On The Occasion of Bastille Day

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
July 13, 2016

On behalf of President Obama and the American people, I offer my heartfelt congratulations to the people of France in commemorating Bastille Day.

This July 14, as we observe the anniversary of the French nation, we also celebrate our mutual commitment to peace, liberty, and prosperity – a commitment that has sustained our friendship for more than two centuries. Through good times and days of deepest peril, the United States and France have stood together in defense of our shared interests and values. I’m delighted President Hollande has invited me to attend this year’s celebration.

This past year marked a milestone in our common fight against the harmful effects of climate change. Last December’s Paris agreement sent a clear message to governments, the private sector and citizens everywhere that a clean energy revolution is underway with the potential to preserve the environmental health of our planet and create millions of good new jobs. The United States and France must remain leaders and partners in this historic effort.

The past year also included moments of profound tragedy and sorrow as terrorists attacked the City of Light and tested the resolve of France and her friends. Our answer was emphatic that we will not be intimidated by murderers and will not rest until the perpetrators of terror are defeated and our citizens safe. Here, too, continued leadership from the United States and France is essential.

France is one of America’s oldest friends and yet we are as close today as we have ever been. Happy Bastille Day! And may our alliance endure for countless generations to come.


Custer City and Custer Area Arts Council Present Summer Music in Way Park


By Herb Ryan

Custer, SD July 12, 2016 – Arriving late at 6:15 pm Tuesday evening  for the Summer Music in Way Park, meant I had missed the opening set of JimmyRay’s Wild Cats. The following 45 minutes made up for what I had missed earlier. This is a trio consisting of Jimmy Fechner on lead guitar, Mary Fechner on bass and Mark Mowry on drums. Playing jazz and blues at a comfort level that appealed to everyone, the group went into a few extra songs to satisfy the appreciative crowd. The group will perform in Way Park again on Thursday August 4th at Way Park starting at 6:00 pm.

Following JimmyRay’s Wild Cats was singer songwriter Steve Thorpe, a deceptive looking package that came alive once in front of a microphone. Steve said , “I like to write everything I sing, so there are no complications when I play my music”.( The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, (ASCAP), requires that a licensing fee is paid on every song that is played in a commercial venue.)

Steve Thorpe really woke me up when he started singing, and had me wondering why he has never been discovered by a record label. This guy has it all, playing on key with a steady tempo and strong unwavering voice, almost effortless. Most lyrics were about the black hills and life experiences sung in a matter of fact story line. Steve gives a solid performance that is from the heart and completely honest. Steve writes his own lyrics and music and will perform again, Tuesday, August 2nd at Way Park in Custer.

Thursday, July 14th Van and Rose Arp along with the Ramblin’ Rangers will perform at Way Park starting at 6:00 pm.
Contact: Custer Area Arts Council

JImmyRay’s Wild Cats at Way Park in Custer, SD Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


Jimmy Ray’s Wild Cats lead guitarist Jimmy Fechner gets in a few hot licks at Way Park in Custer, SD Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


Steve Thorpe sings at Way Park in Custer, SD Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


Singer songwriter Steve Thorpe poses for a pre-performance photo at Way Park in Custer, SD Tuesday, July 12, 2016. Photo: Herb Ryan/Custer Free Press


TechGirls From the Middle East and North Africa Invest in STEM Futures

Teenage girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia will participate in the U.S. Department of State’s TechGirls exchange program from July 12-August 3. During their three weeks in the United States, participants will strengthen and develop technical skills, form invaluable networks, and establish relationships with mentors that will influence their future tech careers. The TechGirls initiative empowers girls around the world to challenge perceptions of women by becoming leaders in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

The 27 TechGirls will attend leadership and project management workshops and clinics in Washington, DC and at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, VA. The teens will also participate in iD TechCamp, an interactive technology and computer camp at American University, and complete community service projects. Top leaders in the tech industry from the United States and the Middle East and North Africa will mentor the girls throughout the program.

The State Department and program partner Legacy International have teamed up with both public and private sector partners for this year’s TechGirls program, including: AT&T, Girls Who Code, 18F, Facebook, TechChange, Islamic Relief, VOX Media, the Federal Communications Commission, Nokia, Byte Back, NES Associates, and iStrategyLabs.

