Tag Archives: racism

Justice for Jennifer Laude

14 Nov

laude

Although about a month late, we are sharing this post from another sister of resistance, who organizes with BAYAN USA via the New York Committee of Human Rights in the Philippines. Her piece is a reflection on last month’s stomach-turning murder of Jennifer Laude, a Filipina trans woman, by a US Marine, Joseph Pemberton. This is only one of many incidents of violence against Filipinas by US military personnel, who due to longstanding colonial and imperialist relationships are enabled to continue to impinge upon Filipino rights and sovereignty. But Jennifer’s murder, framed by racism, sexism, and the economic domination of the US over the Philippines, was also complicated by a violent transmisogyny which was perpetuated by news outlets in the coverage that followed. Trans people, and particularly trans women, are continuously at risk of violence in the Philippines and elsewhere – only days after Jennifer’s tragic death, according to this Time article, two other trans women were murdered.

A excerpt from the post by our much-loved and respected sister:

As a participant in joint-military exercises between the U.S. and the Philippines through the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) Pemberton is shielded from the punishment of his crime through the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA).  The legal system, mired with racism and sexism (at minimum) views Jennifer as subordinate to her murderer’s status – Pemberton, a cis-male, white, a U.S. citizen, and a marine.  This is where the outrage lies in Jennifer Laude’s death.

Not many of us notice the ways these policies, discussed and signed behind closed doors in meeting rooms between politicians and ambassadors, threaten the lives of women and transgendered people on a daily basis. Jennifer’s murder is a prime example of how bilateral agreements that live on paper, like the EDCA and VFA, damage the lives of citizens in the Philippines.  One death is already too many. 

Read the whole thing here.

The Mike Brown Story: A Young Man Murdered, A Community Terrorized #NMOS14

15 Aug

 

Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

Father of Mike Brown, 9 Aug 2014

On the afternoon of Saturday, August 9th, 2014, 18-year-old Michael Brown was murdered in cold blood by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. The black community of Ferguson rallied in protest, and was met with a fully militarized police force with tanks, riot gear and sniper rifles using tear gas, stun grenades, and smoke bombs to disperse crowds, techniques taken directly from the military arsenal.

Most traditional media sources were silent about the shooting and the violent police response to the peaceful protests. Media outlets that did attempt to cover the story were threatened and tear-gassed, as was a state senator. Journalists and the St Louis Alderman were arrested without cause, and released without charge. Thus, people took to Twitter to provide coverage of the events.

The people’s outrage at these latest acts of terrorism by the state against its own citizens is palpable and justified. Black Americans are disproportionately harassed, intimidated, incarcerated, and murdered at the hands of the police in the United States. Yet when the people show collective anger in response, they are demonized and portrayed one-dimensionally as rioters and looters, which in turn is used to further reinforce racist narratives and justify the use of more force against them.

Vigils were held all over the US tonight to mourn Michael Brown and the many other recent black victims of racist police brutality, including Eric Garner, John Crawford, and Ezell Ford.  Thank you to Feminista Jones who began the #NMOS14 Twitter campaign that was used to organize the vigils, the journalists who shared their accounts of the events, the bloggers who put the Ferguson events in historical and social context, the countless members of the public who used social media to signal-boost coverage of the story as well as of the nationwide vigils, and to members of Anonymous who hacked the city of Ferguson website (and will likely do more than that before this is through).

We salute the residents of Ferguson and St. Louis who in these past few days have shown tremendous courage and stood up to the veritable army that is the St. Louis police force, and we share our outrage, sorrow, and solidarity with all those around the world who have been victimized by state and police violence.

UPDATE: ColorofChange.org is calling for the immediate prosecution and firing of all officers involved in the killing of Michael Brown. Sign the petition here.

*****

We would also like to commemorate today the 1-year anniversary of the Rabaa Massacre in Egypt, in which Egyptian forces committed a crime against humanity by murdering nearly 900 people in what may be one of the worst ever violations of international law. We remember those who were killed, while at the same time we condemn the colonialist and imperialist forces that through their tactic of divide-and-conquer created the foundation for civil unrest in Egypt and throughout the Middle East.

Justice for Renisha McBride

8 Nov

From the US comes another sickening case of racist violence and murder. This time it is a young black woman, Renisha McBride, a teenager who was murdered while seeking help after a late-night car crash in a white suburb of Detroit.

From this article by journalist Rania Khalek, who broke the story:

Dearborn Heights police initially told McBride’s family that her body was found dumped near Warren Avenue and Outer Drive, but that story quickly changed. Not only are police refusing to release the identity of the man who shot McBride, they’re now saying she was mistaken for an intruder and shot in self-defense on the homeowner’s front porch. Even if that’s the case, and there’s reason to believe it’s not, the shooter still failed to call 911 after shooting an unarmed woman in the head, instead leaving her there to die. Does that sound like the behavior of a law-abiding gunowner who made a tragic mistake?

