racism | KUNR


Lindsey is a teenager and photographed in her high school cheerleading outfit. She is standing in front of her school in Elko while holding pompoms.
Courtesy of Lindsey Oppenhein

In June, Nevada passed a law that prohibits schools from using a mascot that features racially discriminatory identifiers — unless the school has permission from the specific group. Part of the legislation has brought attention to Elko High School’s mascot: the Indians. It remains unclear if the school will need to change it.

Lindsey Oppenhein is a member of the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone and an alumna of Elko High School, and she started a petition to change the school’s mascot. She reflects on her time at the high school and shares why she thinks the mascot should change.

A federal judge in Nevada has struck down a law that targets some immigrants who come to the country illegally.

Section 1326 in U.S. law says if you were denied entry to the U.S. or were deported at some point, simply entering the country becomes a crime.

Nevada district court judge Miranda Du struck it down, saying it violates the Constitution because of its racist, anti-Mexican origins in the late 1920’s, even though the law was reenacted under a different name in 1952.

A bright red siren sits atop a steel frame behind the fire department in Minden, Nevada.
Paul Boger / KUNR

Many communities across the Mountain West were once known as “sundown towns.” Those are places that once had policies to force people of color to leave town by nightfall. If they didn’t, they could be arrested or worse. One town in Nevada is grappling with its racist legacy.   

An image inside the Nevada State Assembly.
David Calvert / The Nevada Independent

Here are your local news headlines for the morning of Thursday, May 6, 2021.

Books To Raise An Anti-Racist (Latino) Child

Aug 30, 2020
Several books with Afro Latino/Latina characters
Tatiana Ramirez / Noticiero Móvil

It is possible that we have racist members of our family, even if we don’t want to admit it. Our abuelita might not realize it when she points at every African-American passerby and feels the need to comment. Or the tío who tends to assumes someone’s transgression is related to their skin color or race.

A stone carving on a mountain
Emil Moffatt / WABE

A walk along the trails at Stone Mountain Park near Atlanta, Georgia can be peaceful. The sweeping views from the top of the mountain can be breathtaking, and a visit to a new dinosaur exhibit there can be educational.

A woman speaking into a microphone
Noah Taborda / KCUR

Nearly 100 years after J.C. (Jesse Clyde) Nichols built Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza — an outdoor shopping center modeled after Spanish architecture — his name has been stripped from one of its streets and an iconic fountain.

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee displayed in front of a building.
Liam Niemeyer / Ohio Valley Resource

The sun was setting on the courthouse square in the rural college town of Murray, Kentucky, after another sweltering July day. The town bills itself as the “friendliest small town in America,” but recent controversy around the removal of a Confederate monument have complicated that image.

A Nevada Football Player celebrates on the field.
Photo courtesy of Lawson Hall

Student-athletes of color chasing the dream to play at the college level are faced with the harsh reality that most college towns are in predominantly white cities, like Reno. Finding a sense of belonging can be hard, but many find a trusting community in private areas, like the locker room, and in some cases, it becomes a space to escape racism.

Editor's note: This story contains offensive and racist language. 

Sirens atop law enforcement vehicle
Aaron Anderer / Flickr Creative Commons

As thousands are demonstrating against a pattern of police brutality toward Black people in the U.S., Congress is working to find legislative solutions to reform law enforcement.

Catherine Cortez Masto is one of the Democratic senators from Nevada and the former state attorney general. She spoke with KUNR’s Bree Zender on Wednesday about what can be done on the federal level.

A mother smiling at the camera next to her two young children, a boy and a girl.
Courtesy of Cari Croghan

Dorothy Croghan is an 82-year-old retired teacher, mother and Reno resident. She attended a recent peace vigil in Reno held by Black Lives Matter organizers protesting police brutality. In this audio postcard, she shares her memories growing up as a Black woman in the United States. Her story begins in North Carolina.

Editor's Note: This story contains racial slurs.

Cities and counties across the country are declaring that racism is a public health crisis, including at least one city in the Mountain West.

Noah Glick

The University of Nevada, Reno community came together Wednesday to address the actions taken by a UNR student during a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia earlier this month.

But many faculty and students are frustrated at what they say is a lack of action by the school’s administration to fight racism and bigotry on campus.

Paul Boger

Residents living in and around the Truckee Meadows gathered in Downtown Reno Monday night as part of a vigil to honor the victims of last weekend’s violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

But as Reno Public Radio’s Paul Boger reports, the remembrance was something akin to a rally against white-nationalists.


The student newspaper for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas says it will change its name by next spring amid claims that the school's "Rebel" moniker is racist since it refers to Confederate soldiers.

Unitarian Universalist Association

  The pastor of a Reno church says he will continue to display the racial justice banner “Black Lives Matter” despite repeated acts of vandalism. Reno Public Radio’s Julia Ritchey reports.

The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship first put up its banner in August, spurred by the national dialogue and media coverage of high-profile police shootings of African-Americans.

A day later, the sign had been spray painted over to read “White Lives Matter,” and that was only the first incident.