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Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman Clinic Releases New Report Examining Racial Inequities In Austin, Texas!

Updates from the blog -

inciteblog:

“This Mother’s Day, we want more than flowers and cards – we want the city of Austin to take action to support the health and wellness of ALL our mothers and babies, and ALL our families,” says Kellee Coleman, Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman Program Coordinator. 

Check out their Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman’s recent report examining institutional racism in Austin, and ways to support their work—which includes the development of an equity assessment tool and a call to support for demonstration projects thatdirectly address inequities faced by low-income women of color—here: 

https://mamasanaclinic.wordpress.com/2015/05/02/mama-sanavibrant-woman-clinics-releases-new-report-examining-racial-inequities-in-austin-texas/ 

Originally posted on mamasanaclinic:

Austin is recognized as a “family-friendly” city but is this true for all of its residents? Mama Sana/Vibrant Woman, a women’s health project of Mamas of Color Rising*, presents community-based participatory research that calls into question Austin’s reputation as a family-friendly city for the majority of its residents. The research looks at key indicators that affect the health and well-being of families and evaluates the lived experience for low-income women of color and their families in Austin. The methods include focus groups and surveys as well as individual and group interviews. Taken together, the primary and secondary data provide key insights that show that race and class impact how well families thrive and even survive in Austin.

This report offers concrete recommendations to city government and to the community at large in order to move Austin towards becoming a model city in equitable development.

Check out Full Report Here.


Here…

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For Cindy, For Ourselves: Healing in the context of colonial gender violence

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Moontime Warrior:

Today is April 2nd, 2015 and across these lands, gatherings will be held for Cindy Gladue.

Cindy Gladue was an Indigenous woman, mother, and sex worker. The man charged in her murder was recently acquitted after a dehumanizing trial involving the showcasing of Gladue’s intimate wounds as evidence.  Just today, it was announced that the Alberta Crown has launched an appeal. For those of you unfamiliar with the case, I suggest articles by Sarah Hunt and my dear friend Naomi.

In helping to organize the Saskatoon event and communicating with organizers across the country, I am reminded that the women and two spirits organizing these actions are the same women who organize everything in our communities. The women who carry the burdens of so many and often find ourselves exhausted. The ones who are on the frontlines, who never step back from “the work” because the…

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Still Choosing to Leap: Building Alternatives

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Leaving Evidence:

Remarks from the closing plenary, “Revolutionary Organizing Across Time and Space,” at the INCITE! Color of Violence 4 Conference, March 26-29, 2015, Chicago, Illinois.

The work I am engaged in is the work of building transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse with the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective (The BATJC). We are a local collective and we are not a nonprofit because we believe that it will not allow us to take the kinds of political risks necessary for transformative justice and community accountability (TJ/CA). It’s pretty hard to build beyond the state when you’re part of the state. No one is paid and we work to get everything for as free as we can. We are not “volunteers,” but rather we understand this as part of our life’s work.

I am interested in our internal work. The work with each other inside of our movements, inside of our…

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Self-Defense Panel @ COV4!

Updates from the blog -

Do women of color have the right to defend themselves from violence?

Join INCITE! at the convergence, Color of Violence 4, in Chicago, March 26, 2015, and witness a historic discussion between Renata Hill (of the New Jersey 4), Cece McDonald, Yvonne Wanrow, and Marissa Alexander, facilitated by Mariame Kaba, member of the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander.  All panelists have been prosecuted and incarcerated for defending themselves or their families from sexual violence, domestic violence, transphobic violence, and/or racial violence. 

More info: colorofviolence.org


Tagged: Black women, domestic violence, Indigenous women, LGBT/Queer, mothering, Native American, reproductive justice, self-defense, sexual violence, state violence, trans people of color, transphobia

#StandWithNanHui

Updates from the blog -

#StandWithNanHui and Stop the Deportation! Reunite a Domestic Violence Survivor with Her Daughter!

The verdict is in.

After an aggressive retrial in Yolo County, CA, Nan-Hui Jo, devoted mother and survivor of domestic violence, has been convicted on charges of “child abduction.” Supporters of Nan-Hui are outraged and deeply saddened over this verdict. In light of this conviction, deportation proceedings may be imminent, which would result in permanent separation between Nan-Hui and her daughter.

Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) is currently at high risk for deportation. In 2009, Nan-Hui fled the United States with her infant daughter, Vitz Da, to escape the physical and emotional abuse of the child’s father,  Upon her escape, her ex-partner filed child abduction charges, for which Nan-Hui was tried twice. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have continued to leverage their institutional power to maintain an immigration hold and pursue deportation, which would permanently separate Nan-Hui from her daughter. 

When In July 2014, Nan-Hui re-entered the United States for a 3 month visit to Hawai’i with her daughter. At the airport, she was immediately arrested and forcibly separated from her child. Nan-Hui was tried five months later on alleged child abduction charges, resulting in in a hung jury..  Ignoring all evidence of domestic violence–including two calls to the police in Sacramento after her child’s father physically abused her and testimony from her former partner admitting to physical assault and threats–the Yolo County District Attorney aggressively pursued a retrial. Assistant District Attorney Steve Mount tried to paint Nan-Hui as an abuser in his cross examination, accusing her of leaving the country with her child in a malicious attempt to retaliate against her ex-partner. To smear her credibility, Mount refused to acknowledge Nan-Hui as a survivor of domestic violence, accusing her of being a “tiger mom” who was “clearly a very capable woman” and who knowingly exploited welfare and immigration systems. We see the District Attorney’s remarks for what they are: racist, anti-immigrant, and sexist tropes that have no place in a “justice system.” 

 The Yolo County DA, CBP, and ICE have done irreparable damage to Nan-Hui and Vitz Da. Mother and daughter have not been allowed to talk in over seven months. Nan-Hui has been imprisoned without bail and without due process since July 2014 because of the immigration hold, despite her status as a survivor and a pending U Visa application on file. Vitz Da is currently in the full custody of her former partner.

We stand with Nan-Hui against an unjust system that criminalizes survivors and immigrants, as well as separates families. We call on CBP and ICE to immediately release Nan-Hui and stop all deportation proceedings.  

 TAKE ACTION NOW TO #STANDWITHNANHUI:

1. Sign this petition for Nan-Hui directed to CBP Support Director Ricardo Scheller and ICE Field Director Craig Meyer. 

2. Make a QUICK phone call in support of Nan-Hui:

Call CBP Support Director Ricardo Scheller at (415) 782-9201 and ICE Field Director Craig Meyer at (415) 844-5512 ext. 4 to demand that CBP and ICE exercise its prosecutorial discretion to drop Nan-Hui’s case.

Sample Script: “I am calling to ask Director Scheller/Humphrey to drop the immigration hold against Ms. Nan-Hui Jo (A 098 906 641) and allow her to reunite with her six-year-old daughter. Ms. Jo is a survivor of domestic violence and her case should be considered under the parental interests directive. I ask that ICE/CBP exercise its prosecutorial discretion and drop Ms. Jo’s deportation case.”  

