The Green Flag Waves On The 2020 Governor Race

first_imgFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Holcomb has scheduled an event Saturday inside of the historic Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, a filming location for the iconic Indiana basketball movie “Hoosiers,” where he is expected to launch his re-election.But with all of these announcements, it raises the question: Can the Democrats actually dethrone Holcomb and the Republican Party, which currently hold all the power in the Statehouse?Unseating a GOP incumbent will be a huge climb for whichever Democrat emerges from that party’s primary. Democrats, though, might be encouraged by Holcomb’s mediocre poll numbers. According to the Morning Consult polling report, Holcomb’s job approval has withered from 54 percent shortly after he took office to 49 percent earlier this year. But even that poll showed his disapproval at only 22 percent.And a May poll from We Ask America showed he’s rebounded to a 54 percent approval rating, with even about a third of Democrats saying they approve at least somewhat of Holcomb’s performance in office. Plus, his poll numbers are better than those of the governors in the surrounding states.Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne, said there are several reasons multiple Democrats are willing to take on Holcomb. “He has not been as visible as other governors. For example Mike Pence was very visible. Evan Bayh, very visible. And when you have high approval ratings, but not great visibility, those approval ratings might be soft.”In addition, Downs said, Holcomb could be vulnerable because of legislation he supported that might not go over well with the voters and because the momentum Democrats built nationally in 2018 could carry over to this upcoming cycle.However, Downs believes Holcomb could solidify his position by increasing his public profile and making people understand his role in a pretty successful run in the state in terms of job creation and other issues.Then there is the money.Holcomb had about $4 million in his campaign coffers at the beginning of this year and has added more than $2 million since. Melton, on the other hand, only had about $11,000 at the start of this year.Being behind in the bank, though, doesn’t mean they are out.Robert Dion, a political science professor at the University of Evansville, cited the 2016 election.“The last gubernatorial election, (Democrat nominee) John Gregg was raising money hand over fist,” Dion said. “This could suggest that the Democrats could raise the money needed. Three years ago, Gregg was raising more than the sitting governor.”While Myers is expected to make his candidacy official Wednesday, Melton and Macer haven’t yet scheduled an announcement. So how can an average citizen figure out if they are running? Downs said to keep an eye on their schedules.“If somebody goes to every Lincoln Day dinner or sets up a routine where they find themselves going to 35 or 40 counties, none of which are in their district, that’s an indication that someone is thinking about something,” Downs said, referring to the annual political dinners and events both parties hold.Melton is currently on a tour with Republican Superintendent of Public Instruction Jennifer McCormick, while Macer recently attended a Fourth of July parade in Lebanon, well out of her legislative district. Besides that, Melton changed his political Twitter account handle from @eddiemelton2016 to @eddiemelton4IN, which is about as close to telegraphing your candidacy as you can get.However, Dion said voters probably will not see any more challengers besides the three Democrats because if there was a dark horse candidate, he or she would have already announced by now so as to not be behind on the campaign trail.While Myers is holding his announcement outside a hospital, education may be the biggest issue in this election.Democrats already are attacking Holcomb’s record there.“Something that the Governor is touting as part of his purported election announcement on Saturday is that he shot basketball baskets in 92 counties,” said Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody. “If he spent as much time finding opportunities for kids to go to pre-K or giving teachers raises as he was spending time on the court, he might be a better governor. So I think we can look to all kinds of things about people wondering if they are better off not just under the last four years of Eric Holcomb but under the last sixteen years of this kind of leadership.”Pete Seat, spokesman for the Indiana Republican Party, argued that Holcomb is proud to run on his record.“Governor Holcomb has been laser-focused on his five pillars – which includes economic growth, education and workforce development,” he said. “As a result of this focus, Indiana is on a roll and that is evident by our record-breaking job creation numbers and historic investments in infrastructure and education that have come as a direct result of his leadership.”But, Downs cautioned, Hoosier voters probably won’t know what the full palate of issues will be until the first debates are held – months from now.FOOTNOTE: Brandon Barger is a reporter with, a news website powered by Franklin College journalists.center_img Gov. Eric Holcomb discusses the plans for improvement that DCS will undergo.Photo by Brynna Sentel, The Green Flag Waves On The 2020 Governor RaceJuly 15, 2019  By Brandon BargerTheStatehouseFile.comINDIANAPOLIS — Although the primary election is 10 months away, the Democratic race to challenge the Republican incumbent, Gov. Eric Holcomb, in 2020 is already intensifying.Wednesday, Dr. Woody Myers, a former state health commissioner, will hold a press conference in front of the former Wishard Hospital emergency room for an announcement that is expected to make him the first Democrat to officially get into the race for governor.He’ll be showcasing some early support as well, as former U.S. Rep. Baron Hill, a Blue Dog Democrat, will be standing next to him.Two more likely candidates for the primary are State Sen. Eddie Melton of Gary and Rep. Karlee Macer of Indianapolis. While neither has made a bid official yet, Melton will be in Indianapolis Thursday as part of a statewide series of forums on education.last_img read more

