05-25-2018  7:28 am      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

Attorney General Forms Hate Crime Task Force

The task force will study hate-motivated crimes and review existing legal protections for victims ...

Portland Art Museum Celebrates Art Museum Day with Free Admission on May 25

Portland Art Museum joins art museums across North America, with great works of art and public programs ...

June Key Delta Community Center Hosts May Week ’18 Health Fair May 26

Event includes vision, glucose screenings, medication disposal and car seat installation ...

Mississippi Avenue Giving Tuesday

On Tuesday, May 22, 10 percent of proceeds from participating Mississippi Ave. businesses will go to SEI ...

The highest-paid CEOs by state

Here are the top-paid CEOs by state for 2017, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.The survey considered only publicly traded companies with more than jumi billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30....

Douglas County suspends recycling service due to Chinese ban

ROSEBURG, Ore. (AP) — The Douglas County Landfill and transfer stations, along with its recycling partner, will be suspending all recycling efforts in the county.The News-Review reports that the operations will be suspended June 1. The Douglas County Public Works Department in a statement...

The highest-paid CEOs by state

Here are the top-paid CEOs by state for 2017, as calculated by The Associated Press and Equilar, an executive data firm.The survey considered only publicly traded companies with more than jumi billion in revenue that filed their proxy statements with federal regulators between Jan. 1 and April 30....

NFL players, coaches grapple with new anthem policy

RENTON, Wash. (AP) — Seahawks coach Pete Carroll wanted to be talking about football matters — Seattle's recommitment to the run game, the addition of two new coordinators, almost anything to do with what happens between the lines.Instead, the league's oldest coach has spent the past...

OPINION

Racism After Graduation May Just Be What's on the Menu

Dr. Julianne Malveaux says that for our young millennials, racism is inevitable ...

Prime Minister Netanyahu Shows Limits of Israel’s Democracy

Bill Fletcher, Jr. on racial politics in Israel and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s uneven treatment of African immigrants ...

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 ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Students hand back in yearbook after racial slur is pictured

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Students at a coastal Georgia high school are being asked to hand back in their yearbooks after a racial slur made for some bad memories.The Savannah-Chatham County school district tells news outlets that the publisher has recalled the Windsor Forest High School yearbook...

Column: Jack Johnson's biggest crime was being black

Jack Johnson's biggest crime was being an unrepentant black man who beat up white men for a living.High-flying and flamboyant, he refused to live by the unwritten rules of American society in the early 1900s. That made him a target, and that eventually cost him his freedom after being convicted of...

Rachel Dolezal accused of welfare fraud after race scandal

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A former NAACP leader in Washington state whose life unraveled after she was exposed as a white woman pretending to be black has been charged with welfare fraud.Rachel Dolezal, who legally changed her name to Nkechi Diallo in 2016, was charged this week with theft by...

ENTERTAINMENT

Daniel Craig to return as 007 in 2019, Danny Boyle at helm

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Daniel Craig is back as Bond, the spy series' producers confirmed, in a Danny Boyle-directed film due for release in 2019.Bond producers Michael G. Wilson and Barbara Broccoli of EON Productions announced Thursday that production on the 25th official James Bond thriller...

Rose McGowan on Weinstein: 'One win is a win for all of us'

NEW YORK (AP) — She was one of the earliest Harvey Weinstein accusers, and she thought the mogul might never face justice in a court of law.Now, actress Rose McGowan, who has accused Weinstein of raping her 20 years ago, is gratified but "still in shock" at the news that he is expected to...

Morgan Freeman apologizes in wake of harassment accusations

Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman apologized on Thursday to anyone who may have felt "uncomfortable or disrespected" by his behavior, after CNN reported that multiple women have accused the A-list actor of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior on movie sets and in other professional...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

For CEOs, .7 million a year is just middle of the pack

NEW YORK (AP) — Chief executives at the biggest public companies got an 8.5 percent raise last year,...

APNewsBreak: Tesla in Autopilot mode sped up before crashing

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Tesla that crashed while in Autopilot mode in Utah this month accelerated in the...

In Gaza, border opening brings relief and anxiety

RAFAH BORDER CROSSING, Gaza Strip (AP) — Just after daybreak, Hamed al-Shaer came down the narrow stairway...

The Latest: Syrian army warns Daraa rebels of nearing attack

BEIRUT (AP) — The Latest on the situation in Syria (all times local):6 p.m.Syria state-run media says...

49 dead after boat capsizes on Congo River tributary

KINSHASA, Congo (AP) — Congolese officials say at least 49 people have died after a boat tipped over on the...

