NEWS of the Day - April 20, 2012
on some NAACC / LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - April 20, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From the Washington Times

Nations unite for all-out effort to hunt down warlord Kony

by Ioannis Gatsiounis

KAMPALA, UGANDA — African nations have redoubled their resolve to capture Ugandan warlord Joseph Kony in the wake of the viral online documentary highlighting his rebel group's atrocities.

The African Union has started a troop surge to end the Lord's Resistance Army's 25-year war on civilians in East and Central Africa, weeks after the video “Kony 2012” attracted more than 100 million viewers on the Internet.

The force includes an estimated 5,000 soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic, along with communications and logistic support from the United States, and civilian escorts from the U.N.

A regional task force will be headquartered in Yambio, South Sudan, and will allow for free movement of troops across borders.

Kony and his estimated 500 fighters, many of them abducted children, are thought to be hiding in the dense jungle border region of the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

Ugandan military officials believe Kony himself is inside the Central African Republic, based on interviews with Lord's Resistance Army defectors.

Kony started his campaign of terror in northern Uganda. From 1987 to 2006, 20,000 Ugandan children were abducted and nearly 2 million people were displaced in the conflict.

Torture, hacking off limbs and sex slavery have been widely reported.

Eventually repelled by Ugandan forces, Kony and his troops fled from what is now South Sudan to the Central African Republic and Congo over an area about the size of California.

Kony and several other Lord's Resistance Army leaders, whose stated aim is to establish a religious state based on the Ten Commandments, are wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

The new effort to capture Kony seeks to improve on an operation launched in 2008 by Congo, southern Sudan and Uganda with U.S. intelligence and logistical support. That campaign centered on Garamba National Park in northeastern Congo, where Kony was suspected to be hiding.

But poor coordination, a shortage of ground troops and a lack of sustained air power across the vast dense jungle doomed the mission to failure and even led to a spike in civilian murders and abductees by the Lord's Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan.

In October, the Obama administration sent 100 special forces troop, up from 17 during the initial campaign, to help with information-sharing, coordination and strategy, but not combat operations.

The U.S. Agency for International Development has contributed $5 million to boost telephone coverage in the region, and the U.S. has donated $17 million for helicopter and fixed-wing logistical transport – seen as vital to success considering the area's extremely poor road network.

Following the release of “ Kony 2012,” the European Union announced it was donating $12 million in humanitarian assistance, and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has asked the U.S. government for additional aircraft support.



Newest Michigan museum showcases racist artifacts

by Mike Householder

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. — The objects displayed in Michigan's newest museum range from the ordinary, such as simple ashtrays and fishing lures, to the grotesque — a full-size replica of a lynching tree. But all are united by a common theme: They are steeped in racism so intense that it makes visitors cringe.

That's the idea behind the Jim Crow Museum of Racist Memorabilia, which says it has amassed the nation's largest public collection of artifacts spanning the segregation era, from Reconstruction until the civil rights movement, and beyond.

The museum in a gleaming new exhibit hall at Ferris State University “is all about teaching, not a shrine to racism,” said David Pilgrim, the founder and curator who started building the collection as a teenager.

Pilgrim, who is black, makes no apologies for the provocative exhibits. The goal of the $1.3 million gallery, he explained, is “to get people to think deeply.”

The displays are startling. The n-word is prevalent throughout, and many items portray black men as lazy, violent or inarticulate. Black women are shown as kerchief-wearing mammies, sexually charged Jezebels or other stereotypes.

The shocking images exact an emotional cost.

“There's parts in that room — the main room — where it's quite gut-wrenching,” said Nancy Mettlach, a student conduct specialist at Ferris. “And the thought that was going through my mind was: ‘How can one human being do this to another human being?'”

Pilgrim, a former sociology professor at Ferris State, started the collection in the 1970s in Alabama. Along the way, he “spent more time in antique and flea markets than the people who work there.” His quest for more examples was boundless.

“At some point, the collecting becomes the thing,” he said. “It became the way I relaxed.” He spent most of his free time and money on acquisitions.

In 1996, Pilgrim donated his 2,000-piece collection to the school after concluding that it “needed a real home.”

The collection spent the next 15 years housed in a single room and could be seen only by appointment. Thanks to the financial support of the university and donors — notably from the charitable arm of Detroit utility DTE Energy — Pilgrim's collection now has a permanent home, which will have a grand opening ceremony April 26. Admission is free.

Today, the school has 9,000 pieces that depict African-Americans in stereotypical ways and, in some cases, glorify violence against them.

