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Nadra Foster and the resignation of KPFA Business Manager Lois Withers

November 15, 2008

Pack the courtroom for Nadra Thursday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m., 661 Washington St., Courtroom 104, in downtown Oakland

by POCC Minister of Information JR

At her first court appearance after police, called by management, brutalized her inside KPFA, Nadra Foster, an injury to her forehead still healing, bravely tells her story on a video you can watch at www.blockreportradio.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=177&Itemid=29. – Video: Labor Video Project
On Nov. 10, KPFA General Manager Lemlem Rijio announced through email that Lois Withers, KPFA’s business manager, was resigning. For those who keep up with KPFA business, Lois is the white woman who called the police on Black programmer Nadra Foster, falsely accusing her of being banned, on Aug. 20. Consequently, Nadra was beaten up, thrown to the ground, kicked in the head, strait-jacketed and forcibly removed out of the station, resulting in her facing five charges: two counts of resisting arrest, two counts of assaulting a police officer and one count of trespassing.

This incident was reported in the SF Bay View newspaper, the SF Chronicle, the Berkeley Daily Planet, the Oakland Post and on IndyBay Media, yet to this day the initial incident still has never been talked about on the KPFA News, by the main anchors on the Morning Show or by Democracy Now.

Lemlem Rijio wrote in her email, “KPFA’s business manager for the past four years, Lois Withers, has been offered a great position with a great environmental organization and will be leaving her position at KPFA in the coming couple of weeks.

“Lois has done outstanding work, expanding KPFA’s capacity in administration and financial management, and we thank her for her great contributions to KPFA/Pacifica. Lois has exemplified excellent work ethic while KPFA’s business manager and has developed systems and structures that help KPFA achieve financial accountability and sustainability.”

Does Rijio consider Withers initiating under false pretenses the Nadra Foster beating by Berkeley police to be “outstanding work” and “great contributions to KPFA and Pacifica”? She must, because in her statement she never mentions the incident, and furthermore no one has been disciplined to date for what happened to Nadra Foster inside of the KPFA radio station in Berkeley.

It is worth mentioning that Lemlem Rijio and Nadra Foster are both single mothers, each with two children, who used to be friends and hang out together.

On the positive side of things, three out of the five culprits from KPFA and Pacifica management who were responsible for what happened to Nadra Foster and the aftermath have resigned: Nicole Sawaya, the former executive director of Pacifica, Dominga Estrada, the former human resources officer at Pacifica and now Lois Withers, the KPFA business manager.

The remaining two responsible are Sasha Lilley, the program director for KPFA, and Lemlem Rijio, the general manager of KPFA. Sasha was directly on the scene when Nadra was beaten and refused to help her, according to Hard Knock Radio producer Anita Johnson, who was an eye-witness to the Berkeley police beating of Foster. And Lemlem not only refused to discipline anybody, she has led the attempted cover-up, with the help of KPFA News, the main anchors of the Morning Show and Democracy Now, who, to this day, have refused to mention the issue on air.

Although, with Lois Withers resigning, we won a battle, we still have a war to fight in getting justice for Nadra Foster, getting a daily/weekly Black public affairs show on KPFA, and removing pro-police administrators like Lemlem Rijio and Sasha Lilley from the KPFA and Pacifica staff.

If you would like to support Nadra Foster in her legal battles as well as with her medical tribulations, considering she will not be able to use one of her arms for at least the rest of the year, you could give money directly to the Nadra Foster Defense Fund at Wells Fargo or email her at nadrafosterdefensefund@gmail.com, as well as support her in court. Her next court date is Wednesday, Dec. 10, 9 a.m., at 661 Washington St. in downtown Oakland, in Courtroom 104.

Look for further updates on www.blockreportradio.com. POCC Minister of Information JR can be reached at blockreportradio@gmail.com.

5 thoughts on “Nadra Foster and the resignation of KPFA Business Manager Lois Withers

  1. Lois

    JR,

    I resigned because I got a better job as a controller for an environmental firm. It had nothing to do with Nadra Foster.

    Do you realize Nadra had screamed at manager previous to my even working at KPFA? There are tough choices managers have to make at times and not everyone will agree with those choices. Nadra was impeding someone who needed to work in the studio. She refused to leave so I was asked to assist. After we asked her to leave again and she didn’t Dominga said we had to protect staff and call the police. This is because of a prior incident that involved more serious behavior and is confidential. If she wants to disclose it to you she can.

    Lois

    Reply
  2. stephen rockwell

    calling police is always a mistake. we are lucky she was not shot.kpfa seems divided by pro zionist and anti zionist forces

    Reply
  3. Rafael

    Lois,

    If it’s true that Nadra was impeding someone and was posing a threat, why isn’t this information made public and investigated by a media outlet which boasts of uncovering truths hidden from people. It is very quaint to paint a picture of a violent and dangerous African woman that must be restrained, then hide behind a veil of “it’s secret.”

    You simply want to use insinuation while avoiding an open process that includes debate and question of your actions. The way you present things, your decision is the final justification for itself, there can be no open examination of what went on by outside people.

    If your reasons are valid include the whole picture and details of each, and have them all open to scrutiny. As well as anyone with a contrary stance doing the same. Your avoidance of such a process is what removes credence from what you say.

    Reply
  4. Rafael

    Also Lois, you seem to be gloating in your comment that nothing has happened to you but that you’ve actually been promoted to a better job despite calling the Police on Nadra based on false pretenses.

    I’ve actually read three completely different accounts of why you said you called the police and how Nadra provoked that from you. One iteration actually lacks physical validity in how you described it. It seems like you make up plausible insinuations of what would lead someone to call the Police on someone, simply to cover your ass, but in reading each account by you, it seems you are lying each time just to provide yourself cover. Like a criminal would do once caught red handed.

    There’s also a history it seems with you and other people of color getting into conflicts at KPFA, you seem to have a disregard for people of color and sought out to make Nadra the target of a vendetta to satisfy your need to control. When you add up all the information and ancillary information Nadra seems a lot more credible and you seem like a bigot with a chip on your shoulder with ready made plausible deniablity when people start to look your way.

    What it looks like is that you decided to get your jollies calling the cops on a power trip and it went a rye when they decided to take it up to violent levels which you did not expect nor wanted to be pinned as being the instigator of. So you invented some violent images of Nadra to cover yourself, not let yourself be looked at as the cause of this violent incident. Then you counted on European American prejudice to take over and do the rest, by letting the assumption that an African American lady is loud, violent, and potentially dangerous do the excuse making for you. And to prove your bigotry right, it seems to have done so to date.

    You are a despicable person, I hope something as violent as what happened to Nadra happens to you, so that you can lay on the floor and think to yourself “now I know that I’m no better than the people I look down upon”. Maybe then you’ll see the error of your ways and stop making excuses for your behavior.

    Reply

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