Explosion at Indian restaurant in Canada wounds 15 people

TORONTO (AP) — An explosion caused by a homemade bomb ripped through an Indian restaurant where children...

By Donovan M. Smith | The Skanner News

Ask Nicky today, and she will say the gang wars she once front-lined for are “pointless.”

Stopping today’s youth from following her path by  joining the ranks of this same “pointless” war she and so many other thousands have fought since the late 1980’s is the reason she has launched the new initiative Neighbors Against Violence.

The alliance comprised entirely of female ex-gang members—some once rivals—aims to steer young people into job opportunities, camps, and provide scholarships with the hopes that paths like these will fulfill their bottom line, “trying to save some lives.”

Most organizations combating  the ills of gang-life tend to be male-led and male-centric as the overwhelming majority of those in gangs are young boys—but the ladies of Neighbors Against Violence are taking a different approach.

“The girls are the ones having the babies and having to raise them when these men die,” Lunita Renfrow, one of the group’s members says.

“The girls are the ones that are stuck afterwards and end up having to be single mothers and not being able to take care of the kids, or the kids keep going back to the street and raising little gang members again.”

Renfrow adds that though they will keep their focus on women, certain resources like scholarships will be available to boys as well.

But they also hope to other services such as daycare so mothers can go to school.

Neighbors Against Violence acts only as an initiative at the moment, but Taylor, the group’s creator, says she is working on getting it to 501c3 status.

After 24-year-old Andre Lee Coggins was killed in one of the city’s three gang-related homicides last year in her North Portland neighborhood, Taylor says she was ready to move head first into the idea -- one she says she’d been sitting on for close to three years.

She began reaching out to the women she felt could translate their tales of street life into inspiration for the kids of today, putting any remnants of animosity to the side.

How? They were all friends at one point.

These women, all former gang-members have all banded together to provide youth with alternate paths to street life with the formation of their new initiative: Neighbors Against Violence. Pictured here from left to right are: Lunita Renfrow, Dyrenda Waller, Loretta Rogers, Selmene Rodriguez, and Nicole Taylor. --Photo by Donovan M. Smith

 

“We basically went back to that. Like, what [were] we tripping off of, really? I done slept at your house. Been at your mama’s house. We done broke bread together. We literally went back to the basics,” says Selmene Rodriguez.

Since forming, the women have been doing presentations and small-scale community events throughout the city using as an entry piece Taylor’s autobiographical book penned  in 1998, “Ask Nicky…A Young Person’s Workbook for Building Dreams.”

The book works more or less as the group’s “Bible” right now, detailing real-life scenes from Taylor’s life. The goal is for kids to use it as critical thinking to debate how she could best have handled her adversities, growing up as a youth influenced by gang culture.

Taylor’s initiative comes during a time when gang violence is on a noticeable uptick, after nearly a decade of record lows. City officials say the violence peaked in 1997, when 15 died in gang violence citywide.

Many others who did not lose their lives were hurt in other ways, with lengthy prison sentences or criminal records that prevent job opportunities, leaving the long-neglected and impoverished residents of the city’s North and Northeast an even more unstable community.

Unlike the time they came up ‘banging, they say much like the ever-gentrifying areas they once branded their allegiances to (neighborhoods like Woodlawn, and avenues like Kerby) there is a growing disappearance of organization within these gangs.

“Ain’t no hoods no more. Everything is so spread out, they come together when they come together and that’s why there’s so much violence -- because nobody has loyalty anymore like they used to.

“So it’s just [kids claiming a gang] then seeing each other and [having a conflict],” says Renfrow.

“There’s no rules to this. It’s not like it used to be before. It’s extremely scary,” adds Rodriguez.

Nonetheless, the women say they are taking responsibility for their pasts and trying to plant positivity and opportunity into today’s generation with community organizations, schools and churches alike.

“When they start seeing that we’ve come together as a collective, we’ll be able to tackle the streets and those youngsters.”

At one of their first events as a collective, Neighbors Against Violence were approached by a young girl.

“Are all of them your sisters?” the girl asked.

“Yes,” one replied, “all of them are my sisters now.”

Neighbors Against Violence will be serving up home-made goods this week at First AME Zion Church (4303 N. Vancouver Ave.) , Friday and Saturday, May 15-16, as part of a fundraiser to start their own summer camps.

Friday, chicken is the main menu item coming in both regular and spicy flavors, with french fries and toast as sides, and dessert.

The following day’s menu includes spaghetti and fried fish, accompanied by garlic toast and dessert.  All meals come with your pick of water or soda.

Plates are $8 apiece, and donations are being accepted. To place an order, call 503-960-9297.

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