Lonnie Feemster: Billboards detract from organization's
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
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
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.
Secret Witness billboard shows true menace to society
Guest editorial, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6-1-2010
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
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
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.
RGJ.com, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6-1-2010
I wrote the original
letter to the editor and I appreciate the clarification,
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.
/ 6-1-2010 12:15:27 p.m. PDT
N.A.A.C.P. NATIONAL ASSOCIATION FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COLORED
RENO/SPARKS BRANCH No. 1112
RENO, NV 89510
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Lonnie Feemster, President
Phone: (775) 329-2992
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 years 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 dont
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
To learn more about WNTD go to: http://www.who.int/tobacco/wntd/2010/en/index.html.
To find out whats 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
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 nations oldest and
largest civil rights organization.
65th Annual Freedom Fund Awards Banquet
Reno-Sparks NAACP Announces Keynote Speaker and Award Winners
Freedom Fund Awards Banquet May 22, 2010
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
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
FROM KEYNOTE SPEAKER BOB BUTLER'S ADDRESS: Northern
Nevada's population comprised of 22 percent minorities is
not reflected on local media websites.
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.
network-owned TV stations, the average employment of "people
of color" was one per station, Butler said.
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
here for ticket and sponsorship information.
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. Scotts 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
1325 N Main St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
NAACP joins the Arizona NAACP State Conference to speak out
against Arizonas New Immigration Law
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,
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 NAACPs
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.
to the Ledge
Deer-in-the-Headlights Legislative Session
for Schools rerun schedule begins
Click here to view
it on your desktop
by Barbano / Expanded from the 2-28-2010 Daily Sparks Tribune
takes the lead in Nevada education crisis
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
FOR SCHOOLS: The case for making Nevada finally obey her constitutional
mandate to provide for public education
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.
4, 1967, Riverside Church, New York City
year to the day before his assassination
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
been to the mountaintop"
of Memphis, Tenn., garbage workers
night before his assassination / April 3, 1968
NAACP Youth Council Martin Luther King, Jr., Talent Show
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.
contest rules and more infomation, call Dolores Feemster
at (775) 323-3677.
Nevada NAACP branches rely on Senator Reids
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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 Obamas
candidacy. We believe his apology should be accepted for the
words he used. One need only look at Sen. Reids 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 Bureaus 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
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.
on the street: Pretty Elle's trip to hell
/ Daily Sparks Tribune / 12-27-2009
NAACP joins Progressive Leadership Alliance and other organizations
in publishing Racial Equity Report Card on 2009
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
paid disproportionately by low- and moderate-income people
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