President Buhari Receives Rescued #Chibokgirl, Amina Ali, At The Presidential Villa

Chibok Girl RescuedHat tip Alasholuyi Blog

President Buhari received Amina Ali, one of the rescued abducted 219 Chibok Schoolgirls, at the State House earlier today, May 19. The rescued girl who nurses a four month old baby was led into the Villa by the Borno State Governor, Kashim Shettima.

Amina was rescued Tuesday [May 17] in the Sambisa forest close to Nigeria-Cameroon border by a member of Civilian Joint Task Force (JTF), operating with Military to wage war against Boko Haram terrorists.

The rescued girl has reportedly confirmed that over 200 abducted Chibok schoolgirls were still being held by terrorists in Sambisa forest, while 6 have since been dead.

Posted in Africa, Africans, Boko Haram, crime, Current Events, Kidnapping, News, Nigeria, Terrorism | Tagged , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Thursday Open Thread | Native American Week

Native American domestic violence against womenDOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Advocates’ hopes high for Native American women hotline

WASHINGTON – Rape and domestic violence against Native American women have reached “epidemic proportions,” but the hotlines that could help are often unprepared for the unique cultural needs of tribal women who may live in rural areas with little support and a bewildering legal system.

But that could be changing.

Sometime this year, the National Domestic Violence Hotline expects to take the first call at a hotline created specifically to respond to tribal victims.

The hotline, four years in the making, will be staffed either by tribal women or specially trained advocates “who can answer calls from Native women to help them … problem-solve around these issues,” said Katie Ray-Jones, CEO of the national hotline.

“I think our commitment from the hotline side just accelerated so quickly because of the number of stories, heartbreak, hardship, the lack of hope that many women were feeling,” Ray-Jones said about the first meeting with Native leaders. “(It) just became crystal clear to us that we need to do something.”

With the help of the National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center, the tribal hotline will offer crisis intervention, safety planning assessments and referrals to local resources tailored to Native women.

Leanne Guy, executive director of the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition, said it was important to have a tribal-specific hotline where people answering the phone understand cultural nuances, how tribal governments function and what it’s like living on a reservation where police may be understaffed, underfunded and serving a large, rural area.

“Oftentimes, whether it be language barriers or cultural sensitivity issues, folks aren’t as comfortable calling the national hotline as they would be a Native hotline,” Guy said.

“It’s the same as going into a non-Native program for services. There’s just a connection that you look for but you won’t find if it’s a non-Native program,” she said.

Guy said people who aren’t familiar with tribes or living on reservations may make the mistake of lumping them all together.

“Each tribe has their own language and culture and government, infrastructure,” Guy said. “They’ve got their own ways of doing things and each has their own capacity to respond to domestic violence. Some tribes are in a better place and some tribes are trying to figure it out.”

Jessye Johnson, spokeswoman for the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, said women who call her coalition’s hotline would be referred to a culturally specific resource if the woman identifies herself with a tribe. Currently, Johnson said, her coalition often reaches out to the Southwest Indigenous Women’s Coalition for guidance.

“Mainstream programs in big, urban areas don’t have those cultural pieces that are really important,” Johnson said. “Their needs are met more holistically in those tribal-specific programs.”

There is a definite need. The National Congress of American Indians reported that 34 percent of Native women will experience rape in their lifetimes and 39 percent will be victims of domestic violence. The Justice Department says the rate of domestic violence against Native women is 2.5 times the national average.

Ray-Jones said the National Domestic Violence Hotline is also expanding its digital presence so victims can access services online and through social media.

Posted in Culture, Current Events, Department of Justice, Domestic violence, First Nations, Human Rights, Native Americans, News, Open Thread, Politics, US Department of Justice | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 80 Comments

Freddie Gray case | State vs Officer Edward Nero | Day 5

Edward Nero 31Officer Edward Nero trial day 5: What you need to know

At the conclusion of Tuesday’s proceedings, Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams said the defense would conclude its case Wednesday morning and that both sides would give closing arguments Thursday morning.

What happened on day 4?

The defense called five witnesses — four of them fellow officers — on Tuesday, the first full day of defense testimony after the prosecution rested its case Monday.

What is Officer Nero’s case about?