TechGirls exchange alumnae, now totaling more than 100, have utilized the program’s lessons to train more than 2,300 peers in their home countries. The achievements of these alumnae and the talent of the incoming class contribute to the U.S. global commitment to advance the rights of women and girls around the world, as well as STEM education.

Join the conversation on Facebook or Twitter using hashtag #TechGirls.

Celebrities to Ride in 2016 Legends Ride®

Celebrities to Ride in 2016 Legends Ride®

The 2016 Sturgis Buffalo Chip® Legends Ride will benefit local charities and give riders the opportunity to meet and mingle with Hollywood stars and industry celebrities.


Buffalo Chip, SD (July 5, 2016) – Many celebrities attend the annual rally each year, but it can be difficult to locate a favorite star among the crowds. The Buffalo Chip’s signature charity event the Legends Ride has long been known as the most likely event at which fans may meet Hollywood stars and motorcycle industry celebrities. So far for 2016 billionaire businessman and philanthropist John Paul DeJoria, movie and TV star Tom Berenger, writer, director, producer and actor Carmine Cangialosi, and a host of motorcycle industry leaders have confirmed they will attend the 2016 “Ride that RocksTM” on Monday, Aug. 8. More celebrities will be announced as the event draws nearer.


More Than a Handshake and an Autograph

Although meeting and riding with celebrities has been enough reason for this event to sell out for eight consecutive years, guests will also feel great knowing the Buffalo Chip will donate 100 percent of their rider fees to some very worthy local charities. In an effort to help create a permanent athlete training facility for Special Olympians in the Black Hills, $100,000 in future Legends Ride fees have been pledged to renovate an existing facility to meet the growing needs of the organization. The 127 Special Olympians who are members of the “Rapid City Flame” team have been training in various borrowed locations over the past few years, but they are now in need of a facility that will offer team members a sense of permanence and accomplishment. For the past three years, Legends Ride contributions have been used to purchase a van to transport participants to practices and events; now the need for a facility is a priority.


Tom Berenger.


Carmine Cangialosi


John Paul DeJoria

The Schedule

11 a.m. – Bike Parking Begins

2 p.m. – Auction on Deadwood’s Main Street

            Two Buffalo Chip Challenge Bikes and other unique items to be auctioned in support of the Legends Ride

            Special Olympics Team is on hand to help students who participated in the 2016 Buffalo Chip Challenge

2:50 p.m. – Group Photo

3 p.m. – Ride departs Deadwood

5 p.m. – Ride arrives at the Buffalo Chip for a catered reception

7:15 p.m. Concerts begin in the Buffalo Chip amphitheater

            Southern rock gods Lynyrd Skynyrd and pop-rock crossover sensation Elle King.


High Profile Event

The Legends Ride is truly iconic. Its high-profile, celebrity appeal has been featured on CMT, the National Geographic Channel, the Tonight Show, FX Network and the Travel Channel, as well as in countless print, online and newspaper articles. 

Those wishing to meet, ride and party with the stars, all while raising money for worthwhile charities, may purchase passes for the 2016 Legends Ride may do so by going to LegendsRide.com or calling 605-347-9000.


The Sturgis Buffalo Chip History of Giving

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip® remains one of the world’s most televised and longest running independent music festivals. To date the it has donated more than $550,000 to deserving charitable organizations including Black Hills Special Olympics, Black Hills Children’s Home, Sky Ranch for Boys, Sturgis Motorcycle Museum, Combat Wounded Coalition, America’s Mighty Warriors, Lakota Heritage and educational scholarships through the Buffalo Chip Challenge program. More details are available at www.BuffaloChip.com.

About the Legends Ride

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip’s Legends Ride is dedicated to bringing rally goers together to raise significant funds for local charities and the Buffalo Chip Challenge Scholarship Program.  Having raised over $450,000 for charity since its inception in 2008, the Legends Ride has played host to some of the biggest names in television, film, music and motorcycling, along with riders from all corners of the world.

