2010 News

Lonnie Feemster: Billboards detract from organization's goal
Guest editorial, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6-10-2010

This is in response to several letters and the Your Turn column comment regarding the Secret Witness billboard campaign called "Just one Call" [Voices, June 1].

One of the billboards discussed has a photo of a Pacific Islander and one has the photo of a black man's face behind bars (both were involved in local, sensational and cruel murders), and the intention is to encourage people to call Secret Witness with information about crimes. Many people in the community do not recognize the faces and just see a brown or a black man behind bars; they get the wrong message.

I recognize the men in the photos because I read the paper regularly and have lived in this community my entire life. A lot of people are not familiar with the images, and the photos detract from the purpose of the billboard: to get people to call Secret Witness with important information to help solve crimes.

If the billboard had large bold letters spelling out "Murderers, Rapists, Kidnappers" behind bars, I believe everyone would understand the purpose of the billboards.

One thing is clear about Secret Witness and Don Richter, its founder: They mean well and want to make our community safer. The photos used on the billboards are misunderstood by thousands of residents in the community who don't focus on calling Secret Witness, but instead feel offended and embarrassed.

I hope Mr. Richter and the board will reconsider and cover the photos with an image that does not hurt so many people and clearly delivers the message, "We must have the courage to take a risk and report very bad people."

The current billboards with these photos confuse people who do not recognize the images and the effect detracts from the real message.

The NAACP would like to work with Secret Witness in an advisory capacity to help provide a diverse perspective that enhances any organization. I do not feel a photo of James Biela on a billboard will do anything but hurt his mother, son and other family who have suffered enough from the shame of his despicable behavior.

The Reno-Sparks National Association for the Advancement of Colored People supports the work of Secret Witness and hopes its board and founder recognize that the "advancement of people of color to the point of equality" means being open to input from diverse parts of our community and understand those, including myself, who have been hurt by this well-intentioned effort.

Lonnie Feemster is president of the Reno Sparks NAACP.

Don Richter:
Secret Witness billboard shows true menace to society
Guest editorial, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6-1-2010

Jennifer Pearce wrote a letter to the RGJ criticizing Secret Witness for displaying a billboard depicting a black man behind bars, which she said implies "that black men are a menacing presence in our society" [Voices, May 8].

Pearce further asked, "Why not display a picture of a true menace such as James Biela, who is accused of murdering Brianna Denison and raping others?" She concludes by saying that she was offended and disgusted and hoped the billboard would change because it was a shame to our community.

Please allow me to help you better understand why I designed that billboard.

On that billboard is the picture of a man who was indeed a menacing presence in our society. His name is David Jonathan Middleton. Middleton, a serial murderer, is believed to have killed 11 women, starting in Miami, Fla., moving to Colorado and then to Reno. He was finally apprehended, tried and convicted for the murders of Sun Valley elementary school teacher Kathy Powell and Circus Circus employee Thelma Davia. (RenoSparksNAACP.org Editor's Note: Her last name was Davila.)

That billboard is part of our campaign titled "Just One Call." Middleton is now on death row in the Nevada prison system thanks to just one call by an anonymous Secret Witness. Before the Middleton billboard, we displayed our first billboard with the image of Siaosi Vanisi, a Polynesian convicted of murdering Sgt. George Sullivan. Vanisi is also now on death row because someone made just one call to Secret Witness.

Jennifer, returning to your word "menacing": Middleton had his own technique for violating and menacing women. He would force them to accompany him to a local mini-warehouse in which he had installed a cable and pulley system attached to the ceiling. Middleton then suspended his victims for long periods of time in his torture chamber. When sexually satisfied, he put them in a vented refrigerator for the night. Ultimately, Middleton would insert their cold bodies into sleeping bags for disposal. Many sleeping bags containing female victims have been found from Florida to Reno.
Jennifer, please revisit our billboard and look at Middleton's cold eyes. Those cold eyes were the last eyes several women saw before Middleton closed their eyes forever.

Our "Just One Call" campaign, with generous help from Clear Channel Outdoor, is intended to be an encouragement to anonymous witnesses, citizens possessing information about unsolved crimes. We assure such citizens that we guarantee their anonymity, and that the worst of the worst people who live among us will be removed from society and placed behind bars where they belong. Skin color is irrelevant.

James Biela was also arrested after "just one call," but he remained innocent until proven guilty. Brianna Denison's billboard is ready for public display.

Jennifer, I hope this provides you with a better understanding.

Don Richter is the founder of Secret Witness in Reno.