CHANNEL 44 NEWS: Evansville Man Arrested In Connection With Halee Rathgeber Investigation

first_img Evansville Man Arrested In Connection With Halee Rathgeber InvestigationAn Evansville man is arrested and charged in the murder of Halee Rathgeber. The Warrick County Sheriff’s Office arrested 22-year-old Isaiah Hagan with murder, robbery, and obstruction of justice. This past Tuesday, 44News Reporter Lauren Leslie…FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailSharelast_img

Subscription box launched for ‘wonky’ bakery products

first_imgSource: Earth & WheatJames Eid with an Earth & Wheat subscription boxStudent and fourth generation baker at family-owned Signature Flatbreads James Eid has unveiled a ‘wonky’ bread subscription service.Eid, who is studying at Lancaster University, will distribute bread and baked goods which would otherwise have been disposed of during the production process due to its appearance, size or overproduction.He has started by utilising the ‘wonky’ baked goods from the family firm, which was set up by his grandfather Dr Samir Eid in 1984, with plans to partner with local independent bakeries across the UK as his customer base expands.Customers who subscribe to the Earth & Wheat service on a weekly or bi-weekly basis will pay £6.99 per box, including delivery. The 2.5kg box contains a week’s worth of bread for a family of three or four, with contents including crumpets, sourdough crumpets, tortillas, wholemeal tortillas, butter-flavoured tortillas, pittas, wholemeal pitta, focaccia, scotch pancakes and buttermilk pancakes.For every box ordered, Eid has also pledged to donate a meal’s worth of bread (450g) to food banks to help fight poverty in the UK.“Earth & Wheat’s vision is to ultimately reduce food waste by delivering perfectly fresh wonky bread and supporting local communities when times are tough. We believe no good food should go to waste,” Eid explained.“It’s a subscription model which is quick and easy to use,” he added. “We want to target environmentally conscious people and families with children who want to help make a difference where they can and reduce food waste, and thus build a sustainable future for the next generation. Even our packaging is fully recyclable – it’s wonky bread without wonky practices.”Bakeries, manufacturers and retailers across the UK are working to reduce food waste through a number of means, including partnering with breweries to use leftover loaves to make beer, utilising apps such as Too Good To Go, and sending surplus baked goods to be turned into animal feed.last_img read more

Tool’s First New Album Since 2006 Is Recorded And Being Mixed, Says Maynard James Keenan

first_imgOver the past few years, news about a new Tool album—what would be their first LP since 2006’s 10,000 Days—has periodically made its way through the Internet grapevine. Now, according to a Friday tweet from frontman Maynard James Keenan, it appears that the elusive new Tool record is close to completion. As Keenan notes, the vocals are tracked, and they are now in the process of mixing the album. You can see the tweet below: At times discouraging, at other times encouraging, progress on the new Tool release has been inching along for some time. Plans became more concrete when Keenan revealed plans last year to reunite with his bandmates in the studio to record music he’d been working on. At that point in February of 2018, he had finished writing the words and melodies to all but one of the new tracks, according to Consequence of Sound. Then, guitarist Adam Jones chimed in that recording of the new album would happen in March.As March 2018 went on, Jones posted a short video clip from a studio on Instagram with the caption, “Day 1.” Later, Jones posted a photo that confirms audio engineer “Immortan Evil Joe Barresi,” who mixed Tool’s 10,000 Days, as the man behind the console for the recording session. Marking the first new music since that 2006 album, Jones joked in the post: “Our first choice was Phil Spector – but he has other conflicting work obligations.”Tool has also been announced on a number of festival lineups for 2019. For a full list of upcoming Tool dates, head to their website here.With Keenan’s new update, we’re feeling pretty confident about the prospect of new Tool in 2019.[H/T AV Club]last_img read more

