04-24-2024  2:02 am   •   PDX and SEA Weather
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NORTHWEST NEWS

The Drug War Devastated Black and Other Minority Communities. Is Marijuana Legalization Helping?

A major argument for legalizing the adult use of cannabis after 75 years of prohibition was to stop the harm caused by disproportionate enforcement of drug laws in Black, Latino and other minority communities. But efforts to help those most affected participate in the newly legal sector have been halting. 

Lessons for Cities from Seattle’s Racial and Social Justice Law 

 Seattle is marking the first anniversary of its landmark Race and Social Justice Initiative ordinance. Signed into law in April 2023, the ordinance highlights race and racism because of the pervasive inequities experienced by people of color

Don’t Shoot Portland, University of Oregon Team Up for Black Narratives, Memory

The yearly Memory Work for Black Lives Plenary shows the power of preservation.

Grants Pass Anti-Camping Laws Head to Supreme Court

Grants Pass in southern Oregon has become the unlikely face of the nation’s homelessness crisis as its case over anti-camping laws goes to the U.S. Supreme Court scheduled for April 22. The case has broad implications for cities, including whether they can fine or jail people for camping in public. Since 2020, court orders have barred Grants Pass from enforcing its anti-camping laws. Now, the city is asking the justices to review lower court rulings it says has prevented it from addressing the city's homelessness crisis. Rights groups say people shouldn’t be punished for lacking housing.

NEWS BRIEFS

Mt. Tabor Park Selected for National Initiative

Mt. Tabor Park is the only Oregon park and one of just 24 nationally to receive honor. ...

OHCS, BuildUp Oregon Launch Program to Expand Early Childhood Education Access Statewide

Funds include million for developing early care and education facilities co-located with affordable housing. ...

Governor Kotek Announces Chief of Staff, New Office Leadership

Governor expands executive team and names new Housing and Homelessness Initiative Director ...

Governor Kotek Announces Investment in New CHIPS Child Care Fund

5 Million dollars from Oregon CHIPS Act to be allocated to new Child Care Fund ...

A conservative quest to limit diversity programs gains momentum in states

A conservative quest to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is gaining momentum in state capitals and college governing boards, with officials in about one-third of the states now taking some sort of action against it. Tennessee became the latest when the Republican...

Ex-police officer wanted in 2 killings and kidnapping shoots, kills self in Oregon, police say

SEATTLE (AP) — A former Washington state police officer wanted after killing two people, including his ex-wife, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound following a chase in Oregon, authorities said Tuesday. His 1-year-old baby, who was with him, was taken safely into custody by Oregon...

Missouri hires Memphis athletic director Laird Veatch for the same role with the Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Missouri hired longtime college administrator Laird Veatch to be its athletic director on Tuesday, bringing him back to campus 14 years after he departed for a series of other positions that culminated with five years spent as the AD at Memphis. Veatch...

KC Current owners announce plans for stadium district along the Kansas City riverfront

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — The ownership group of the Kansas City Current announced plans Monday for the development of the Missouri River waterfront, where the club recently opened a purpose-built stadium for the National Women's Soccer League team. CPKC Stadium will serve as the hub...

OPINION

Op-Ed: Why MAGA Policies Are Detrimental to Black Communities

NNPA NEWSWIRE – MAGA proponents peddle baseless claims of widespread voter fraud to justify voter suppression tactics that disproportionately target Black voters. From restrictive voter ID laws to purging voter rolls to limiting early voting hours, these...

Loving and Embracing the Differences in Our Youngest Learners

Yet our responsibility to all parents and society at large means we must do more to share insights, especially with underserved and under-resourced communities. ...

Gallup Finds Black Generational Divide on Affirmative Action

Each spring, many aspiring students and their families begin receiving college acceptance letters and offers of financial aid packages. This year’s college decisions will add yet another consideration: the effects of a 2023 Supreme Court, 6-3 ruling that...