Nero is not charged in Gray’s death, but is accused of putting him into a dangerous situation. He is charged with second-degree assault and misconduct related to Gray’s arrest, and reckless endangerment and a second count of misconduct stemming from the way Gray was loaded into the van.

The trial also involves allegations that Nero failed to care for Gray when he did not secure him with a seat belt in the back of the arrest van, where Gray ultimately suffered a fatal spine injury.

Gray had run from the officers in what they have described as a high-crime area. Gray, 25, suffered severe spinal cord injuries while in the back of the van, prosecutors say, and died a week later.

live coverage

Posted in crime, Criminal Justice, Current Events, Human Rights, Institutional Racism, Jim Crow laws, Justice for Freddie Gray, News, Open Thread, Police bruality, Police violence, Racial Profiling, Racism | Tagged , , , , , | 25 Comments

Wednesday Open Thread | Native American Week

Native Americans’ daily lives in early-1900s Arizona

PHOENIX – Edward Curtis‘ portraits of Native Americans living in Arizona was the race-defining iconography for the Western world in the 20th century.

Curtis spent 20 years documenting the indigenous people of North America, taking nearly 40,000 photos of more than 80 tribes. He made thousands of wax-cylinder recordings of native songs and languages, many of which can still be heard thanks to preservation efforts by Indiana University.

Arizona was the backdrop of some of Curtis’ most-recognizable work. Some of his photos even hang in the Arizona Capitol Museum.

The Library of Congress online archives now house the entire 20-voume “The North American Indian” series Curtis shot during his lifelong fascination with the Native American West.

Posted in Culture, Current Events, First Nations, Heritage, History, News, Open Thread | Tagged , , , , , , | 63 Comments

Freddie Gray case | State vs Officer Edward Nero | Day 4

Edward Nero 26Prosecution rests in Officer Edward Nero trial

Nero is the second of six officers to go on trial in the Freddie Gray case. Officer William Porter went on trial late last year.

Nero requested a bench trial instead of a jury trial. Nero, Officer Garrett Miller and Lt. Brian Rice were the officers on bicycle patrol who were involved in the initial arrest of Gray on April 12, 2015. Gray died a week later, and anger over his death helped spark last year’s riots.

Earlier Monday, prosecutors called Miller to the stand, but courtroom observers believe the witness may have helped the defense.

“I think Officer Miller did a lot more to help the defense than he did to help the state,” said Warren Alperstein, a legal expert.

Nero and Miller, both members of the Baltimore Police Department since 2012, are charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and reckless endangerment. All the charges are misdemeanors.

Miller testified that he and Nero responded to a foot chase for Gray after a radio call by Rice. Asked by the prosecutor whether he or Nero asked Rice why he chased Gray, Miller said no.

Asked by the prosecutor who apprehended Gray, Miller said he did and that he pursued Gray on foot. He said Gray gave up without fight. Miller said he put handcuffs and shackles on Gray.

Asked by the prosecutor whether Nero grabbed Gray, Miller said no.

Miller stayed on the witness stand some two hours. The line of questioning covered a lot of ground.

Miller testified that he believed it was the van driver’s ultimate responsibility to ensure Gray was secured in the police van with a seat belt.

Miller testified that Nero touched Gray twice: Once when he helped look for his inhaler and once when Nero helped Rice lift Gray into the van at Mount and Baker streets.

“Nero’s role was de minimis, de minimis. It’s absurd that he’s sitting there hanging to fight for his freedom,” said Warren Brown, a legal expert.

The courts gave Miller limited immunity to testify, so what he says can’t be used against him at his own trial.

Earlier in the day, prosecutors introduced Gray’s autopsy report as evidence but didn’t go into any detail. Prosecutors briefly called Assistant Medical Examiner Dr. Carol Allan to testify. She performed the autopsy on Gray.

Posted in Baltimore, crime, Criminal Justice, Current Events, Human Rights, Institutional Racism, Jim Crow laws, Justice for Freddie Gray, News, Open Thread, Police bruality, Police violence, Racial Profiling, Racism, White Supremacy | Tagged , , , , , | 43 Comments

Tuesday Open Thread | Native American Week

richard-pratt-carlisle-indian-schoolUS Army Pledges to Bear Full Cost of Returning Carlisle Remains

Beneath fields in Flanders, Normandy, and Okinawa, young American men and women lie in somber honor beneath row on row of white crosses. There to rest until a certain trumpet sounds.

