Friday, April 25, 2008

Unity in Diversity Family Member Reports Racial Assault

Dr. Karen Holmes is a speaker I remember from my visit to the Unity in Diversity workshop in Allentown last month. I'm sorry to learn that one of her family members members was assaulted, and it appears to be a racially motivated assault. This is a copy of an email that Dr. Miller is sending to her email list.

I pray the Prince of Peace walks with you this day,

First, let me say, Kari seems to be okay. She is bruised, sore and shaken. She did not go to the emergency room for fear of the bill it would generate. She did file a police report.

At our urging, with the pain increasing, and unable to walk, she went to the hospital tonight. I am sending this out in a plea to unite around an actionable plan to eradicate the hate crimes in the Lehigh Valley. The police seem to be able to do little, the FBI seem to need more outrageous crimes, and many of the rest of us ordinary folk, have been stunned or lulled into disbelief. But we need an actionable plan in the Lehigh Valley to stop the assaults and property damage due to hate crime. I hope you welcome my call when I ring you for ideas and action. I will tell you what happened this morning. Please know this is not an isolated incident in the Lehigh Valley and it is escalating in frequency and severity.

This morning as Kari was in the car coming from a 24hr supermarket, a small light gray – 2 door auto (license GYP_______) was blocking her entrance into an access way. The driver, a Caucasoid male with short dark hair, (mid twenties), and a Caucasoid female with dark hair past her shoulders (early to mid twenties), and a Caucasoid female with long blond hair past her shoulders (early to mid twenties), began hollering things like "We're not moving you ni____ger b____ch" "We're gonna kill you, you ni____ger” Mind you there were three, each hatefully and vehemently spewing their taunts and intentions. As Kari managed to pass them, they squealed their car into a u turn and sped after her. Kari turned in different streets trying to loose them and they kept trying to hedge her in and side swipe her. At one point they swung in front of her, cutting her off. One of the young women jumped out of the car and opened Kari's car door (there is a short, and the door comes unlocked), drug her out and began to beat her, all the while, all three are spouting off their hatred of n____ and their intention to "kill the n____ b_____" and all but jumped in to get at Kari. From her smell and actions, Kari said the girl who attacked her must have been drinking. (After this incident, when I got in the car the smell of alcohol lingered...we do not drink.) The young woman dragged Kari out of the car and was wailing away...The others began to scream, “kill her Anna, kill that nig____.” Now, Kari is a sweetie, but she is not to be contended with. When the other two saw this to be the fact they got back in the car and screeched away. The young woman tried to flee, hollering after the other two in the car not to leave her. As Kari got up and back in the car, they all fled.

By the way, this was not center city; this all took place on Allentown's East side...between Airport Road and Plymouth, right off Union Blvd. and between 6:05 & 6:30 this morning. And I don't need to tell all the rest. As I said before, my purpose in this email is to unite us on an actionable plan to stop this. I know most of my Caucasian friends, pastors and such do not realize how bad nor how long this problem has been. I would say at all is too much and too long. But the fact is, years ago it was taunts and threats, then a few years ago it went to property damage, then in 2005 there began attempts at physical harm and very real life and death circumstances. And while I know my own family's plight better than any other, I also know of far to many others who have loved God and their fellow man while suffering such things. And I know some who are sick and tired. Please, join me; uphold me, even, with an actionable plan to stop the acts of racial violence in our cities. Become aware if you didn’t know. So many people say that---good people just did not know or can't believe this is happening right around them. Whether I call on you as a religious leader, community leader, educator, politician, corporate exec, community servant, please welcome my call. Please help...please be part of the solution. I hope, I pray you will welcome my call.

And ladies, put 911 on speed dial in your cell and walk to your cars with your cell in your hand. The thing this morning was in daylight, unexpected, and not in a high crime area. Yes, Jesus is with you and Goodness and Mercy follow you--that is why Kari is only sore and bruised-- the better part of Wisdom is your cell phone in your hand...and lock your car doors, pronto…as you pray for our cities.

Rev. Dr Karen Holmes


Anonymous said...