About The Sturgis Buffalo Chip

The Sturgis Buffalo Chip is the Largest Music Festival in Motorcycling™. Established in 1981, the venue’s nine-day festival, known as The Best Party Anywhere®, remains one of the world’s most televised and longest running independent music festivals. Buffalo Chip guests have the freedom to party and play while experiencing world-class concerts, outrageous events, moving freedom celebrations, thrilling PowerSports and more. Located three miles east of Sturgis, SD on 600 creek-fed acres, it offers cabins, RVs, camping, a swimming hole, bars, mouth-watering food, showers, paved roads, and more to visitors traveling from all corners of the world. The Chip’s concerts are free with camping. More details are available at http://www.BuffaloChip.com.

Bureau of International Narcotics And Law Enforcement Affairs Leads Fight Against Hate Crimes

Date: 07/05/2016 Description: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Luis Arreaga delivers remarks at the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. - State Dept ImageRecently, INL Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Luis Arreaga led the United States delegation to the 25th session of the United Nations Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) in Vienna. CCPCJ is the lead United Nations policymaking body in the criminal justice field.

At the meeting, the United States highlighted the importance of preventing and responding to hate crimes – also known as bias-motivated crimes. These threats can undermine the rule of law and become serious security challenges for any nation. As the main theme of the 2019 iteration of the CCPCJ, this topic will continue to garner interest.

INL hosted a side event at the 2016 CCPCJ focused on effective criminal justice approaches to preventing and countering these criminal acts. Led by PDAS Arreaga, the panel included Cristina Finch, Director of the Tolerance and Non-discrimination Department at The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR); Atlanta Police Department (APD) Deputy Chief Erika Shields; and Mauricio Noguera, Advisor-Prosecutor of the Gender Unit in the Attorney General’s Office in Colombia. Kathleen Coogan, INL’s Senior Gender Advisor moderated the panel, and ODCE/ODIHR was INL’s event co-sponsor.

The panel is part of a long-term effort by the United States and other like-minded countries to highlight the need to help police, prosecutors, and criminal justice systems respond to bias-motivated crimes around the world. The conversation at this CCPCJ side event built upon the Doha Declaration, a major political document adopted at the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice in April 2015. The Declaration acknowledges the need for specialized training for law enforcement so they can better recognize and suppress hate crimes and enhance cooperation between the public and criminal justice agencies.

Panelists provided useful ideas on how to achieve the goal of ensuring justice systems serve all members of society. Mr. Noguera described how his office focuses on prosecuting cases involving bias-motivated crimes based on sexual orientation and gender identity in Colombia. ‎ Ms. Finch described OSCE/ODIHR’s work with participating states to customize capacity building programs aimed at preventing and responding to bias-motivated crimes‎. Deputy Chief Shields described Atlanta Police Department’s approach to combating bias-motivated crimes through community outreach and capacity building, and emphasized how an undercurrent of discrimination can ruin a community and lead to unrest.

Effectively countering bias-motivated crimes by government requires the commitment of government resources, as well as government’s willingness to acknowledge the presence of violent acts based on hate. The United States is helping achieve these goals, and in our international partnerships matching our words with deeds. Through the United Nations INL helps international partners improve their own criminal justice systems to combat bias-motivated crimes in a number of important ways. For example, the United States now provides specialized law enforcement training on countering bias-motivated crimes at our International Law Enforcement Academies (ILEAs) in San Salvador, Bangkok, Gaborone, and Budapest.

Critical to that training is INL’s collaboration with the Atlanta Police Department (APD) to implement these courses. Since the INL Bureau’s partnership with APD began in 2011, APD developed a hate crimes training module based on their experience investigating and responding to hate crimes in Atlanta. This training was first delivered at ILEA San Salvador in 2014 and last year. Due to the strong, positive reception with participants, at INL’s request, APD committed to conducting the same training at all four overseas ILEAs this year (Bangkok in March, San Salvador in June, Budapest in September, and Gaborone in November). By year’s end, more than 200 foreign law enforcement officers will have graduated from the course.

Bias-motivated crimes require a practical response: we must collect information and data in order for authorities to take informed steps to counter these criminal acts, and build relationships between law enforcement authorities and the communities they serve. This is a long-term process, but one that pays off when we create an environment where our partners build the capacity to prevent, identify and solve crimes.