Jun 6, 2017

A letter from Eureka NAACP to Humboldt media about Lawson coverage , public commentary and anonymous rants

Is this letter even legit? Yes. I checked with Liz Smith, Humboldt NAACP President.

This is what she refused to sign, calling it a "media check" and proposed other solutions.

Why has no other media published this? Was it even sent to them?
Eureka Branch, Unit 1036
Post Office Box 1434
Eureka, California 95502

June 6, 2017

To Humboldt County Media Outlets:
In the aftermath of the senseless and tragic killing of David Josiah Lawson, the Eureka Branch of the NAACP has been monitoring not only the criminal case as the investigation progresses, but local area media coverage as well.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. spoke of an enlightened society in his “I Have a Dream” speech. All these years later, that dream seems as far away as it has ever been and, for people of color living in Humboldt County, their experience is more fittingly associated with a nightmare. As our community endeavors to heal and make sense of what has occurred, we have been subjected to the senseless, bigoted, crass, cruel, disgusting, uneducated, rants of those who skulk in anonymity, yet are given a prominent voice by many of our local Humboldt County media outlets. Lamentably, those voices have become the voice of Humboldt County; tragically, they have come to define us.

Since current practices embolden and empower hatred and acts of hatred, and due to a demonstrated unwillingness or inability to appropriately monitor public comments made in the wake of media stories posted online, the Eureka Branch of the NAACP calls upon all local media to serve as an example of the ideals exemplified by Dr. King by immediately discontinuing the practice of posting public commentary associated with media coverage. While the concept may have a justifiable or even laudable foundation, many Humboldt County media outlets have proven incapable of demonstrating responsibility or good citizenship in this regard. We are prepared to offer the following suggestions as best practices for a more equitable and inclusive alternative to current practices:

• Outright removal of public commentary altogether.
• Strict monitoring or vetting of posts before they are viewed publicly.
• The option to post only if the identity of the poster has been confirmed through a process.

Furthermore, the Eureka Branch of the NAACP calls upon Humboldt County media outlets to take a highly visible leadership role in showcasing the very best of our community and the diversity we collectively embrace while simultaneously shining a light of truth into those dark corners where hatred and bigotry still clearly exists.

As we work collaboratively towards the goals of peace, equality, and justice, we are calling upon you to make Humboldt County an intolerable place for those who believe in and demonstrate intolerance. We strongly urge you to publicly take these affirmative and visible steps to ensure that that violence, bigotry, and hatred will not be tolerated in any form.

Sincerely Yours,
NAACP, Eureka Branch

cc: NAACP National President
      NAACP California President


  1. kinda ironic they say that the hateful words of a few define Humboldt as a whole, kinda like stereotyping isn't that?

  2. So censorship is okay if it fits their agenda? You sure haven't censored the Lawson supporters. If the comments they speak of are truly bigoted and uninformed, they'll be dismissed as such, just like the ridiculous statements from Tina Sampay and others have been.

  3. I speak the truth fearlessly and forthrightly; you should watch your mouth; he's spouting hate speech.
    How to conjugate irregular verbs, with apologies to Bertrand Russell.

  4. Yes, censorship only where it fits their agenda. The letter complains of anonymous postings, yet doesn't appear to be legibly signed. I imagine this was on purpose.

  5. For all the good work that the NAACP has done over the years in so many places I challenge their belief that they can ask for even anonymous posters to not practice their First Amendment rights to the freedom of speech.
    I have read all sorts of comments on various blogs (not yours John) online in Humboldt, Mendocino, Del Norte, Trinity and other NW counties and there's a lot I find offensive to my sensibilities. I accept them as I want the same freedom. I'm thinking of another blog (a reliable news source) and the response from the site is "If you don't like it, don't read it".
    How is it that it is just now, almost 2 months later, that the NAACP decides enough is enough and they will ask the normally wild and raucous commenters of Humboldt to tone it down and if they won't that the people who host the blogs, censor them?
    Is this done at the request of the Lawson family lawyer Justin Sanders?
    It is an unfortunate fact of life that no matter what the tragedy, someone will try to find a way to profit from it.
    The question is, as it is put in legalese, Cui bono? going forward.
    And I have one more question:
    What has the Humboldt County NAACP done for African=American students at HSU to help them? Do they have an outreach program? Is there a mentoring program? Is there even a NAACP youth branch at HSU?

    On another article I tried to make the point that it takes time for the law enforcement people to do their job. The Marci Kitchen case shows that: People were screaming, why isn't she in jail, when will she go to trial and the work went on behind the scenes until all the various parts of the event were compiled, referenced, connected up with other parts until a whole case could be presented. Following the account (here) I could see why it took time. And until all the pieces were put together, they couldn't release information what they were doing...it could be detrimental to the case. The wait was worth it.
    However, a study of records in Los Angeles County (which has a very large police department and several thousand DDAs once the criminal is found) over 10 years showed almost half of the homicides were not resolved/closed.
    The lawyer from Los Angeles has said that city of Arcata wasn't doing a proper job. Maybe they do need a specialist. Maybe the odds are against them or maybe those who know the truth aren't talking.