Lectures honor archbishop

Notre Dame and Saint Mary’s will mark the 32nd anniversary of the assassination of Oscar Romero this week with Romero Days, a series of lectures and events honoring the Salvadorian archbishop’s advocacy for the poor.   Fr. Bob Pelton of the Kellogg Institute for International Studies said he hopes Romero Days will inspire students to carry on Romero’s legacy. “I would hope that [Romero’s] example would help others to follow the example with their own attitudes, through the types of service they do and through relating their studies to a larger, stronger social commitment,” Pelton said. As Archbishop of San Salvador, Romero stood up for the poor and marginalized in his home country of El Salvador and was assassinated while saying Mass in 1980, Pelton said. He was also nominated for sainthood. “Archbishop Romero was extraordinarily devoted to the peasants of his country,” Pelton said. “He gave his life out of love for them and for our Lord.” Pelton said Romero Days begins today at 4:15 p.m. in the Hesburgh Center for International Studies with a workshop on teaching students about Romero’s social justice. The event will feature professor of theology Margaret Pfeil and educational specialist Michael Amodei. The workshop will precede a 7 p.m. screening of the film “Monseñor: The Last Journey of Óscar Romero,” a documentary which Pelton said follows the last three years of Romero’s life. Pelton said the Kellogg Institute chose to sponsor the workshop because it is important for educators to pass on Romero’s legacy to the next generation. “We want to understand better the social teaching that was embodied both in the instructions and in the life of the example of Romero himself,” he said. Kevin Dowling, bishop of Rustenburg, South Africa, will preside over a commemorative Mass on Wednesday in the Church of Loretto at Saint Mary’s at 4 p.m. Dowling will lecture on Romero’s life in Carroll Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. Pelton said Bishop Dowling is a strong supporter of Romero’s teachings on social justice and Church teaching, proving Romero’s influence is ubiquitous. “The example of Archbishop Romero has spread throughout the world,” Pelton said. “Here we have all the way in South Africa a bishop who follows that example in his service to the very poor.” Dowling’s lecture commemorates not only the 32nd anniversary of Romero’s death, but also a longstanding tradition of social justice, Pelton said. “The annual Romero Address [will honor] 40 years of justice education on the part of the Catholic Church and also the 30 years of the Justice Education Center at St. Mary’s College,” he said. Pelton said students should emulate Romero’s drive and fortitude to advance causes of social justice. “It’s important for us to be willing to see the real needs of our sisters and brothers and to take the effective steps to bring about an improvement of that situation,” he said. read more

University students visit West Wing

first_imgNotre Dame students studying in the University’s Washington, D.C. program discovered they have friends in high places when they visited the West Wing to speak with Deputy Chief of Staff to President Barack Obama, Rob Nabors.   While participating in the Washington Program, students must work 20 to 25 hours per week at an internship and take nine credits of classes, according to the program’s website. Students also tour various sites of national importance, including the Supreme Court, the Capitol complex and the West Wing.  Junior Alex Caton [Editor’s note: Caton is a Viewpoint columnist] said getting to tour the West Wing and meet one of the President’s right-hand men was “surreal.” “You’ve seen the TV show, you’ve always heard about [the West Wing], but you’ve never imagined you could be in it. Sitting around a room with battle flags, medals, a portrait of FDR [Franklin Delano Roosevelt], boxes of M&Ms with reprints of Barack Obama’s signature on them … a surreal experience,” Caton said. “It was surreal: being in such close proximity to someone who spends three to four hours a day with the president and having him be so frank, so honest about his own experience … telling us that the way he got there was not by accident or good fortune, but hard work.” Caton said he was excited to hear of the path that Nabors took to reach his current position. “It was humbling to see the hard work that he did, but inspiring to see that if I want to contribute my own piece to the story of the American government, that dream is achievable for me if I do the hard work,” Caton said.  Junior Tim Scanlan said he was excited to meet Nabors because he hoped to learn about the life of a national policy-maker.  “I was excited when I found out about the meeting because of how integral Nabors has been to the domestic policy of the Obama administration,” Scanlan said. “I was really looking forward to knowing more about how decisions are really made and hearing about some of the current conflicts in greater detail, especially in regards to Syria.”   When he met Nabors in person, Scanlan said he was impressed with his candid account of his work. Scanlan said learning work at the executive level demanded 18 hours of work, seven days a week underlined the intensity of Nabors’ job.  “The meeting was great – Rob Nabors was an energetic and earnest speaker,” Scanlan said. “He covered everything from a typical day in the life to the priorities of the Administration going forward. It was an hour and a half of humble honesty about Washington success and the work it takes to get there.” Junior Nicole Sganga said she was inspired by Nabors’ willingness to speak candidly about his path from Notre Dame to just outside the Oval Office.  “This big, powerful man in Washington was sitting down and telling us jokes and stories about [University president] Fr. Hesburgh was his freshman seminar professor … it was amazing, how candid he was,” Sganga said. “It was very uplifting and inspiring to see a Notre Dame graduate who didn’t know what he wanted to do when he received his diploma, go so far.” Junior Emily Voorde said she was impressed by how easily Nabors found common ground between himself and her peers.  “We talked about Syria, about his day-to-day operations … but we also talked about dorms on campus and Fr. Hesburgh,” Voorde said. “It was neat to see someone with so much power able to sit down and speak with us on a really personal and honest level, it shows that these people aren’t superheroes – they come from the same roots we do.   “He spoke very candidly about how at our age, he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do … to everyone in the room, I know that was reassuring. There’s still time to decide what we want to do and to make a really incredible contribution to the country and the world.”last_img read more