Not all of the museum's holdings are on display, but the 3,500-square-foot space in the lower level of the university library is packed with items that demonstrate how racist ideas and anti-black images dominated American culture for decades.

Visitors can forget about touring the exhibits and retiring untroubled to a cafe or gift shop. Some leave angry or offended. Most feel a kind of “reflective sadness,” Pilgrim said.

But that's not enough. If the museum “stayed at that, then we failed,” he said. “The only real value of the museum has ever been to really engage people in a dialogue.”

So Pilgrim designed the tour to give visitors a last stop in a “room of dialogue,” where they're encouraged to discuss what they've seen and how the objects might be used to promote tolerance and social justice.

Some of the objects in the museum are a century old. Others were made as recently as this year.

Ferris State sophomore Nehemiah Israel was particularly troubled by a series of items about President Barack Obama .

One T-shirt on display reads: “Any White Guy 2012.” Another shirt that says “ Obama ‘08” is accompanied by a cartoon monkey holding a banana. A mouse pad shows robe-wearing Ku Klux Klan members chasing an Obama caricature above the words, “Run Obama Run.”

“I was like, ‘Wow. People still think this. This is crazy,'” Israel said.

One of the first rooms in the museum features a full-size replica of a tree with a lynching noose hanging from it. Several feet away, a television screen shows a video of racist images through the years.

The location of the museum — in the shadow of university founder Woodbridge Ferris ‘ statue — also catches some by surprise. The mostly white college town of Big Rapids is 150 miles from Detroit, the state's largest predominantly black city.

Ferris, who later served as Michigan governor and as a U.S. senator, founded the school more than a century ago. He once said Americans should work to provide an “education for all children, all men and all women.”

Pilgrim, who is also Ferris State's vice president for diversity and inclusion, initially considered giving his collection to a historically black college, but he wanted to be “near it enough to make sure it was taken care of.”

Most of the objects “are anti-black caricatures, everyday objects or they are segregationist memorabilia,” he said. Because they represent a cruel, inflammatory past, they “should either be in a garbage can or a museum.”



From Google News


Community Policing Work Day set for Saturday in Carthage

by Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Area residents may show up to help clean up on Saturday when the Carthage Police Department holds its third Community Policing Work Day.

The event will focus on neighborhoods north of Central Avenue, where Carthage officers have been working in a community policing project designed to reduce crime and address other problems.

The work day, set for 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., will bring together police officers, volunteers from churches, civic groups and others to help residents with projects around their homes, said police Capt. Randee Kaiser.

“These are needs that residents have identified — usually things they've not been able to do because they're not physically able,” he said. “Volunteers can step in and help.”

One project, Kaiser said, will be removing a fallen tree from the backyard of an elderly man's home.

“He didn't have a chain saw, or really the ability to deal with it, so volunteers will be doing that and other kinds of projects,” he said.

Kaiser credited the Carthage Ministerial Alliance for helping, and noted that Bykota Church often helps organize the projects and volunteers.

The Ministerial Alliance has participated as a group in past projects, and members of several churches will be working Saturday, said pastor James Perkins of Covenant World Outreach, the alliance president.

“Bykota deserves the credit; they'll have a lot of people there,” Perkins said. “I'm going, with my lawn mower and my Weed Eater.”

As part of a community policing project last year, the alliance built a small house for an elderly woman whose home had deteriorated to the point that it had to be condemned.

“We've decided to leave that to Habitat (for Humanity) in the future, but we still want to be involved and support our Police Department,” Perkins said.

This is the third community policing area tackled by the Police Department, but the first to include businesses as well as residences.

“They (business owners) have different concerns, like shoplifting, vandalism and after-hours activities on their parking lots,” Kaiser said. “We've been able to talk with them about measures they can take, just common-senses, and it's been well-received.”

Officers also have contacted residents in the neighborhood about their concerns, which have focused on thefts from yards and what the residents see as suspicious activity in the area.

“We've been able to address some of those concerns, and we've just reminded residents if they see something they think is suspicious, they need to call us,” Kaiser said. “Some of them say they don't want to bother us, but that's what we're here for.”

Kaiser said businesses, including some in the area, have donated food and other resources for Saturday's event. He said there also will be activities for children.

Want to help?

RESIDENTS WILLING TO VOLUNTEER may show up at the CPD's mobile command bus, which will be parked in the 200 block of North Maple Street. They may sign up and obtain information about how they can help. Though the event is all day, volunteers may work for as long as they wish, police Capt. Randee Kaiser said.