Jennifer Pearce responds
RGJ.com, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6-1-2010

I wrote the original letter to the editor and I appreciate the clarification, Mr. Richter.

I have been blasted left and right for writing the letter and honestly I would write it again.

I drive by the billboard seven days a week, and there is no 'name association' with the depiction. No one else that I asked (many, many Reno natives) were able to identify Middleton either.

Thank you for taking the time, I agree that Middleton is a true menace.

PrincessChampJen / 6-1-2010 12:15:27 p.m. PDT

P.O. BOX 7757
RENO, NV 89510
(775) 322-2992


Contact: Lonnie Feemster, President
Phone:  (775) 329-2992

NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch Spearheads Local Public Awareness Campaign Recognizing Monday, May 31, 2010 as World No Tobacco Day

RENO – On Monday, May 31, 2010, World No Tobacco Day will be observed throughout the world. This global event is sponsored by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a worldwide public health campaign to raise awareness about the harmful and negative impact tobacco use and exposure has on smokers and those who are exposed to secondhand smoke. WHO has selected "Gender and tobacco with an emphasis on marketing to women" as the theme for this year’s event to encourage smokers and those who use other tobacco products to quit for at least a day.    

NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch President Lonnie Feemster said, “We are in full support of this global effort and will reach out to branch members, community partners and the community-at-large to educate them about the harmful, negative lifelong impact smoking has on those who smoke and/or use other tobacco products, their loved ones and the environment. We must work to inform family, friends and others about the importance of eliminating tobacco use particularly in communities that suffer disproportionately from tobacco related diseases.”

The U.S. Surgeon General has said that smoking remains the single most preventable cause of premature death in the United States. Use of and exposure to tobacco smoke is a primary risk factor for most chronic diseases, e.g., cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease (AKA, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD), and stroke. Tobacco use is responsible for 21% of all coronary heart disease deaths; 30% of all cancer deaths; and 90% of deaths from COPD!  
Nationwide, African Americans and other people of color suffer disproportionately from tobacco-related illnesses such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease, and lung cancer. 

World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is also a great time for smokers to prove to themselves that they can quit for a day; therefore, we are encouraging members and community partners who smoke to quit for a day in the hope they may decide to quit for good. This day also serves to reinforce to those who don’t smoke, to stay tobacco-free.

As a leading advocate in promoting health equity, the NAACP has established national health goals for its local branch units to address health disparities impacting people of color throughout the U.S. as well as in the State of Nevada. The NAACP Reno-Sparks branch is committed to educating and mobilizing our member-base and community partners towards eliminating health disparities to improve the health outcomes and the quality of life for all people of color, with emphasis on African Americans. 

To learn more about WNTD go to: http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2010/en/index.html.  To find out what’s being done to combat tobacco use and exposure in Washoe County, Nevada, go to GetHealthyWashoe.com or contact Erin Dixon, Chronic Disease Program Coordinator, at the Washoe County Health District at (775) 328-2442.
For additional information regarding tobacco use and cancer, the toll-free telephone number for the American Cancer Society is 1-800-ACS-2345 or visit Cancer.org. The phone number to the Nevada Tobacco Users Helpline is 1-800-QUIT-NOW (1-800-784-8669). 

For information about other activities planned by the branch's health committee, contact Janet Serial, Health Committee Chair, or phone (775) 762-5203. 
Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation’s oldest and largest civil rights organization.


65th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet

Reno-Sparks NAACP Announces Keynote Speaker and Award Winners

Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet May 22, 2010

Reno-Sparks, Nev., USA — Award-winning journalist Bob Butler will deliver the keynote address at the Reno-Sparks NAACP's 65th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet on Saturday, May 22, 2010, at the Peppermill Resort-Spa-Casino in Reno. Reception begins at 6:00 p.m., dinner at 7:00 p.m.

Butler is a reporter at KCBS radio in San Francisco, a multimedia investigative reporter and owns an independent multimedia company. He is vice-president and national equal employment opportunity (EEO) chair on the board of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists/AFL-CIO (AFTRA), helping improve job security and working conditions for broadcast journalists. His father lives in Reno.

Butler has won numerous awards for his reporting. He was part of the KCBS news team which won a George Foster Peabody Award for coverage of the 1989 earthquake. He has spent 10 years advocating for more diversity in the nation's radio and television newsrooms. Butler has spent a year-and-a-half as director of diversity for CBS Corporation, directing an apprenticeship program that trained the next generation of television newsroom managers. As the AFTRA national EEO chair, he is encouraging the Federal Communications Commission to stop further media consolidation to make it easier for minorities to own broadcast stations.

