Rusea’s female title success at last week’s Western Championships came as a surprise for many, but coach Roderick Miles says it’s been in the making after a collaborative effort from the entire school community.The Lucea, Hanover-based school upstaged some of their more fancied rivals such as St Elizabeth Technical (272.50), tallying 344.50 points, to claim their first ever track and field title.Petersfield finished third with 182.50 points.Miles told The Gleaner that their success has been in the cards, pointing to the work of principal, Linvern Wright, and past student, Seymour Panton, towards the improvement of the school’s track programme.”It’s a number of things put together. It did not happen overnight,” Miles noted. “We were steadily building up last year, but lost some athletes who left on transfer. So last year should have been the big year for us, but many top athletes moved to so-called bigger name schools and we lost to STETHS by 18 points, so we were supposed to win last year, especially if Tara Bert didn’t leave for St Jago.”But we have been rising steadily over the years, and Mr Wright has been instrumental. He wants to do things different, he and Mr Panton, so it’s a plan. Three seasons ago, we sat down and outlined the plan and put it together, so it’s the vision of a number of people coming together,” he continued.MARKED IMPROVEMENTMiles was convinced to take over the programme in 2013 after good work at Frome Technical. In three years, both the boys and girls’ teams have seen marked improvements at the national and regional championships.The current aim of the programme, he says, is to enhance the school’s track and field reputation and give their students an opportunity to take advantage of the countless athletic scholarships granted to Jamaican athletes each year.”The goal for the girls was to finish top eight at Girls’ Champs, win Western Champs, and get some scholarships,” he said.Their success has created a stir in the small town, and Miles is hoping to create a similar impact at the national championships.”A lot of ‘Russian’ past students are excited, and everyone is congratulating us. Schools like Mount Alvernia [and] Maggotty have called me and told me I am an inspiration, that I give them hope and they believe they can do the same. And that is the biggest thing for me,” Miles added.
A car wash employee from Pennsylvania, Jeffrey Burgess, pleaded guilty on Nov. 28 in federal court for committing a hate crime in the United States last year. Burgess beat up an Indian man and made racial slurs under the influence of alcohol at a restaurant after mistaking him for an Arab.Burgess, 55, pleaded guilty to the charge of violating the federal Hate Crime Prevention Act. He beat up Ankur Mehta at the Red Robin restaurant at South Hills Village in Bethel Park, Pittsburgh, on Nov. 22, 2016. The hate crime prevention act states that a person cannot be singled out or harmed based on their actual or perceived race, color or national origin.Mehta had reportedly plugged in earphones and was working on his tablet when he was hit on the face and racially abused by Burgess, who was seated next to him. An eye witness later said that Burgess hit Mehta on the face with his elbow and fist a few times. He muttered a few racial slurs and said, “Things are different now” and “I don’t want you sitting next to me — you people.”He was charged with ethnic intimidation, simple assault, harassment and public drunkenness but was indicted on a charge of violating the Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Burgess can face a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or both.Many supporters of Mehta went to the court in March 2017. “It’s what every day minorities in this country have to deal with,” Earnest Rajakone was reported as saying by Pittsburgh Action News 4.Outside the court, Burgess blamed alcohol for his actions. “I’m not that kind of person,” he said, adding, “It happened and I’m remorseful about it.”The incident took place only a week after the U.S. Presidential elections, which were marked with anti-Muslim rhetoric during the run-up. According to FBI statistics, hate crimes increased for the second consecutive year in 2016, registering a 4.6 per cent rise from 2015. Most incidents were single-bias occurrences.The total number of hate crimes in 2016 was 6,121, compared with 5,850 in 2015, the Federal Bureau of Investigation data revealed on Nov. 13 this year.Those criminal incidents, the report said, were motivated by bias towards race, ethnicity, ancestry, religion, sexual orientation, disability, gender, or gender identity. Related Itemshate crimeracismUnited States