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Revelations: Stonewall, Legacy

June 29, 2014 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Education, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Prison Industrial Complex, What People are Doing to Change the World

Ten Posts for Sylvia Rivera’s Ten Year Memorial by SRLP’s Reina Gossett
A Woman for Her Time by Riki Wilchins
Leslie Feinberg Interviews Sylvia Rivera

Happy Birthday Marsha “Pay It No Mind” Johnson, by Reina Gossett

No One is Disposable: Everyday Practices of Prison Abolition, Reina Gossett and Dean Spade, Barnard Center for Research on Women and Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Reina Gossett is an artist and activist who works as Membership Director of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Dean Spade is the founder of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project, author of Normal Life: Administrative Violence, Critical Trans Politics and the Limits of the Law, and an associate professor at Seattle University School of Law. He is currently a fellow in the Engaging Tradition Project at Columbia Law School.

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CI: Justice As Theft

June 11, 2014 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Legislature, Criminal Injustice Series, Economic Terrorism, Education, Housing, Immigration, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Voting Rights, Workers' Rights

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

Justice As Theft: Into the Twilight Zone
by Kay Whitlock

In 2011, Tonya McDowell, a homeless woman from Bridgeport, Connecticut, was charged with first degree (felony) larceny  and conspiracy to commit larceny for enrolling her 6-year-old son in Brookside Elementary School in the community of Norwalk.  Because McDowell and her son did not legally reside in Norwalk, the rationale for the charges was theft of $15,686 in educational costs from the Norwalk public school system. She faced a possible sentence of 20 years in prison. Moreover, McDowell’s babysitter was evicted from public housing because she apparently assisted by providing  false documents necessary for enrolling the young boy.

McDowell and her son are black; the Norwalk public school system is predominantly white – and therefore better funded than the Bridgeport system, in which people of color predominate. Essentially, she was charged with “stealing” a good public education for her son, who is entitled to public education, but not, presumably, a good one.

This prosecution was outrageous, right?  Yes – by any reasonable standard of human decency, anyway. But we live in a societal Twilight Zone in which the often-subterranean currents of the dominant U.S. public imagination respond to virtually all claims to social and economic justice as some form of theft, with all of the dissonance, danger, anxiety, emotional vulnerability, defensiveness, and fury associated with its evocation.

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Revelations: The Mayor of Castro Street

June 01, 2014 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, What People are Doing to Change the World

harveymilk

Harvey Milk Stamps ~ Forever 49 cents

n 1977, Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, making him one of the first openly gay elected officials in the United States. His career was tragically cut short nearly a year after he took office, when he and San Francisco Mayor George Moscone were assassinated.

The stamp art centers on a photo of Milk taken in front of his camera store in San Francisco. The colors of the gay pride flag appear in a vertical strip in the top left corner.

A commitment to serving a broad constituency, not just gay people, helped make Milk an effective and popular leader. He was an eloquent speaker with a winning sense of humor and was able to build coalitions between diverse groups. His achievements gave hope and confidence to gay people at a time when the community was encountering widespread hostility.

Milk believed that government should represent all citizens, insuring equality and providing needed services. In the years since his death, there have been hundreds of openly lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender public officials in America. In 2009, President Barack Obama posthumously awarded Milk the Medal of Freedom.

Photographer Daniel Nicoletta took the photograph used in the stamp art, which was designed by art director Antonio Alcalá.

The Harvey Milk stamp is being issued as a Forever® stamp. This Forever stamp will always be equal in value to the current First-Class Mail® one-ounce rate.

Made in the USA.

Issue Date: May 22, 2014

The Mayor of Castro Street by Randy Shilts

CI: Abolishing Queer Criminalization

May 14, 2014 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, Prison Industrial Complex, What People are Doing to Change the World

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

Abolishing Queer Criminalization
by Kay Whitlock

Momentum to expose, resist, and dismantle the criminalization of queers and people living with HIV – particularly at the complicated intersections of race, gender nonconformity, poverty, immigration, and disability – is building.