Ag Disaster Meeting

first_imgAll farmers with crops affected by Hurricane Michael are invited to attend an agriculture disaster assistance information session at the University of Georgia Tifton Campus Conference Center at 2 p.m. Monday, October 22.UGA Cooperative Extension and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will host the event, which will feature speakers from the USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA), Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development, and Risk Management Agency, as well as the Georgia Forestry Commission, Southwest Georgia Farm Credit and Rep. Austin Scott. Each organization will provide updates and information regarding disaster programs that are available to producers impacted by the hurricane.“During a time of disaster, it is important that farmers know where to turn to for assistance. This meeting will provide timely and important updates on USDA disaster assistance programs that are available for farmers,” said Adam Rabinowitz, UGA Extension economist.The storm hit south Georgia on October 10-11, causing more than $3 billion in losses to Georgia agriculture, the state’s No. 1 industry.Georgia’s pecan industry suffered a $560 million loss, including $260 million in lost trees that were uprooted during the storm. Georgia’s cotton losses range from $300 to $800 million in lost lint and seed. Damage to Georgia’s peanut infrastructure, including buying points and peanut shellers, will force a delay in peanut harvest this fall.“For many, this was the worst storm they have experienced in this area, thus a great relief for lives that were spared. Unfortunately, the toll that has been taken on crops and infrastructure is significant. After a few years of low prices and decreases in net farm income, there was hope in some farming communities that a bumper crop would improve financial outlooks,” Rabinowitz said. “Having to experience a disaster like this will involve a difficult or impossible recovery for some farmers.”Rabinowitz said the best course of action farmers can take is to document all damage.“Keep photographs of damages and records of all expenses related to cleanup and recovery. It is also important to communicate in the early stages with crop insurance agents, federal agencies such as the local FSA, and lenders,” Rabinowitz said.The Georgia Forestry Commission estimates that 1 million acres were damaged or destroyed and the financial loss is $1 billion. The FSA has a disaster program called the Emergency Forest Restoration Program to assist for losses.“Hurricane Michael has caused massive devastation to Georgia’s agricultural economy and it is critical for the USDA to be a partner and to update producers on the benefits of our program during this critical time,” said Tas Smith, state executive director for FSA Georgia. “Producers needing assistance should contact their local USDA service center.”For more information, contact the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics at UGA-Tifton at 229-386-3512 or the Georgia FSA at 706-546-2269.last_img read more

Effective CUSO due diligence: four steps

first_img 3SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Conducting thorough, up-front due diligence is critical for ensuring a smooth and beneficial working relationship with a lending credit union service organization (CUSO).Here’s where to start:Investigate the CUSO’s track record and lending philosophyIn your earliest conversations with the CUSO’s management, you’ll want to ask some probing questions, such as:How many loans has the CUSO underwritten?How many have gone delinquent?How many have resulted in a charge-off loss to the originating or participating credit unions?What has the CUSO learned from these experiences? Has it changed its lending philosophy or underwriting policies and procedures as a result?It is important for your credit union’s lending philosophy and risk profile to be in line with the CUSO’s. Otherwise, you’re asking for trouble. continue reading »last_img read more