    1. i'm waiting to see who actually will benefit the most in the "wait' of having the kitchen case take so long to come to trial.

      while time allows the state opportunity for thorough investigations & evidence gathering.

      that time also allows, through the discovery process, & her defense team to do their due diligence researching that evidence and being able to contradict and place that states evidence into the best light. in their job to have her found not guilty of the charges.

      lawyers use;
      alternative facts (the new buzz phrase for the millennium).

  6. What is interesting is that NAACP was nowhere to be seen supporting Eddie Lee or Limmie Curry or any other defendant they deem worthy of being a person of color. All of a sudden with the David Josiah Lawson case, everyone in Humboldt is racist, Mckinleyville is racist, the police are racist, anyone who disagrees with them is racist. Where was all this concern about anonymous offensive comments before? And is it okay to be racist, sexist, homophobic, if you use your name? I don't see them calling for removal of comments insulting anyone else, any other person discriminated against, any other race. Person of color does not only equal black or African or African American. They stood by while Tina Sampay, who didnt even use her real name, made comments that endangered others, made others feel unsafe. Suddenly a town that is racist because of one case?

  7. WTF is this? How wrote this? This is so wrong on so many levels.

    You should publish ALL the nasty comments and emails you have received and show just where the 'hate' is coming from.

  8. Who signed that ridiculous rant, Rachel Dolezal? Anytime anyone is looking to stifle free speech, there's reason to believe that there's truth in that speech that they would rather you not hear. The author of that drivel should be ashamed, but I doubt they're capable of honest introspection that would lead them anywhere close.

  9. And by the way - HIGHEST RESPECT to Liz Smith for refusing to sign this.

  10. I am appalled at this request for censorship. It's also absolutely ironic that the letter is signed with an illegible signature, and printed only as, "Eureka Branch." Double standard, much? This is so ridiculous, it's laughable. Much respect to Liz Smith for refusing to endorse this.

  11. Hold up. When did Dr. King advocate restrictions on the press printing Letters to the Editor, Op-Eds or Guest columns because the content might be nasty? That would be in conflict with his own words from "Pilgrimmage to Non-violence":

    "...Prior to reading Gandhi, I had about concluded that the ethics of Jesus were only effective in individual relationships. The "turn the other cheek" philosophy and the "love your enemies" philosophy were only valid, I felt, when individuals were in conflict with other individuals; when racial groups and nations were in conflict, a more realistic approach seemed necessary. But after reading Gandhi, I saw how utterly mistaken I was.
    Gandhi was probably the first person in history to lift the love ethic of Jesus above mere interaction between individuals to a powerful and effective social force on a large scale. Love for Gandhi was a potent instrument for social and collective transformation. It was in this Gandhian emphasis on love and nonviolence that I discovered the method for social reform that I had been seeking.
    I do not want to give the impression that nonviolence will work miracles overnight. When the underprivileged demand freedom, the privileged first react with bitterness and resistance. Even when the demands are couched in nonviolent terms, the initial response is the same. So the nonviolent approach does not immediately change the heart of the oppressor. It first does something to the hearts and souls of those committed to it. It gives them new self-respect; it calls up resources of strength and courage that they did not know they had. Finally, it reaches the opponent and so stirs his conscience that reconciliation becomes a reality."

    By his own words, to engage the enemy, you have to do exactly that, on their turf. Head on. Not call up newspapers to delete comment sections, beyond what escapes their own terms of use and moderation. Shutting people up because you don't like to read what they write, no matter how believable (or simply trolling) does nothing for the larger discussion. Rather, it simply kills all discussion. Words hurt for sure, albeit emotionally. But I would think we'd all prefer a nasty, pointless discussion with a rapacious few than a gun in our faces telling us to keep quiet. Yet, the Eureka chapter wishes the media would rein in all our voices, and well....that's just not going to happen.


  12. So basically the NAACP wants to censor free speech. How about no.

  13. so its not racist that they are blaming a white person & saying its racially motivated, before a suspect is found. was is racially motivated when they jumped the "white boy" who, by theyre own accounts, wasn't being confrontational or aggressive? what about that craigslist post about the witness say they saw josiahs friend stab him by accident while trying to stab the kyle kid? could that maybe be some of the bits they are trying to sensor? yes it was tragic what happened to Josiah, he had a whole future ahead of him, but assuming it was a racially motivated crime does nothing but stir up racial tensions. they don't need to put more on it or come out with statements like this that make Humboldt seem like some racist backwoods town. talking about MLK & saying that living here is like a nightmare for people of color?! are you kidding me!... decades of progress are diminished by those who cant see or acknowledge how far society has come. to me it seems like they are the racists, quick to anger & hate, vilifying & victimizing based on color alone.

    1. NAACP, to their credit, at least didn't state a claim that Lawson's stabbing was racially motivated. But stating that allowing anonymous rants is encouraging "acts of hatred" against blacks, which have not been documented, is irresponsible.

  14. It's now posted on RHBB with multiple comments....

    1. LOCO just posted it at 4:12 p.m.

    2. How come you're not in the "elsewhere" section anymore? I just found all this back-story to naacp's letter now, following a link here from the loco comments.

    3. Bushytails, just bookmark me or follow me on twitter or my business facebook page. This way, you get to see my posts as I post them.

  15. Thanks very nice blog!