Spokane Racism

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Archive for the ‘Diversity’ Category

An Evening with Mawi Asgedom — Thursday, August 26, 2010

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Of Beetles and Angels

~~~~~~~~Special Event~~~~~~~

An Evening with Mawi Asgedom
Thursday, August 26, 2010
6:00 p.m. – 8:00p.m.
Shaw Middle School
4106 N Cook
Spokane, Washington
(Just north of Empire and Cook – map)

Internationally acclaimed author and motivational speaker Asgedom Mawi fled civil war in Ethiopia as a child and survived a Sudanese refugee camp for three years. He overcame poverty, language barriers, and personal tragedy to graduate from Harvard University. He wrote the inspiring book Of Beetles and Angels.

Mawi is the president of Mental Karate, an organization that has helped youth take over 100,000 inspired actions across the U.S. and Canada. Mawi’s experiences relate to Spokane Public Schools continued focus toward family involvement, socially just teaching practices, and meeting the needs of all students, including refugees, ELLs, students of color, and families of poverty.

Media outlets that have featured Mawi include:

– The Oprah Winfrey Show, “One of the Twenty Best Moments of Oprah’s Career”

– ESSENCE, “One of the 40 Most Inspiring African-Americans”

Learn more about Mawi’s work with youth at www.MentalKarate.com.

Seating is limited. Reserve your seat with Janice Abramson (JaniceA@Spokaneschools.org)


Written by Arroyoribera

August 20, 2010 at 10:44 am

Martin Espada–the Pablo Neruda of North American authors–at EWU 5/30/08

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Author Sandra Cisneros has called Martin Espada “the Pablo Neruda of North American authors”. He has won many awards including the American Book Award and was invited to Chile as part of the Neruda’s centenary.

At Eastern Washington University on May 30, 2008, Espada will give a lecture in the afternoon and later that evening read from his poetry.

Winners of the “Diversity with Diversity” writing contest will also participate in the evening reading event.

The February 20, 2008 online edition of The Easterner ran the following information on the event in an article by Easterner staff writer Russell Stahlke:

“Diversity within Diversity,” an essay/poetry writing contest, is currently accepting submissions. The due date is April 4, 2008. Entries can be delivered to the Writers’ Center in PUB 354, or submitted via e-mail at writers.center@mail.ewu.edu.

Essays can be a maximum of 2,000 words, and should be double-spaced and written with 12-point font. Poems can be a maximum of two pages with the same specifications.

“An essay is always non-fiction in nature,” said Dani Ringwald, one of the Writers’ Center Responders. “There are all types of essays: personal, argumentative, descriptive, cause and effect, compare and contrast, division and classification, and we welcome all approaches,” said Ringwald.

“This contest is also open to the various forms that poetry provides,” said Ringwald. “For inspiration, students might want to look up Martin Espada’s poetry, or stop by the Center and take a look at the bulletin board we’ve created to celebrate his work.”

Winners of the contest will have an opportunity to read their work at a community reading on May 30th alongside award-winning poet and essayist Martin Espada, as well as receiving a $100 gift card for Eastern’s bookstore. Also, the winning submissions will be published in an anthology.

“We invited Martin Espada, ‘the Latino poet of his generation,’ to come to EWU as our guest speaker because of his dedication to using writing as a tool for democracy which fit exactly with our intention for this diversity project,” said Ringwald.

“All of the winning authors will be invited to read at the public community reading in Showalter Hall the evening of May 30th,” said Ringwald.

For more information on the writing contest, go to http://www.ewu.edu/writerscenter


Amy Goodman interviews Martin Espada on Democracy Now about the life and works of Pablo Neruda. (Available in print, audio and video on the Democracy Now website).

Written by Arroyoribera

February 21, 2008 at 8:17 pm

Posted in Diversity, Events

Zero Diversity in Spokane’s Major Law Firms

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The Washington State Bar Association publication Law and Politics (June/July 2003) ran an article entitled “Gaining and Retaining Diversity: How well do law firms keep their promise of a diverse environment?” by Paul Freeman.