It had to be Bernie with his infamous gesture.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Team Casey member, It's sad to see you take posts about important issues and turn them into personal attacks against me. Shame on you. This post is about a young lady who reports she was assaulted simply bc she is black. It happened in A-town. You have no regard for that, but instead just have to launch another personal attack.

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, did this just happen today? i'm hoping to see an article tomorrow in the morning call and express times. certainly i realize racism is alive and well, but this assault sounds like something from the south 50 years ago. not to politicalize it, but if things like this occur with any frequency here, someone like easterling should publicize it(with the black news blog), and not cut and paste lanta clips.

Anonymous said...

As outrageous as this assault was, I'd expect to see large headlines in the MC. What gives? Why no report?

Anonymous said...

Anon 9:53:

Why did you even bother to comment on this thread? Someone's daughter was attacked. Her mother is asking for help in finding the perpetrators. How can you put your dislike for Mr. O'Hare before your sense of compassion or dignity and write so insensitively?

I thank Dr. Holmes for the advice to women about making sure that 911 is on speed dial. Even in her grief and anger, she has thought of others. Bless you and your daughter. Stay strong.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this.
I received Pastor Karen's email 30 minutes ago and was completely horrified.
I worked with Kari Holmes a few years ago and she is a wonderful, talented woman.
Anyone who reads the Topix comments on knows that racism is alive and active in the Lehigh Valley, however this attack was vile, brutal and cowardly.
I would hope that this not only gets front page news coverage but that it spurs a huge debate throughout our community.

Bar Johnston said...

After speaking with her earlier the disgust and frustration I feel for this is boundless!  What is the mater with people!  Kari is one of the most loving and kind people I have ever met...  and she was targeted by racist hate.

Yes, the Morning Call should write an article, the Mayor (ED) should have visited her at her home and the police department should have treated her with a lot more sensitivity than they did!

I am personally outraged by this - and believe we need to rally around her - as it is a long term issue that she will be dealing with.  Trauma like this follows people.  I just hope she gets the support from the community that she deserves and needs.

There is going to be a peace vigil to support her next Sunday (May 3rd) time & place to be announced, but it would be the least we could do as a community to come out and support her through a difficult time.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Bar, If you get details of this May 3 vigil, I would appreciate it if you could share them here. I'll post it separately.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for the notice on the vigil.
In the meantime does anyone know where we can send cards, flowers etc? Thanks.

Bar Johnston said...

You can send letters of support & flowers to:

Kari Holmes c/o Life Church
1401 East Cedar St
Allentown, Pa 18103

michael molovinsky said...

bernie, bar, i'm confused by the time line. it appears to have happen yesterday. she was dragged out of her car, beaten, she reported it to the police, yet no article appeared in the morning call? was the story repressed by the police and city of allentown? was the story repressed by the morning call? an explanation seems in order.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Michael, I will have more on those details later. As I understand things, the police report was "lost" at the station.

Bill Villa said...

... sounds like Kari got a good description of the perpetrators. I trust the APD will have these drunk-driving racist thugs in custody ASAP ...

Anonymous said...

Doesn't sound like the APD are too keen to act on this one, as Pastor Karen stated: "The police seem to be able to do little, the FBI seem to need more outrageous
Kari gave a good description of the racists - there must be people out there who know who they are.
I feel disgusted and frustrated that they are at loose in our community.

Anonymous said...

What supermarket is on Union Blvd between Airport Rd and Plymouth? None to my knowledge.

Bernie O'Hare said...

According to Ms. Holmes, it was a 24 hour supermarket, and I assume that refers to 7-11s, Wawas, etc. There are several such establishments.

I suspect this story does not appear in the print media because it was simply unaware of the incident. Apparently, the police report was misplaced so the first reporters knew of this matter is when they saw Dr. Holmes' email. From what I've been able to piece together, this actually happened last week, so now the question arises whether this is still news. One reporter tells me she is looking into the details. I suspect that because this is a racially motivated assault, it is still newsworthy even if it is a week old.

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:14
Airport Rd & Plymouth could be the place she ended up after the car chase perhaps?