The chase for family accommodation and possible consequences

first_imgMORTAL SALTIt sounds almost unbelievable: In less than two years, family accommodation has become undesirable due to the great recognition of the tourist authorities and the greatest strength of Croatian tourism. It all started with Gary Cappelli sitting in the chair of the Minister of Tourism. What prompted this man from the people, an islander, former mayor of Mali Lošinj, micro-entrepreneur, landlord, founder of a family accommodation agency to lead a chase against everything that “raised” him and enabled him to make such career progress? The answer to this question we will probably never know. “Give the man power and you will see what he is like.” This is an old saying that is confirmed on this occasion as well.”Salto mortale” or a disastrous transformation will mark it for a lifetime.PRESSURE AND JUSTIFICATIONSThere are various justifications for the constant pressure on family accommodation. At first, they insisted on poor quality, equipment, despite the excellent ratings of guests. For several years now, Croatian family accommodation has been winning the flattering titles of the best in Europe, the best in the world. As this argument was not enough, they started calling out family accommodation for unfair competition to small hotels. Thus, household boarding houses are accused of kidnapping guests from 4-star hotels because they have more lenient business conditions, lower costs, lower taxes. As this argument “does not hold water” because it would be a shame for guests from a four-star hotel to flee to a regular boarding house, last year the family accommodation was named as the reason for overtourism, overcrowding in the peak season, and this year as the reason tourists… Not good at all, neither too many nor too few tourists.In addition, the public is “bombarded” with constructions about big business that pays too little tax. The average household earns HRK 45.000 a year, the annual return on investment is 6%, so you don’t have any business at all costs. Now, however, family accommodation has become a competition to large hotel chains as well… There are no hotels because it pays more to “rent apartments” !? And then when the “renters” are burdened with taxes, investments in hotels will start, as well. Family accommodation is not good because the average consumption of a guest staying in it is too small. The price of hotel accommodation is higher, so it is spent more.And we know that the average spending on a trip that starts with leaving home and ends with returning home is globally 155 euros per person per day. When you travel closer the travel costs are lower. When more is spent on accommodation then less is spent outside of accommodation and vice versa. In any case, accommodation accounts for only 30% of the total cost of travel… Then some respected economists said that “renters in tourism” are more privileged than students in terms of benefits !? Well, a reputable journalist calculated that the owner of an apartment pays as much as 12% income tax when he rents an apartment, and that is much more than “renters in tourism”. She forgot to add a 30% deduction to the reported price if the contract is tax reported at all. Then the tenants pay utilities, there is no sojourn tax, equipping such apartments for tenants is much more modest, there is no inspection, eVisitor, agency commissions, etc.… Finally, they try to restructure the capacity in family accommodation. It’s like building with a predetermined categorization. It is built for completely different reasons, because it is laughable, because it is possible because investors are building real estate for sale with the story that buyers will be able to rent it and return the money invested. Then ready-made real estate is categorized or not categorized and rented anyway. I don’t know if there were any other excuses for this unprecedented chase, but they will surely invent new reasons.WHY IS THIS HAPPENING NOW?On one occasion I had the opportunity to see the forecast of the development of individual countries in the European Union. This prediction divides the European Union into two parts, a “two-speed Europe”. Developed countries are positioned in the central and northern part of Europe, “second speed” countries are positioned along the Mediterranean and in the east. In this division, Croatia is also presented as a European resort, a summer resort. This is no accident. In diplomatic circles, among EU politicians, the mention of Croatia uniquely awakens an association with the beautiful coast, in the summer, with tourism. Croatia is destined for tourism. Everything else, for one reason or another, has disappeared. Tourism remains and survives. The Croatian coast is currently the most interesting building plot in Europe. Everyone would like a piece of our coast, the island. Real estate investors sniff the opportunity