OP-ED: Embracing Black Men’s Voices: Rebuilding Trust and Unity in the Democratic Party

The decision of many Black men to disengage from the Democratic Party is rooted in a complex interplay of historical disenchantment, unmet promises, and a sense of disillusionment with the political establishment. ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Pro-Palestinian student protests target colleges' financial ties with Israel

Students at a growing number of U.S. colleges are gathering in protest encampments with a unified demand of their schools: Stop doing business with Israel — or any companies that empower its ongoing war in Gaza. The demand has its roots in a decades-old campaign against Israel's...

Olympian Kristi Yamaguchi is 'tickled pink' to inspire a Barbie doll

Like many little girls, a young Kristi Yamaguchi loved playing with Barbie. With a schedule packed with ice skating practices, her Barbie dolls became her “best friends.” So, it's surreal for the decorated Olympian figure skater to now be a Barbie girl herself. ...

A conservative quest to limit diversity programs gains momentum in states

A conservative quest to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is gaining momentum in state capitals and college governing boards, with officials in about one-third of the states now taking some sort of action against it. Tennessee became the latest when the Republican...

ENTERTAINMENT

What to stream this weekend: Conan O’Brien travels, 'Migration' soars and Taylor Swift reigns

Zack Snyder’s “Rebel Moon – Part Two: The Scargiver” landing on Netflix and Taylor Swift’s “The Tortured Poets Department” album are some of the new television, movies, music and games headed to a device near you. Also among the streaming offerings worth your time as...

Music Review: Jazz pianist Fred Hersch creates subdued, lovely colors on 'Silent, Listening'

Jazz pianist Fred Hersch fully embraces the freedom that comes with improvisation on his solo album “Silent, Listening,” spontaneously composing and performing tunes that are often without melody, meter or form. Listening to them can be challenging and rewarding. The many-time...

Book Review: 'Nothing But the Bones' is a compelling noir novel at a breakneck pace

Nelson “Nails” McKenna isn’t very bright, stumbles over his words and often says what he’s thinking without realizing it. We first meet him as a boy reading a superhero comic on the banks of a river in his backcountry hometown in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Georgia....

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

A conservative quest to limit diversity programs gains momentum in states

A conservative quest to limit diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives is gaining momentum in state capitals...

Pro-Palestinian student protests target colleges' financial ties with Israel

Students at a growing number of U.S. colleges are gathering in protest encampments with a unified demand of their...

The Latest | Germany will resume working with UN agency for Palestinians, following review

Germany said Wednesday that it plans to follow several other countries in resuming cooperation with the U.N....

Villagers in Mexico organize to take back their water as drought, avocados dry up lakes and rivers

VILLA MADERO, Mexico (AP) — As a drought in Mexico drags on, angry subsistence farmers have begun taking direct...

Haiti's government scrambles to impose tight security measures as council inauguration imminent

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Armored vehicles roll slowly past Haiti’s National Palace as police scan the...

Longtime EU hopeful North Macedonia holds presidential polls centered on bloc accession, rule of law

SKOPJE, North Macedonia (AP) — Presidential elections are being held Wednesday in North Macedonia, a small...

Laura Wides-Munoz the Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) -- The civil rights groups that turned outrage over Trayvon Martin's death into action say their work is far from over now that his killer has been charged with second-degree murder. Next, they hope to harness the activism to challenge Florida's "stand your ground" law and similar statutes in 24 other states.

But they also worry about maintaining their momentum during what could be a long judicial process and translating it into political action that could help sway lawmakers. The leaders plan to use churches, social media and other means to rally the movement that has already prompted protesters to take to the streets in several major cities.

"Arresting Zimmerman is the beginning of the process. This is a first down, not a touchdown," the Rev. Jesse Jackson told The Associated Press this week from Houston, where he was talking to black church leaders about the Martin case, Florida's gun law and racial profiling.

Martin's death is also being used as a call to action by politicians such as New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and more traditional gun control groups including the Brady Campaign.

When prosecutors in Florida announced the charge against 28-year-old George Zimmerman on Wednesday, the Rev. Al Sharpton had just opened his National Action Network's annual conference in Washington. Sharpton said attendees immediately began discussing ways to keep attention on Martin's case and pressure governors and legislators to reconsider the self-defense laws.

