What do Raiders have left to play for in 2018?

first_imgOAKLAND — Derek Carr sauntered to the podium postgame, visibly drained, sad, lethargic and everything he hasn’t been after losses this season.Carr is normally upbeat, optimistic, engaging, but that wasn’t the case nearly as often after Sunday’s 20-6 loss to the Chargers that dropped the Raiders to 1-8 and alone with the NFL’s worst record for the time being. He told reporters something had happened that frustrated him, but he wouldn’t say what exactly.“Deep down, I’m good. I promise. It just …last_img

Foster builds a network of support

first_imgAs a young woman finding her own way, Lesley Ann Foster started Masimanyane Women’s Rights International that enabled her to grow personally as she helped others. Masimanyane Women’s Rights International executive director, Lesley Ann Foster, is on a mission to end violence against women. (Image: African Feminist Forum)Yvonne FontynOn her first day at what was to become the Masimanyane Women’s Rights International, executive director Lesley Ann Foster says she sat in the empty building and said, “Now what?” She finally had the means to start a shelter to help the many desperate women she had come across in her work with a charity for street children, but she didn’t know where to start.Her benefactor, businessman Reggie Naidoo, who had offered her his premises, told her: “Phone all the women you know; they will tell you what to do.” The women came, to help and to be trained as counsellors. “A friend who worked for Powa [People Opposing Women Abuse] came and 22 women were trained on how to counsel rape survivors,” she said on the phone from her headquarters in East London, on the beautiful Eastern Cape coastline.That was 20 years ago. Today Masimanyane, funded partly by overseas donors and the Department of Social Development, employs 42 full-time staff, with 20 volunteers giving their time on a regular basis. Its 11 centres in Eastern Cape offer medical and legal services and 24-hour counselling, and Masimanyane collaborates with other organisations in South Africa such as the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development, based in Lenasia, in southern Johannesburg. International presenceFoster herself is a speaker on world platforms – in 2010, together with NGOs from the nine provinces, she compiled a nationwide report for the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and presented the report the following year in Geneva, Switzerland.Working with Norwegian Church Aid, Foster has been instrumental in helping Iraqi women achieve their democratic rights, and in 2012 she took a group of South African activists to the United Nations’ General Assembly after she was invited to address delegates on the global increase in violence against women. She sits on the boards of several international organisations, including Amanitare, the African Partnership for the Sexual and Reproductive Rights of Women and Girls, which has members in 26 countries.Working with women is what gets her up in the morning, says Foster. “I love working with women. What I am doing, I am passionate about… I am focused on bringing women from one point to another.”About the first women she was able to assist at Masimanyane, she says: “I felt attached to them, and to the outcome, but I realised my role was to be a facilitator – to link them with opportunities, then let them take it and run with it.”She loves nothing better than to hear that someone who had approached the centre had achieved her goal – like the woman who had no matric, could not speak English and lived in a rural area but wanted to become a social worker. She heard Foster speak on the radio and plucked up the courage to approach the University of Cape Town, which agreed to help her to do the course. “Now she is doing her honours.”Setting a goal and slowly, step-by-step, achieving it is something to which Foster can relate. She was living with a violent partner and was harassed at work for being a whistle-blower when she had her “Aha” moment and realised where her purpose in life lay. Helping street childrenHer foray into the non-profit sector began when she returned to her home town of East London to spend time with her ailing father. “I had been offered a management position – it was a step up for me,” she says. “But the minute I arrived I felt something tugging at my heart – a feeling that there was something else to do.” At her church she heard about Daily Bread, a street children project, and soon she was helping with fund-raising and running its resource centre, collecting goods and distributing them to needy people. “I trained as a child care giver and was able to open 20 soup kitchens. From the funds we raised we were able to buy farms to house the children. In the seven years I was there we helped about 400 children. Those boys are young men now. I still have contact with them – I am granny to their children.”Things went sour when a colleague told her she had found that funds had been misappropriated. Foster investigated, found evidence and took legal counsel from Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR). At this point her employers began to threaten her. On one particularly difficult day she escaped her office to LHR across the road and as she was talking to the counsellor “she said to me, you are working for disempowered people but here you are, disempowered,” Foster recalls. Aha moment“I had my ‘Aha’ moment,” says Foster. “I left the charity. But I fought the case to the end. I was harassed, I was stalked but I see it as a growing experience now because I gained strength within myself.”Her mother, now 81 and still a committed community worker, advised her against pursuing the case. “I told her I was prepared to die for what I believed in. Once I had admitted to myself what the dangers were, I could go out fearlessly.”It was at that stage that she decided to help women. “During my work with street children I encountered women with huge problems – they were enduring terrible abuse and violence, the children also. But there was no help for them. Lifeline worked in the white community but there were no shelters or counselling services for the black community.