In a clearing closer and less honored, on the grounds of what is now the U.S. Army War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, lie nearly 200 children; gone, but never forgotten; casualties of a federal policy to “kill the Indian in him, and save the man.” A leading architect of that policy, former cavalry officer Richard Henry Pratt, founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School on these grounds in 1879 on a model of military training.

Bringing home the Carlisle children’s remains was the subject of a potentially explosive meeting on Tuesday between the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Council, representatives from several northern plains tribes, representatives of the Department of Defense, and the South Dakota congressional delegation at the Rosebud Casino. At least a few tribal councilmen, veterans of dozens of meetings with the federal bureaucracy, came prepared for a fight. Their’ frustrations were strongly expressed throughout the meeting.

After many months researching the issue, Tribal Preservation Officer Russell Eagle Bear’s office believes at least 11 of the children buried in the Pennsylvania cemetery are Sicangu Lakota. Before the meeting, Eagle Bear said his chief concern was that all the tribes with children buried at Carlisle would be lumped together, leaving the tribes to compete over who has priority. He said his tribe had done its homework, and had a plan ready to go.

Honored at the council table were members of Tokala Inajinyo, Suicide Prevention Peer Mentors and the Defending Childhood Initiative, Sicangu Youth Council. After a trip to the White House last year that included a return stop at the Carlisle Cemetery, these middle and high school students, deeply troubled by the experience, worked tirelessly to bring their ancestors home by collecting more than 1,800 signatures in a petition to their tribal council.

Sharon White Hawk, Sicangu Lakota, spoke with deep appreciation of the youths’ efforts. “This movement that our Sicangu children have started is a prayer from our ancestors… boarding school has an intergenerational effect, and we are still healing from it. Our future was taken away from us.”

Justin Buller, Associate Deputy General Counsel, Dept. of the Army, General Counsel’s Office, and a spokesman for Patrick Hallinan, Executive Director, Army National Military Cemeteries, issued an apology for all the pain and suffering caused by the failed forced extermination experiment. He also said “The Army is intent on paying to make sure your children are returned to the people they came from.” Buller said, “We are not asking for anything from you. We are only wanting to make sure we are honoring your request to return your children to you.” Hallinan’s spokesman further assured that “we will move forward in a process that works for each individual tribe.”

Posted in Culture, Current Events, First Nations, Institutional Racism, Native Americans, News, Open Thread, Racism | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 70 Comments

Freddie Gray case | State vs Officer Edward Nero |Day 3

Edward Nero 5Prosecutors will continue to argue their case against Officer Edward Nero, one of six Baltimore police officers charged in the arrest of Freddie Gray, as Nero’s trial resumes in a downtown courtroom about 9:30 a.m. Monday.

Prosecutors have called 11 witnesses since the start of the trial on Thursday. Circuit Judge Barry G. Williams has indicated the prosecution may rest its case Monday, and that the defense may take two days to argue its case.

If both sides stick to that schedule, Williams could issue a ruling in the case as early as Wednesday. Nero has selected a bench trial, rather than a jury trial, meaning Williams alone will decide his fate on the four charges filed against him last year.

Nero has pleaded not guilty to second-degree assault and misconduct in office charges in connection with Gray’s initial detention and arrest, and not guilty to reckless endangerment and a second misconduct charge in connection with Gray’s placement shackled but without a seat belt in the back of a police transport van.

Gray, 25, died last April from spinal cord injuries that prosecutors say he suffered in the back of the van. Six Baltimore police officers were charged in the case. His death was followed by widespread protests. On the day of his funeral, rioting, looting and arson broke out.

Two other officers – William Porter and Garrett Miller – have been compelled to testify in Nero’s case under a limited form of immunity that protects against their testimony being used against them in their own pending trials. The issue was decided by the state’s highest court, stalling the officers’ trials for months.

Posted in Baltimore, Criminal Justice, Current Events, Human Rights, Institutional Racism, Jim Crow laws, Justice for Freddie Gray, News, Open Thread, Police bruality, Police violence, Racial Bias, Racial Profiling, Racism, White Supremacy | Tagged , , , , , | 76 Comments