- said...

This is a sad event. My sympathy to the young lady involved.

Paying close attention to many of the voices in The Valley it is evident there are some seriously maligned tensions between different classes and cultures.

Economic, political and social issues are interrelated with much of this, I believe.

Alcohol of course has it's part, however all you need to do is talk to b. villa for the accurate political perspective on this.

Hopefully the city can keep it's focus on what is important and start to take the corrective action to bring the citizens of this community together.

Anonymous said...

Come on people.
This is here, this is now, this is us.
I can't believe there aren't more posts of outrage.
I have just reamed out my 2 teenagers about how this is is a horrible example of how racism is alive in the Lehigh Valley.
I hope someone brings those criminals to justice.

Anonymous said...

"It had to be Bernie with his infamous Gesture" Then
"Team casey Member" Blah Blah Blah.

Someone was a victim of a hate crime, and two nincompoops turn it into personal attacks on each other. The blog author took down a comment suggesting that he "ghosts" his own comments to drive discussion. Talk about things going "Poof!" I guess he doesn't like having his assertions questioned as much as those who he is always questioning.

What about kari? is she going to be okay? No, lets stir more hatred by misdirecting our anger. Unless the author has undisputable evidence of who made the 1st anon remark, he shouldn't make an assumption as to who it was. Stay on topic. Is the media covering this hate crime? By the looks of the MC this Morning, apparently not.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I do know where that comment came from as a result of my sitemeter. Because the comment had nothing to so with the topic at hand and was simply driven by hatred, I admonished the person responsible.

For someone who claims to be tired of seeing all these blogs dis each other, you are doing a pretty good job of it yourself. Instead of focusing on the hate crime, you continue with a new accusation against me.

This time, the charge is that I apparently deleted an accusation that I post anonymously to drive discussion. It's obvious you really care a lot about the subject at hand.

I deleted no comment accusing me of driving conversation with anonymous comments. And you see, I don't comment anonymously. I was taught at a young age to take responsibility for what I write. I allow anonymous comments for those whose employment might make it impossible to otherwise contribute, but it is no license to engage in a personal attack, as you have just done.

I will delete additional OT rants directed at me. You can post them on one of my blogs about ethics. Kindly have the courtesy to allow those interested in Ms. Holmes continue their discussion without your needless and childish slams.

Anonymous said... - another big fan of the place

Blah Society said...

In 2003, Tony Snow said, "Here’s the unmentionable secret: Racism isn’t that big a deal any more."

Racism on a local stage is difficult to touch on because it's still ignorant on the biggest stage in our country. If the White House doesn't recognize the fact that racism still very much exists, things will never change.

Bill said...

This is an outrage.

I pray that Ms. Kari Holmes will be OK. What Bar said is true, these things can follow you. I can only imagine what it would be like to be a victim of a hate crime like this.

One thing that we can do is show that this kind of racism is not what we are about as a community.

Personally, I would like to know how this police report got "lost". I do have agree with Bernie's point though that the well being of this family is a higher order concern.

As a citizen of the city, it would be my expectation that this kind of crime is of the very highest priority for our City.

I would like to hear what the Mayor and the Chief of Police and the DA have to say about what is being done to solve the crime and get these people and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

We cannot accept anything less.

To the Holmes family, please know that this is wholly unacceptable, and that we stand in solidarity with you.

Anonymous said...

First, this crime is horrendous and my prayers go to the victim and her family.

Second, we need to find out if racist attacks are a common occurrence or not. If so, we must put a stop to them.

Third, minority attacks against caucasians must also be classified as racist hate crimes as well. This is not a one-way problem in Allentown.

I had an incedent a couple of weeks ago where several young thugs were threatening me because I was a "white man". I actually moved onto the grass strip as they were walking down the sidewalk. The comment was, "That's right white man, you better move aside." I stepped backed onto the sidewalk. Then, "Who you messin' with?" I stopped and said, "Be careful who you're messing with."

They moved on because I am a large guy and they probably thought I was an off duty cop or something (I have that look). But it could have been a bad scene. But I won't live in fear and I was being POLITE.

