Eureka Branch of NAACP Calls for Censure of Arcata Councilmember Who Wrote Letter

Plaza V, Installation of McKinley statue 1906

Installation of McKinley statue 1906.

Letter sent to the Arcata City Council from the Eureka Branch of the NAACP:

March 15, 2018

Dear Mayor Pereira and Council Members Pitino, Ornelas and Watson:

The Eureka Branch of the NAACP acknowledges you for your vote to remove both the statue of William McKinley and the Jacoby Storehouse plaque from the Arcata Plaza. We cannot rewrite history; however, the residents of Humboldt County can acknowledge the full history of this area including the genocide of Indigenous Peoples and choose to move forward in the creation of an inclusive, respectful, equitable and just community. We support your decision and encourage you to stay strong and to move forward in this positive, healing direction.

Mindful of the community we envision, we respectfully urge you to consider and pass a Resolution of Censure against your colleague, Michael Winkler, for his open letter published in the Mad River Union in the February 28th issue, and in the Eureka Times Standard in the March 1st issue. Likening the atmosphere of the council meeting to that of a “lynch mob/ vigilante” was nothing short of racially inflammatory. Mr. Winkler’s very public attempt at vindicating his own political position and castigating you as a council and in particular Mayor Pereira is rife with coded language known to trigger painful memories for Indigenous People and people of color, often inciting racists and violent action. His choice of words was perceived as a demagogic effort to stir up racial animosities in a community with a history of deep-seated racism. A review of online discussions about the McKinley statue removal shows that crude, racist and threatening attitudes abound in our community. Such crass and abhorrent expressions manifest in behaviors and actions that injure and endanger our already beleaguered community members of color. Of course Mr. Winkler is entitled to his opinion on the matter of the fate of the McKinley statue. However, as a public official, the way in which he expresses his opinion matters. Words matter. We hold our public officials to a higher standard of conduct and submit that Mr. Winkler’s behavior is worthy of censure by a conscientious Arcata City Council.

Leslie Rodelander for the Executive Committee Secretary, NAACP Eureka Branch

  • Laytonville Rock
Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestmail

80 comments

  • Black Lives Matter More strikes again!

    “First they came for the flags in the cemeteries – and few spoke up. Then they came for the statues in the parks, and no one stopped them. Then they came for our guns ….”

    • Wow,
      [edit]. It’s not “black lives matter more”.

      Congrats.

    • Your words reveal an ignorance.. anyone on the wrong side of black lives matter is sadly living in denial/ignorance. When you familys lives have not mattered in society for many generation then you have the right and the duty to stand and say these words.. black lives matter.. through out our history the noble souls that have stood before the unjust kings and governments and declared that the people’s lives and liberty’s mattered have become the celebrated hero’s that inspire our movies and novels.. might I ask you what is different today? Maybe color of skin? Ignorance and racism are one and the same and easy to spot.. it only tales a few sentences.. I pray you can see through the fog of prejudice and see this struggle for what it truely is.. I say celebrate the freedom fighters whenever and wherever the arise.. for without the nobel champions of justice among us we are truely all doomed!!!

      • The ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement could have been something much more positive and much more respected if not for Black people protesting holding BLM signs and chanting ‘Burn It Down’; and then burning their own cities to the ground. They looted and destroyed their own family businesses, yet blame everyone else for their problems. Blacks continue to shoot and kill each other at record numbers, and show the world they don’t care about or respect each other. Why doesn’t NAACP and BLM go on protests in their own communities and try to make a difference. 25 Black men can kill each other in a weekend and it is just a normal weekend; but a White officer kills a Black man in self defense, and the city protests. NAACP and BLM need to take a long look in a mirror and ask some questions.

        • Could you provide some links showing cities being burned to the ground? I can’t find anything even close. Family businesses? nothing. Whites continue to shoot and kill each other, too. White men can kill each other but still, they fuss about black men doing it. What’s up with that?