like shark blood, miles away and unmistakably. Geostrategic position, traffic accessibility, temperate climate zone, good general security, diversity and playfulness of the coast and islands and much more attract investors to Croatia.Real estate buyers are looking at an opportunity to recoup part of their investment and enjoy their “second home” for most of the year. However, there are already a lot of built real estates, and the ratio of those for housing and those for tourism is such that further tourist construction can hardly fit into the spatial-crossword puzzles. Therefore, the number of registered tourist capacities must be reduced. This opens up space for building new ones. Because the apartment is for housing, and the apartment is for tourism. The more apartments there are for housing, the more apartments for tourism can be built. Logically, right?TAKEOVER OF REAL ESTATEAfter forcing the domicile population to give up the legal provision of catering services in the household, the next move of the “shadow people” could be to continue to tax property owners on their shores and islands through their puppets in power, especially in more famous tourist destinations such as Dubrovnik, Hvar … Since young people leave, have no job other than seasonal, cannot survive as micro-entrepreneurs, will not be able to legally provide catering services in their parents’ real estate, parents will be left alone. Under the burden of new benefits, they will decide to sell “family silver”. The elderly alone in the house, without the young people to take care of them, will sell their real estate below cost to have adequate care in a nursing home for the rest of their lives. Thus, the plan for the complete takeover of land, real estate on the Croatian coast and islands from the natives will disappear, which will disappear. If the young people return one day, they will have to buy an apartment in the apartment complexes of the new owners. There will be complete foreigners, tourists, in their homeland. And they will pay dearly for every day spent on “Europe’s most beautiful beach”.HOW CAN WE PREVENT THE POPULATION POGROM AND TAKEOVER OF REAL ESTATE?This “property war” has gone so far that no associations can help resist the violent pressure of big business. On the one hand, political action is needed. On the other hand a legal battle. Sooner or later, a political option will have to be generated that will protect the interests of micro-entrepreneurs, landowners and real estate owners in attractive positions, the domicile population. I hope that will happen as soon as possible, maybe in the next election cycle. The legal battle will be fought constantly. Specialized legal and financial advisers will soon be needed who will be able to “match” the moves of an interest group that has both money and power. And their power is so great that they no longer care at all in their moves. They simply have no one to answer for their moves. Opposition is virtually non-existent.THE FUTURE OF CROATIAN TOURISMCroatian tourism is unfortunately losing its attractiveness in many destinations. Where there are no people, there is no life, there is no tourism. With the first autumn gusts of the bora, life dies down in many small places on our coast and islands. Sheep pass through Zrce, but also in other famous places life dies down. In cities like Zadar, Šibenik, Split in the afternoon and evening there are fewer and fewer people, Poreč is eerily deserted in November, Krk’s shop windows are closed “with paper” behind All Saints… If there are no young families there is no future. Not only in terms of the vibrancy that tourism needs but also in terms of community survival.THE FIRST THING SHOULD BE PUT FIRSTIf our politicians who speak about the need for demographic renewal are credible, then every measure, every law, every rulebook would be seen through “demographic glasses”. The most important would be the effect on stopping the decline in the number of permanent residents. Family accommodation has so far proven to be one of the most effective levers for the revitalization of demolished houses, abandoned settlements, dilapidated apartments… Due to tourism and a number of related activities, people come to work in Croatia, some even live permanently. Because of family accommodation, hundreds of thousands of people have jobs in household maintenance, technology, swimming pools, in the production and sale of equipment for facilities, in agency activities, in catering, transport, IT industry, in trade and entertainment… That politicians are credible and really want demographic renewal, such a chase for family accommodation would be impossible.Author: Nedo Pinezić, www.nedopinezic.comThe views and recommendations expressed in the author’s columns, advice and comments are exclusively the views of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of the portal.last_img read more