4. Raise awareness on social media about Nan-Hui’s case. 

Click on the share buttons on this petition and Tweet about it and spread the word using hashtags #StandWithNanHui, #WeSurvived, and #Not1More..  

In Solidarity,
Korean American Coalition to End Domestic Abuse (KACEDA)
Immigrant Youth Coalition (IYC)
Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus Advancing Justice (ALC)

(for a more complete list of organizations that have signed on to support Nan-Hui, please click here: http://www.kaceda.org/standwithnanhui/)


Filed under: Take Action! Tagged: Asian women, domestic violence, immigration justice, mothering, reproductive justice, self-defense, state violence

On running a community-based murder investigation, resisting violence against Indigenous women, atomic bombs and burnout: An interview with Indigenous feminist Audrey Huntley

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Everyday Abolition/Abolition Every Day:

Everyday Abolition: Alright, so. Hi, Audrey, thanks so much for talking with us today. I wanted to just start by asking if you can tell us a bit about the database that No More Silence is creating.

Audrey Huntley: The database will document violent deaths and missing indigenous women, trans and two-spirited people. It expands on the list that we would print up on February 14th and hand out when we do our ceremony at police headquarters. That list honors missing and murdered women in Ontario, but over the years we’ve often been asked to include people’s loved ones who’ve committed suicide, because they were actually driven to commit suicide like a young girl, Jewel, Jamie Jamieson’s daughter, who hung herself after being bullied for several weeks. In her mother’s view, she was killed by the bullying.  We started thinking about it as death by colonialism and want to broaden…

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Whither Justice?

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Gukira:

On Saturday, September 20, Mr. Tony Mochama, a columnist with Kenya’s Standard Group, Secretary of PEN Kenya, and holder of a Morland Writing Scholarship, sexually assaulted a woman during a gathering of Kenyan and international poets. Mr. Mochama is a well-known figure in Kenya’s literary circles: he has hosted open mics, promotes literary culture in his work for PEN Kenya, and travels abroad regularly as an ambassador for Kenyan literature. Beyond his own accomplishments and labor, Mr. Mochama represents us. An us that encompasses all Kenyan literary workers, cultural producers, and cultural administrators. Quite simply: he is one of Kenya’s faces.

What are we to do when one of our collective faces commits sexual assault? How do we face that aspect of ourselves?

Kenyan philosopher John Mbiti argued that the African sense of self could be found in the formulation, “I am because we are.” Extrapolating from…

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Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture

Updates from the blog -

Originally published in The Electronic Intifada
Sign petition here: http://www.iacenter.org/rasmeaodehpetition/
Learn more about the Nov 4th Court Action in Detroit.

Feminist scholars to Obama: End prosecution of Palestinian survivor of sexual torture

Between 1969-1979, Rasmea Odeh served ten years in an Israeli prison. Her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. Following her release, she was exiled from her Palestinian homeland and eventually immigrated to the United States from Jordan in 1994 as a legal resident where she tried to put her memories of torture behind her. She later became a naturalized citizen.

In the US, Rasmea settled in Chicago where she became the associate director of theArab American Action Network, a social service and community organization. There, she established the Arab Women’s Committee, a grassroots collective that promotes leadership among Arab immigrant women, challenges systems of oppression that impact Arab women’s lives and secures a positive and safe political, economic, social, and cultural environment for Arab women and their communities. In 2013, the Chicago Cultural Alliance granted Rasmea its Outstanding Community Leader Award in recognition of her devotion of “over forty years of her life to the empowerment of Arab women.”

Now, Rasmea is being persecuted again for not giving account of her time in jail after her torture 45 years ago on her naturalization application in 2004.

On 22 October 2013, the US Department of Justice arrested Rasmea Odeh at her home in the Chicago Suburbs. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail – even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of weeks of torture. Rasmea faces up to ten years in US prison, fines up to $250,000 and potential deportation and de-naturalization.

The Israeli state avoids any blame for the politically motivated abuse and imprisonment of Rasmea. The criminal charges she faces for alleged immigration fraud in the US are also politically motivated. They are based upon naturalization papers she filed ten years ago in 2004 and sprang from an illegal federal investigation of 23 Palestinian and anti-war activists that violates First Amendment rights.

They are also connected to a long history of federal authorities using fear and repression to silence Palestinian-American activists and intimidate immigrant women from participating in social justice movements.

Rasmea Odeh has suffered enough already. When the Israeli military arrested her, they also arrested her family members shortly after her arrest and destroyed her family’s home. Odeh’s 1969 conviction in Israel was determined by a court system that systematically abuses Palestinians’ due process rights, has a record of torture and sexual abuse of Palestinian women, men, and children, and convicts Palestinians at a rate of 99.74 percent.

As feminist scholars, we call on the Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh. We extend our deepest support to Rasmea in the face of injustice. We recognize her as a leader in the international struggle to empower women and end violence against women. We recognize the pain and suffering she endured in Israeli prisons and we honor her for testifying before a United Nations Committee in Geneva as a survivor of sexual torture.

We honor her decades of feminist activism on behalf of Arab and Muslim immigrant women living in poverty in Chicago. Rasmea built the Arab Women’s Committee and its base of nearly six hundred Arab immigrant women from scratch when she went door to door as a recent immigrant herself and made phone calls to households with Arabic names from the white pages.

She developed an infrastructure for disenfranchised Arab immigrant and refugee women to obtain social services and support and she established English as a second language courses through which immigrant women perform plays, write their immigration stories and form deep friendships, sisterhood, and solidarity.

Because of Rasmea’s work, immigrant and refugee women who came to the US from countries facing war and political crises – like Iraq, Palestine, Yemen, Syria, and beyond – now have a place to seek support, gain empowerment and community and call their home.

Rasmea’s story encompasses some of the most urgent feminist struggles of our times – violence against women and the use of sexual violence as a tool of colonization and war; the impact of racism and anti-immigrant policies upon women; the criminalization of women of color; and the use of intimidation to thwart feminist activism.

Rasmea’s trial is set to begin 4 November 2014, in Detroit, Michigan.

We call upon all feminist movements to stand with gender justice and centralize Rasmea Odeh’s struggle within all of our movements.

We call upon President Obama and the United States Department of Justice to drop the charges against Rasmea Odeh.

