Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Women of Color bloggers want you to know

The amazing turnout for Jena 6 and the fact that it finally hit the mainstream media after months of work by WOC bloggers, reminds us that there are more issues out there that are just as worthy of attention. And if Jena tells us anything, the way to get the real truth is to avoid the nonsense put forth by money-making enterprises like cable news, and go straight to the grassroots.

FIERCE (Fabulous Independent Educated Radicals for Community Empowerment) in New York City, is just such an organization. They are leading the struggle to highlight the cause of four lesbian and black women who are imprisoned after confronting a sexist homophobic thug in the West Village of New York.

Imani Henry has written a terrific summary of the events leading to their prosecution that bfp posted in June here:

Lesbians sentenced for self-defense
All-white jury convicts Black women

By Imani Henry
New York
Published Jun 21, 2007 2:58 AM

On June 14, four African-American women—Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20) and Renata Hill (24)—received sentences ranging from three-and-a-half to 11 years in prison. None of them had previous criminal records. Two of them are parents of small children.

Their crime? Defending themselves from a physical attack by a man who held them down and choked them, ripped hair from their scalps, spat on them, and threatened to sexually assault them—all because they are lesbians.

Read the entire article.

Beautiful, Also, Are The Souls of My Black Sisters has a beautiful call to action:

That these women could not go to this area of town as if they had no right to be there (per the district attorney who prosecuted their case) reeks of society’s desire to segregate and suffocate these women for what they are. Lesbians.

That these women who sought to harm no one, but, instead, were vilified and castigated because of their attacker’s hatred, while he still walks free, and they languish in prison, is unconscionable. Deemed a so-called “hate crime” against this straight male, every possible racist, anti-woman, anti-LGBT and anti-youth tactic was hurled against these women by the state of New York, and that they lived in a working-class black-majority city of Newark, N.J., and their gender expressions and body structures, was dehumanized, and demonized, in the eyes of the public, and ultimately, the jury that decided against them, is concrete proof that LGBT people have rights that no heterosexual is bound to respect.

The organization, FIERCE!, (http://www.fiercenyc.org ) is fighting a campaign to free these women who have been unjustly imprisoned for having the temerity to be themselves in a lesbian, homosexual-hating society.

Please do not forget the Newark Women.

Contact FIRECE! to lend your help for these unjustly accused women in their fight for justice.

Give them your solidarity, your support, and let them know that they are not forgotten. Let them know that respect and dignity are the rights of all people: black, white, male, female, heterosexual—and lesbian and homosexual.