Baton Rouge News Volume 40, #2

4th quarter 2004

Baton Rouge Human Relations Council Sponsors Three Fall Forums in October

            In partnership with the Working Interfaith Alliance (WIN), the council cosponsored two well-attended local runoff candidate forums: (1) MetroCouncil District 2 runoff between Ulysses “Bones” Addison and Joe Jenkins on October 18 (attendance 175) and (2) Between Mayor-President runoff candidates Melvin “Kip” Holden and Bobby Simpson on October 25 (attendance 285).

            The council on October 28 cosponsored with LSU’s Wesley Foundation a Presidential Election Forum featuring speakers Jim Richardson, Director of the LSU’s Public Administration Institute and of Baton Rouge’s Public Affairs Research Council, and Professor of Economics; Margaret Reames, LSU Department of Environmental Studies; and David Sobek, LSU Department of Political Science.  The presentation was balanced and enlightening.  On subjects of their academic expertise, the speakers explained the reasoning for positions of both candidates.

            The October 28 panel was followed by partisan presentations by Sean Riecke, Chairman of the Republican Party of East Baton Rouge Parish; and Dana Peterson, Chairman of the Kerry-Edwards Louisiana Campaign.  Both gave lively talks.

 

Special Event Honors Civil Rights Attorney Johnnie Jones, Sr.

            “Challenges to Law and Life: Portrait of a Pioneer Civil Rights Attorney” was the title of a special event honoring Johnnie Jones, Sr. at the Southern University Law School on November 5.  Jones was the lead attorney for the 1953 Baton Rouge bus boycott, he

 

represented the original plaintiffs in the EBR Parish school desegregation case, and defended students who held Baton Rouge’s first sit-in.  A longtime friend of Paul Burns, who related  memories of Johnnie at the special event, Jones served on the Boards of Directors of the Baton Rouge and Louisiana Councils on Human Relations.  He responded movingly to the accolades.

 

Citizen Lobbying Helping

 Southern Mutual Help Association

            In October, members of the Baton Rouge Council sent letters opposing the FDIC (Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation) proposed changes which will hurt low-income Louisiana citizens.  The action was requested by Sr. Helen Vinton, Southern Mutual Help Association, New Iberia, one of LCHR’s sister organizations.

 

Cooperation with a New Civil Rights Organization, Equity!Baton Rouge

            Several members of the BRCHR board are working closely with Equity!Baton Rouge, incorporated in May 2004.  The new organization has a similar mission: “To build unity and racial justice throughout the Baton Rouge community.”  Its origins can be traced to programs of the Casey Family Foundation in Baton Rouge, which over the last decade has sponsored “Undoing Racism” workshops provided by the People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.  LCHR will serve as fiscal agent for Casey Foundation grant funds until Equity!BR obtains 501(c)(3) status, projected to be in mid-2005.

 

 

Baton Rouge Gets its First Black Mayor

            Democrat Melvin “Kip” Holden was elected Mayor-President in November, defeating Republican incumbent Bobby Simpson in a runoff.  Although Holden failed in previous bids to become Mayor-President, he was strongly supported by blacks and picked up enough of the white vote to win.  Thus Baton Rouge turns another corner in its progress toward racial justice!

 

Baton Rouge Council Website

            Members and friends of the BRCHR should check its website: www.brchr.org.  Webmaster Dick Haymaker will post information on the council’s upcoming events on the website and also on the new Baton Rouge event website: www.rougepages.com

 

Death of Dr. Comradge Henton

            Dr. Henton, a longtime member of the BRCHR died September 25 in Baton Rouge.  Retired from Southern University for many years, he served faithfully and effectively as LCHR’s Treasurer from 1978 to 1989. 

 

Native American Workshop at LSU

            In November a Native American LSU graduate student, Nick Ng-A-Fook, organized a workshop for education majors, cosponsored by LSU’s Native American Student Association.  The rich cultural heritage of the Houma Indians in Louisiana was stressed.  Jamie Billiot, the association's president, and Brenda Dardar-Robichaux, Principal Chief in the United Houma Tribe, taught a group of kindergarteners Houma traditions of basket weaving, bead work, and dance steps.  LSU has courses for the study of women and blacks; it's time to have a course on Native Americans.

 

January Programs on PBS of Interest to Human Relations Folks

            January 19, Wednesday, 7 p.m.

LA PUBLIC SQUAREPoverty in Louisiana.

Repeated January 23, Sunday, 4 p.m.

 

            January 28, Friday, 7 p.m.

LA: THE STATE WE'RE IN.  Review of the Death Penalty.

Repeated January 30, Sunday, 2 p.m.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Student Association.  The rich

cultural heritage of the Houma Indians in Louisiana was stressed.  Jamie Billiot, the association’s president, and Brenda Dardar-Robichaux, Principal Chief in the United Houma Tribe, taught a group of kindergarteners Houma traditions of basket weaving, bead work, and dance steps.  LSU has courses for the study of women and blacks; it’s time to have a course on Native Americans.

 

January Programs on PBS of Interest to Human Relations Folks

            January 19, Wednesday 7 p.m.

LA PUBLIC SQUAREPoverty in Louisiana.  Repeated January 23, Sunday,

4 p.m.

 

            January 28, Friday 7 p.m.

LA: THE STATE WE’RE IN.  Review of the Death Penalty.  Repeated January 30, Sunday, 2 p.m.