LGBT-HIV-Criminal-Justice-Report-Collage-638x425The signs and portents are everywhere, even though you won’t be reading about it – at least yet – in the mainstream press.  It won’t be announced any time soon at the gala fundraisers of Gay, Inc., that constellation of image-and-money-driven networks of rich, white gay men and those nonprofit “gay and lesbian” behemoths  that seldom, if ever, address those complicated intersections in meaningful terms.

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CI: For CeCe McDonald – “You Survived”

March 06, 2014 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Arts and Culture, Civil Rights, Criminal Injustice Series, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Prison Industrial Complex, What People are Doing to Change the World

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

cece jpgFor CeCe McDonald – “You Survived”
Editors note from nancy a heitzeg

CeCe McDonald is free now. Questions remain as to whether she should have been imprisoned at all, questions which again lead us to ask who legally has a self to defend or ground to stand.  And what are the consequences for those who survive?

Today, I’ll let the artists answer.

Letter to a Minnesota Prison (unplugged)

by Aj McKenna @AnathemaJane
Apples + Snakes & Paul Hamlyn Foundation, commissioned it for @rageandradiate


Democracy Now!
: Black Trans Bodies are Under Attack

“After serving 19 months in prison, the African-American transgender activist CeCe McDonald is free. She was arrested after using deadly force to protect herself from a group of people who attacked her on the streets of Minneapolis. Her case helped turn a national spotlight on the violence and discrimination faced by transgender women of color. In 2011, McDonald and two friends were walking past a Minneapolis bar when they were reportedly accosted with homophobic, transphobic and racist slurs. McDonald was hit with a bar glass that cut open her face, requiring 11 stitches. A brawl ensued, and one of the people who had confronted McDonald and her friends, 47-year-old Dean Schmitz, was killed. Facing up to 80 years in prison for his death, McDonald took a plea deal that sentenced her to 41 months. In the eyes of her supporters, McDonald was jailed for defending herself against the bigotry and violence that transgender people so often face and that is so rarely punished. At the time of the attack, the murder rate for gay and transgender people in this country was at an all-time high. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs documented 30 hate-related murders of LGBT people in 2011; 40 percent of the victims were transgender women of color. Transgender teens have higher rates of homelessness and nearly half of all African-American transgender people — 47 percent — have been incarcerated at some point.

McDonald joins us on her first trip to New York City. We are also joined by one of her supporters, Laverne Cox, a transgender actress, producer and activist who stars in the popular Netflix show, “Orange is the New Black.” She plays Sophia Burset, a transgender woman in prison for using credit card fraud to finance her transition. She is producing a documentary about McDonald called “Free CeCe.” We also speak to Alisha Williams, staff attorney with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.”

Promotional Trailer for FREE CeCe documentary

This video was created to raise funding for the documentary FREE CeCe please donate to make this film a reality here http://igg.me/at/freececedoc/x/3898742

See: Anti-Transgender Violence: How Hate-Crime Laws Have Failed by Victoria Law
Reconsidering Hate: A Forum on the “Hate” Frame in Policy, Politics and Organizing By Kay Whitlock
Remembering Transgender Victims of Structural Violence by nancy a heitzeg

More Federal Privileges to Extend to Same-Sex Couples

February 09, 2014 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, LGBTQ

From NYT:

The federal government will soon treat married same-sex couples the same as heterosexual couples when they file for bankruptcy, testify in court or visit family in prison.

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was preparing to issue policies aimed at eliminating the distinction between same-sex and opposite-sex married couples in the federal criminal justice system, according to a speech given at a Saturday event organized by a prominent gay-rights group.

“In every courthouse, in every proceeding and in every place where a member of the Department of Justice stands on behalf of the United States, they will strive to ensure that same-sex marriages receive the same privileges, protections and rights as opposite-sex marriages,” Mr. Holder’s said.