“I was 32 and finding my own path – and I have always been of the mind that when I have an experience, I apply it to help other people.”The desire to set up a resource to help the women from her community was born, but help did not come easily. Organisations such as the Black Sash did not have the means, she says, but “Ntombazana Botha of LHR helped, and she is the reason is I started Masimanyane”. Another friend, Mala Naidoo, mentioned that an overseas church had been training South African women as counsellors.It was at that stage that Reggie Naidoo, who ran Ibec, a business to help marginalised entrepreneurs, offered Foster a double-storey house in which to start her centre. After the initial outreach efforts, she was able to fill the house gradually but surely as women arrived – referred by LHR and churches, and coming to train as volunteers.“The name came from the women,” says Foster, looking back on 18 years of active service. “Masimanyane means ‘Let’s support each other’. The organisation’s growth was organic, it was democratic – and we have kept to that in the 18 years.” Counsellor trainingThe first training done with Lifeline, a free phone counselling service, was “traumatic and powerful”, she says. “It was a meeting of different cultures, races and languages – we had interpreters. The fear the black women had of the white women…” It was clear there was a lot of work to be done. At the same time, she says, some psychologists in the city were sceptical: “They did not believe that victims could help each other. But we needed women to stand up.”Foster has made it her business not only to help disempowered women at a practical level, but also to try to change the structures that underpin the inequalities in society. During the first weeks of the centre’s operation she documented the women who had been referred to Masimanyane by LHR. “There was no help for them.” She put a call through to the then minister of justice, Dullah Omar, who happened to be the friend of an uncle. “He sent Vusi Pikoli [then director-general]. He sat with me, discussing what to do. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang was deputy justice minister – she came too.“We organised for a petition to demand more services for women. Seven months later we launched Masimanyane – Dullah Omar was the main speaker. It was the right time – 1995 – the time of the transition to a democracy.”Foster was invited to join a committee drawing up the new Domestic Violence Act. Turning pointIn 1996, she went to the International Conference on Violence, Abuse and Women’s Citizenship in Brighton, in England – “a turning point”, she says. “I was mesmerised, learning about rape and other issues of violence against women in a global context.” Then came an invitation to attend talks on women’s leadership at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, in the United States. This is where she said she became aware of “women’s human rights. It changed my understanding.” It was exciting for this woman from South Africa to attend Rutgers’ Center for Women’s Global Leadership to undergo training with delegates from all over the world, she said. “It was amazing and it changed my organisation.”While in Brighton, Foster had connected with a Norwegian NGO, the Norwegian Crisis Shelter Movement, which became Masimanyane’s first international partner. “This gave us a global view and platform. We continued to develop those links.” Foster also sits on the board of International Women’s Rights Action Watch, which is active in 122 countries.Yet, despite these measures and those put in place by various governments, discrimination against women and violence against women are growing worldwide. Speaking last year on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, Louise Arbour, the United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights, said that to stem the increase of violence against women and girls, those committing the crimes must be prosecuted. “Most perpetrators of these crimes [enjoy] impunity,” she said.“This impunity is built on a foundation of discrimination and inequality… Unless these inequalities are addressed, including in the economic and social spheres, the violence will persist.”Foster concurs and says the reason for the violence remains that “women are not valued in society as much as men are. This discrimination fosters inequality and the inequality is expressed by some men as violence against women and girls. Patriarchy allows men to experience privilege in every area of their lives and the downside of this is that women are accorded a status lower than that of men.”But she is not dispirited: “South Africa offers much hope and inspiration for women. Yes, we do have high levels of violence against women but we also have powerful programmes to protect women and to advance their human rights. We need to work on implementation of the existing laws and programmes. I have seen young women enter professions that have been closed to them. Our affirmative action programmes are amazing in putting women into leadership positions. There is much to celebrate and be proud of.”Trends and developments offer hope, she says: “The work which is being done to eliminate violence against women in the country is powerful. It has drawn diverse groups of women together and they work on the issue collectively.”It is not just in homes that changes are being made: “I am particularly proud of what Masimanyane Women’s Support Centre has achieved in getting women engaged with their local and provincial governments,” says Foster. “We have worked on strengthening state accountability and this is brilliant because the impact reaches all women in the country.”last_img read more