The article and graphic were based on a survey of Washington State law firms conducted by the Washington State Latina/o Bar Association, the Loren Miller Bar Association, and the Asian Bar Association of Washington.

Several law firms did not respond, among them Spokane based firms Lukins & Annis, P.S. (35 attorneys); Witherspoon, Kelley, Davenport, and Toole, P.S (50 attorneys); and Paine, Hamblen, Coffin, Brooke & Miller, LLC (55 attorneys).

It is not difficult to see why these firms would not have responded to the survey.

A look 5 years later at the websites for these large Spokane-based law firms shows that they have no attorneys of non-European ethnicity whatsoever. (On the WKDT and PHCBM websites you will have to click on the names of the individual attorneys.)

And this despite the presence of a well-known Jesuit law school — Gonzaga — in Spokane.

This non-diverse reality is reflected throughout the Spokane professional, political, educational, and arts communities. While more than one in ten residents of Spokane is of a diverse ethnic background, that reality is not seen in the offices of government, medicine, law, business, education, social work, religion, or virtually anything else in this community.

The consequences in the application of justice are seen in on the streets and in the court room as recently seen in a well-publicized Spokane court case revealing blatantly racist statements by Spokane jurors regarding an attorney of Asian heritage.

The consequences in the emergency room and in doctors’ offices are experienced on a daily basis by patients who do not receive language appropriate services required under the Civil Rights Act of 1965 and other provisions of law. In Spokane these failures to comply with the law happen on a daily and flagrant basis. As a result, adverse outcomes and deaths have occurred), conditions have been misdiagnosed, and much humiliation and abuse has been suffered (as in the death of 9-year-old Rocio Rodriguez, for example.)

The consequences in the class room are that non-English speaking students do not receive notice of extracurricular and enrichment activities and access to musical instruments in their parents’ languages and thus talented and worthy children are excluded from participation. Beyond that, the larger community and society is denied the fruits of their talents and abilities.

Given that most, if not all, of these matters of access, equity, and justice must be adjudicated in the final instance through the legal system, the lack of diversity in the Spokane legal profession, from law school, to law practice, to public service law agencies, to court room has long-lasting repercussions on the lives of people in Spokane and raises fundamental questions of access to justice which should be matters of major concern for everyone involved in civil rights in Spokane and the betterment of our minority communities.

The time for change in Spokane is long since past. Why has change not come?

Could the answer be “entrenched racism”?


Spokane County Bar Association diversity page

Written by Arroyoribera

February 10, 2008 at 11:21 am

Newsroom Diversity Report on the Spokesman-Review — Non-representative but better than its peers

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According to the 2005 Newsroom Diversity report produced by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Spokesman-Review newspaper — the daily newspaper monopoly in Spokane, Washington — is doing better than many of its peers in the industry but still has a minority newsroom staff disproportionately small in relationship to the diversity of its readership.

If the weekly VOX newspaper — a Spokesman-Review production edited and written by Spokane area high school students — is seen as part of the S-R’s efforts to develop the newsroom of the future at the Spokesman-Review, one can see why the Spokesman’s newsroom fails to reflect the diversity of the Spokane region, however small that regional diversity is. And one can see why, unless pro-active measures are taken by Spokesman-Review editor Steve Smith and his staff, the Spokesman will continue to lag in the area of diversity and the ability to see the world from what Spokane homeless and GLBT advocate Dr. John “Gus” Olsen calls “the perspective of other”.

A look at the editorial membership of the VOX is very revealing. A quick look down the left side of The Vox Box blog page reveals the 17 faces — 16 students and one faculty — who make up the VOX editorial staff. A discussion on diversity on the The Vox Box last year resulted in a call from one student for me to be banned from not only that blog but from all Spokesman-Review blogs (“How much of an issue is diversity in Spokane” — part 1 and part 2 at The Vox Box.)