The changes were set in motion last year when the Supreme Court declared it unconstitutional to refuse federal benefits to married same-sex couples, a ruling that Mr. Holder supported.

I.R.S. to Recognize All Gay Marriages, Regardless of State

August 29, 2013 By: seeta Category: Civil Rights, Intersectionality, LGBTQ

From NYT:

All legally married same-sex couples will be recognized for federal tax purposes, regardless of whether the state where they live recognizes the marriage, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service said Thursday.

The federal rules change is one of many stemming from the landmark Supreme Court decision in June that struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act. That ruling found that same-sex couples were entitled to federal benefits, but left open the question of how the federal government would actually administer those benefits.

As of the 2013 tax year, same-sex spouses cannot file federal tax returns as if they were single. Instead, they will have to opt for filing as “married filing jointly” or “married filing separately.” The location of their marriage — as long as it is legal — or residence does not matter: a same-sex couple who marry in Albany and move to Alabama will be treated the same as a same-sex couple who marry and live in Massachusetts.

“Today’s ruling provides certainty and clear, coherent tax-filing guidance for all legally married same-sex couples nationwide,” Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew said in a statement. “This ruling also assures legally married same-sex couples that they can move freely throughout the country knowing that their federal filing status will not change.”

The Treasury said that the ruling applies to “all federal tax provisions where marriage is a factor, including filing status, claiming personal and dependency exemptions, taking the standard deduction, employee benefits, contributing to an I.R.A., and claiming the earned income tax credit or child tax credit.”

CI: The “Criminal” Court and the Needlessly Divided “Left”

June 26, 2013 By: nancy a heitzeg Category: Anti-Racism, Civil Rights, Corrupt Judiciary, Corrupt Legislature, Criminal Injustice Series, Imperialism, Intersectionality, LGBTQ, Poverty, Prison Industrial Complex, Prisoner Rights, Voting Rights, White Privilege

Criminal InJustice is a weekly series devoted to taking action against inequities in the U.S. criminal justice system. Nancy A. Heitzeg, Professor of Sociology and Race/Ethnicity, is the Editor of CI. Kay Whitlock, co-author of Queer (In)Justice, is contributing editor of CI. Criminal Injustice is published every Wednesday at 6 pm.

The “Criminal Court” and the Needlessly Divided “Left”
by nancy a heitzeg

Today, I was going to post a nice uplifting tribute to Sister Helen Prejean – on the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of the publication of Dead Man Walking. The power of one voice, and yes that is true.

Maybe someday. In light of recent news items and SCOTUS rulings, frankly i am not in the mood. While media and many are distracted by cult of personality wars over Paula Deen, Edward Snowden and his mouthpiece, The Supreme Court of the United States set the Civil Rights clock back on many issues of legal equality, I can’t even began to calculate just how far.

Yes the odious Section 3 of DOMA was ruled unconstitutional today in United States v. Windsor and SCOTUS further invalidated the California same-sex marriage ban in Hollingsworth v. Perry. (Please note: these rulings do not over-turn the same-sex marriage bans in 37 states.) These are great and overdue victories on the long road to LGBTQ equal rights under the law. Forward.

But the whiplash inducing “logic” of SCOTUS both giveth and taketh away. A series of decisions this term undercut hard fought legislation that served to protect minorities and women. All, of course, while strengthening the power of corporations, as ever post – Citizens United. Key cases this term decided mostly by 5 old smug white  black-robed white-minded  men:

This is the legal solidification of the color-blind paradigm just decried here. War on Black – now fully legalized in soothing “race-neutral” language. War on Women too.

So, who beyond the immediately impacted groups and their proven allies is gonna care? And then what are you gonna do? And i am talking about real world ACTION not signing some damn on-line petition. or tweeting until your fingers blee,d or writing a blog post calling for the fantasy of a Constitutional Amendment on Voting. Doesn’t count – doesn’t cut it. People died for these rights – where you gonna be for the next round?

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