"How did people hear about it in the first place? The kids heard about it on the radio. They heard about it on social media. That's what we need to continue," Sharpton said. "But school is going to be out soon, so you've got to have infrastructure that goes beyond the students, with black and minority media, with the churches."

His organization is calling for a national "stand your ground" rally on Sunday and plans to announce a rally outside the Florida Legislature in the coming days. Martin's parents are expected to speak at his conference Saturday. A pastor in Detroit is also planning a rally on Monday to support a teacher fired when she encouraged her students to raise money for Martin's family.

Elsewhere, pastors such as the Rev. Raphael Warnock, of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, are writing the case into their Sunday services.

And with 200,000 "likes," the Facebook page called "Justice for Trayvon Martin" is also keeping people informed. It continues to post about art, poetry and events organized in commemoration of the teen.

It's a continuation of an effort that began not long after Zimmerman shot and killed Martin on Feb. 26 in Sanford, Fla. When no charges had been filed by early the next month, the Martin family's attorney, Benjamin Crump, reached out to civil rights leaders around the country.

Martin's parents and their supporters argued that race played a role in authorities' initial reluctance to bring charges. Martin was black, while Zimmerman's father is white and his mother is from Peru.

Rallies as far away as New York, Chicago and D.C. drew hundreds each, while more than a thousand protesters gathered in Miami and thousands more in Sanford. Protesters that included sports and film stars donned hooded sweatshirts like the one Martin was wearing when he was shot. The shooting was even discussed at presidential news conferences, and it became international news.

After an extraordinary 45-day campaign, the special prosecutor who took over the case charged Zimmerman. The neighborhood watch volunteer maintains that he shot the teen in self-defense after Martin attacked him. His attorney plans to cite Florida's "stand your ground law," which gives people wide latitude to use deadly force rather than retreat during a fight. The law is also part of the reason why authorities were reluctant to charge Zimmerman in the first place.



A document filed by the special prosecutor alleges that Zimmerman followed and confronted the unarmed teen, even after a police dispatcher told him to back off. He is being held without bond.

Martin's parents say that they plan to keep up their efforts even if Zimmerman is convicted.

"We would just like for the world to know that we will continue to fight for other Trayvons out there," his father, Tracy Martin, recently told the AP. "This just doesn't stop with our child."

The call to overturn the so-called "stand your ground" laws is gaining support from leaders beyond the civil rights community. Citing Martin's death, Bloomberg launched a national campaign on Wednesday called "Second Chance at Shoot First" that seeks to repeal or reform the self-defense laws.

Even the gun-control group the Brady Campaign, formed in the 1980s following the attempted assassination of then-President Ronald Reagan, is enjoying renewed attention. President Dan Gross plans to use the Martin case to fight proposed federal legislation that would force states with strict gun laws to recognize concealed weapons permits granted in states that have fewer requirements.

"We've been saying all along that the `stand your ground' laws - or the `shoot first and ask questions later' laws, as we call them - are only part of the issue," Gross said.

In Florida, a state senator recently convened a committee to review whether changes are needed to the state's self-defense laws. Gov. Rick Scott plans to convene a separate committee with a similar aim.

Still, advocates face a tough battle against an entrenched and well-funded gun-rights lobby.

The National Rifle Association, which opposes most gun control bills, spent more than $14 million on campaigns at the federal level during the last election cycle. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was the headline speaker at its national convention Friday in Missouri.

The NRA didn't immediately respond to a call on Friday seeking comment about the self-defense laws.

Susan MacManus, a political science professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa, said the presidential election gives the activists leverage but cautioned that the pitch to change self-defense laws will be tough in states where gun rights are sacred.

"Policy changes are never quick," she said. "The bottom line is rapid policy changes have a much better chance when you have a very high-profile, volatile issue like this one that reaches so many people."

Jackson doesn't expect any major changes to come quickly or easily, either.

"We must do some heavy lifting," he said. "This cannot be a fad where you wear the hoodie, the apparel, and then it goes away."

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Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Kyle Hightower in Stanford, Fla.; Mike Hightower in Detroit; Errin Haines in Atlanta and Sonya Rosss in Washington.

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The Skanner Foundation's 38th Annual MLK Breakfast