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MAJURO, Marshall Islands (Yokwe Online, May 15) - A Marshallese
leader from Salem, Oregon, told the local School Board to not paint its youth as
troublemakers. They have been treated unfairly, said Ricky Alik, president of
the Marshallese Community Organization.

"Of course we don’t want our youth to be beating anybody,
regardless of their race, but what problems have our youth had to encounter day
after day in schools that have not been addressed?" he said.

Alik was quoted by the Oregon Statesman Journal in the
May 13th School Board notes.

Eight minor and one adult Marshallese, from the Salem-Keizer
area, were arrested and disciplined after a brawl outside McNary High School on
April 22. The reported victims were a 14-year old male student at McNary and his
father. The fight supposedly escalated from a shoving incident in the school
hallways several weeks earlier.

Alik, in his defense of the students from the Marshall Islands,
asked, "What treatment of inequality have they endured that brought them to
this state of confrontation?"

Ten individuals, eight Marshallese, were arrested near the scene
of the incident, and were charged with assault, and one for carrying a concealed
weapon, then released.

On April 29th, the Keizer Police arrested the eleventh suspect,
a Marshallese minor, after officers viewed the video tape of the incident that
was seized as evidence.

A Marshallese, Kanera Jajo, and one other adult, are cited to
appear in Marion County Circuit Court on May 21, 2003 at 9:30 a.m. to face
charges. The County District Attorney's office has not yet released any other
court dates.

The Statesman-Journal which has been publishing a
year-long special, "Facing Change In The Mid-Willamette Valley: An in-depth
look at diversity," has reported that the influx of Latinos, Marshallese,
and Russian emmigrants has caused community concerns and conflict.

Salem, Woodburn and Independence haven't adapted fully to their
growing population diversity, said the Journal.

"For a growing number of area residents, skin color,
language and cultural values are a constant reminder that they are
different," the newspaper stated.

The Journal, Salem Human Rights and Relations Advisory
Commission, and local community groups have been sponsoring diversity-focused
forums and activities to help bridge the growing gap between population groups.

May 16, 2003

Yokwe Online: www.yokwe.net 

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