  1. Sarah Abboud, Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania
  2. Stéphanie Latte Abdallah, Researcher, CNRS (IFPO)
  3. Diya Abdo, Associate Professor, Guilford College
  4. Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
  5. Lila Abu-Lughod, Professor, Columbia University
  6. Fida J. Adely, Associate Professor, Georgetown University
  7. Jocelyn Ajami
  8. Nadje Al-Ali, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  9. Dina Al-Kassim, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia, Vancouver
  10. Deborah Al-Najjar, University of Southern California
  11. Lori Allen, Lecturer, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS)
  12. Paul Amar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  13. Anjali Arondekar, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  14. Barbara Aswad, Professor Emerita, Wayne State University
  15. Sa’ed Atshan, Postdoctoral Fellow, Brown University
  16. Elsa Auerbach, Professor Emerita, University of Massachusetts Boston
  17. Kathryn Babayan, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  18. Paola Bacchetta, Associate Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  19. Joanne Barker, Professor, San Francisco State University
  20. Janet Bauer, Associate Professor, Trinity College
  21. Leila Ben-Nasr, Ohio State University
  22. Sherna Berger-Gluck, California State University, Long Beach
  23. Amahl Bishara, Assistant Professor, Tufts University
  24. Elizabeth Bishop, Associate Professor, Texas State University
  25. Jennifer Brier, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  26. Victoria Brittain, Journalist and Author
  27. L.M. San Pablo Burns, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  28. Louise Cainkar, Associate Professor, Marquette University
  29. Piya Chatterjee, Scripps College
  30. Julia Chinyere Oparah, Professor, Mills College
  31. Andreana Clay, Associate Professor, San Francisco State University
  32. Maria Cotera, Associate Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  33. Ephrosine Daniggelis
  34. Angela Davis, Distinguished Professor Emirita, University of California, Santa Cruz
  35. Lara Deeb, Professor, Scripps College
  36. Christine Taitano DeLisle, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign
  37. Gina Dent, Associate Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  38. Lisa Duggan, Professor, New York University
  39. Zillah Eisenstein, Distinguished Feminist Scholar, Ithaca College
  40. Omnia El Shakry, Associate Professor, University of California, Davis
  41. Nada Elia, Independent Scholar
  42. Hoda Elsadda, Professor, Cairo University
  43. Anita Fábos, Associate Professor, Clark University
  44. Roderick Ferguson, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  45. Ellen Fleischmann, Professor, University of Dayton
  46. Cynthia Franklin, Professor, University of Hawai’i
  47. Rosa Linda Fregoso, Professor, University of California, Santa Cruz
  48. Nancy Gallagher, Research Professor, University of California, Santa Barbara
  49. Ruth Wilson Gilmore, Professor, Graduate Center, City University of New York
  50. Sherna Berger Gluck, Emerita Faculty, California State University, Long Beach
  51. Layla Azmi Goushey, Assistant Professor, St. Louis Community College
  52. Marame Gueye, Associate Professor, East Carolina University
  53. Elena Gutiérrez, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  54. Elaine C. Hagopian, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Simmons College
  55. Sondra Hale, Research Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  56. Hala Halim, Associate Professor, New York University
  57. Najla Hamadeh, Independent Researcher
  58. Michelle Hartman, Associate Professor, McGill University
  59. Nadia Hijab, Author and Human Rights Advocate
  60. Grace Kyungwon Hong, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles
  61. LeAnne Howe, Professor, University of Georgia
  62. Constantine Inglessis
  63. Jacqueline Khayat Inglessis
  64. Joyce Inglessis
  65. Bushra Jabre, The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
  66. Lynette Jackson, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  67. Amira Jarmakani, Associate Professor, Georgia State University
  68. Suad Joseph, Distinguish Research Professor University of California, Davis
  69. Mohja Kahf, Professor, University of Arkansas
  70. Ronak Kapadia, Assistant Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  71. J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Associate Professor, Wesleyan University
  72. Laleh Khalili, Professor, School of Oriental and African Studies
  73. Sharon Heijin Lee, Assistant Professor/Faculty Fellow, New York University
  74. Pardis Mahdavi, Associate Professor, Pomona College
  75. Lisa Suhair Majaj, Writer and Editor
  76. Jean Said Makdisi, Writer
  77. Harriet Malinowitz, Lecturer, Ithaca College
  78. Rania Masri, Associate Director, American University of Beirut
  79. Victor Mendoza, Assistant Professor, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  80. Hasna Mikdashi, Arab Women’s Studies and Research, NOUR, Cairo
  81. Maya Mikdashi, Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, Rutgers University
  82. Minoo Moallem, Professor, University of California, Berkeley
  83. Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Distinguished Professor, Syracuse University
  84. Scott L. Morgensen, Associate Professor, Queen’s University
  85. Norma Claire Moruzzi, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  86. Susan Muaddi Darraj
  87. Nadine Naber, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  88. Margo Okazawa-Rey, Professor Emerita, San Francisco State University
  89. Jennifer Olmsted, Professor, Economics, Drew University
  90. Geeta Patel, Associate Professor, University of Virginia
  91. Suvendrini Perera, Professor, Curtin University
  92. Jasbir Puar, Associate Professor, Rutgers University
  93. Michelle Raheja, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  94. Aneil Rallin, Associate Professor, Soka University of America
  95. Barbara Ransby, Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  96. Robin L. Riley, Assistant Professor, Syracuse University
  97. Eleanor Roffman, Professor Emerita, Lesley University
  98. Judy Rohrer, Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University
  99. Rachel Rubin, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  100. Rosemary Sayigh, Researcher and Visiting Professor, Center for Arab and Middle East Studies, American University of Beirut.
  101. Susan Schaefer Davis, Independent Scholar
  102. Laurie Schaffner, Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Chicago
  103. Malini Johar Schueller, Professor, University of Florida
  104. Sarita See, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  105. May Seikaly, Associate Professor, Wayne State University
  106. Sima Shakhsari, Assistant Professor, Wellesley College
  107. Simona Sharoni, Professor, State University of New York, Plattsburgh
  108. Setsu Shigematsu, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  109. Irene Siegel, Assistant Professor, Hofstra University
  110. Andrea Smith, Associate Professor, University of California, Riverside
  111. Samera Sood
  112. Ahdaf Soueif, writer
  113. Rajini Srikanth, Professor, University of Massachusetts Boston
  114. Maria Francesca Stamuli, National Library of Naples
  115. Neferti X. M. Tadiar, Professor, Barnard College
  116. Kim TallBear, Associate Professor, University of Texas, Austin
  117. Sunera Thobani, Associate Professor, University of British Columbia
  118. Miriam Ticktin, Associate Professor, The New School for Social Research
  119. Judith E. Tucker, Professor, History, Georgetown University
  120. Karyn Valerius, Associate Professor, Hofstra University
  121. Sherry Vatter, California State University, Long Beach
  122. Maurice L. Wade, Professor, Trinity College
  123. Lee Ann Wang, Assistant Professor, University of Hawaii
  124. Jessica Winegar, Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Filed under: General News, Take Action! Tagged: colonial violence, gender violence, Islamophobia, Palestine, prison industrial complex, state violence

Working To Free Marissa on the the Weekend…

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander:

CAFMA members were around town over the weekend raising awareness and money for Marissa. Some members attended A Long Walk Home’s 2nd Annual Domestic Violence March dedicated to Marissa Alexander on Saturday.

CAFMA co-organizer Ayanna read a poem by Pat Parker and said a few words before the march.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

Member’s of ALWH’s Girl/Friend’s group read Nikky Finney’s poem “Flare” dedicated to Marissa.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

The “Free Marissa” store was in the house and offered people an opportunity to purchase items and donate to Marissa’s legal defense.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

It was rainy and cold but this could not dampen the spirit of the marchers who showed their support for Marissa.

