06-23-2018  4:51 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 ...

No longer behind a mask, Eugene umpire is being recognized

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — After 31 years behind the plate as an MLB umpire, Dale Scott knows how to recognize a strike.Throwing one is, uh, another matter.When the Los Angeles Dodgers asked Scott to throw a ceremonial first pitch earlier this month, he was honored of course, but also a little...

Lawsuit seeks lawyer access to immigrants in prison

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A rights group filed an emergency lawsuit in federal court Friday against top officials of U.S. immigration and homeland security departments, alleging they have unconstitutionally denied lawyers' access to immigrants in a prison in Oregon.Immigration and Customs...

Evacuation orders lifted in wildfire near Vantage

VANTAGE, Wash. (AP) — Evacuation notices have been lifted for residents in about 30 homes as a wildfire burning in central Washington reaches 50 percent containment.The Yakima Herald-Republic reports fire crews were hoping to fully contain the fire near Vantage and the Columbia River by...

Central Washington suicide rate rises 23 percent

YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — On June 7, 2016, Kori Haubrich thought she found a solution to the problems that had been gnawing at her for weeks.That Monday, the Sunnyside native sat outside her Bellingham apartment struggling to figure out what she would do after graduating from Western Washington...

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

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, a form of makeup that...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

The Latest: Germany, Mexico, Belgium headline Saturday games

MOSCOW (AP) — The Latest on Friday at the World Cup (all times local):1:13 a.m.Will Germany follow Brazil's lead in righting the ship after a rocky World Cup start, or will the defending champ find itself keeping company with Argentina, needing help if it hopes to advance?The World Cup could...

ENTERTAINMENT

So much TV, so little summer: Amy Adams, Kevin Hart, Dr. Pol

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The fall television season is months away but that's no reason to stare moodily at a blank screen. In this era of peak TV, there are so many outlets and shows clamoring for your summertime attention that it can be as daunting as choosing between a mojito and a frozen...

Honduran girl in symbolic photo not separated from mother

NEW YORK (AP) — A crying Honduran girl depicted in a widely-seen photograph that became a symbol for many of President Donald Trump's immigration policies was not actually separated from her mother, U.S. government officials said on Friday.Time magazine used an image of the girl, by Getty...

AP Source: J. Cole to perform at BET Awards

NEW YORK (AP) — J. Cole is set to perform at Sunday's BET Awards.A person familiar with the awards show, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the person was not allowed to discuss the plans publicly, tells The Associated Press on Friday that the rapper will perform at the...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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,...

First lady's 'don't care' jacket is a gift to memers online

NEW YORK (AP) — I really don't care, do u?Perhaps one day first lady Melania Trump will use her own words...

Justices adopt digital-age privacy rules to track cellphones

WASHINGTON (AP) — Police generally need a warrant to look at records that reveal where cellphone users have...

Popular hashtags take sides on Egypt president's leadership

CAIRO (AP) — Tens of thousands of Egyptians have set social media alight with tweets on opposing hashtags,...

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,...

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...

Dr. Benjamin Chavis
Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. (NNPA President and CEO)

There is an old adage that posits “The more things appear to change, the more they stay the same.” Once again, millions of Americans are engulfed in what has become a reluctant national debate and dialogue concerning race and the urgency to reform the nation’s criminal justice system. Finding and identifying transformative remedies and solutions are long overdue.

In the wake of the most recent fatal tragedies in Dallas, Minneapolis, and Baton Rouge, there are renewed fervent calls for improving relations between police officers and the communities they are sworn to protect and serve. I believe these calls are being made in earnest, seeking conclusive change.

However, the underlying systemic reasons why these and other tragedies continue to happen are somehow routinely avoided. There is a pervasive fear to speak and articulate the truth about race and the institutionalized devolving impact of racism on all levels of the criminal justice system.

To put it bluntly, there is too much intellectual dishonesty concerning the historical and contemporary role of race in America. In particular we need more intellectual honesty about why and how real reform of the criminal justice system should be achieved.

We need remedies that actually work to enable and to empower people to improve their quality of life without the debilitating and too often death-rendering consequences of a broken criminal justice system. Mass incarceration, prosecutorial misconduct, judicial inequality, racial profiling, and police brutality are all interrelated and interconnected in the counterproductive web of the system named criminal justice.

It is a system that lacks honesty, truth and integrity. Yet, my purpose here is to go beyond merely joining the public chorus that bemoans the prolonged contradictions of this failed social system. I know that there are some preventative programs and initiatives that are producing positive results about which more people should be made aware.

Criminal justice reform requires the coordinated and combined efforts and support of principled leaders in the private sector along with government officials, community organizations, and family members who are impacted. We should also acknowledge that poverty and economic insecurity feeds the pipeline to the jails and prisons in the United States.

Acquiring a good education and training that provide a means of generating a sustainable income are also key factors that are necessary, if reform of our system of justice is to be productive. Last year in Baton Rouge, ironically, I was pleased to be on a panel about criminal justice reform at the 57th national convention of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) founded by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. We discussed the need for re-entry programs for the thousands of ex-offenders who are returning to our communities across the nation.

One such program I want to highlight, Project JumpStart in Baltimore, Md., is an effective and efficient model to reforming an important aspect of the criminal justice system: offender re-entry workforce development. The construction trades are a growing skilled-workers industry in most urban areas where there are high-paying job opportunities.

JumpStart is Baltimore’s premier construction training program. It is a 14-week skills training program in plumbing, carpentry and the electrical trade. Trainees also receive financial literacy coaching as well as practical courses in mathematics as it relates to the construction industry. Most importantly more than 70 percent of the JumpStart trainees actually go on to attain apprenticeships, licenses, and high-wage jobs.

Mark Holden, general counsel and senior vice president at Koch Industries, was on the SCLC panel with me in Baton Rouge. We agreed that bipartisan support of results-oriented criminal justice reform programs is essential. I was also pleased recently to review Mark’s appraisal of Project JumpStart.

Holden emphasized, “Project JumpStart allows ex-offenders to rebuild their lives, providing opportunity and hope. We all have a moral obligation to stop punishing people for their past actions once they have paid their debt to society. We need to build and support a culture of opportunity so that the ex-offender leads a productive and purposeful life – Project JumpStart is essential to that process.”

Maryland, like many of other states, disproportionately incarcerates African Americans. What will happened to our brothers and sisters once they complete their prison sentences? I support President Obama’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative as one of a series of programs targeted to keep our young people from entering prison. But we also have to be concerned about the millions of people who are now hopelessly languishing in America’s prisons and jails.

When I was unjustly imprisoned in my home state of North Carolina during most of the 1970’s as a member of the Wilmington Ten, I witnessed firsthand how thousands of young, gifted and talented prison inmates were given no rehabilitative chance to re-enter society with an opportunity to become productive and successful in their respective life journeys.

To that end there should be more programs like JumpStart in every city and state. We need principled national, state and local leadership on all the key reform issues, in particular on overcriminalization, re-entry training, prosecutorial accountability, community policing, and restorative equal justice. Today, across America, we urgently need more intellectual honesty about race and criminal justice reform.

Dr. 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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