Tag: action alert

January 27, 2012 / / LGBTQ

by Guest Contributor Jessica Annabelle

CeCe McDonald, a black trans woman, has been facing 2nd degree murder charges since being attacked last summer by a group of white adults.

CeCe and several friends, all black, were walking to the grocery store on June 5th, 2011 when white adults standing in the patio area of a South Minneapolis bar started screaming racist and transphobic slurs at the youth. CeCe, who is only 23 years old, approached the group and replied that she and her friends would not tolerate hate speech. In response, one of the white women said “I’ll take you bitches on” and smashed her glass into CeCe’s face. The broken glass sliced all the way through CeCe’s cheek. A fight ensued between the adults and the young people after this initial attack and one of the attackers, Dean Schmitz, was fatally stabbed.

As if it were not sufficiently tragic that a group of young people were subjected to such severe violence and that Dean Schmitz lost his life, police arriving at the scene arrested CeCe, denied her adequate medical treatment, interrogated her for hours, and placed her in solitary confinement. In the aftermath of being attacked, she was not treated with care, but launched into another nightmare. The only person arrested that night, she has since been charged with two counts of 2nd degree murder. Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman has the power to drop these charges, a choice he made in multiple other clear instances of self-defense this year, but he has not yet done so.

CeCe’s story is a portrait of the United States Criminal Justice System. Her story is what is meant when we are told that transgender people, especially transgender women of color, experience disproportionate rates of police harassment, profiling, and abuse. She is living one of the stories rolled into statistics like: trans people are ten to fifteen times more likely to be incarcerated than cisgender (not transgender) people, or nearly half of African American transgender people have spent time in jail or prison. Read the Post Why We Should Support CeCe McDonald

January 12, 2009 / / action alert

by Guest Contributor M. Dot, originally published at Model Minority

Oakland haunts me.

Last week, I started trying to convert my essays on the crack epidemic into a memoir and the above sentence came to mind.

As many of you know, on early New Year’s day , the BART police killed an unarmed man, Oscar Grant.

I felt my heart flip in my throat when I heard the woman say they just shot him.

Oakland haunts me.

I hate that moment. The moment in the hood where the violence sparks and we have no fucking idea of what is going happen next.

Richard at Fem-men-ist captures it when he writes about being at the riots,

    I head down 14th street towards Webster… and that’s as far as i get. A couple blocks further down, the crowd looms, and its a riot crowd. i can smell something burning, and Broadway is obscured with smoke that could be the source of the smell, or tear gas. A metal hulk slowly rolls out of a backlit cloud of smoke. it is a paramilitary tank with a mounted water cannon. Is this my neighborhood?

It is really easy to think of Oakland as the home of side shows, The Black Panthers, the spiritual seat of pimp mythology. It is easy to think of Oakland as San Francisco’s pathologized other. However, there is a very strong thread of Wild Wild West street justice that permeates the culture of Oakland. A shoot first and maybe ask questions later steelo that is both reflected in how the police and how the hood resorts to violence to deal with rage and retribution. Furthermore, there is a shoot first and ask questions later attitude associated with American foreign policy. Operation Iraqi Freedom anyone? Read the Post BART Police Kill an Unarmed Man, Oscar Grant, on New Year’s Day

September 30, 2008 / / action alert

by Special Correspondent Thea C. Lim, originally published at The Shameless Blog

From Daily Kos:

Muslim Children Gassed at Dayton Mosque After “Obsession” DVD Hits Ohio

    On Friday, September 26, the end of a week in which thousands of copies of Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West — the fear-mongering, anti-Muslim documentary being distributed by the millions in swing states via DVDs inserted in major newspapers and through the U.S. mail — were distributed by mail in Ohio, a “chemical irritant” was sprayed through a window of the Islamic Society of Greater Dayton, where 300 people were gathered for a Ramadan prayer service. The room that the chemical was sprayed into was the room where babies and children were being kept while their mothers were engaged in prayers.

Recently I’ve heard a lot of talk about how the deaths and abuse of women and children of colour are not taken as seriously as the deaths and abuse of white women and children.

Why We Want Our Kids Back Too
From Racialicious:

    There were no crush of grief counselors when our 11 year olds got shot by strays or on purpose. There were no pundits filling column space and air time when our girls got raped or became pregnant too soon. And when our children came up missing… when our children came up missing…I saw enough missing and dead black kids coming up that it taught me something about black folks, or at least the way black folks are perceived:

    Black children are disposable expectations.

Read the Post muslim children gassed in ohio – but where’s the outrage?

September 16, 2008 / / action alert
September 10, 2008 / / action alert

by Guest Contributor Tariq Nelson, originally published at TariqNelson.com

Presidential Vice-Presidential Candidate Governor Palin and former Presidential candidate Rudolph Guiliani lampooned community organizers and the important work they do in their communities. Are they so out of touch that they do not realize that teachers, PTA members, football coaches and non-profit volunteers also have “actual responsibilities” too? Do they not realize – in their desire to smear – that these people have families as well? These people have love for their communities and strive to improve their own lives by improving the lives of others.

Well, community organizers across the country are upset at these snide attacks on them and their work and some have written on this issue. The Palin Campaign can continue to attack community volunteers and organizers at their own peril.

Community organizers across America, taken aback by a series of attacks from Republican leaders at the GOP convention in St. Paul, came together today to defend their work organizing Americans who have been left behind by unemployment, lack of health insurance and the national housing crisis. The organizers demanded an apology from Alaska Governor Sarah Palin for her statement that community organizers have no “actual responsibilities” and launched a web site to defend themselves against Republican attacks.

Community organizers work in neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the failing economy,” said John Raskin, founder of Community Organizers of America and a community organizer on the West Side of Manhattan. “The last thing we need is for Republican officials to mock us on television when we’re trying to rebuild the neighborhoods they have destroyed. Maybe if everyone had more houses than they can count, we wouldn’t need community organizers. But I work with people who are getting evicted from their only home. If John McCain and the Republicans understood that, maybe they wouldn’t be so quick to make fun of community organizers like me.”

Though many people are unfamiliar with community organizing, the job is both straightforward and vital: community organizers work with families who are struggling–because of low wages, poor health coverage, unaffordable housing, and other community problems–so that collectively, they can fix those problems and make government respond to their day-to-day concerns. Organizers knock on doors, attend community meetings, visit churches and synagogues and mosques, and work with unions and civic groups and block associations to help ordinary people build power and counter the influence of self-interested insiders and highly paid lobbyists at all levels of government.

Read the Post In Defense of Community Organizers

September 1, 2008 / / action alert