‘Stop denying and listen to us’: Papuans hopeful for talk, action to end everyday racism

first_img‘Do you think I’m an animal?’“I remember I sometimes regretted my decision to study in Java. If only I knew it would be that hurtful, I would have just gone to a university in Sorong,” Norce Herlin Mak Momao, 24, told The Jakarta Post on Saturday.Like many young Papuans, Norce left Sorong, her homeland, in 2013 and flew to Yogyakarta to go to university there, hoping to benefit from better higher education standards.It was her first time living far away from her family, but she quickly learned how people tended to look at her and treat her differently because of her appearance or because she was from Papua. ‘Listen to us, stop denying’Growing up dark-skinned with curly hair in Indonesia is not easy, says 25-year-old vlogger Barneci Nuboba.As a native Papuan born and raised in Timika, Eci has seen how most young Papuan girls she knows have tried or been tempted to straighten their hair so they can feel better about themselves – so they can fit in.As a response to this, she started the online campaign #talingkarclub on Instagram, where girls post pictures of themselves showing off their curly hair with pride and connect with one another for support using the hashtag. Talingkar is the Papuan word for curly hair.“Growing up, we have no role models in Indonesia that can make us feel good about ourselves. Beautiful people are portrayed in the media only as light-skinned girls with straight hair,” Eci said.Barneci Nuboba (second right) poses with her best friends while visiting Pandawa Beach in Bali in 2019. Born and raised in Timika, Papua, Eci has for the past few years actively campaigned self-love for young Papuan women and for them to embrace their naturally curly hair. (Courtesy of/Barneci Nuboba)Since 2018, Eci has been posting videos on her Youtube channel dedicated to curly hair treatments, like tips to use coconut oil as a moisturizer, as well as other how-to styling videos. She has amassed a loyal following of 6,000 subscribers on her channel and regularly speaks in Papuan dialects to make her Papuan audience feel comfortable.However, her journey is not without its challenges.“I often find many racist comments on my channel mocking my hair and my skin or saying that it’s ugly. At first it really brought me down, but nowadays I just delete them immediately. There are many young followers on my channel, so I don’t want them to get hurt by those comments,” she said.Read also: Racism: My experience as a doctor in Papua“Even after all the things that we’ve experienced, some people still say that this kind of racism does not exist. I want to say to those people that unless you are Papuan, you’ll never be able to fully understand it.”Such racism is real and we face it every single day. So please listen to us and stop denying.” Read also: How Papuan students deal with everyday racismThe first few years were the hardest for her, she said.Finding a place to stay, for instance, was unnecessarily difficult. Once, the owner of a rooming house refused to take her in despite a sign advertising a vacancy up front. She was told there weren’t any rooms available.“I think when they see Papuans they have this belief that we are mean human beings who will bring trouble to their place,” Norce said.“When I go to restaurants or stores, I can feel how they stare at me from head to toe like there is something wrong with me. Those experiences made me want to stay in my room and avoid public places.”Oftentimes, even when she was with friends or family in public places like malls and tourist sites, strangers would casually take out their mobile phone to record or take pictures of her without her consent, all the while giggling among themselves and making her feel like a laughing stock.“One time I was so annoyed that I grabbed the cellphone from one of them and deleted the video of me they took. I told them, ‘do you think I’m an animal so you could treat me this way?’” she said. “They just went silent. They were adults, not some children. I was really angry.”Norce Herlin Mak Momao poses for her graduation picture while surrounded by flowers from family and friends, after completing her master’s degree in law from a university in Yogyakarta in May 2019. Norce is currently pursuing her doctoral degree and plans to return to her homeland in Sorong, Papua after she graduates. (Courtesy of/Norce Herlin Mak Momao)Norce’s sister, who is two years younger, also experienced such casual racism when she visited her for the holidays. It became such an unbearable experience that she decided to cancel her application to a university in Yogyakarta and return to Sorong to study.“Maybe if I had lighter skin or straight hair, I wouldn’t be treated this way. But it is beyond our power to choose the physical appearance we are born with,” Norce said. “We are also human, like any other. If they say Papua is really part of Indonesia, then educate yourself about us. The world is not only filled with people of your own race; educate your children about the diversity we have.”Norce is now pursuing a doctoral degree in law and working at a legal aid organization in Yogyakarta. She would return to Papua after graduating, she said, so that she could continue her work at a human rights organization.Discussions on racism in Papua have flourished in online seminars and on social media following the death of black American George Floyd, which galvanized the #BlackLivesMatter movement in the United States, which rippled across to Indonesia. A number of local groups began to discuss racism in the country by campaigning that #PapuanLivesMatter too.Read also: Papuan lives matter: George Floyd and colorism in IndonesiaEfforts to end years of racism against Papuans have not progressed fast enough, activists have bemoaned, but they believe the growing debate and sense of solidarity with the minority could be a good opportunity for change.