Sometimes it’s blatant. Sometimes it’s not. Sometimes it is perceived but isn’t there. For me, discrimination was, “I know it when I see it” kind of phenomenon. There were no racial comments made to me or signs to promotion and jobs that read “Whites Only” or “We Discriminate Against All Minorities”. My Jim Crow situation happened while I was in the California Air National Guard. I did not know it at the time, but the National Guard maintained a Jim Crow performance evaluation policy the entire time I was in service. I alleged in federal court the Guards discriminatory evaluation policy had an adverse impact on me and other minorities like me.
I began my digital discovery into the National Guard military departments nearly a decade ago as an in forma pauperis litigant. Such were the findings of my discovery that I was put in mind of the movie, All the President’s Men, which I watched on television as a child. As I examined the internet documents, I knew I was also onto something big, albeit not with the same national and international ramifications as Watergate, but something which led me to envision a similar untold story of clandestine and often illegal activities undertaken by members of the United States’ executive, of which the President is head. Perhaps an appropriate moniker of my personal story would be similar to “The Pelican Brief”; a legal-suspense thriller written by John Grisham in 1992. About a young law student whose legal brief about the assassination of two Supreme Court justices causes her to be targeted by killers. She realizes just how accurate her accusations have been when her lover and mentor is murdered.
In February 2009, I became heavily engaged in what I discovered, was a real-time civil malefaction in the National Guard and U.S. Federal courts that led right up to the National Guard Bureau, Department of Defense and United States President. The National Guard had a big leak, its databases appeared to be left opened. I moved fast, looking through numerous files and documents. When I found the financial documents to support my claims, I downloaded and submitted them to the courts. Back then, I was not a computer hacker or protestor, I did not work for WikiLeaks. I was a whistleblower who wanted to know the extent of the Guards financial problems during the past wars and I found out. It is my hope that after reading this memoir, you see through my eyes the full extent of the collateral damages from a cultural perspective.
I remember the day I stood outside the federal courthouse in Fresno, California, uncertain if I even dared to go inside and petition the courts for redress of my grievances, because I knew that if I did, I would once again have to come face-to-face with the Jim Crow law and behaviors I studied during my undergraduate years as a pre-law student.
I said a silent prayer and took my courage in both hands, entered the hallowed halls of the Fresno federal courthouse and placed my theories and internet documents on the record.
The major theme of this memoir are my civilian and military retirements and how I believe I have been unfairly treated by the U.S. Federal Courts and the National Guard, and the devastating effects that treatment has had on my life. In the book, I connect the dots between the financial scandals in the Texas and California National Guards, the two largest Guard states in the United States, and their performance scandals.
While online searching for answers to, “Why me?” and “What are the other Guard victims doing?” I stumbled upon something, which while being directly pertinent to my case, also has wider ramifications, and so features another major thread in this book. It concerns what I had discovered and archived in the federal court system. I chronicled 17 years of National Guard history. In my book I talk about a widespread, but too little-challenged custom inside the National Guard. The custom has evolved over the decades into what can best be characterized as a game among senior Guard officials. A game that, if not addressed soon, will have adverse consequences for America’s military. In my book I tell you about those performance scandals.
Now you see it, Now you don’t…
In June 2005, Steven Blum, Chief of the National Guard Bureau, an appointee of President George W. Bush published the National Guard performance evaluation policy. Later, in November 2009 Blum’s evaluation policy disappeared. It was an active policy during the time I was in the Guard and when I filed my federal complaint it disappeared. I had discovered that the Guard was remiss when it failed to update its performance policy during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The National Guard’s performance policy was a reflection of the Guards pay practices.
From my home computer I downloaded the faulty performance policies, then waited for the Guard to make its move. During litigation the National Guard Bureau published a new performance evaluation policy which did not reference Blum’s version as its last revision. The Guards new 2009 alternative version read as if the only prior revision to its’ National Guard Technician Performance policy was published in 1997. This new alternative version was inaccurate and therefore misleading, and I alleged that as much during litigation. To prove my point, the Guard’s 1997, 2005 and 2009 performance evaluation policies with court markings are provided at the back of my memoir.
All the documents (including the leaked document) and other financial information which I used to support my claims about pay in the National Guard are appended at the back of the memoir, so you can study them and make up your own mind.
Because of my financial situation, I had to represent myself during litigation, so please bear in mind when reading this memoir that I am not an attorney. Furthermore, no attorney has reviewed any part of this book. If you are an attorney, I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
The only thing I could do during litigation was observe, type and preserve the National Guard Jim Crow evaluation system and write about it in my memoir. I felt it was just wrong on so many levels to deny review of any discrimination claim within the National Guad, and then destroy the policy that would substantiate widespread complaints about discrimination in the National Guard.
In early June 1864, Private Sylvester Ray of the 2d U.S. Colored Cavalry was recommended for trial because he refused to accept pay inferior to that of white soldiers. Later that month, Congress granted equal pay to the U.S. Colored troops and made the action retroactive. The treatment of African American in the military regarding their compensation has changed very little.
So, why should African Americans in the Guard know about this alleged Jim Crow evaluation system? The answer is because Black history is important, especially if it involves pay. The Guards discriminatory evaluation policy affects more than me. It negatively impacts anyone who has ever filed a discrimination complaint in the National Guard between 1997 and 2014.
I am not a lawyer, accountant or financial professional but If the Guard had to pay out all its discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, before its budget change, it would mean the largest number of discrimination cases overturned in U.S. history .
The National Guard did not keep a past record of its Jim Crow evaluation performance system before it changed its budget, but I did. It did not take any corrective actions to acknowledge and compensate anyone who may have been adversely affected by its discriminatory evaluation system during the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Instead, the National Guard barred review of the pay documents, deleted one and then motioned to stricken other financial documents from the record and I requested the U.S. federal court sanction the National Guard for spoliation of evidence. The fight was real Y’all, but I got the leaked document and other ones into the federal court system to “legally” share.
The Feres Doctrine was the argument the National Guard used to declare its pay policy unreviewable because it says benefits are available through the California Veterans Benefits Department. Yet it did not established the budget to support its argument until in 2014. In 2014, the National Guard changed its budget, the 2014 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) amended the National Guard Technicians Act, by ordering any wrongful discrimination claim brought by a dual-status technician to be considered a complaint made by a member of the armed forces, thereby expanding the scope of the Feres Doctrine in one fell swoop and making itself the sole arbiter for paying out all wrongful discrimination claims. Discrimination claims filed prior to the 2014 budget change are mostly unpaid, like mine.
But before you get on with my story, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for caring enough to buy this book and to read what I have to say.
My memoir does not promote, advertise or guarantee any money owed to anyone. The financial documents at the back of the book were preserved to be shared with anyone who may have thought, heard, or felt discriminated against while in the National Guard between 1997 and 2014.
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Last update: July 10, 2017
“Still Waiting”, is a powerful memoir written by a California National Guard whistleblower, while she waits for her veterans benefits. In her memoir, Janetra Johnson chronicles a time in the National Guard in which there were two major document scandals surrounding President George W. Bush’s performance. In the book, Janetra connects the dots between the financial scandals in the Texas and California National Guard, the two largest Guard states in the United States, and the corporate accounting scandals that occurred between 2000-2002. “Still Waiting”, is an eBook written by Janetra as she waits for the veteran’s benefits she feels is owed to her.