Service to young people is the common attribute among this year's Freedom Fund Award winners.

Honorees include Hug High School varsity basketball head coach Charles Walker, who has worked as a Hug High coach for 11 years and served as the site coordinator the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club's Teen Center at Hug High; Pathfinders Christian Ministry which outreaches to homeless and disadvantaged youth; and Greater Light Christian Center church for its broadly based programs of public service.

The Freedom Fund Awards Banquet is the local organization's principal annual fundraiser. Table sponsorships start at $1,000 for corporations and are $600 for non-profit organizations. Individual tickets are $60 in advance or $65 at the door. For more information or tickets please call banquet Chair Lucille Adin at (775) 356-3563 or Dolores Feemster at (775) 323-3677.

The NAACP is the nation's leading civil rights organization and has been a champion in the civil rights movement over the past 100 years. The Reno-Sparks Branch was chartered in 1945.

NOTES FROM KEYNOTE SPEAKER BOB BUTLER'S ADDRESS: Northern Nevada's population comprised of 22 percent minorities is not reflected on local media websites.

"A website doesn't tell you who's calling the shots," stated distinguished journalist Bob Butler in his keynote address to more than 230 attendees at the Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Awards Banquet on May 22.

Butler, vice-president and national equal employment opportunity chair on the board of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists/AFL-CIO, noted that of the major television networks, GE-owned NBC has the best record on diversity and Disney-owned ABC has the worst.

Of 61 network-owned TV stations, the average employment of "people of color" was one per station, Butler said.

2010 Freedom Fund Banquet
65th Annual Reno-Sparks NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet
“One Nation, One Dream”
Saturday, May 22, 2010 Reception - 6:00pm / Dinner 7:00pm
Tuscany Ballroom, Peppermill Resort Spa Casino
2707 South Virginia Street, Reno, Nevada
Click here for ticket and sponsorship information.

2009 Freedom Fund Banquet
Honorees and scholarship winners
Atlantis Casino-Resort, Reno / Saturday 6-13-2009



Former president and lifetime member of the NAACP, Rev. Jesse D. Scott passed away on May 10, 2010, in Las Vegas, Nev. He was 90 years old. On behalf of Las Vegas NAACP Branch President Frank Hawkins, Jr. and Las Vegas Branch 1111, we ask that you keep Rev. Scott’s family in your prayers.

Second Baptist Church
500 Madison Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Friday, May 21, 2010
5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Second Baptist Church
500 Madison Ave.
Las Vegas, NV 89106
Saturday, May 22, 2010
11:00 a.m.

Palms Mortuary
1325 N Main St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101

Reno-Sparks NAACP joins the Arizona NAACP State Conference to speak out against Arizona’s New Immigration Law

Reno/Sparks, Nev., USA (5-1-2010) – Reno-Sparks NAACP President Lonnie Feemster issued a statement and is a scheduled speaker at a rally in Pickett Park in Reno on Saturday morning, May 1, to speak out against SB1070.

This new law in Arizona gives local law enforcement the right to arrest anyone they suspect is in the country illegally. Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB1070 into Arizona law on Friday, April 23.

“The law is an outrage and we are going to continue to do whatever we can to support the citizens of Arizona who are impacted by its unfairness. The law opens the door and empowers local law enforcement to legally use racial profiling to target entire communities,” stated President Feemster.

NAACP policy calls the new law “a violation of the respect for human rights that is the moral standard of our nation and it threatens the safety of us all; both immigrants and citizens will be fearful of reporting crimes to police.  The law unwisely redirects the role of the Federal Immigration and Naturalization Department to local police officers diverting local resources from fighting crime to investigating undocumented people who might be in this country.”

President Feemster adds that “this law rolls the clock back on civil rights protections in this country. The passage of SB1070 is an embarrassment to the equal protection clause in the U.S. Constitution, and is a stain on the United States' reputation of fairness and justice. “

From the national NAACP office in Baltimore, Maryland, Chairman Roslyn M. Brock sent a statement to branches across the country stating “the NAACP has fought for more than 100 years to ensure that basic rights and freedoms would be equally extended to all.  It is disheartening to see the state of Arizona enact a law that tramples on the civil rights of Hispanic persons, and one that cannot be enforced without resorting to racial and ethnic profiling. We intend to use the full weight of our 2,200 branches and units to ensure that this law is repealed and does not happen in other states across this nation.”