“Racism has been happening for decades in Papua, but these discussions can be a positive start, as more and more people start to recognize these public issues and start addressing the problem,” Elvira Rumkabu, an international relations lecturer at Cenderawasih University, said on Sunday.“I believe this will bring change. We can’t end racism alone, we must do it together.”Elvira said people had been reluctant to discuss issues related to Papua, mostly due to the running narrative that there are only two sides of the equation: separatism or the undisputable Unitary State of the Republic of Indonesia (“NKRI harga mati”).“That’s the only narrative we have been fed. It has framed the discussion in a way that snuffs out any necessary debate on humanity. There is a fundamental human issue here that must be addressed; discussing Papua is discussing humanity,” she said. For years, media coverage on Papua has straddled narratives on politics, natural resources, development, security and human rights, attracting attention from around the world.However, there is one issue that is still rarely discussed in public – the casual racism experienced by native Papuans in their day-to-day lives.center_img ‘If you don’t want to sit next to a Papuan, don’t come to Papua’Even in their hometown, Papuans still face everyday racism. Yuliana Langowuyo, 37, the director of the Secretariat for Justice and Peace (SKPKC) Fransiskan Papua in Jayapura, shared just some of her stories that prove how casual racism can easily be found on the island.Yuliana recounted the several times that non-Papuan commuters would cover their noses whenever she hopped on an angkot (public minivan) in Jayapura. “I could tell that people like that were new in town, because people don’t do that if they’ve been living here for years. It still makes me angry, though,” she said.“One time, I met a lady who moved away from me in the angkot and was in a hurry to cover her nose and mouth with her jacket when she saw me. I told her, ‘if you don’t want to sit next to a Papuan, don’t come to Papua.’ Don’t come here just to hurt our feelings with that kind of attitude.”It is not just about the slurs and hurt feelings that are visible in the everyday experiences of native Papuans. Yuliana said she also saw that discrimination was baked into the government’s development projects.“There is a village called Kwarja in Jayapura. Jayapura’s native people live there, mostly cocoa farmers. There is [still] no asphalt road there, no schools or health facilities, and no electricity,” she told the Post.Yuliana Langowuyo (left) and her friend Caca pose for the camera at Tulsa international airport in Oklahoma, the United States, while waiting for their flight to Albuquerque, New Mexico to attend an event held by the US mission to Indonesia. Yuliana is actively involved in advocating for human rights, justice and peace in Papua. (Courtesy of/Yuliana Langowuyo)Just 25 kilometers away from the village, in a residential complex built to accommodate people under the New Order’s transmigration scheme, the local administration has provided schools, health facilities and even an asphalt road to connect the five settlement units there, Yuliana said.“People in my church […] have tried for years to persuade the government to give better road access to the natives living in villages, but it’s so hard. They are still isolated and many of their children are still illiterate because they can’t go to school,” the activist complained.Read also: Govt drops appeal against ruling on internet shutdown in Papua“And this is happening in Jayapura, the capital city of Papua – can you imagine the discrimination that happens in other more rural regencies?”To ensure that her nieces and the younger generations of Papuans won’t have to experience the same everyday racism and discrimination that she currently faces, Yuliana insists on bringing this fight to the authorities.“This fight is not because we want to be glorified, we are involved in this fight so we can matter, just so we can be treated as other human beings. This is supposed to be our basic human right and the fact that we have to really struggle to achieve it is really saddening,” she said. Where is the government in this discussion?While more and more people have started to recognize the problem and tried to educate themselves about the struggles of everyday Papuans, activists have criticized the state for being so seemingly unmoved by the current changes underway.“Up until today, the government has not responded to any of these discussions. We need to push for bigger change, a change in our political and social constructs, a structural and systemic policy to end racism, said Elvira from Cendrawasih University.In a recent online discussion held by Human Rights Watch Group Indonesia, a National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM) commissioner, Choirul Anam, highlighted that there was still no law enforcement measure that effectively addressed acts of racism in Indonesia.Read also: Papuan protesters sentenced to less than one year for treason amid calls to drop chargesThe people involved in alleged racial abuse against Papuan students in East Java last year were not even charged for their racist acts. Choirul said these people, which included military personnel and members of the general public, were instead charged for “making a commotion and being violent”.“We have failed to seriously address the matter at the heart of this racism case,” the commissioner said. “The government must use all the instruments at its disposal – from law enforcement, prevention to self-correction – to end racism.” Topics :last_img read more