Allentown is worsening despite the PR spin machine of City Hall, the Morning Call and the Country Club Cocktail Circuit.

Blah Society said...

Joe -

Not to cause a dispute, but it sounds like they were going to mess with you regardless.

I have experienced similar to what you have shared, and worse. In my opinion, the way of stopping racism isn't fighting it, it's a word in the headline of this blog: unity. And like it says at the top of Bernie's blog, "we're all in this mess together."

Not to get too much into it, but I believe a good way to start coming together would be to get rid of any and all organizations and funds that are race related. We're all equal - it's time we start acting like it.

Anonymous said...

A.J., I have to disagree. Racism must be fought. Verbally and with protests if that will be enough. But "unity" only works if all want unity. By its very definition, racists of any culture do not desire unity and, in fact, will fight attempts at unity.

No, racism must be fought. With logic and persuasion and societal pressure if that will accomplish the job. If not, then harsher means are required. In the 1950's I would not have held any African-American guilty if they shot Klansmen trying to kidnap him or his family members.

In 1940's Germany, I would have understood if Jewish families shot the first Nazis through the front door after the midnight knock.....

However, Tony Snow is correct. While I wouldn't say "no big deal", it is certainly less of a deal than it used to be.

Racism is dying in this country. And it's about time. It is not gone, and there will always be some ingorant idiots in all races and culture who espouse racism and even act on it. But racism is dying.

Bernie O'Hare said...

Joe, Just a cursory look at The Morning Call reader forum leads me in the opposite direction - racism is alive and well in the LV.

Blah Society said...

Joe - This assault is proof that Tony Snow is wrong about racism. As racism may be less of an issue than it was 30 or 40 years ago, it still very much exists and is a very big deal.


The reason I don't think racism should be faught is because I believe it drives a lot of people towards the hate of one another. You can't force a person to be not racist. We must unite and educate, but it cannot be forced upon.

Sorry if I sounded like a hippie.

Anonymous said...


Your point about the MC forum is valid. However, I think most of those are just incompetent idiots who have to hide behind anonymity. But, that is a good point.


Again I didn't say that racism is gone. Nor do I think Tony Snow meant that. But, there is much less racism today than 40 years ago. (Which is how I would have said it instead of using "no big deal".)

40 years ago a group of white men could kidnap people trying to register African-Americans so they could vote and kill them in half of this country. You could rape a black woman if you felt like it. But if a black man hit a white man, look out. Etc. And it would be a miracle if there was an adequate investigation, much less an actual conviction of the perpetrators.

The severity and number of racist incidents are significantly less than 40 or more years ago. That is progress. However, such things still happen - which is disgusting and horrible. But society has and is evolving.

Call me the glass is half full kind of guy.

Anonymous said...

Joe, AJ can't relate to racism forty years ago, because he probably wasn't born yet! He wouldn't know a negro from a black person or African American or mulatto, if they were standing next to him. How can he relate to racism? Did he march in Montgomery, Alabama, work in the cotton fields of the South, or march in civil rights events? I don't think so.

Anonymous said...

Joe, and he isn't old enough to be a hippie either. He wouldn't know what Haight Asbury meant unless he googled it.

Blah Society said...

"How can he relate to racism?"

If only you knew...

Blah Society said...

The ignorance of this anonymous commenter is insulting. Somebody obviously has an untold beef with me so he/she chooses to reflect the characteristics of racism to make me appear like the "hater."


And to Joe, seeing the "the glass is half full" is fine, as long as we realize that the problem is still existant and very much a "big deal." Snow's comment bothered me and I believe it reflects the attitude of the administration. I think that is what he meant to say.

Anonymous said...

A.J. I agree. Ah... common ground without attacking each other.

I don't understand Anon's comments either. I was born in '65. Nor did I experience anything Anon talks about.

I did experience some racism in my youth. I used to be friends with a boy of a mixed race couple. I was quite confused with people yelling at them.

I had to ask my mom what the big deal was with some people. She gave the right answer - some people are just stupid. And that it is the person that matters.