          • You have forgotten about Ferguson and Baltimore?? People holding BLM signs and chanting “Burn It Down.” Even Watts back in the 60’s. Family businesses burned down after being looted of their inventory. The world watched those live on TV, so I don’t have to post sites. It was horrible watching good people’s live go up in flames. Not ‘fussing’ about Blacks killing Blacks, but why is it Black lives only matter to BLM and NAACP when police or Whites are involved? Today’s Chicago Tribune posted that 100 people shot to death already this year (homicides), and 454 shootings this year. That’s over 100 a month, and not police involved. Where is BLM and NAACP caring about those lives?; but one cop kills a Black suspect with a gun in self defense and both groups are promoting demonstrations. Kind of hypocritical. Then you get Al Sharpton, and people like him, promoting rioting and violence. The message sent says that Black lives only matter when the person is killed by a cop. Otherwise, since it isn’t a race issue, that life isn’t important. I have many African American and Hispanic good friends, and care about them all. Black lives DO matter!! But make it ALL Black lives, not just those killed by cops.

            • You are right. I did forget Ferguson though I think burned cities to the ground would be an overdramatization. There were, however, multiple buildings burned. But the crux of your concern seems to be that BLM movement should concern itself with all black homicides not just those by law enforcement. I hesitate to speak for a group let alone one that I have as little experience with as I do with BLM but to me, that is like asking a person who is working on breast cancer why they aren’t trying to stop all cancers. Yes, all those are important but it isn’t unreasonable to focus on one issue that feels most important to them.

              • Suppose we could set some known axioms. All human beings are of the race Homo Sapien Sapiens. We emerged 60 to 80 thousand years ago. Yes, there is Lucy, 4 million years ago, but it took us awhile to get to Homo Sapien Sapiens. Anyone of us can, regardless of appearance, have children, and give and receive organs and other body parts. We are interchangeable.
                All our appearance says about us is that we adapted to our physical surroundings in certain geographical locations around the world, as we spread out from Africa. It does not separate us, it just indicates our ancient peoples could adapt to other environments besides our African subtropical climates.
                Slavery is not culturally specific. Almost all people worldwide have enslaved others, regardless of appearance. For example, thousands of years before Mohammed, the Bedouin and Berber tribes of North Africa had established slave trade routes through the Sahara to two main slave ports, Jannus, and Timbukto. In around 650 AD, Mohammed organized these tribes and took over the slave and salt trades, supplying the Egyptians and Saudis with lots of slaves. These people, the slaves, the slave sellers, and the new slave owners, all had very similar appearances. Slavery in the middle east, as well as the orient, the Americas before 1500, and the Asian steppe, has been a constant for thousands of years.
                The United States has one of the shortest periods of slavery of any country. Some say we have a 400 year run of slavery. Not true. We were British subjects to the kings of England until 1795, and the north abolished slavery, , and after a long hard battle the south had to end it too. So our slave history was less than 100 years. For over a thousand years before the US was ever thought of, the tribes of the middle east were, and continue to slave people.
                So, here is a challenge. Instead of running off to BLM or Antifa or alt right activities, we suggest you put together comfort boxes. Let’s say going to a rally, gas, food, lodging, etc., will cost $1200. Divide it by 4, and each box has $300 worth of stuff, like a blanket, food, aspirin, ben gay, fruit and other healthy foods. In the winter, pay their heating bill for a month, or their AC in the summer. This would really help those who are poor and unable to do much for themselves. Because when you go to a rally, and march, slowing traffic, and chanting your sayings, you do nothing for anyone. A comfort box helps the poor and suffering. Marching and hurting other people and their property is a bad deal. Comfort boxes help people, gives them hope, and comforts them. That’s a good deal.

          • https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2015/crime-in-the-u.s.-2015/tables/expanded_homicide_data_table_3_murder_offenders_by_age_sex_and_race_2015.xls

            Just a random date grab from the FBI website that shows a shocking statistic regarding the race of the offender responsible for 36% of the murders in the US. No cities being burned though.

          • Compton riots after Rodney king verdicts. I’m pretty sure Kym that not many white people lost thier business when people rioted and burned thier community’s down. As far as recent times the riots have been mostly in minority’s communities some simple research can show this

          • Martial Mathers

            You should really look up some statistics on black on black crime and the related percentage of gun deaths. Not to mention all the black people that are against black lives matter.

        • Citations, please. You talk a lot of racist horseshit and I bet you cite some russian-backed propaganda like stormfront.

        • I remember some of those events. I was dumbfounded over the official’s official attacks on the volunteers who were protecting the residents and business owners as they (the volunteers) were literally putting out the rooftop cocktail fires in at least one town. I think it was Ferguson, Missouri. Those first responder volunteers are still being called the villains, according to the notorious hate group’s hate group list.

