05-20-2018  2:31 pm      •     
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NEWS BRIEFS

Raina Croff to Speak at Architectural Heritage Center

'When the Landmarks are Gone: Older African Americans, Place, and Change in N/NE Portland’ describes SHARP Walking Program ...

Portland Playhouse Presents August Wilson’s ‘Fences’ Through June 10

May 20 performance will include discussion on mental health; June 10 performance will be followed by discussion of fatherhood ...

Peggy Houston-Shivers Presents Benefit Concert for Allen Temple CME

Concert to take place May 20 at Maranatha Church ...

Family Friendly Talent Show, May 18

Family Fun Night series continues at Matt Dishman Community Center ...

University of Oregon sorry for statement on student death

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — The University of Oregon has apologized for a statement it put out after a student was found dead during a trip to Shasta Lake in Northern California.The 21-year-old student, identified as business administration major Dylan Pietrs, was found dead at a boat-in campground...

US Marshals, police arrest Vermont fugitive in Oregon

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — The U.S. Marshals Service says a missing sex offender from Vermont has been arrested in Oregon.The Marshals say 55-year-old James Rivers was arrested May 16 in Cottage Grove, Oregon, by deputy marshals and local police. It's unclear if he has an attorney.Authorities...

Responders searching for missing vessel find oil sheen

OCEAN PARK, Wash. (AP) — The U.S. Coast Guard says crews searching for a missing vessel in Willapa Bay have found an oil sheen and debris where they believe the 43-foot boat went down.Authorities say the wife of a man who took the fishing boat Kelli J out reported him overdue on Saturday....

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion tailing them on a trail east of Seattle.They got off their bikes. They faced the beast, shouted and tried to spook it. After it charged, one even smacked the cougar with his bike, and...

OPINION

Golfing While Black Is Not a Crime

Grandview Golf Club asks five Black women to leave for golfing too slow ...

Discovering the Best of Black America in 2018

Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis discusses the DTU Journalism Fellowship & Scholarship Program ...

Will Israel’s Likud Party Ever Respect the Rights of Palestinians?

Bill Fletcher weighs in on the precarious future of the two-state solution between the Israeli government and the Palestinian people ...

The Future of Medicinal Marijuana in Pets

Dr. Jasmine Streeter says CBD-derived products show beneficial therapeutic benefits for pets ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Principal apologizes for 'insensitive' prom tickets language

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) — The principal of a New Jersey high school has apologized for what he called "insensitive" language on tickets for the upcoming senior prom.The Courier Post reported the Cherry Hill High School East senior prom tickets urged students to "party like it's 1776" during...

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

ATLANTA (AP) — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you'll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering over a Native American that some say celebrates white supremacy has been dismantled by crews in southwestern Michigan's Kalamazoo.And at the University of Michigan, regents have voted...

ENTERTAINMENT

'13 Reasons Why' premiere canceled after Texas shooting

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Netflix canceled the premiere party for its second season of the teen drama "13 Reasons Why" because of a school shooting near Houston.The streaming service announced the cancellation hours before the scheduled premiere and red carpet event, citing the Friday morning...

'Shoplifters' wins Palme d'Or, grand prize to Spike Lee

A tumultuous Cannes Film Festival concluded Saturday with the Palme d'Or awarded to Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Shoplifters," a tender portrait of a poor, impoverished family, while Harvey Weinstein accuser Asia Argento vowed justice will come to all sexual predators.At the closing...

'Jurassic Park' dinosaur expert's next big thing: holograms

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Forget the gray, green and brown dinosaurs in the "Jurassic Park" movies. Paleontologist Jack Horner wants to transport people back in time to see a feathered Tyrannosaurus rex colored bright red and a blue triceratops with red fringe similar to a rooster's comb.Horner,...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Cyclists tried to scare cougar but it attacked, killing 1

SEATTLE (AP) — The two mountain bikers did what they were supposed to do when they noticed a mountain lion...

Iraq's al-Sadr, promising reform, is constrained by Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq's Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric whose political coalition beat out Iran's...

Northern states taking down vestiges of racism, intolerance

DETROIT (AP) — A nearly 80-year-old statue depicting a European settler with a weapon in his hand towering...

