06-24-2018  12:21 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

On the hunt in Oregon for a rare Sierra Nevada red fox

BEND, Ore. (AP) — In a dense forest at the base of Mount Bachelor, two wildlife biologists slowly walked toward a small cage trap they hoped would contain a rare red fox species. Jamie Bowles, an Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife technician in Bend, and Tim Hiller, founder of the...

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Abuse survivor finds new life, success in Pacific Northwest

VANCOUVER, Wash. (AP) — Jonathan Dutson long dreamed of moving to the Pacific Northwest, where its lush greenery offered a respite from the scorching Arizona sun he grew up beneath. But Dutson was looking as much for a new home as he was looking for an escape.Dutson was one of 700 who walked...

Alaska city honors Guardsmen killed in crash after '64 quake

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — A month after the second most powerful earthquake ever was recorded, the Alaska port community of Valdez remained in ruins.A hulking Alaska National Guard cargo plane's mission April 25, 1964, was to deliver Gov. William Egan to oversee efforts to rebuild the town on...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Lawsuits allege racial profiling in Portland-area businesses

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Several African Americans are suing big-box stores and restaurants in Oregon, claiming employees at those places wrongly accused them of stealing because they were "shopping while black."A Portland law firm has filed five lawsuits alleging racial profiling at businesses in...

Racist tropes in Ramadan TV satires anger black Arabs

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — In an attempt to capitalize on what's become a ratings bonanza for Arabic satellite channels during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, two comedies struck the wrong chord with audiences when their lead actors appeared in blackface.Criticism was swift on...

Chaos on the border inflames GOP's split with Latinos

When more than 1,000 Latino officials __ a crop of up-and-coming representatives from a fast-growing demographic __ gathered in Phoenix last week, no one from the Trump administration was there to greet them.It marked the first time a presidential administration skipped the annual conference of the...

ENTERTAINMENT

Han Solo's Blaster from 'Return of the Jedi' tops auction

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Han Solo's Blaster from the "Return of the Jedi" has sold for 0,000 at a Las Vegas auction.Julien's Auctions says Ripley's Believe It or Not bought the item Saturday.The sci-fi weapon was the top-selling item at the Hollywood Legends auction.The blaster was part of a...

Ornate NYC theater, used for years as a gym, to be restored

NEW YORK (AP) — For years, Long Island University's basketball team played in a French Baroque movie palace in downtown Brooklyn.The gilded wall fountains, plastered statuettes and towering, one-of-a-kind Wurlitzer organ pipes of the historic Paramount Theater were preserved by the...

Vinnie Paul, co-founder, drummer of Pantera, dies at 54

Vinnie Paul, co-founder and drummer of metal band Pantera, has died at 54.Pantera's official Facebook page posted a statement early Saturday announcing his death. The label of Hellyeah, his most recent group, confirmed the death but neither statement mentioned Paul's cause of death.His real name...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

In about-face, Iraq's maverick al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq's...

US moves 100 coffins to N. Korean border for war remains

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The U.S. military said it moved 100 wooden coffins to the inter-Korean border to...

New Zealand leader names daughter Neve, leaves hospital

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford...

AP PHOTOS: Germany salvages campaign on Day 10 of World Cup

MOSCOW (AP) — Germany midfielder Toni Kroos scored a dramatic late winner to come from behind and beat...

Beyond World Cup: Advocates call attention to Russian abuses

MOSCOW (AP) — Wrapped in national flags, jubilant fans dance at midnight in the streets of Moscow, smiling,...

In about-face, Iraq's maverick al-Sadr moves closer to Iran

BAGHDAD (AP) — Muqtada al-Sadr, the maverick Shiite cleric who emerged as the main winner in Iraq's...

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. NNPA Columnist

Whenever the president of the United States speaks to a national convention of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), millions of people pay attention. As a former Executive Director and CEO of the NAACP, I listened very carefully last week to President Barack Obama’s historic keynote address to the organization’s 106th annual convention in Philadelphia.

There was a noticeable deliberate “freedom of expression” style and substance in President Obama’s speech to the NAACP. He was confident, candid and clear. Obama was unrestrained, passionate and focused. In other words, the president went straight to his main subject matter: The urgency and mandate today for criminal justice reform in the United States.

President Obama stated, “But today, I want to focus on one aspect of American life that remains particularly skewed by race and by wealth, a source of inequity that has ripple effects on families and on communities and ultimately on our nation – and that is our criminal justice system.”

Obama’s remarks were timely and welcomed by millions of families that have been devastated as a result of the injustice of the current court and prison system. It was full of analysis and statistics that went beyond typical political rhetoric. He cited the following facts to stress that now was the time for bipartisan corrective action by all levels of government:

  • The population of the U.S. has only 5 percent of the world’s population, but holds 25 percent of the world’s prisoners;
  • In 1980, there were 500,000 people in prison in the U.S., but today there are 2.2 million, a disproportionate number of them African American and Latino;
  • The U.S. spends $80 billion per year on keeping people in prison, about the same amount of money it would take to make tuition free at all public universities and colleges across the nation;
  • One third of the entire budget of the U.S. Justice Department is spent on incarceration;
  • While African Americans and Latino Americans combined make up about 30 percent of the U.S. population, we make up 60 percent of the prison inmates in the U.S.;
  • One in every 35 African American men is imprisoned, compared to one in every 88 Latino men as compared and one in every 214 White men; and
  • Research studies have confirmed that African Americans are more likely to stopped by the police, frisked, questioned, charged and arrested than any other racial group in the U.S.’s

We all should be willing to join and support the emerging criminal justice reform movement in America. Hopefully, President Obama’s address to the NAACP will stimulate the passage of bipartisan legislation that will stop racial profiling and other legislative measures that will help to dramatically reduce the prison population in the United States. In the absence of real reform, the issues surrounding mass incarceration will not be adequately resolved

President Obama made reference to the fact that on reaching the ultimate goal of criminal justice reform, there are today converging interests between the NAACP and the politically conservative Koch brothers, as well as between the ACLU and Americans for Tax Reform and among other divergent groups who have not worked together on social justice issues in the past. That is a good sign of what might be possible going forward.

Frederick Douglass said it best, “If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” But the struggle to reform the criminal justice system must move beyond just a momentary national news cycle event response to whenever President Obama makes an outstanding speech. I wish social change was that easy to achieve. It is not. The work has begun, but we still have a lot of hard work and coalition building to do to make real reform happen.

I believe we in the African American community has to take more responsibility to end mass incarceration and to challenge all the inequities of our society. Ending poverty and injustice, first and foremost, is our demand and it also has to be our responsible leadership to keep pushing forward. The government has its role, but we should not solely rely on the government. I believe in self-development and self-improvement. Our struggle for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment must continue with renewed energy and determination.

 

Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. is the President and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and can be reached for national advertisement sales and partnership proposals at: dr.bchavis@nnpa.org; and for lectures and other professional consultations at: http://drbenjaminfchavisjr.wix.com/drbfc

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