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

photo by Sarah Jane Rhee (10/18/14)

There were many expressions of solidarity for Marissa throughout…

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Justice for Rasmea Odeh

Updates from the blog -

(Editors’ Note: To learn more about Rasmea Odeh’s case, listen to an engaging interview with Nadine Naber on KPFA)

by Nadine Naber
(originally published at Middle East Research and Information Project)

This past winter, I was privileged to participate in several events in Chicago organized by Rasmea Yousef Odeh, associate director of the Arab American Action Network and leader of that group’s Arab Women’s Committee. The events brought together anywhere from 60-100 disenfranchised women, all recent immigrants, from nearly every Arabic-speaking country. The attendees were there to learn English, share meals and stories, and discuss personal struggles, in everything from marriage and parenting to navigating the US educational and medical industries and the US immigration system. The women also talked about fending off racism. Together, they developed solutions for their own lives.

One event I attended was a celebration of International Women’s Day, at which immigrant women performed a play that Rasmea Odeh had written. The play focused on several generations of women in an extended Arab immigrant family who grappled with gender-related struggles both in the family and in American society with recourse to their loving but often tense connections with one another. The audience was engrossed, laughing and commenting throughout the performance, perhaps because they rarely see their own life struggles thus affirmed in America. Rarely, in fact, do they see humane, nuanced representations of Arab women’s lives at all.

After the play, attendees listened to music and celebrated their own accomplishments. Several women were from countries like Yemen and Iraq and had come to the United States without knowing a word of English. They could now read and write. Odeh asked each of her students to bring something they had written in English to be read out loud. The first woman stood up and read: “I love my teacher.”

As the event went on, women spoke over and over about the affection and gratitude they felt toward Rasmea Odeh for touching and transforming their lives and making such a beautiful space possible. I then understood why scores of women were attending each class, workshop or event — even though they were under no obligation to do so and even though many had to walk by themselves through a polar vortex snowstorm (in Chicago, no less) to get there.

I could not help but recall the scenes at the Arab Women’s Committee events some months later, in May, at a historic Chicago conference in commemoration of the 1964 Freedom Summer, when civil rights icon Angela Davis insisted that every social justice activist in the US embrace solidarity with Palestine and the movement demanding that the US government drop its charges against Rasmea Odeh.

Charges? What charges? Why would the US government want to prosecute this 67-year old Palestinian-American community activist and teacher?

On October 22, 2013, also in Chicago, Department of Homeland Security agents arrested Odeh. She was subsequently indicted on one charge of unlawful procurement of naturalization, and released the same day on a $15,000 bond. The US government accuses Odeh of failing to answer a question truthfully on her naturalization application ten years ago in 2004. She is scheduled to stand trial in a Detroit federal court starting on September 8, 2014. If convicted, she could face up to ten years in prison and fines up to $250,000. She may also be deported and have her US citizenship revoked after the potential prison sentence is served. From national call in-days to student protests, petitions and mobilizations to pack the courtroom, a campaign to support Odeh has gained massive support.

US officials say they are after Odeh for immigration fraud. The Department of Justice alleges that Odeh failed to disclose on her naturalization application that she had served time in Israeli jail — even though her sentence was based on a confession she made in the midst of 45 days of sexual and physical torture while in detention. In addition, Odeh’s 1969 conviction in Israel was determined by a court system that systematically abuses Palestinians’ due process rights and convicts Palestinians at a rate of 99.74 percent. The Israeli military justice system that is applied to occupied Palestinians, in fact, has itself been found to be in immense violation of international law — from the lack of protections against torture and rape while in custody to the simple fact that virtually no Palestinian walks away free from an Israeli trial. The Israeli state also unlawfully imprisoned and tortured Odeh’s family and destroyed her family home soon after her arrest.

Odeh’s release from Israeli jail was followed by exile to Jordan and immigration to the US. Living in Michigan and Chicago since 1994, she has worked at the Arab American Action Network since the mid-2000s and led the Arab Women’s Committee, one of the most successful empowerment programs for Arab immigrant women living in poverty. For this service, Odeh received the Mosaic Award for Outstanding Community Service from the Chicago Cultural Alliance. Thanks to her leadership, the Arab Women’s Committee now has a base of nearly 600 Arab immigrant women and does much more than the typical social service program. Women may obtain language training and other services, but they also come to find emotional support, genuine human interaction, artistic and writing activities, political discussion and debate, and a level of solidarity otherwise absent from their lives.

The question remains: Why is Rasmea Odeh being prosecuted, and why now, for an alleged infraction that is a full decade old? Analysts connect her arrest with many previous US government campaigns against Palestinian-American activists and their supporters. Under the Nixon administration, there was Operation Boulder. The case of the Los Angeles Eight outlasted three (and almost four) presidents before it was finally set aside. Since the September 11, 2001 attacks, there has been increased spying, profiling and infiltration of Arab and Muslim communities and there have been prosecutions for sending charitable aid to Palestinians, as in the case of theHoly Land Five.

In all of these cases, as in Odeh’s, what the US government considers suspect is connected to what Palestinian-Americans and their supporters are permitted to say about Israel — and to Israel’s own systems of militarism, surveillance, repression and incarceration. There may also be a connection between Odeh’s indictment and the 2010 FBI raids targeting 23 anti-war and Palestine solidarity activists in the Midwest. And Palestine Solidarity Legal Support responded to more than 100 more incidents in 2013 alone. These incidents involve not only extra government scrutiny but also all sorts of intimidation and bullying. The Odeh indictment may also be related to the US government’s Controlled Application Review and Resolution Program, which delays and denies naturalization applications of members of Arab, Middle Eastern, Muslim and South Asian communities, solely on the basis of religion, ethnicity and/or national origin.

But again, why Rasmea Odeh, and why now? Why now, when so many Arab immigrant women in Chicago are celebrating their personal successes in America partly due to Odeh’s remarkable leadership? Why now, when the Palestinian struggle, typified by the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, is growing faster than ever before in Chicago and across the US?

We may never really know why, but this much is clear: The federal government is using immigration infractions as a political tool to target Rasmea Odeh with criminal charges. The circumstances of her case are especially aggravating: 1) Israel tortures and sexually assaults Palestinians like Odeh as a means of facilitating the colonization of Palestinian land; 2) the US is complicit going back decades in Israeli war crimes and violations of international law; and 3) the US is now excavating the naturalization papers of a 67-year old survivor of sexual torture in order to brand her as a criminal.

These circumstances are why the streets of Detroit will be filled and the courtroom packed on September 8. From now until then, the collective voice of those whose lives Rasmea has touched, and the growing number of others who support her, will continue to demand: Drop the charges now!

For more information on this case and how to support Rasmea Odeh, see here and here.


Filed under: General News, Take Action! Tagged: Palestine, prison industrial complex, sexual violence, torture

What Does A Prisoner Defense Committee Do?

Updates from the blog -

inciteblog:

A quick and helpful snapshot of what a prisoner defense committee does from the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander. Marissa Alexander has a wonderful base of supporters, including groups of people organizing intentionally in Chicago, Seattle, Pittsburgh, St. Louis, the Southern Movement Assembly, and of course, her hometown of Jacksonville, FL. Contact Free Marissa Now if you’d like to start a local organizing committee to free Marissa Alexander!
freemarissanow@gmail.com
freemarissnow.org

Marissa’s trial is scheduled to begin on Dec 8, 2014. Let’s get ready!