Iraq's al-Sadr says next government will be 'inclusive'

BAGHDAD (AP) — Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition won the largest number of seats in Iraq's...

Cubans mourn plane crash dead, officials ID 20 bodies

HAVANA (AP) — At morgues and in church services, tearful Cubans on Sunday mourned loved ones who died in...

Pope Francis to invest 14 new cardinals in June

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis on Sunday revealed his latest picks to be cardinals in the Catholic...

Owen Blank

October was a month marked by many college reunions. As I reflect on the 35 years since graduating from Stanford University, the usual thoughts people associate with this milestone run through my mind.

These include fond memories about friends and events, marvels about how much time has passed since "just yesterday," sorrow about some good people who have — figuratively and literally — lost their lives, an overwhelming desire to brag about the accomplishments of our children and the breathtaking beauty and intelligence of our grandchildren, and so on. However, all of these thoughts fail to paint the entire picture.

Each year, local newspapers across the country publish lists of the 10 worst street intersections in their respective cities. A detailed summary of the carnage at each of the intersections instills fear and often leads to action by embarrassed officials who are unable to satisfactorily answer the inevitable questions about why we allow hazardous conditions to remain.

Unfortunately, in the 35 years since my class graduated, the worst intersection in the United States has not changed. Far too few people, especially political leaders, seem either embarrassed or deeply troubled by this circumstance.

Even fewer are doing anything about it. The intersection between the avenue of racial injustice and the street of poverty continues to wreak carnage across our nation.

I use "racial injustice" as a collective term for racism (institutional and personal), prejudice and discrimination. As with our cities' worst traffic intersections, many of the victims — a term I do not use lightly — are children.

To be sure, we have made progress in the past 35 years in the battle against racial injustice in our country. We should not hesitate to acknowledge these accomplishments. The promise of our country's example as a multiethnic, multicultural, economically prosperous and democratic society remains one of too few working examples. However, we will never fully realize that promise if we do not fix our worst intersection.

The tragic intersection of racial injustice and poverty all but disappeared from our national discourse in recent years. It literally took a hurricane to propel this subject to the front page, although the coverage of the topic seems to be receding even faster than the flood waters themselves.

Human Rights, an official publication of the American Bar Association, reports that in 2002, the median net worth of White Americans was approximately 14 times greater than African Americans and 11 times greater than Latinos, who had a zero or negative net worth.

USA Today columnist DeWayne Wickham noted recently that millions more White Americans than African Americans are arrested every year. He then asks and answers: "Why does the Black inmate population in jails and prisons exceed that of Whites when so many more Whites are arrested? I don't think it is a leap of faith to conclude that the scales of justice are out of balance."

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. reminded us on several occasions that the tragedy of the struggle for civil rights in this country was not the rabid bigotry of the Bull Connors but the silence and inaction of good people. What should we do? Let's start with actually doing something at a very basic and personal level. Wherever you are starting from, do one thing more than whatever you have done before.

Need a place to start? Start with economics. I know that it is far too simplistic to observe that wealth is a cure for poverty, although most poor people I have met would be willing to give it a try. Increasing the number of prosperous minority-owned businesses will undoubtedly improve the situation.

Education, too, is critical. Every commentator on the subject of improving the condition of minorities in our country links a good education to economic advancement. We also have one program in this country that politicians overwhelmingly support every time they run for office. That program is Head Start, which has a proven track record of helping children — particularly poor children of color — prepare for the education process. Yet, we have failed to fund Head Start anywhere close to what is required to allow all eligible children to attend. Currently, 41.9 percent of eligible 3- and 4-year-old children are served by Head Start. Tragically, that percentage has decreased significantly since the year 2000.

The politicians need to put our money where their mouths have been. The 2006 budget increase needed to fully fund Head Start for 3- and 4-year olds would be $8.5 billion over its 2005 funding. In absolute dollars, that is a significant amount of money. In percentage terms, it is a rounding error in a national budget approaching $2.5 trillion.

Not fully funding this program is an unconscionable national failure to alleviate the carnage taking place in our nation's worst intersection.

Owen Blank is an attorney based in Portland.

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