Court kept in the dark about role Justin Brake played during Muskrat

first_img(The front page of The Newfoundland and Labrador Independent. Its editor, Justin Brake was named in a court order to evict occupiers at Nalcor’s offices at Muskrat Falls)Trina RoacheAPTN National NewsThe lawyer for Justin Brake says the court was not made aware that he was a journalist at the time a judge expanded an injunction to include his name.Brake, a reporter, and editor for the Newfoundland and Labrador online publication The Independent, was covering the protests over the Muskrat Falls hydroelectric project in Labrador.“From what I’ve seen so far,” said Geoff Budden, “Nalcor did not advise the court that Justin Brake was a working journalist. We say that was a failure to provide material fact. On the basis of that failure, we wish to challenge whether the order should ever have been issued.”Nalcor Energy, a Crown corporation in Newfoundland and Labrador, filed for an initial injunction in mid-October, as protests picked up and people blockaded the gates at Muskrat Falls.The main concern is how the dam will impact the health and way of life of Innu and Inuit who live downstream.On October 22, a group of land protectors cut the padlocks on the gate and marched into the Muskrat Falls site along the Lower Churchill River.Innu leader David Nuke on the phone inside Nalcor’s offices at Muskrat Falls. This is one of the many photos taken by Justin Brake while covering the occupation.Around 50 people occupied the main Nalcor building, Brake followed and spent the next four days reporting from inside the occupation, tweeting and going Live on Facebook.Innu elder Bart Jack was one of the people who occupied Muskrat falls camp. He called Brake’s coverage “very important” because “people were able to get the whole story from right where we were. We were able to give the atmosphere of the camp and how we were conducting ourselves.”Jack described the occupation as peaceful and emotional. Brake’s presence put eyes on what was unfolding in real time.“This is an example of how the underdog can get into the picture and say, ‘this is our fight,’” said Jack. “So we’re not going to give up because the opponent has all the elements in their favour to run over us.”The occupation effectively shut down the multi-billion dollar operation for five days. Nalcor was forced to send 700 workers home and in an affidavit submitted to the court, said the occupation cost the corporation $3-million a day.Nalcor went back to court and asked the judge to expand the injunction to include a list of 22 names and “any other persons unlawfully occupying the Project Site.”That’s when Justin Brake appeared on the list.“Nobody is suggesting journalists are outside the law,” said Budden. “But there’s a pretty high duty on a party seeking ex parte order to provide all material facts.”Journalist Justin Brake of The Independent.Budden said that’s relevant because the press has certain constitutional protections. The question remains on whether the judge would have included Brake’s name knowing he was working as a journalist.“It’s long been recognized in other contexts that a free and unrestrained press is a social good that should be promoted,” said Budden. “There are particular rights attached to press coverage that we believe the court must consider as they ultimately address Justin Brake’s situation.”In an email response, Nalcor Energy wrote, “Mr. Brake was treated in the same manner as all individuals who chose to enter the site and take up occupation at the camp. Mr. Brake’s profession and reporting was not a consideration.”Brake made a snap decision to follow the land protectors past the gate at Muskrat Falls and continue his coverage from inside the occupation.“There were a lot of really newsworthy and wonderful scenes that happened in there that I think changed the narrative of how we interpret this whole project on the outside and people’s whole struggles against it, and resistance to it,” said Brake in an interview with APTN National News.He said his coverage gave weight and perspective to the mainly Innu and Inuit, underrepresented in mainstream coverage. Brake pointed out that Call to Action number 84 of the Truth and Reconciliation Report is aimed at media.“To fairly and accurately report on Indigenous struggles and Indigenous issues,” said Brake. “And a lot of the people in there who are Inuit and Innu who were occupying that building say they don’t feel like they’ve had a voice at all.”Bart Jack agrees. He said the coverage shone a spotlight on the issues and concerns.“That plays a role a different role for people who are being oppressed,” said Jack. “We are facing the oppressor and they are doing everything to make our lives miserable. But here we are, still alive and doing what we can to survive.”Brake left the occupation when he found out his name was on the court injunction. He said he didn’t want to get arrested and not be able to cover the story at all.The case was on the docket this week at the Supreme Court of Newfoundland and Labrador in Goose Bay where 21 people who occupied the Muskrat site appeared to face contempt of court charges.It’s a civil charge and no one at this point is facing criminal charges. Most people a have a new court date, giving them time to seek legal advice.Brake is back home in Newfoundland. Budden, based in St. John’s, called into the courtroom Tuesday morning on his behalf.Brake has received support and backing from organizations like the Canadian Association of Journalists.“We want to know why a reporter’s name was not removed from the subpoena as soon as it became apparent that he was simply following a story and telling it to his readers,” said CAJ President Nick Taylor-Vaisey. “It’s imperative that reporters be allowed to work in the public interest, as is our constitutional right.”Brake’s next court date is December 7.The fight against Muskrat Falls isn’t over.Innu and Inuit land protectors in Labrador are planning to meet Tuesday evening to figure out next steps as word spread that Nalcor Energy is looking to flood the reservoir at Muskrat Falls as early as this weekend.A study by Harvard University predicts that trees and topsoil left in the reservoir can create high levels of methylmercury. As the naturally-occurring toxin flows downstream, it could contaminate traditional food sources.Indigenous groups in Labrador have called for Nalcor Energy to fully clear the reservoir before initial flooding.The Premier of Newfoundland and Labrador and Indigenous leaders reached an agreement to set up an advisory committee, increase monitoring, and make scienced based decision. But that has not fully calmed concerns that important country foods like fish and seal could be poisoned.troache@aptn.calast_img read more