Houston in...

Billions spent on coronavirus fight, but what happens next?

Congress has poured tens of billions of dollars into state and local public health departments in response to the...

A jab on the job: Companies, unions offer COVID-19 vaccines

Marie Watson wanted to be among the first in line when she and other essential workers became eligible for the...

Cuba's Communist Party chooses Miguel Díaz-Canel as leader

HAVANA (AP) — In many ways, Cuba's new maximum leader is nothing like those who have governed the island for the...

Albanian man with knife wounds 5 at mosque in Tirana

TIRANA, Albania (AP) — An Albanian man with a knife attacked and wounded five people Monday at a mosque in the...

Myanmar junta cracks down on celebrations of new shadow govt

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — Security forces in Myanmar used violence on Monday against demonstrators who sought to...

Albina Highway Covers
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.



Trial: George Floyd's Death

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