Writer and filmmaker Dream Hampton and Detroit hip-hop artist Invincible organised a rally for justice for the slain teenager, whose conduct on the night of the shooting is being questioned in accusations by the police and the media. This Huffington Post article describes the rally, and Hampton’s critique of the blame-the-victim response:

“This is what happens, again and again,” Hampton said, invoking the killing of unarmed Florida teenager Trayvon Martin last year. “It’s kind of textbook. We’re able to break it down in the public media, when it came to Trayvon, the criminalization of the victim, of the corpse. Look, he got a C, look, he was a teenager who smoked pot, he had a sugar problem, he liked Skittles. … It becomes the criminalization of the corpse. … The police are supposed to be advocating for victims.”

Black feminists on Twitter have called out mainstream white feminists for not engaging with the Renisha case. Intersectionality, or the interaction of multiple dimensions of oppression, is as important to remember in this case as ever. If Renisha had been a white woman, we suspect there would have been little chance of her being murdered when seeking help on a stranger’s porch.

As of today, Ranisha’s murderer, who first claimed he thought she was an intruder, later changing his story to “the gun discharged accidentally“, has not been arrested, and his identity is being protected. Due to a stand-your-ground law in Michigan, it is possible he will not be charged. The absurdity of her murder, and the official response to it – for her actions to be questioned, not those of the man who killed her – illustrates the continued calamity that is racialized violence in the United States, supported by a legal structure that systematically denies justice for victims whose bodies are black and brown.

US Government Shutdown Hurts Communities of Color

2 Oct

While we at Sisters of Resistance have been contemplating the US government shutdown as indicative of the imminent collapse of an empire, the incisive Imara Jones over at the excellent news site Colorlines.com has written this important and practical piece about how the shutdown will disproportionately affect communities of color, poor communities, and women and children who rely on the government for employment and services.

He writes:

What’s particularly distressing about the shuttering of the government is that it comes at a time when unemployment remains in the double digits for blacks and Latinos. As the Center for American Progress points out, federal, state and local governments since 2008 have eliminated 750,000 public sector jobs. Given unionization and strong anti-discriminatory hiring practices, people of color are more likely to have jobs in the public sector. This is particularly true for African-Americans, and it’s why joblessness remains so stubborn in communities of color.

The truth is that people of color represent a larger proportion of the federal workforce than the workforce overall. According to the Washington Post, 35 percent of federal workers are non-White versus 30 percent of all workers.  This means that a shutdown will only add to the economic woes and employment worries in communities of color.

Read the whole thing here.

We leave you with a brief but critical message to those in government who created this mess:

You Better Work!

Chescaleigh Breaks Down the Harriet Tubman “Sex Tape”

19 Aug

Sisters of Resistance have featured the awesome YouTube comedian Franchesca Ramsey, a.k.a. Chescaleigh before, when she took on the “Shit People Say” meme with her pointed and hilarious observations of “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls.”

She recently posted a video critiquing the deeply sexist, racist and all-around offensive “Harriet Tubman Sex Tape” released by media mogul Russell Simmons last week. (Coincidentally, his video hit the Net around the time that the hashtag #blackpowerisforblackmen, started by Jamilah Lemieux of Ebony Magazine and illustrating sexist intraracial dynamics between black men and women, was trending on Twitter. Funny how that works.)

In addition to breaking down the wrongness that is the video in a smart and funny way, Franchesca also addresses the issue of social responsibility in comedy. She describes how as a black comic, she once relied on racial stereotyping to get laughs, as many other comedians have done in the past. But she was powerfully challenged by a concerned audience member to see what was problematic about this. She listened, and as a result, learned to stop relying on stereotypes (which she calls “lazy” comedy) and instead, to be funny while making social critique.

Her reflexivity and message is powerful, and especially needs to reach the ears of people whose voices and impact are widespread – people like Uncle Russell “Hustle” Simmons, who has weakly apologized for the video and pulled it from the web. In order to shine up his image (we suspect), he has tweeted about having his apology accepted by Harriet Tubman’s descendants (who are not the only ones he needs to ask forgiveness from!) and producing a miniseries on Frederick Douglas. Let’s just hope he has learned the lesson that Franchesca makes so clear – that claiming “it’s only comedy” is no excuse for eschewing social responsibility, and that all of us have a responsibility to reflect on our actions and contribute positively to the world in which we live.

Franchesca’s recent vlog is below. Follow her on Twitter or check out her YouTube channel here.

Update 22 Aug 2013: An Open Letter to Russell Simmons from Harriet Tubman’s Great Great Grandniece (we knew his claim that they “accepted his apology” was dodgy!)

Related Posts:

Why White People Talk Shit about “Shit White Girls Say to Black Girls”