          Some say it was a paid for distraction to keep the movement against corruption from exposing the Official’s tyrants even more. It worked! Everyone is blaming the first responders instead.

      • “Freedom” of speech does NOT include censure, no matter how you want to spin it.

    • Who the fuck are you quoting, yourself? Let the racist assholes begin trolling…

    • I don’t understand unicorn language…

  • Sharpen your pencil

    Omg Leslie, someone has a different opinion than you, or the mob that attended the meeting. Is it so wrong for their to be a vote? Not just a bunch of angry people shouting over anyone with a different opinion on how things should be handled. We should censure anyone with a different opinion! Grow up!

  • Margaret Stofsky

    Thank you for covering this news story.

  • Could have been a WHOLE lot more offensive…

    • Charlotte kingwell

      All people desire respect. We can well afford to grant it to all.

      • Not if there are polar opposite demands being made. How is demanding censure respectful? How is anyone going to walk through the huge mine fields of unknown people’s personal opinions with making a misstep, especially when there are constantly people moving the mines based on their whims?

        • Publically refering to your political opponents as a lynch mob: Respectful

          Decrying the use of the term lynch mob in a formal complaint: Disrespectful.

          I do not follow your logic.

  • “Etymology. The origins of the word “lynch” are obscure, but it likely originated during the American revolution. The verb comes from the phrase “Lynch Law”, a term for a punishment without trial.”

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynching

  • Give me a fucking brake

  • We should elect William McKinley (the statue) to the presidency. He would be much more effective now than he ever was. Kind of a Trump from another age. People really do need to get a life.

  • I like freedom of speech.

    • Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of speech. The NAACP is not a government body, therefore cannot censor anyone. Tell me, how is this a freedom of speech issue? I think you are confused.

      • I’m not confused at all. I like freedom of speech. I support keeping that freedom for everyone including city council members, angry protesters, the NAACP, and even anonymous commenters. Sticks and stones…

  • Wow. Just lost respect for the local branch of the NAACP. Never thought I’d see the day I opposed the NAACP but this is over-the-top [edit] bs. Winkler was the only one on the council who showed restraint and then accurately described the environment of that pressured meeting. $70,000 for removal ain’t peanuts.

    • Agreed, totally

    • Accurately described? He accurately described a lynch mob? Are you familiar with the meaning of any of those words?

      • Yes I am. I am also quite familiar with modern use of these words. You see….modern use is much more casual than grammar police would like. In modern use “lynch mob” is used quite liberally to refer to situations where an emotionally hyped crowd of unruly people make demands under an environment of pressure. Nobody thought they were going to literally drag out councilmembers and hang them from a tree. But hey- more emotions thrown on the fire of self-righteous indignation makes for more drama. Don’t we have more pressing matters? Like the Syrian holocaust or human trafficking? This is some classic Arcata activist selfish drama …

        • Oh shit, you’re right! Let’s stop working on other every problem until we get Syria figured out!

        • Phineas Homestone

          @Farce: This is a spot on definition the modern use of Lynch Mob:
          “In modern use “lynch mob” is used quite liberally to refer to situations where an emotionally hyped crowd of unruly people make demands under an environment of pressure. Nobody thought they were going to literally drag out councilmembers and hang them from a tree.”

          I assumed that was what the council member was trying to communicate, and it didn’t occur to me any other meaning was attached.

          That said, reading the NAACP letter, I am reminded this phrase has a shameful and hateful meaning for a huge segment of our population, that deserves respect. There are other words I will not speak, or write, in deference to those hurt by them. Perhaps Lynch Mob should be added to that list.

          Finally, while I welcome all points of view, and the passionate debate that brings, I think the NAACP suggestion to censor, along with the general tone of the message, was an ill-considered, ham-fisted attempt to air out an important issue; consider having your strongest writer bring your causes to the public, not the most angry.

          -Fin

          • So you object to the “tone” of their message, and to the actual definition of the term, “lynch mob.” Who’s the snowflake here?

  • Okay, I usually support the NAACP, but this is ridiculous. Limiting free speech. Really, we cannot use “lynch mob” as a phrase without possibly hurting someone’s feelings?

    • Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom from the consequences of speech. The NAACP is not a government agency therefore cannot censor anyone.