Reno-Sparks Branch President Feemster stated “the NAACP’s position on this issue is clear.  The new law effectively legalizes the incendiary practice of racial profiling and will adversely affect communities of color across Arizona. Moreover, it sets a dangerous precedent for other states to follow suit and pass similar discriminatory measures.”

Founded in 1909, the NAACP is the nation's oldest and largest civil rights organization. Its members throughout the United States and the world are the premier advocates for civil rights in their communities, conducting voter mobilization and monitoring equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.

Clinging to the Ledge
Ledge X:

The Deer-in-the-Headlights Legislative Session

Suing for Schools rerun schedule begins
Click here to view it on your desktop

Barbwire by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-28-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune

NAACP takes the lead in Nevada education crisis
Lonnie Feemster and Jeffrey Blanck take the fight to the people
REGIONAL TV+webcast 6:00 Live and 9:00 p.m. PST rerun SUNDAY FEB. 21, 2010

SUING FOR SCHOOLS: The case for making Nevada finally obey her constitutional mandate to provide for public education
Can we do any worse with a judge running the system?
Sen. Harry Reid blasts Gov. Jim Gibbons

Foresight from fourscore years ago

Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
April 4, 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
One year to the day before his assassination

"We can no longer afford to worship the God of Hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever rising tides of hate. History is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate."

"I've been to the mountaintop"
In support of Memphis, Tenn., garbage workers
The night before his assassination / April 3, 1968

In the news
Reno-Sparks NAACP Youth Council Martin Luther King, Jr., Talent Show

The Reno-Sparks NAACP Youth Martin Luther King, Jr., Talent Show takes place at 3:00 p.m., Saturday, 2-13-2010, at the Sibayan Youth Center, Yori and Bresson across from Reno's Vaughn Middle School. Entries in various age groups are open through Wednesday, Feb. 10. Cash prizes will be awarded: $100 university or college-level; $100 high school level; $50 middle school level. All elementary students will receive a participation prize.

For tickets, contest rules and more infomation, call Dolores Feemster at (775) 323-3677.

Nevada NAACP branches rely on Senator Reid’s voting record

January 10, 2010

In a statement, both the Las Vegas and Reno branches of the NAACP have each received calls of apology from Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., regarding his comments assessing President Obama’s candidacy. We believe his apology should be accepted for the words he used. One need only look at Sen. Reid’s proven record of leadership on civil rights and social justice to know where his heart truly lies. Throughout his career in public service, his voting record has earned the NAACP Washington DC Bureau’s highest ratings on the issues of critical importance to the African American community. 

The NAACP is a non-partisan organization and does not endorse candidates. We look forward to continue working with Sen. Reid on the important issues such as equality, economic opportunity, education and ensuring quality, affordable health care for all Americans.

NAACP Reno Sparks Branch #1112 is led by Lonnie L. Feemster  and NAACP Las Vegas Branch #1111 is led by Frank Hawkins, Jr. 

President Feemster may be reached at (775) 322-2992. President Hawkins may be reached at (702) 638-1300.


Salvation on the street: Pretty Elle's trip to hell
Barbwire / Daily Sparks Tribune / 12-27-2009

Reno-Sparks NAACP joins Progressive Leadership Alliance and other organizations in publishing Racial Equity Report Card on 2009 Nevada Legislature
Carson City, 12-15-2009

Newspaper story on bank abuses wins Nevada Press Association first-place award
USeless Bank: Reno-Sparks NAACP member victimized by service charges
34-cent overdraft triggers more than $700 in bank fees
Fees paid disproportionately by low- and moderate-income people

Dropout numbers troubling
According to a data profile compiled by the Washoe County School District, in 2006 the African-American graduation rate nearly reached 50 percent. By last year it had dropped to a third.
Reno News & Review/ 6-11-2009



NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch No. 1112

P.O. Box 7757
Reno, NV 89510
Phone (775) 322-2992
Fax (775) 322-9909

2009-2010 Officers

Lonnie Feemster, President
Rose Gordon, First Vice-President
Andrew Barbano, Second Vice-President
Dolores Feemster, Secretary
Lucille Adin, Treasurer

Executive Committee
Jimi Sheryl Bufkin
Mary Cooper
Rev. Onie Cooper
Ken Dalton
Eurine Davis
Darryl Feemster
Dr. Debra Feemster
Jane Moon
William Moon
Bertha Mullins
Larry Wilson

Committee Chairs
Back-to-School/Stay-in-School: Lonnie Feemster
Communications: Ken Dalton
Economic Development: Bertha Mullins
Education: Dr. Debra Feemster
Freedom Fund Banquet: Rose Gordon
Health: Janet Serial
Labor and Industry: Larry Wilson
Legal Redress: Jeff Blanck
Membership: Dolores Feemster
Political Action: Andrew Barbano
Religious Affairs: Lonnie Feemster
Scholarships: Jane Moon
Youth Council: Darryl Feemster

Annual Dues: $30 for individuals
Please make checks payable to:
NAACP Reno-Sparks Branch.
Please send to the above address.