Originally posted on Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander:

When people hear that the Chicago Alliance to Free Marissa Alexander (CAFMA) is a prisoner defense committee, they often wonder what that means. It’s actually simple. We raise awareness of Marissa’s case and most importantly we raise funds for her legal defense. We do this in many different ways. This weekend, for example, we had a table at Chicago’s Dyke March.

Before the tabling though, on Friday, four CAFMA members spent the afternoon making buttons and magnets to sell for a donation. The button maker and supplies were all donated by a member of CAFMA. As such, all proceeds from sales can be donated to Marissa’s legal defense fund.

by Chez Rumpf (6/27/14)

On Saturday, we talked to dozens of people about Marissa’s case…

by Sarah Jane Rhee (6/28/14)

And collected over $150 in donations…

by Sarah Jane Rhee (6/28/14)

View original


COV4 Call for Proposals: Extended Deadline – September 15th!

Updates from the blog -

Color of Violence 4 (COV4) Call for Proposals:
EXTENDED DEADLINE: September 15, 2014

More about COV4:

INCITE! is excited to announce the upcoming conference, Color of Violence 4 (COV4)Beyond the State: Inciting Transformative Possibilities. This gathering will mark INCITE!’s fifteen years of engaging in grassroots organizing projects, critical conversations, national actions, transnational campaigns, and community building strategies to end colonial, racial, and gender-based violence against women of color, trans and queer people of color, and our communities.

COV4 will highlight emerging strategies and new frameworks that focus on ending violence without relying on policing, mass incarceration, restrictive legislation, and other systems of violence and control.  Although on-going systems of criminalization and punishment are occupying and devastating our communities, those systems are still often considered the front-line response to violence within and against our communities.  Challenging multiple interlocking forms of violence requires new conversations and transformative approaches.

More details at the conference website: colorofviolence.org


Filed under: Calls for Writing/Artistic/Workshop Submissions, INCITE! Announcements

Bad Home Training: An Open Letter to Melissa Flournoy of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast

Updates from the blog -

Originally posted on Women's Health And Justice Initiative:


A little back story:

Last night, August 13th, there was a screening of We Always Resist: Trust Black Women. The documentary touches on the ways that the pro choice framework abandons black women. It talks about solution oriented community activism and the ways that black women are left in the lurch when the conversation about reproductive rights focuses only on the single issue of abortion.  After the film, local activists Deon Haywood of Women With A Vision and Paris Hatcher of SPARK and Race Forward got together to do a panel discussion about their work and the film.

Melissa Flournoy, Louisiana Director of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, was the first person to speak. She proceeded to rudely derail the entire conversation. 

This is my response as a member of the Women’s Health and Justice Initiative, a queer black femme woman, a New Orleans native, and a daughter of a mother who…

View original 1,959 more words


Statement in solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

Updates from the blog -

[A boycott how-to is below this powerful statement. -Eds.]

Statement in Solidarity with the Palestinian people of Gaza and with seekers of freedom and justice world-wide

As Palestinian, indigenous, women of color, anti-racist, and Jewish feminists involved in a range of social justice struggles, we strongly condemn the current massacre of the Palestinians of Gaza and affirm our support for and commitment to the growing international movement for a free Palestine and for racial justice, equality, and freedom for all.

As many of us know from time spent in Palestine and in other movements for justice, the connections between the movement for a free Palestine and anti-colonial struggles for self-determination throughout the world are inextricable.

The current Israeli attacks on Gaza have resulted in more than 1900 Palestinian deaths, including over 450 children; the displacement of up to 25% of the population; and the destruction of crucial infrastructure such as sanitation, hospitals, and schools.  We condemn and are horrified by the current acts of Israeli brutality, while also recognizing the deeply rooted and ongoing violence that Palestinians are forced to endure on a daily basis — for example, living in ghetto-like conditions in Gaza, systematically having land confiscated, being deprived of their livelihoods, collective punishment, gender and racial violence, and ongoing expulsion and displacement from the Nakba until today.

An extensive prison system bolsters the occupation and suppresses resistance.  Over 5,000 Palestinians are locked inside Israeli prisons; more than 200 are children.  There is ongoing criminalization of their political activity.

We believe in the critical importance, now more than ever, of the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions call for Israel to 1) End its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantle the Wall; 2) Recognize the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and
 3) Respect, protect and promote the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194. The purpose of the BDS campaigns is to pressure Israeli state-sponsored institutions to adhere to international law, basic human rights, and democratic principles as a condition for just and equitable social relations.

We stand with the Palestinian community and with activists all over the world in condemning the flagrant injustices of the current Israeli massacre against the Palestinians of Gaza; the land, air, and sea blockade of Gaza; and the Israeli occupation of Palestine.

We call for an end to US military aid, at more than 3 billion a year, for the Israeli state and its occupation.

We call upon all people of conscience to stand with Palestine and to join the worldwide actions in which communities and civil society are stepping up in critical ways. We recognize that all our struggles for social, racial, gender, and economic justice and for self-determination are deeply interconnected and can only gain strength and power from one another. As Audre Lorde taught us, “When we can arm ourselves with the strength and vision from all our diverse communities then we will in truth all be free at last.”

Signatories:

Ujju Aggarwal, INCITE!; New School for Social Research

Rabab Ibrahim Abdulhadi, San Francisco State University

Bina Ahmad, National Lawyers Guild

Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley

Linda Carty, Syracuse University

Ayoka Chenzira, Artist and Filmmaker

Angela Davis, University of California, Santa Cruz

Gina Dent, University of California, Santa Cruz

Zillah Eisenstein, Anti-Racist Feminist Scholar, Activist, Writer

Eve Ensler, Writer, Activist, Founder of V-Day and One Billion Rising

G. Melissa Garcia, Dickinson College

Anna Guevarra, University of Illinois at Chicago

Lisa Kahaleole Hall, Wells College

bell hooks, Feminist critic and writer

Suad Joseph, University of California, Davis

J. Kehaulani Kauanui, Wesleyan University

Nada Khader, WESPAC Foundation

Mona Khalidi, Columbia University

Reem Khamis-Dakwar, Adelphi University

Nancy Kricorian, Writer

Amina Mama, University of California, Davis

Hannah Mermelstein, Adalah-NY; Librarians and Archivists with Palestine

Chandra Talpade Mohanty, Syracuse University

Nadine Naber, University of Illinois, Chicago

Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College

Donna Nevel, Jews Say No!; Nakba Education Project, US

Dana Olwan, Syracuse University

Barbara Ransby, University of Illinois at Chicago

Beverly Guy Sheftall, Author, Atlanta, Georgia

Kimberly M. Tallbear, University of Texas, Austin

Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace

Alice Walker, Writer and Activist

Editors: Here’s a list of “optimal” items to boycott to help end Israel occupation:

Food/Drink:

  • Sodastream
  • Jaffa citrus fruits
  • Golan Heights Wine
  • Sabra Hummus
  • Medjool Dates
  • Eden Springs Water
  • Dorot Garlic and Herbs, Israeli Cous Cous and Pastures of Eden Feta (found at Trader Joes)
  • Osem
  • Tribe Humus
  • Yes to Carrots
  • Sara Lee bakery items
  • Coca Cola: includes Dr Pepper, Fanta, Fruitopia, Kia Ora, Lilt, Sprite, Sunkist, Schweppes, Dasani Water, Nestea, Fresca, Tab

Clothes:

  • Victoria’s Secret
  • Sara Lee:  Hanes, Playtex, Champion, Leggs, Wonderbra
  • Naot shoes
  • Delta Galil Industries: Gap, J-Crew, J.C. Penny, Calvin Klein, Playtex, Victoria’s Secret, DIM, Donna Karan / DKNY, Ralph Lauren, Playtex, Calvin Klein (cK), Hugo Boss, Banana Republic, Structure

Makeup:

  • L’Oreal / The Body Shop
  • Estee Lauder
  • Ahava cosmetics
  • Dead Sea Cosmetics

Household:

  • Pampers
  • TEVA drugs

Technology:

  • Hewlett Packard
  • Intel
  • Motorola

Cars/Bulldozers:

  • Volvo
  • Hyundai
  • Caterpillar

(Resources: here, here, and here)

And here’s info on “Buycott,” a phone app to help do more consumer boycotting.

As the campaign for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions writes, “The consumer boycott is beginning to bite, too: a fifth of Israeli exporters reported a drop in demand as a result of the boycott in the wake of the Gaza massacre.”

One more thing:  here are links on how to engage in academic boycott, consumer boycott, cultural boycott, and press for divestments and sanctions.


Filed under: General News, INCITE! Announcements Tagged: BDS movement, Palestine, transnational

Free Palestine is a Feminist Issue

Updates from the blog -

“I was more than terrified,” [Sena Alissa] says while holding her newborn baby girl in a bed in Gaza City’s struggling al-Shifa hospital, 20 minutes from Nuseirat. “I’m giving birth in war.” (source)

The latest Israeli attack on occupied Palestine in the form of an ongoing military assault on the people living in the Gaza Strip has made an already unbearable situation much more devastating.  Women, children, and elders represent the majority of the hundreds of people who have lost their lives.  The assaults are a form of reproductive violence by creating conditions that increase miscarriages, pre-term labor, and stillbirths.  Israel is currently targeting sewage systems, worsening an existing water crisis created by the Israel blockade of supplies to Gaza, and depriving hundreds of thousands of Gaza residents of clean water.  Free Palestine is, and always has been, a feminist issue.

People around the world are mobilizing direct actions to denounce Israel’s brutal violence and ongoing occupation.  Here’s a list of convergencesBelow is INCITE!’s statement of endorsement of the movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions against Israel, framing the occupation with a race & gender analysis. 

Here are handouts: PDF, JPEG Front, JPEG Back
The statement is in text below.  Also visit this call from ASWAT to LGBTQ organizations to take action against the bombing of Gaza civilians. And download and place stickers or bookmarks where you see items that should be boycotted.  TAKE ACTION!

INCITE! endorses the Palestinian call for BDS—Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for Palestine because…

  • Israel is a settler colonial state founded on the ethnic cleansing of 80% of the indigenous Palestinian people…
  • And because Israel considers Palestinian women a “demographic threat,”…
  • And because one in four women in Gaza, and 4 in 5 children there, are undernourished…
  • And because the siege on Gaza was described as “catastrophic” and a “prelude to genocide” even before the latest murderous assault…
  • And because Amnesty International, the International Committee of the Red Cross, and a UN-commissioned independent report have concluded that Israel’s offensive in Gaza amounted to “crimes against humanity”…
  • And because the restrictions imposed by Israel have resulted in a 58% increase in miscarriages among Palestinian women in the West Bank in a single year…
  • And because Israel celebrates the declining Palestinian birth rate as a success, while encouraging Jewish women to have more children…
  • And because Israel promotes itself as a haven for gay people, while barring queer Palestinians from participating in Pride day celebrations…
  • And because Palestinian children are arrested by Israeli soldiers with no right to due process, and are imprisoned without any charges against them…
  • And because our tax dollars are used, against our will, to create a living hell for Palestinian women and their families…
  • And because, since 2000, nearly 6500 Palestinians have been killed, including over 1400 children, and 40,000 have been injured…
  • And because, since 2000, 20,000 Palestinian homes have been demolished to allow for Israeli “natural growth,”…
  • And because Israel has resisted all official attempts to force it to comply with international law and end its violation of Palestinian human rights…
  • And because Israeli control and domination of the geographic terrain and resources of Palestine deny Palestinian families the right to free mobility, clean water, food, and other basic living necessities…
  • And because reports of torture and sexual violence of Palestinian men and women political prisoners and detainees violate international human rights law…
  • And because Israel’s entrenched system of discrimination and segregation constitutes an apartheid system as harsh as South Africa’s old system…
  • And because the global Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions movement played a major role in ending apartheid in South Africa, and is the model and inspiration of the Palestinian people today…
  • And because Palestinian civilian society, not their corrupt “leaders,” is calling upon the international community to show its solidarity and support by engaging in a similar consistent and comprehensive movement…

We can support the Global BDS movement by engaging in boycotting Israeli products everyday.

For more info on the global BDS movement, please visit:
http://www.bsdmovement.net/
http://usacbi.org/


Filed under: INCITE! Announcements, Take Action! Tagged: BDS movement, colonial violence, gender justice, healing/health justice, Palestine, reproductive justice

Color of Violence 4: Call for Proposals

Updates from the blog -

INCITE! Color Of Violence 4 Conference

BEYOND THE STATE: 
INCITING TRANSFORMATIVE POSSIBILITIES
March 26 – 29, 2015
Chicago, IL

Conference Call for Proposals
Deadline: September 1, 2014
Conference website: colorofviolence.org

INCITE! is excited to announce the Color of Violence 4 (COV4)Beyond the State: Inciting Transformative Possibilities. This gathering will mark INCITE!’s fifteen years of engaging in grassroots organizing projects, critical conversations, national actions, transnational campaigns, and community building strategies to end colonial, racial, and gender-based violence against women of color, trans and queer people of color and our communities.

Although on-going systems of criminalization and punishment are occupying and devastating our communities, those systems are still often considered the frontline response to violence within and against our communities.  Challenging multiple interlocking forms of violence requires new conversations and transformative approaches.  Since 2000, INCITE! chapters, affiliates, and partners have developed and learned from non-state based responses to violence rooted in global grassroots liberation movements, local feminist of color practices, communities and organizations.  COV4 will highlight emerging strategies, multiple approaches, and new frameworks that re-engage community agency and focus on ending violence without relying on policing, mass incarceration, restrictive legislation, and other systems of violence and control. Non-state based responses to violence are happening in our neighborhoods, families, classrooms, places of worship, friendships, online social networks, political actions, and around our kitchen tables.  These efforts have been called “community accountability,” “transformative justice,” “restorative justice,” or simply taking care of our communities and our lives.  Examples of these responses in action include: organizing workshops, community-based resources, and art & media projects; convening gatherings, interventions, and brainstorm sessions; and creating grassroots toolkits, participatory research projects, resource lists, and other practical tools to help us figure out what we do next. We believe that these practices are key components of radical movement building.

