Posts tagged with "NAACP"

Work halted again at Amazon construction site after eighth noose is found

May 28, 2021

Work was suspended for the second time in as many weeks on May 26, after another noose—the eighth in just one month—was discovered at an Amazon warehouse under construction in northern Connecticut, The Washington Post reports.

The noose was found at the Windsor work site in Hartford County, Connecticut, on Wednesday—one day after work resumed from the last stoppage. The discovery occurred after security was upgraded and a few hours before NAACP representatives arrived to interview workers about previous incidents. The noose, made of red rope, was found in some yellow electrical cables.

“This is ridiculous,” Scot X Esdaile, president of the Connecticut NAACP, told The Washington Post on Wednesday. “We told them to take this seriously, and they’re trying to water it down. This is pretty bad.”

The FBI and Connecticut State Police are assisting the Windsor Police Department with the investigation of the incidents, which are being treated as hate crimes.

Amazon is offering a $100,000 reward for information that helps identify the responsible party. The company did not immediately respond to a request from the Post for comment. (Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post)

Cameras had been installed during the shutdown, Windsor Police Chief Donald Melanson said at a Wednesday news conference, according to the Hartford Courant, but do not cover the entire 3.6 million-square-foot site.

Windsor police officers had been patrolling the site when the seventh noose was discovered on May 19, the department said in a news release. Employees in the area were interviewed, and the rope was taken to a state lab for analysis. The work site had no surveillance cameras at the time.

At an unrelated news conference Wednesday, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont called the nooses “racist provocation of the worst type,” according to the Hartford Courant.

Work on the Amazon facility in Windsor began late last year and is supposed to be completed by late this year. Amazon has said that the center will create 1,000 jobs in the next two years and that employees will be paid $15 per hour plus benefits.

Research contact: @washingtonpost

Southern comfort: Biden Administration taps private sector to invest in Central America

May 28, 2021

On May 27, Vice President Kamala Harris was scheduled to unveil the agreements of 12 companies and organizations–among them, MasterCard and Microsoft—to invest in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador as part of the Administration’s efforts to deal with a surge of migrants from Central America at the U.S. southern border, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The Administration believes that aid to Central America will bolster economies south of the border—and that better conditions in that area will discourage surges in immigration to the USA.

Among the companies involved:

  • Microsoft  has agreed to expand Internet access to as many as three million people in the region by July 2022, as well as to establish community centers to provide digital skills to women and youths;
  • Mastercard will seek to bring five million people in the region who currently lack banking services into the financial system, and to give one million micro and small businesses access to electronic banking.
  • Chobani has agreed to bring its incubator program for local entrepreneurs to Guatemala; and
  • Nespresso, a unit of Nestlé SA, plans to begin buying some of its coffee from El Salvador and Honduras with a minimum regional investment of $150 million by 2025.

Democratic and Republican administrations have struggled to find long-term solutions to handling surges in migrants from Central America, many of whom say they are driven by poverty and violence in their home countries. The region was hit hard last year by two disastrous hurricanes.

According to the Journal, Biden Administration officials have said the aim in part is for greater private-sector involvement to outlast shifts in policy and government aid between administrations— reducing over time the motivations for migrants to make the often dangerous journey to the U.S. border.

The total number of illegal border crossings this year is on pace to hit a two-decade high; and a record number of unaccompanied minors crossed the border illegally in March, followed by a slight decline in April.

President Joe. Biden has delegated to Vice President Harris diplomatic efforts with Mexico and the three countries known as the Northern Triangle: El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. She is scheduled to make her first foreign trip to Mexico and Guatemala next month.

Republicans have criticized Harris over the Administration’s overall handling of immigration and have chided her for not yet visiting the border. White House officials have said her role is limited to diplomatic efforts, with departments such as Homeland Security and Health and Human Services in charge of dealing with migrants crossing into the United States.

While leading a recent GOP delegation to visit the border, Representative James Comer (R-Kentucky) said more government investments in the region wouldn’t deter migrants from making the journey to the U.S. “We’ve been giving foreign aid to a lot of those countries for decades, and it’s only gotten worse,” he said.

However, Harris has said that private-sector investment along with help from nonprofits and the United Nations could speed up progress in the Northern Triangle. “We must think beyond government,” she said in a speech earlier this month to the Council of the Americas, a business group that focuses on economic and social development in the Western Hemisphere.

She was expected to call on other companies and organizations on Thursday to invest in public health access, food security, financial inclusion, clean energy, education, and workforce development in the region, working through the State Department.

Research contact: @WSJ