Please click here or call for additional information.
Youth membership and corporate sponsorships
are also available.


The Reno-Sparks NAACP meets at the Community Services Agency, 1094 E. 8th Street in Reno. The executive committee convenes at 6:00 p.m., general membership at 7:00 p.m. Meetings are always held on the first Thursday of each month, excluding holidays.

Complaint Intake Forms
Mary Valencia Wilson
Political Action Chair Emerita


Watch NAACP Today
Every Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
Charter cable digital channels 16, 216 & Hi-Def 80-295
in Reno, Sparks and Washoe County, Nev.

Check local listings for Carson City Charter cable

Volunteer to work on the program and learn the craft of television production. Contact communications committee chair Ken Dalton,
(775) 741-5103.

Useful Links

Other Nevada Branches

Nevada Humanities Civil Rights Gallery

History of Reno-Sparks Branch No. 1112
University of Nevada Special Collections

The Nevada Black History Project

Nevada NAACP in the Civil Rights Era

University of California Oral History Project
1961 Interview with Tarea Pittman
NAACP West Coast Regional Director

Lubertha Miller Johnson (1906-1989): NAACP branch president, Nevada civil rights and womens' rights pioneer

Reno-Sparks NAACP 2009 Archive

Reno-Sparks NAACP 2008 Archive

Reno-Sparks NAACP 2007 Archive

   The Northern Nevada Black Cultural Awareness Society celebrates Juneteenth 2010 beginning at 11:00 a.m. on Sunday, June 13, at Wingfield Park on the river in downtown Reno. Actvities for children will be conducted as well as a basketball tournament, music and other entertainment and merchandise vendors. Admission is free. Info (775) 378-8792 or 354-2985.


On June 19, 1964, the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was approved after surviving an 83-day filibuster in the United States Senate. (NY Times/AP headlines)

Roy Wilkins/Arlington National Cemetery/June 19, 1963: "Medgar Evers believed in his country. It now remains to be seen whether his country believes in him."

On this date in 1862, slavery was outlawed in the Territory of Nevada and other U.S. territories (see below); in 1865, three years after Lincoln issued the legally invalid Emancipation Proclamation, African Americans in Texas were told, incorrectly, that the proclamation had freed the slaves, the day becoming known among blacks as Juneteenth; in 1865, the first of several meetings called to organize to support "equal rights before the Law to all the Colored Citizens of the State of Nevada" was held in Virginia City;  in 1963, assassinated civil rights leader Medgar Evers was buried in Arlington National Cemetery; in 1964, after they voted for the cloture motion that ended the filibuster against the 1964 civil rights bill and guaranteed its approval, senators Edward Kennedy and Birch Bayh with Marvella Bayh and Kennedy aide Edward Moss took a small private plane from D.C. to West Springfield, Massachusetts, for the Massachusetts Democratic Convention and the plane crashed enroute, killing pilot Ed Zinny and Moss and breaking Kennedy's back (the Bayhs got him out of the plane in case it caught fire and then went for help); in 1967, Jack Edward Cossins of Henderson, Nevada, died in Gia Dinh Province, Vietnam (panel 22e/row 0100 of the Vietnam wall); in 1970, Pvt. Mark Crouse of Yerington, Nevada, was wounded in action in Cambodia with a foot injury and shrapnel in the back and arm; in 2004, a marker was dedicated in Virginia City commemorating African Americans on the Comstock near the site of the Boston Saloon, an African American owned business of the 1860s that was the subject of a 1999 dig by archeologist Kelly Dixon.

CHAP. CXI. An Act to secure Freedom to all Persons within the Territories of the United States.
Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That from and after the passage of this act there shall be neither slavery nor involuntary servitude in any of the Territories of the United States now existing, or which may at any time hereafter be formed or acquired by the United States, otherwise than in punishment of crimes whereof the party shall have been duly convicted. APPROVED, June 19, 1862.

Courtesy of longtime Nevada reporter Dennis Myers' daily almanac.
Copyright © 2009 Dennis Myers
Used by permission.
All rights reserved.

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