As we imagine, create, and build on practices that radically value the lives of women of color, trans & queer people of color, and our communities, this conference asks:

  • What anti-violence organizing strategies are activists, artists, scholars, workers, and community members imagining or implementing “beyond the state?”
  • What kind of new spaces and models have been invented locally, nationally, and globally?
  • What core questions still need exploration?  

We invite survivors of violence, artists, media makers, health practitioners, advocates, young people, people in the sex trade, students, activists & community organizers, scholars & teachers, and anyone else interested in submitting workshops and presentations that examine these questions and break new ground. Women of color, girls of color, trans & gender non-conforming people of color, Indigenous women and two-spirit people, immigrants of color, currently or formerly incarcerated people of color, and disabled people of color are strongly encouraged to submit proposals.  Proposals might also consider the following tensions and challenges:

  •  How do we address violence beyond the state in cases of police violence or hate violence? Is incarceration all we can ask for or are there other possibilities? 
  • How do we scale up community accountability models so that their impact poses a real challenge to the prison industrial complex?  
  • How do we navigate the ways in which non-profit systems and foundation & government grant funding can bind our work to violent institutions?  
  • How do we address the ways in which community accountability or transformative justice strategies have not been responsive for all survivors and scenarios?  
  • How has community accountability been practiced in classrooms and on campuses as a way to address interpersonal harm as well as a way to challenge the violence of the academic industry?
  • How do we imagine community accountability not only as responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other interpersonal harms, but also in the context of reproductive, economic, immigration, colonial, environmental, labor, and medical violence, as well as the violence of prisons, policing, surveillance, genocide, disaster, and war?
  • How has media been a promising, yet complex strategy for community accountability?  How do we address the racial/gendered threats faced by women of color and trans/queer people of color on social media? 
  • How can we challenge the ways in which state violence against people in the sex industry is strengthened and justified by many anti-trafficking initiatives?
  • How have community-based responses to violence been used within recent insurgencies, such as Idle No More, Not1More anti-deportation actions, anti-capitalist actions, direct actions against prisons and policing, the movement for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel occupation, and revolutionary and anti-imperial movements abroad?

This gathering will provide an opportunity for individuals and groups to problem-solve ongoing challenges and share promising strategies. We are open to workshops on any theme that is in keeping with INCITE!’s mission to address the intersections of interpersonal, state, and institutional violence, and welcome a variety of formats: performances, participatory workshops, learning labs, story circles, open discussions, strategy sessions, activist studios, network gatherings, etc.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE:  September 1, 2014
Proposals can be submitted online HERE!
Please send inquiries to: cov4incite@gmail.com


Color of Violence 4: Call for Proposals

Updates from the blog -

INCITE! Color Of Violence 4 Conference

BEYOND THE STATE: 
INCITING TRANSFORMATIVE POSSIBILITIES
March 26 – 29, 2015
Chicago, IL

Conference Call for Proposals
Deadline: September 1, 2014
Conference website: colorofviolence.org

INCITE! is excited to announce the Color of Violence 4 (COV4)Beyond the State: Inciting Transformative Possibilities. This gathering will mark INCITE!’s fifteen years of engaging in grassroots organizing projects, critical conversations, national actions, transnational campaigns, and community building strategies to end colonial, racial, and gender-based violence against women of color, trans and queer people of color and our communities.

Although on-going systems of criminalization and punishment are occupying and devastating our communities, those systems are still often considered the frontline response to violence within and against our communities.  Challenging multiple interlocking forms of violence requires new conversations and transformative approaches.  Since 2000, INCITE! chapters, affiliates, and partners have developed and learned from non-state based responses to violence rooted in global grassroots liberation movements, local feminist of color practices, communities and organizations.  COV4 will highlight emerging strategies, multiple approaches, and new frameworks that re-engage community agency and focus on ending violence without relying on policing, mass incarceration, restrictive legislation, and other systems of violence and control. Non-state based responses to violence are happening in our neighborhoods, families, classrooms, places of worship, friendships, online social networks, political actions, and around our kitchen tables.  These efforts have been called “community accountability,” “transformative justice,” “restorative justice,” or simply taking care of our communities and our lives.  Examples of these responses in action include: organizing workshops, community-based resources, and art & media projects; convening gatherings, interventions, and brainstorm sessions; and creating grassroots toolkits, participatory research projects, resource lists, and other practical tools to help us figure out what we do next. We believe that these practices are key components of radical movement building.

As we imagine, create, and build on practices that radically value the lives of women of color, trans & queer people of color, and our communities, this conference asks:

  • What anti-violence organizing strategies are activists, artists, scholars, workers, and community members imagining or implementing “beyond the state?”
  • What kind of new spaces and models have been invented locally, nationally, and globally?
  • What core questions still need exploration?  

We invite survivors of violence, artists, media makers, health practitioners, advocates, young people, people in the sex trade, students, activists & community organizers, scholars & teachers, and anyone else interested in submitting workshops and presentations that examine these questions and break new ground. Women of color, girls of color, trans & gender non-conforming people of color, Indigenous women and two-spirit people, immigrants of color, currently or formerly incarcerated people of color, and disabled people of color are strongly encouraged to submit proposals.  Proposals might also consider the following tensions and challenges:

  •  How do we address violence beyond the state in cases of police violence or hate violence? Is incarceration all we can ask for or are there other possibilities? 
  • How do we scale up community accountability models so that their impact poses a real challenge to the prison industrial complex?  
  • How do we navigate the ways in which non-profit systems and foundation & government grant funding can bind our work to violent institutions?  
  • How do we address the ways in which community accountability or transformative justice strategies have not been responsive for all survivors and scenarios?  
  • How has community accountability been practiced in classrooms and on campuses as a way to address interpersonal harm as well as a way to challenge the violence of the academic industry?
  • How do we imagine community accountability not only as responses to domestic violence, sexual assault, and other interpersonal harms, but also in the context of reproductive, economic, immigration, colonial, environmental, labor, and medical violence, as well as the violence of prisons, policing, surveillance, genocide, disaster, and war?
  • How has media been a promising, yet complex strategy for community accountability?  How do we address the racial/gendered threats faced by women of color and trans/queer people of color on social media? 
  • How can we challenge the ways in which state violence against people in the sex industry is strengthened and justified by many anti-trafficking initiatives?
  • How have community-based responses to violence been used within recent insurgencies, such as Idle No More, Not1More anti-deportation actions, anti-capitalist actions, direct actions against prisons and policing, the movement for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israel occupation, and revolutionary and anti-imperial movements abroad?

