With the rise of the #MeToo moment and the #TimesUp campaign, Hollywood has discovered activism, and with it, a new lexicon and fledgling new identity. This is potentially a blessing and a curse for those of us who have been fighting feminist and anti-racist battles long before “intersectionality” was uttered from the stage at the Oscars, long before activists formed a phalanx of silent sentinels to serve as props for celebrity performances. This scene was politically counterbalanced, by the way, with a celebratory tribute to war and militarism. But this is the world we live in. And like with every industry and institution, there are a handful of genuine change-seekers in Hollywood — people who have risked their careers and livelihoods to wage uphill battles for greater justice in the arts and media. And we have to give them the opportunity to be better allies going forward, in the spirit of Eslanda and Paul Robeson and others. How do we do this work, and dance this dance, with greater attention to the principles that ground us?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hg3umXU_qWc We teach girls that they can have ambition, but not too much … to be successful, but not too successful, or they’ll threaten men, says author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. In this classic talk that started a worldwide conversation about feminism, Adichie asks that we begin to dream about and plan for a different, fairer world — of happier men and women who are truer to themselves.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3T5eTD5llNs Amid the ongoing fallout from sexual assault and harassment allegations against Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, a former contestant on “Celebrity Apprentice” has subpoenaed Donald Trump’s presidential campaign for all documents relating to her and any other women who have accused the U.S. president of unwanted sexual contact. We look at how this has reignited a conversation about sexual assault with women using the #MeToo hashtag, and speak with activist Tarana Burke, who started the campaign about a decade ago. “’Me Too’ is so powerful, because somebody had said it to me, and it changed the trajectory of my healing process,” Burke says. We also speak with Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, and Soraya Chemaly, a journalist who covers the intersection of gender and politics.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEeTLopLkEo Close your eyes and picture and engineer. You probably weren’t envisioning Debbie Sterling. Debbie Sterling is an engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math. GoldieBlox is a book series+construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writes and illustrates Goldie’s stories, taking inspiration from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists and creator of “Mr. Magoo.” Her company, launched in 2012, raised over $285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter, and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes.
I honest to gawd thought when I saw the article, “Push for Gender Equality in Tech? Some Men Say It’s Gone Too Far,” that it was a clickbait satire piece. Nope. It was a full-fledged New York Times article and as of its publication was in the top 5 viewed articles and continues to trend on Pocket. As I read the article, I went on a Facebook rant that I cleaned up here.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t7mMvkqbdFA&feature=youtu.be Between 1977 and 2007, the population of U.S women prisoners grew by 800% with an annual growth rate doubling that of men over many years. The vast majority of incarcerated and criminalized women (trans and non-trans) have previous histories of domestic and sexual abuse. This gathering at the Allied Media Conference in 2017 engaged participants on how to pro-actively support and advocate for survivors who live at the intersection of gender violence and criminalization. They highlighted the experiences of grassroots organizations and defense committees in supporting those who don’t fall into the “perfect victim” narrative and shared a new toolkit for those who want to do similar work. View the full Criminalized Survivors Panel and No Perfect Victims Convening 2017 For more information, visit The Survived and Punished Website The Love and Protect Website Thanks to our funders for the convening: Groundswell Fund, Open Society Foundation, Allied Media Conference, and dozens of individual donors.…
Melanie Brazzell Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Summer Semester 2016 After the public reactions to the sexual violence in Köln on New Years, we have to ask ourselves a few hard questions: How can ‘good ideas’ like protecting survivors of violence go so very wrong by supporting racist policing and security regimes? What happens when feminism goes ‘mainstream’ and works together with the State? How do feminist politics come to collaborate in State violence against people of color, particularly trans and cis women? This course will look at the question of feminism’s relationship to the State through current discussions in the U.S. about feminist and anti-violence collaboration in the prison industrial complex, with comparisons to the German context. We’ll use sociological, philosophical, and activist approaches to explore this ‘carceral feminism’, as well as what might lie beyond it, answers we will seek in the prison abolition, community accountability, & transformative justice movements.…
In 2010, Marissa Alexander, a mother of three from Jacksonville, FL, was violently attacked by her abusive, estranged husband. Just nine days after giving birth, Marissa’s husband strangled her, and tried to prevent her from escaping her home. Marissa was able to make it to the garage where her car was parked but could not open the garage door. Trapped, she retrieved her permitted gun from the car and re-entered her home where her husband lunged at her, yelling, “Bitch, I will kill you.” At that moment, Marissa fired a single warning shot upwards into the wall, causing no injuries, but saving her life.
The stirring directive sounded like the denouement of a legal thriller: “I am going to ask you, if you will, for the next few minutes to think Black with me—to BE black,” famed defense attorney Leo Branton instructed an all-white California jury at the outset of his closing statement. “Don’t worry. When the case is over, I am going to let you revert back to the safety of being what you are. You only have to be Black and think Black for the minutes that it will take for me to express to you what it means to be Black in this country.”
Having temporarily empaneled an all-Black jury, Branton then delivered a stirring indictment of antiblack racism, from the Middle Passage to the Fugitive Slave Law, Dred Scott decision, and Jim Crow. Hours into his speech, Branton “relieve[d]” the jury “of that responsibility” of Blackness. Then he read a poem celebrating Black love as a redemptive act. By the time he closed, several jurors had tears in their eyes. Three days later, on June, 4, 1972, Branton’s client was acquitted on all counts: Angela Yvonne Davis was free.
On May 22, 2017, 15 year old Bresha Meadows accepted a plea deal that would reduce the charge against her of aggravated murder to involuntary manslaughter with a gun specification. Bresha, as a part of the plea deal, was sentenced to “a year and one day” in juvenile incarceration, at least six months in a treatment facility, and two years of probation. Essentially, Bresha will be transferred to a private treatment center on July 30th during which doctors will evaluate her and determine if she needs to stay in treatment longer. When Bresha is released from treatment, she will spend two years on probation. Her family is relieved that they will be able to see Bresha and have her home much sooner than expected. The #FreeBresha campaign supports Bresha and her family, and also sees plea deals as coercive, denying people agency and choice under the threat of long-term incarceration, exorbitant fees, and civic death. Below is our statement. –Deana Lewis, #FreeBresha Campaign and Love and Protect