      • Freedom of speech means that a government can not use it’s powers to curtail speech. Since the NAACP is not a government agency, it can censor anyway it wants however foolishly. What it hopefully can’t do is persuade any government agency, ie the City Council, to violate its obligation to avoid curtailing the freedom of speech of even its members who have not violated any laws in exercising that right.

        • And how is the removal of a statue a violation of anybody’s freedom of speech? I think you are maybe using the wrong terms.

          • Censure was the issue. The statue removal is just an old fashion stupidity of looking for low hanging fruit to waste efforts.

            • Why is censure an issue? You don’t think the council can reprimand their members for using hyperbolic, inflamitory language? Calling a public meeting a lynch mob is like calling a grocery store a concentration camp; it’s offensive for the sake of offending.

              • “The First Amendment and the California Constitution protect the freedom of speech and expression. Free speech is a cornerstone of democracy. The ACLU makes sure that everyone has the right to speak freely without fear of censorship.” ACLU of Northern California

                As I said before, the NAACP has the right to criticize. But the Council does not have the right to censor even offensive language as long as it protected speech.
                Period. It is that simple. The rest is noise signifying nothing.

    • The words “lynch mobs” can not be used to describe people acting like a lynch mob if they do so in the name of defending a good cause. A good cause is to be defined as the lynch mob determines. Those objecting to a good cause can then also be lynched in the name of the same good cause. This process is then reapplied until the world is divided into two parties- the munchers and the lynched.

      • I’m not sure what you are trying to communicate here. A lynch mob is a large group of kidnappers. Pretty simple.

  • Eureka NAACP should be censured. Bunch of yah hoos.

    • You mean that you think the government should be able to shut down the free speech of a private organization?

      • No. The point refusing to be acknowledged by your post is that no one has the power to do anything. The NAACP can not force the Council into doing an improper action and the Council can not force the NAACP to quit asking for an improper action. It is a non starter or it would be if anyone has any sense.

        That and having a sense of humor is a life saver in this world where power politics has deteriorated to a point that it is played over such petty matters.

        • The NAACP should have a sense of humor about lynch mobs? What?

          • No. The NAACP should do what it feels represents for them. Individuals on the other hand have the luxury of having a sense of humor and should always invest in it.

            • So you are saying that individual black people need to have a sense of humor about lynch mobs?

              • An actual lynch mob? No. About Neverwrong’s comment? It would certainly show more understanding than is going on now.

  • Along with their previous attempts at promoting censorship, it’s quite clear that the NAACP, or at least the local chapter, no longer stands for freedom.

    A) “lynch mob” describes certain actions of a mob of any people. It is not “racially inflammatory.”
    B) “lynch mob” appears to accurately describe the situation. A small group of people were demanding immediate action without due process or public input, backed by threats to commit direct action if they did not get their way.
    C) People posted flyers of McKinley with a noose around his neck.

    They are right about one thing, though – words do matter. And you know what else matters? The right to say those words, even if those words form an opinion you disagree with. The NAACP has already made its position clear, in that it does not agree with this right. Their attempts to make people afraid to disagree with them should not be tolerated, either by the community or by any members of the local government.

    • A lynch mob refers to a group of KIDNAPPERS, and is MOST DEFINATELY a racially charged term. You are factually wrong.

      • If you want a simple definition, here’s what the first dictionary I checked (m-w) has to say about it: “lynch: to put to death (as by hanging) by mob action without legal approval or permission.”

        In this case, the death may not be literal, as it’s a statue, but it’s close enough that the term applies. The people involved posted flyers of the statue with a noose around its neck, directly matching the hanging aspect. They formed a mob of people with like opinions. And they directly threatened to carry out the action themselves should the council disagree with them, removing the statue without approval or permission. So, going by the technical definition of a lynch mob and a lynching, the term is appropriate, and likely a lot more relevant to this situation than most times the term is used.

        Beyond that dictionary definition, “lynch mob” also conveys many other aspects that were present here. A small group of people were demanding immediate action without due process. They attempted (and in many ways succeeded) in silencing any voices opposing them. They were making accusations of crimes that may be exaggerated or unsupported. They were attempting to make a public spectacle of their actions. Just about every other aspect of a historical lynch mob was present here to some extent. A lynch mob is a set of thoughts and actions, not just a person being hung from a convenient tree.

        And it’s still wrong.

        • So the NAACP is “lynching” your ideas by disagreeing with them? You don’t see that as extremely hyperbolic?

