MLK WEEKEND FOR THE RECORD BOOKS. Look for SRO this Sunday at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in south Reno, 780 Del Monte Lane, 89511. The annual interfaith service starts at 3:00 p.m. and no matter who’s on the program, the stars will be Jayla Tolliver and Taylissa Marriott.
The sisters, both 14, have become national figures with a little help from the Reno-Sparks NAACP, the Barbwire (Oct. 18) and the Reno Gazette-Journal (Nov. 19).
The African-American youngsters have been living a modern version of the 1955 deep south right here in the fabled Mississippi West.
The Yerington High School students have been subjected to bullying, overt racism and continuing death threats all for the crime of being born with skin the color of café au lait. (That means coffee with milk.)
Despite complaints by the NAACP to Nevada Attorney General Adam Laxalt, Yerington’s top cop has not been held accountable for illegally shredding police reports. Chief Bull Connor’s defense is that hate speech is a First Amendment right kinda like hollering “fire!” in a crowded theater or threatening to kill somebody, which is the legal definition of assault. Which is how the girls continue to be threatened.
At Nevadalabor.com, you will find original Snapchat photos of a teenager with guns and a knife captioned “The redneck god of all gods we bout to go nigger huntin”. (The Barbwire and the Tribune do not sugarcoat hateful words, leaving them to wither in the sunshine, the best disinfectant.)
The father of the Snapchat boy is a former Yerington police officer and now a local athletic coach. Yerington High suspended the kid who posted the photo. That student’s father is an active Lyon County Deputy Sheriff. The girls’ dad has been threatened with trespassing charges if he shows up at the Yerington HS campus.
Lyon County parents have recently been defending their ill-educated offspring. It gets worse.
“Yerington Mayor George Dini dismissed them as the act of teenagers who meant no harm and were ignorantly unaware of what they were doing,” rgj.com reported on Nov. 18.
“This is a case of some kids acting badly,” Dini told reporter Siobhan McAndrew.
Regrettably, that statement has yet to see ink in the Reno paper.
World class civil rights attorney Terri Keyser-Cooper filed federal civil rights litigation last Thursday (no hometown judges and juries allowed).
She also asked the court for a preliminary injunction to protect the family which remains terrorized.
The court filings will be linked to this column at NevadaLabor.com, regrettably compelling reading.
MORE MLK. The 20th Annual Onie Cooper Memorial MLK Highway Caravan forms Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the LDS church, 2955 Rock Blvd. at McCarran, Sparks.
On Monday evening, most PBS stations will air the Oscar-nominated “I Am Not Your Negro,” a film which “envisions the book James Baldwin never finished, a revolutionary and personal account of the lives and successive assassinations of three of his close friends.” Legendary author Baldwin (1924-1987) wrote “The Fire Next Time” and “Nobody Knows My Name.” Check local listings and go tell it on the mountain.
OPRAH FOR PRESIDENT? In 2016 PPT (Pre-Tsar Trumpsky), she said she didn’t know enough. Not to worry. This guy has lowered the bar so that anyone who got past third grade is qualified for the job.
DESPICABLE. Employing the tactics of the tobacco, oil and sugar lobbies, a bunch of legal drug dealers paid for a Jan. 6 RGJ full page blaming hospitals and surgeons for the opioid epidemic. Actually, blame Congress for neutering Drug Enforcement Administration authority and President Obama for signing the bill as “60 Minutes” reported twice last year.
TRUMP UNDER OATH? Grand Inquisitor Robert Mueller won’t know what hit him. As the late AFL-CIO leader Lane Kirkland said in Las Vegas about President Reagan in 1984, “The presidency has come a long way, from George Washington who couldn’t tell a lie, to Nixon who couldn’t tell the truth, to this guy who can’t tell the difference.”
Déjà vu all over again.
Be well. Raise hell. Esté bien. Haga infierno.
Andrew Barbano is a 49-year Nevadan, editor of NevadaLabor.com and SenJoeNeal.org/ He serves as first vice-president of the Reno-Sparks NAACP. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Tribune since 1988. E-mail <firstname.lastname@example.org>