This gathering will provide an opportunity for individuals and groups to problem-solve ongoing challenges and share promising strategies. We are open to workshops on any theme that is in keeping with INCITE!’s mission to address the intersections of interpersonal, state, and institutional violence, and welcome a variety of formats: performances, participatory workshops, learning labs, story circles, open discussions, strategy sessions, activist studios, network gatherings, etc.

PROPOSAL DEADLINE:  September 1, 2014
Proposals can be submitted online HERE!
Please send inquiries to: cov4incite@gmail.com


National Action to Free Marissa Alexander: Urge the State to Drop the Case!

Updates from the blog -

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

From Free Marissa Now:

National Action: Urge the State to Drop the Case! 

Have you heard the good news out of Florida? The Appeals Court threw out the guilty verdict in the Marissa Alexander case, citing a “fundamental error” in the jury instructions which unjustly required Marissa to prove her innocence, depriving her of a fair trial.

In mid-October, State Prosecutor Angela Corey will decide whether to drop the case or set a new trial date. We say drop the case! 

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month – a perfect time to draw attention to how Marissa’s experience of domestic violence and incarceration exemplifies the widespread racial and gender bias in our criminal justice system.

We are asking you to send letters and/or call Angela Corey and encourage her to seek Justice, not a Conviction! Please send copies of your message to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott so that they know the strength of public opinion on this issue.

The sample letter below may help you get started.

— Free Marissa Now
FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com
facebook.com/FreeMarissaNow
http://freemarissanow.tumblr.com/

***

SAMPLE LETTER (download as pdf!):

Name __________________________

Address_________________________

_______________________________

Email __________________________

Dear Ms. Corey:

You have an opportunity to allow an innocent person to go free without further cost to the state of Florida and without further trauma to this woman and her family. I encourage you to drop the charges against Marissa Alexander, rather than pursuing a new trial which, if justice is served, will result in a not-guilty verdict.

Marissa Alexander was a victim of domestic violence who acted in self-defense by taking the only action she saw possible at that moment – an action that injured no one. Her case shines a light on how black women in domestic violence situations are often doubly victimized when they seek justice. Ms. Alexander has experienced at least two traumatic events: the first is being repeatedly abused by her husband, the second is being prosecuted and sentenced to prison for defending herself from that abuse.

Ms. Alexander’s experience bears out the fact that women of color are arrested more often than white women when police arrive on the scene of a domestic violence incident.

For this reason, fewer than 17% of black women call the police for fear they will be further victimized by the police or the courts. By allowing Marissa Alexander to be sentenced to 20 years for self-defense, you have given the message to women everywhere that if they defend their lives, they will be also targeted by police and prosecutors.

There is a widespread stereotype that survivors who fight for their lives, particularly if they are black women, are “too aggressive” and not genuine victims. This stereotype was carried out to such an extent in Marissa Alexander’s case that the whole premise of innocent until proven guilty was reversed, as the Appeals Court found.

Please do the right thing by stopping any further prosecution of this innocent mother and daughter. Drop the case, dismiss all charges, and free Marissa Alexander!

______________________________

Signature

***

Send your letter to the following addresses:
(Hard copies make more of an impact!)

Angela Corey, State Attorney
Courthouse Annex
220 East Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: 904-630-2400
Fax: 904-630-2938
Email: sao4th@coj.net

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Phone: 850-414-3300 or 850-414-3990
Fax: 850-410-1630
Email: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Citizen_Services

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone: 850-717-9337 or 850-488-7146
Email: rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

***

Read INCITE!’s endorsement of the call to Free Marissa Alexander.


Filed under: Guest Post, Take Action! Tagged: Black women, community organizing, domestic violence, prison industrial complex

National Action to Free Marissa Alexander: Urge the State to Drop the Case!

Updates from the blog -

PLEASE FORWARD WIDELY!

From Free Marissa Now:

National Action: Urge the State to Drop the Case! 

Have you heard the good news out of Florida? The Appeals Court threw out the guilty verdict in the Marissa Alexander case, citing a “fundamental error” in the jury instructions which unjustly required Marissa to prove her innocence, depriving her of a fair trial.

In mid-October, State Prosecutor Angela Corey will decide whether to drop the case or set a new trial date. We say drop the case! 

October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month – a perfect time to draw attention to how Marissa’s experience of domestic violence and incarceration exemplifies the widespread racial and gender bias in our criminal justice system.

We are asking you to send letters and/or call Angela Corey and encourage her to seek Justice, not a Conviction! Please send copies of your message to Attorney General Pam Bondi and Governor Rick Scott so that they know the strength of public opinion on this issue.

The sample letter below may help you get started.

— Free Marissa Now
FreeMarissaNow@gmail.com
facebook.com/FreeMarissaNow
http://freemarissanow.tumblr.com/

***

SAMPLE LETTER (download as pdf!):

Name __________________________

Address_________________________

_______________________________

Email __________________________

Dear Ms. Corey:

You have an opportunity to allow an innocent person to go free without further cost to the state of Florida and without further trauma to this woman and her family. I encourage you to drop the charges against Marissa Alexander, rather than pursuing a new trial which, if justice is served, will result in a not-guilty verdict.

Marissa Alexander was a victim of domestic violence who acted in self-defense by taking the only action she saw possible at that moment – an action that injured no one. Her case shines a light on how black women in domestic violence situations are often doubly victimized when they seek justice. Ms. Alexander has experienced at least two traumatic events: the first is being repeatedly abused by her husband, the second is being prosecuted and sentenced to prison for defending herself from that abuse.

Ms. Alexander’s experience bears out the fact that women of color are arrested more often than white women when police arrive on the scene of a domestic violence incident.

For this reason, fewer than 17% of black women call the police for fear they will be further victimized by the police or the courts. By allowing Marissa Alexander to be sentenced to 20 years for self-defense, you have given the message to women everywhere that if they defend their lives, they will be also targeted by police and prosecutors.

There is a widespread stereotype that survivors who fight for their lives, particularly if they are black women, are “too aggressive” and not genuine victims. This stereotype was carried out to such an extent in Marissa Alexander’s case that the whole premise of innocent until proven guilty was reversed, as the Appeals Court found.

Please do the right thing by stopping any further prosecution of this innocent mother and daughter. Drop the case, dismiss all charges, and free Marissa Alexander!

______________________________

Signature

***

Send your letter to the following addresses:
(Hard copies make more of an impact!)

Angela Corey, State Attorney
Courthouse Annex
220 East Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202
Phone: 904-630-2400
Fax: 904-630-2938
Email: sao4th@coj.net

Office of Attorney General Pam Bondi
State of Florida
The Capitol PL-01
Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050
Phone: 850-414-3300 or 850-414-3990
Fax: 850-410-1630
Email: http://myfloridalegal.com/contact.nsf/contact?Open&Section=Citizen_Services

Office of Governor Rick Scott
State of Florida
The Capitol
400 S. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL 32399-0001
Phone: 850-717-9337 or 850-488-7146
Email: rick.scott@eog.myflorida.com

***

Read INCITE!’s endorsement of the call to Free Marissa Alexander.


Filed under: Guest Post, Take Action! Tagged: Black women, community organizing, domestic violence, prison industrial complex

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