To his credit, Spokesman-Review editor Steve Smith was able to acknowledge and clearly articulate what the overwhelmingly white staff of the VOX could not understand or acknowledge: that diversity in the newsroom is crucial to democratic society and to the ability of a publication to report on, much less understand, the world in which we live. Some of Mr. Smith’s thinking on the matter, including a vow by Smith that in the future the VOX staff will be more diverse, can be found at this post entitled “Diversity in the News” at the S-R’s News is a Conversation blog.

[For those who are unaware, it bears pointing out that Steve Smith is considered a “trailblazer” and a maverick in the journalism business. He is a figure of considerable importance and notice in the world of newspaper publishing for his innovations and explorations of the “transparent newsroom” and “interactive dialogue”, as well as for experimentation in how to integrate the world of the newsprint paper with that of electronic “print” news.]

American Society of Newspaper Editors — Resource on Diversity in Journalism

Freedom ForumFor newspapers to reflect their communities, newsroom staffs and the stories they cover should closely mirror the diversity of the population in the newspapers’ circulation areas. The Freedom Forum is charting an aggressive course to identify, recruit and train people of color for journalism careers.

PBS Online NewsHour — Newspaper editors across the country assert that they’re trying to achieve a better racial balance on their staffs, but many journalists of color say they’re still underrepresented at work.

Written by Arroyoribera

February 6, 2008 at 10:23 pm

Posted in Commentary, Diversity, Media

Jane Elliott, renowned educator, to speak in Spokane on Feb. 14 – 15, 2008

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[Note: Several years ago, while working as a diversity recruiter for the state of Washington, I had the opportunity to hear Jane Elliott speak in Seattle. Her “Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes” exercise was stunning when she did it nearly 40 years ago. Her reflections on race — including her view that white women have ridden their “minority” status to greater stature in U.S. society without looking back to offer a hand up to their minority brothers and sisters — are powerful, compelling, and important. — Blog author]

Jane Elliott Developed Famous Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes Exercise

Jane Elliott, internationally renowned teacher, diversity trainer and recipient of the National Mental Health Association Award for Excellence in Education, will speak in Spokane three times in Spokane on February 14 and February 15, 2008.

* Thursday, Feb. 14, 8:30 -11:30 a.m., at Spokane Community Colleges Lair Auditorium

* Friday, Feb. 15, 9 a.m.- noon, at Gonzaga University’s Cataldo Hall, Globe Room

* Friday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m., in the Lair Auditorium of Spokane Community College

Elliott will expose prejudice and bigotry as representative of an irrational class system based upon purely arbitrary factors. Those who think this does not apply to them may be in for a rude awakening.

In response to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. nearly 40 years ago, Elliott devised the controversial and startling, Blue Eyes/Brown Eyes exercise. This powerful exercise, which is now famous, labels participants as inferior or superior based solely upon the color of their eyes and exposes them to the experience of being a minority.

For more information contact Ann Price via e-mail or at (509) 323-3667.

Written by Arroyoribera

February 5, 2008 at 6:27 pm

SFCC, March 5, 2007 — Beyond “Diversity”: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash

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Beyond “Diversity”: Challenging Racism in an Age of Backlash

Spokane Falls Community College, March 5, 2007 11:30 t0 12:45 PM SUB Room AB

Tim Wise is among the most prominent anti-racist writers and activists in the U.S. He will explore how being white creates privilege and the many daily and systemic advantages that come from being a member of the dominant racial group. He’ll also look at the substantial consequences paid by society for the maintenance of such privileges, both the costs to people of color (who by definition cannot generally partake in white privilege) and the costs to whites. Wise will also address the way in which “divide and conquer” tactics have prevented working class whites from joining with people of color to eliminate the inequities that weaken them both.

Wise has spoken to over 300,000 people in 48 states, and on over 350 college campuses, including Harvard, Stanford, and the Law Schools at Yale and Columbia. Wise has provided anti-racism training to teachers nationwide, and conducted trainings with physicians and medical industry professionals on how to combat racial inequities in health care. He has trained corporate, government, and law enforcement officials on methods for dismantling racism in their institutions, and has served as a consultant for plaintiff’s attorneys in federal discrimination cases in New York and Washington State.In Summer 2005, Wise served as adjunct faculty member of the School of Social Work at Smith College, in Northampton, Massachusetts, where he taught a Master’s level class on Racism in the U.S. In September 2001, Wise served as adjunct faculty at the Poynter Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he trained journalists to eliminate racial bias in reporting.

From 1999-2003, Wise was an advisor to the Fisk University Race Relations Institute, and in the early ’90s was Associate Director of the Louisiana Coalition Against Racism and Nazism: the largest of the many groups organized for the purpose of defeating neo-Nazi political candidate, David Duke.

Wise is the author of two books – White Like Me: Reflections on Race from a Privileged Son (Soft Skull Press) and Affirmative Action: Racial Preference in Black and White (Routledge). He has contributed essays to a dozen books and anthologies including White Privilege: Essential Readings on the Other Side of Racism and Should America Pay?: Slavery and the Raging Debate on Reparations. Wise is also featured in White Men Challenging Racism: Thirty-Five Personal Stories (Duke University Press).

Wise received the 2001 British Diversity Award for best feature essay on race issues, and his writings have are taught at hundreds of colleges and have appeared in dozens of popular, professional and scholarly journals. Wise serves as the Race and Ethnicity Editor for LIP Magazine, and articles about his work have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post and San Francisco Chronicle. He has been a featured guest on hundreds of radio and television programs, worldwide. He appears regularly on the ESPN program “Quite Frankly, with Stephen A. Smith” to discuss racial issues in the world of sports.

Wise has a B.A. in Political Science from Tulane University, where his anti-apartheid work received international attention and the thanks of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. He received training in methods for dismantling racism from the People’s Institute for Survial and Beyond, in New Orleans. He and his wife Kristy are the proud parents of two daughters.

Links Click here for Tim Wise’s latest essay on the Jena 6 and the cost of white complicity – “Complicity Has Its Cost: An Open Letter to Mayor Murphy McMillin of Jena, Louisiana” (October 8, 2007)

Written by Arroyoribera

February 1, 2008 at 7:03 pm

Posted in Diversity, Events, Racism

Spokane Diversity Action Resource Packet 2003

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We, who are clay blended by
the Master Potter, come from
the kiln of Creation in many hues.
How can people say one skin
is colored, when each has
its own coloration?
What should it matter that one
bowl is dark and the other pale,
if each is of good design
and serves its purpose well?

–Polingaysi Qoyawayma, Hopi Elder


Spokane Task Force on Race Relations Diversity Action Resource Packet 2003


Spokane’s Commitment for Racial Equity

The Board of The Spokane Task Force on Race Relations

To Know

Definition of Racism

How do you define DIVERSITY anyway?

Spokane Area Demographics

Article: “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack”

Article: “Honky Wanna Cracker?”

A Global Quest for Tolerance

Una Busqueda Universal de Tolerencia

Unaware Racism: How it Manifests Itself

Distancing Behaviors Often Used in Racism

Article: “For Alex, Racism Just Doesn’t Add Up”

Article: “The Ethics and Impact of Racial Profiling”

The Racial Harassment Continuum

To Care

Personal Awareness Surveys

The Managing Diversity Survival Guide

Are You a Diversity Change Agent?

Awareness Spectrum

Assessing Your Own Cultural Heritage

Article: “The Mousetrap”

To Act

Typical Work Place Action Plan

Study Circles

Ideas For Taking Action

Ten Ways to Fight Hate

Making Diversity Training Work

To Learn More

Inland Northwest Community Organizations

Community Publications

Diversity Trainers

Intercultural Colleagues Group

TFRR Selected Bibliography

· Organizational Diversity

· White Awareness

· Fiction

· Videos

Annotated Bibliography on Racism & Race Relations in America

Annotated Bibliography for Faith Communities

Written by Arroyoribera

January 30, 2008 at 9:37 pm

Posted in Diversity, Resources