          • If you insist on the last word, at least you can make it other than an endless stream of “So’s your mother” comments. Something that contributes with an entertainment value would be nice. If not entertaining, at least has a real world point.

        • Haha.. make that argument to the native village after village as the “Savage gentlemen” set apon them with guns and swords.. to complain of lack of due process in this case is pure ignorance to the reality of the history that still lives and breathes in our communities.. get a grip and get on the team and let’s all heal together.. or not.. you can suffer and die bitter but the rest of us are moving onward and upward no
          Matter what stands in the way.. peace n love to you all

  • Censure Winkler for being a racists? Hahaha, I always wondered what would happen the day the PC’s started feeding on each other! Supernova or black hole? Get the popcorn.

    • I doubt it will go there. Probably one of those “poor choice of words” semi apologies will do just fine to get street credit back without having to admit error. That has become a refined art among politicians.

  • Horse thieves = lynch mob.
    Please stop censoring the use of a term that the outlaws of old respected.

  • Let us not forget that all of this, treating native and black people as non- human things to be used as white men pleased was sanctioned by the christian church. The church determined them to be not human.

    • Amen to that.. and honestly an Arcata council member comparing community members to a lynch mob is truely asking for it!! And yes I agree to complain that people did not have a voice in this matter is technically true.. The thousand of native folks buried in shallow graves by this general mckinnly and his merry band of savages, never did have a say in all this.. Well let it be known that today and moving forward that the voices of these souls have been heard and championed by a brave group of truely honorable citizens.. I say bless them and their noble cause.. carry on!!

  • this issue like most these days is divided the same way. one side is educated and other isn’t. the bottom line is that it was consider wrong way back when it happened and it is still considered wrong, so therefore a statue of wrong is wrong. the US government did not authorize the actions and did not send ammo as requested to complete said actions. so it was not only wrong but illegal. therefore it is a statue of a criminal.

    • And let’s not forget that just after the emancipation of slaves in the south the elite landowner class quickly erected as many statues of confederate generals as they possibly could.. usually in front of court houses.. to keep those uppity negros in their place.. bout time we kicked Mc dirty to the curb.. good riddence!!

    • What ugliness to assume that all those who disagree with you are uneducated. What over reliance on public education to reduce the number of fools in the world. I suspect that the degree you most honor is BS.

      • the data speaks for itself. the first time I came here in 96 I took an awesome picture of it with the palm tree in the back. it was in a different place. have you ever thought that maybe there is a reason why the divide is almost always between the two group? when you are in a life or death situation, or any other situation, do you follow the advise of the person that knows the least about the situation? your fight is about pride not logic. pride will always fail you.

  • Why isn’t the NAACP taking on the shadow government that has been very very bias with minorities?
    (SES) (Fed workforce) (US Pop
    Women 31.8% 43.9% 50.8%
    Men 68.2% 56.1% 49.2%
    American Indian/Alaska
    Native
    1.2% 1.8% 1.2%
    Asian/Pacific Islander
    3.0% 5.8% 5.2%
    African-American/Black
    9.8% 17.5% 13.1%

    The SES was originally created by Carter EO, to handle civil matters. They are now known as the shadow government that controls, lobbies, and governs the politicians, the media, the unions, the ‘groups’, the party’s, … yet very few of the members are minorities. Most are Democrats though.

    Maybe FAS is full of BS? Maybe. Any researchers here?
    https ://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41801.pdf

  • Some responders seem to put words in peoples mouths and make many assumptions. Trying to read things into it that aren’t there. Some don’t seem to know jack (sic)

  • What horrid days we live in when those who supposedly promote inclusive communities hound those who do not ascribed to the party platform. Shameful. Censure brings more division and free thinking folks cower in concern over the few vocal opponents who believe that they are the super heroes of our county. Totally FLAH in all aspects.

  • Lynch mob was too strong a word but the scene sounded like one of those “shout ’em down” type of scenes that i don’t approve of. However I just went to a lecture about the annexation of Hawaii and have no more sympathy for Mr McKinley, you have my permission to take it down.
    But don’t take Winkler down too, respect free speech.

  • Life is good OG

    Lordy. It seems you can’t say anything these days without offending someone. I know I live my life being sensitive and respectful to other people but I will be damned if I will be told how to think and what to say by the politically correct nation we have become. Seems if you don’t agree with someone you are labeled racist or white privileged. Can’t win for trying.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *