Symphonic Love
sonofbaldwin:

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

dhaarijmens:

bemusedlybespectacled:

washingtonpost:

In a post-Ferguson world, Americans increasingly doubt the notion of colorblind justice.

HOW THE FUCK DID THE PERCENTAGE GO UP FOR WHITE PEOPLE
IN WHAT UNIVERSE DOES A POLICE OFFICER SHOOTING AN UNARMED BLACK KID (AND THEN ATTEMPTING TO COVER IT UP AFTER THE FACT) CONSTITUTE EQUAL TREATMENT IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
LIKE WHO LOOKS AT THAT AND GOES “WELL, BEFORE I THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS RACISM IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, BUT THEN THIS SHIT HAPPENED AND NOW I SEE THAT IT’S PERFECTLY EQUAL”
WHAT THE FUCK

This increase can be explained by an interesting social phenomenon called ‘denial.’

They benefit from not knowing.. and from believing in myths. 

Comparing beliefs before and after Michael Brown’s murder and the surrounding revelations of racism that have sprung out of it, white people, as a demographic believe, MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, that the criminal justice system treats whites and blacks equally.That is, MORE white people believe the criminal justice system treats black equally now than they did before Michael Brown’s death.In essence, for white people, blatant systemic oppression and the murder of an unarmed young black man gives them even more reason to believe blacks are treated fairly by the system.This confirms an earlier study that said the more you tell white people that the system is inherently racist, the more they supported harsher punishments for black people: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/08/07/3468368/study-white-people-support-harsher-criminal-laws-if-they-think-more-black-people-are-arrested/Marinate on these inhumanities for a second.

sonofbaldwin:

knowledgeequalsblackpower:

dhaarijmens:

bemusedlybespectacled:

washingtonpost:

In a post-Ferguson world, Americans increasingly doubt the notion of colorblind justice.

HOW THE FUCK DID THE PERCENTAGE GO UP FOR WHITE PEOPLE

IN WHAT UNIVERSE DOES A POLICE OFFICER SHOOTING AN UNARMED BLACK KID (AND THEN ATTEMPTING TO COVER IT UP AFTER THE FACT) CONSTITUTE EQUAL TREATMENT IN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM

LIKE WHO LOOKS AT THAT AND GOES “WELL, BEFORE I THOUGHT THAT THERE WAS RACISM IN OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM, BUT THEN THIS SHIT HAPPENED AND NOW I SEE THAT IT’S PERFECTLY EQUAL”

WHAT THE FUCK

This increase can be explained by an interesting social phenomenon called ‘denial.’

They benefit from not knowing.. and from believing in myths. 

Comparing beliefs before and after Michael Brown’s murder and the surrounding revelations of racism that have sprung out of it, white people, as a demographic believe, MORE THAN EVER BEFORE, that the criminal justice system treats whites and blacks equally.

That is, MORE white people believe the criminal justice system treats black equally now than they did before Michael Brown’s death.

In essence, for white people, blatant systemic oppression and the murder of an unarmed young black man gives them even more reason to believe blacks are treated fairly by the system.

This confirms an earlier study that said the more you tell white people that the system is inherently racist, the more they supported harsher punishments for black people: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/08/07/3468368/study-white-people-support-harsher-criminal-laws-if-they-think-more-black-people-are-arrested/

Marinate on these inhumanities for a second.

In various schools in Uganda, and some other parts of Africa, children as young as five are punished for speaking African languages, indigenous languages and mother tongues at school. The modes of punishment differ. The most common one in Uganda is wearing a dirty sack until you meet someone else speaking their mother tongue and then you pass the sack on to them. In some schools, there are specific pupils and students tasked with compiling lists of fellow pupils and students speaking mother tongues. This list is then handed over to a teacher responsible for punishing these language rule-breakers. According to Gilbert Kaburu, some schools have aprons that read: “Shame on me, I was speaking vernacular” handed over to an offender of the No Vernacular rule, who then is tasked with finding the next culprit to give the apron. Most of the punishments, in their symbolism emphasise the uselessness of the African languages.

Commenting on a photo of two children in Uganda wearing dirty sacks as punishment for speaking their mother tongues, Zimbabwean writer, Tendai Huchu says:

“That sums up our self loathing and inferiority complex. Junot Diaz once said we do a better job of enforcing white supremacy ourselves than white supremacists ever could. I should add, notice how the punishment consists of wearing sack-cloth. The image is telling. You are rags if you speak your own language.”

Halima Hosh, agreeing with Tendai Huchu opines:

“It’s outrageous. What a slave mentality that a colonial language is considered higher or better/more worth than their own local language. Unbelievable. Do the Europeans learn any African language in school? No. Why not? Because we are not proud of our heritage, not proud of our languages, not proud of Black African history. These teachers need to be fired.

This is a serious problem. Read the entire article here: http://thisisafrica.me/schools-punishing-children-speaking-african-languages/ (via linglife)

Languages don’t generally become endangered because people just don’t really feel like speaking them anymore: it’s often much more brutal. And similar methods for repressing indigenous languages happen all over the world: this reminded me of a memorable quote from a man in Alaska “Whenever I speak Tlingit, I can still taste the soap.” 

(via allthingslinguistic)
thepeoplesrecord:

Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to waterSeptember 29, 2014
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.
Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.
"There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.
A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.
"The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.
Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.
Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”
Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.
"We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."
The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.
The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”
About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.
Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.
Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.
During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.
Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.
Tom O’Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.
"It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."
O’Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.
"That’s significant money, it goes a long way," he said.
Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.
The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.
Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.
SourcePhoto

thepeoplesrecord:

Detroit water shutoffs continue after judge says poor have no right to water
September 29, 2014

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can’t afford to lose the revenue.

Rhodes’s order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service.

"There is no such right or law," Rhodes said.

A six-month ban on water shut-offs would boost the rate of customer defaults and threaten Detroit’s revenue, the judge added.

"The last thing (Detroit) needs is this hit to its revenues," the judge said.

Rhodes issued his ruling after two days of hearings last week and said he lacked the power to issue a water shut-off moratorium. Regardless, a lawyer for 10 residents failed to convince him there was justification for such a drastic step, he said.

Rhodes said residents do not have a right to receive water service “let alone service based on an ability to pay.”

Alice Jennings, an attorney representing the 10 residents fighting water shutoffs, said she was “disappointed but not surprised” by the judge’s ruling. Rhodes, she said, missed the issue of safety and underscored the irreparable harm that comes with the shutoffs.

"We will be looking at an appeal," Jennings said. "We believe there is a right to water and there is a right to affordable water."

The city’s policy of shutting off water to residents in one of the nation’s poorest cities briefly overshadowed the city’s historic bankruptcy case and debt-cutting plan, which hinges on spinning off the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to suburban counties.

The city started a more vigorous shut-off campaign in the spring compared to other years in an effort to get more people to pay their outstanding bills or get on a payment plan. Rhodes on Monday called the efforts a “bold, commendable and necessarily aggressive plan.”

About 24,000 city water accounts have been shut off this year. A month-long moratorium halting shutoffs ended in August and crews are now back to shutting off water to up to 400 accounts a day, DWSD officials said last week.

Residents, civic groups, and “The Avengers” actor Mark Ruffalo participated in mass protests in recent months fighting the city’s treatment of delinquent water customers. A pocket of protesters lined West Lafayette Boulevard outside federal court Monday.

Ten residents requested the moratorium, saying it would give the city time to establish a plan to better help those who can’t afford to pay their water bills. Lawyers for Detroit say such an order would encourage further delinquency, cause the department to lose revenues and lead to higher rates.

During closing arguments, Jennings argued the “hodgepodge” of programs designed to aid a limited group of residents facing water shut-offs isn’t good enough for the city plagued by widespread poverty.

Jennings told the judge that a “very brief” stop to shut-offs would give the city more time to craft a cohesive program.

Tom O’Brien, an attorney for the water department, has countered that a 10-point plan to educate and assist low-income residents wasn’t constructed overnight.

"It was developed," he said, and "was intended to be practical."

O’Brien also played up a fund outlined in the plan, and a separate pot of annual aid money called for in a proposed Great Lakes Water Authority.

"That’s significant money, it goes a long way," he said.

Detroit’s bankruptcy trial, meanwhile, resumes Monday, five days after City Council members reclaimed power over city government while agreeing to keep Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr in place for bankruptcy-related duties.

The deal means council will resume control over city departments, contracts and other day-to-day matters. Orr’s official removal will be effective if the city’s debt-cutting bankruptcy plan is confirmed.

Orr is expected to testify soon about the debt-cutting plan.

Source
Photo

breenewsome:

From Hong Kong to Ferguson: Justice now! Freedom now! Democracy now! Human rights now! Peace now! Equality now!

breenewsome:

From Hong Kong to Ferguson: Justice now! Freedom now! Democracy now! Human rights now! Peace now! Equality now!

11213372:


"There’s the three “men of Middle Eastern appearance” who were detained by police at a football match because someone thought the way they were checking their phones was “suspicious”.



There’s the Muslim guy who was detained by the cops for filming in the Melbourne CBD (read his account over the The Drum if you read nothing else; it’s mildly terrifying).
There’s that mosque in far north Queensland that was vandalised, that mosque in Brisbane that was vandalised, those Muslim ladies in Queensland being told to “fuck off back to your own country” and having coffee thrown on them, and that carload of white guys on the Gold Coast who threatened to behead a brown person in the street because they thought he was Muslim (seriously, Queensland, you are not covering yourself in glory on this one).
There’s the guy who walked into an Islamic school in Sydney armed with a knife, forcing children to be locked inside their classrooms and hide under their desks.
There’s the spat-upon mum, the kicked baby’s pram, the vandalised car and the pig’s head on a spike — the pig’s head on a spike — that have been reported in WA. There’s the rape and death threats being made against Muslim women, and the indifference it’s been met with.”

(full article here)

11213372:

"There’s the three “men of Middle Eastern appearance” who were detained by police at a football match because someone thought the way they were checking their phones was “suspicious”.

There’s the Muslim guy who was detained by the cops for filming in the Melbourne CBD (read his account over the The Drum if you read nothing else; it’s mildly terrifying).

There’s that mosque in far north Queensland that was vandalised, that mosque in Brisbane that was vandalised, those Muslim ladies in Queensland being told to “fuck off back to your own country” and having coffee thrown on them, and that carload of white guys on the Gold Coast who threatened to behead a brown person in the street because they thought he was Muslim (seriously, Queensland, you are not covering yourself in glory on this one).

There’s the guy who walked into an Islamic school in Sydney armed with a knife, forcing children to be locked inside their classrooms and hide under their desks.

There’s the spat-upon mum, the kicked baby’s pram, the vandalised car and the pig’s head on a spike — the pig’s head on a spike — that have been reported in WA. There’s the rape and death threats being made against Muslim women, and the indifference it’s been met with.”

(full article here)

kayinnasaki:

Cyber harassment study reveals the unsurprising!
It still amazes me that I talk to guys who still think they get harassed just as much as women online. Like even from people who aren’t clearly and totally gross dumbasses. It kinda makes me think that, even in the best cases, it might be hard to really understand the sheer difference in frequency. You see a woman get harassed on a game and you go “Oh well I’ve been harassed” without understanding that there is seldom a session for her where that doesn’t happen or understanding what her inbox might look like…

kayinnasaki:

Cyber harassment study reveals the unsurprising!

It still amazes me that I talk to guys who still think they get harassed just as much as women online. Like even from people who aren’t clearly and totally gross dumbasses. It kinda makes me think that, even in the best cases, it might be hard to really understand the sheer difference in frequency. You see a woman get harassed on a game and you go “Oh well I’ve been harassed” without understanding that there is seldom a session for her where that doesn’t happen or understanding what her inbox might look like…

angrywocunited:

thisisnotjapan:

latinosexuality:

lovelifelaurennn:

wifigirl2080:

blackmagicalgirlmisandry:

whatshername89:

youngblackandvegan:

will-you-be-electric-sheep:

reverseracism:

dichotomization:

Women of the KKK, 1923.

No one can honestly tell me that this isn’t something that looks like it is straight out of the demonic mind of a scary movie producer. Sadly, it’s not. This is a real photograph taken of the female KKK members in 1923 ( just incase you thought white women were innocent ). As I stare at this picture my heart mourns for every strong POC, no not just those of African diaspora because we all know the KKK despises all us POC, they lived during the arguably the worst time for POC in America. They had no laws that could protect them or even had the chance to defend themselves in court like what we are rightfully and deservingly given today. Take a moment to pray (whatever your religion) for the souls of those affected by pre desegregation. Take a moment to thank those who lost their sons, daughters, Etc in the fight to be able to walk outside in broad daylight and not get lynched. Will racism ever end? I don’t know, but what I do know is that no one should have to put up with it as an every day nightmare. No matter what your ethnicity is we MUST stick together, for together we are strong. I dream of a day these people may never hurt our children.
- Susie the Moderator

this shit looks like american horror story

it was the black american horror story

My alma mater, Smith College, had a chapter of the KKK until the 1930s, thought we generally pretend it wasn’t the case. The myth of white female innocence with regards to systemic racial oppression is so pervasive it’s ridiculous.

white women are not and have never been passive victims of the white supremacist patriarchy, they are active enforcers of racial oppression as means of holding shared privilege with their white male counterparts 

What I been saying tho.

Thank you! White women might be worse for WoC than white men. They have always been very clear about where they stand.

women play a huge role in maintaining white supremacy esp in orgs like kkk. they are to birth the next generation of white supremacists. that is a position of status and power. so much about reproductive choice, health “justice” that white sexologist refuse to engage. are we surprised laws were created to protect them over all other women, to this day, in the US? the book women of the klan gives some deeper insight if interested. 

you can participate in white supremacy regardless of your gender

White women are not innocent, they’re just as dangerous and violent as white men. 

angrywocunited:

thisisnotjapan:

latinosexuality:

lovelifelaurennn:

wifigirl2080:

blackmagicalgirlmisandry:

whatshername89:

youngblackandvegan:

will-you-be-electric-sheep:

reverseracism:

dichotomization:

Women of the KKK, 1923.

No one can honestly tell me that this isn’t something that looks like it is straight out of the demonic mind of a scary movie producer. Sadly, it’s not. This is a real photograph taken of the female KKK members in 1923 ( just incase you thought white women were innocent ). As I stare at this picture my heart mourns for every strong POC, no not just those of African diaspora because we all know the KKK despises all us POC, they lived during the arguably the worst time for POC in America. They had no laws that could protect them or even had the chance to defend themselves in court like what we are rightfully and deservingly given today. Take a moment to pray (whatever your religion) for the souls of those affected by pre desegregation. Take a moment to thank those who lost their sons, daughters, Etc in the fight to be able to walk outside in broad daylight and not get lynched. Will racism ever end? I don’t know, but what I do know is that no one should have to put up with it as an every day nightmare. No matter what your ethnicity is we MUST stick together, for together we are strong. I dream of a day these people may never hurt our children.

- Susie the Moderator

this shit looks like american horror story

it was the black american horror story

My alma mater, Smith College, had a chapter of the KKK until the 1930s, thought we generally pretend it wasn’t the case. The myth of white female innocence with regards to systemic racial oppression is so pervasive it’s ridiculous.

white women are not and have never been passive victims of the white supremacist patriarchy, they are active enforcers of racial oppression as means of holding shared privilege with their white male counterparts 

What I been saying tho.

Thank you! White women might be worse for WoC than white men. They have always been very clear about where they stand.

women play a huge role in maintaining white supremacy esp in orgs like kkk. they are to birth the next generation of white supremacists. that is a position of status and power. so much about reproductive choice, health “justice” that white sexologist refuse to engage. are we surprised laws were created to protect them over all other women, to this day, in the US? the book women of the klan gives some deeper insight if interested. 

you can participate in white supremacy regardless of your gender

White women are not innocent, they’re just as dangerous and violent as white men. 

thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Rape, transmisogyny - A transgender woman says she was locked in a cell with her rapistSeptember 29, 2014
The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate,according to a 2009 study.
Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.
“I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”
Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet the state of Georgia placed Green in a men’s prison, where she faced a greater risk of being assaulted. Around the country, decisions on transgender inmates’ placement and their level of protection are ultimately made on a case-by-case basis. But according to her lawsuit, these often ambiguous decisions and lack of safety oversight may have played a role in Zahara Green’s alleged rape by another inmate — not while they mingled in general population, but while she was being secured in “protective custody.”
Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping.
“He basically made me his property,” she said.
Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform oral sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving hormone treatment. In one letter, she says she mentioned being sexually targeted by Ricard.
Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, carefully monitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.
On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.
According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.
“Everyone has to wonder how Green’s assailant got put in protective custody on the same day and same time as Green. Then permitted to be in Green’s cell for nearly 24 hours,” Williams said. “This case is about more than Ricard. There has been official misconduct.”In a court document responding to Green’s complaint, a lawyer for the defendants — repeatedly referring to Green as “he” — denied that the deputy warden had read any letter about Ricard’s “oral sodomy” of Green. The response noted that Green’s mother had contacted the prison about her daughter’s safety concerns, but alleged that when asked directly, Green said she “was not afraid.” The response also said that Green was “at some point … placed in the same cell as inmate Darryl Ricard.”
While the case moves forward, some local and national groups have begun rallying around Green. One of the first people to reach out to her was Kenneth Glasgow of the Ordinary People Society. He describes Green as “humble and quiet,” but also “tormented and traumatized,” unable to talk at length about the incident; while Green spoke to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, she once paused to keep from crying.
After the alleged assault — when Green eventually got a guard’s attention — a sergeant came to the cell, she said. He apparently saw Ricard with a razor blade in his hand and stuck pepper spray through an opening in the cell door. Ricard quickly surrendered, Green said, and they were both separately removed from the cell. Later, Green was taken to a sexual assault examination nurse, who performed a rape kit.
Green was kept in protective custody for the next week and a half. Then she was transferred to Georgia State Prison, a facility down the street, where she immediately requested protective custody. Eventually she was placed in a unit made up a several single cells housing all transgender inmates. “I was the sixth or seventh on transgender hormone therapy,” Green said. She felt safe there.
But it wasn’t until her final transfer — to Atlanta Transitional Facility — that Green said she felt her life begin to change for the better.
Green was 17 when she began transitioning. It wasn’t long after that she began shoplifting from various Walmarts — landing her with a prison sentence and a life ban from the retailer. She says she doesn’t think this anymore, but at the time, theft felt like her only option.
“I did not think it was possible to find a job as a transgender person in Georgia. All the trans people I knew were either shoplifting, forging checks, or prostituting,” she said. “I didn’t know a single transgender person who had a job.”
At the transitional center, “they opened my eyes to another way,” she said. She’s been on parole since her release in March. In August, she began school, working to become a paralegal. She has a job at Walgreens. She’s helped her other transgender friends find jobs. She’s 25 now and said, “There’s a better life for me.”
She hopes one outcome of the lawsuit is that transgender people are not tested out in general population before officials decide it’s not a safe fit. While the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act forces states to take transgender inmates’ safety concerns into consideration, Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality said it’s not clear that they always do. (In Georgia, another transgender inmate is currently fighting for her access to hormone therapy in a high-profile case.)
“If institutions are able to make the culture shift … toward not making those auto assumptions but really focusing on what is keeping each person safe,” Tobin said, “they will start making those placements in women’s facilities more often.”
Source

thepeoplesrecord:

TW: Rape, transmisogyny - A transgender woman says she was locked in a cell with her rapist
September 29, 2014

The odds were already against Zahara Green when she entered prison on May 10, 2012. Prisons have long been plagued by a culture of sexual harassment and assault, but Green was a transgender woman in an all-male facility — making her about 13 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than a non-transgender inmate,according to a 2009 study.

Green told BuzzFeed News she distinctly remembers her first day in general population at Rogers State Prison, a facility about an hour and a half outside of Savannah, Georgia. It was two months into her sentence, and she said she can still envision the officer dropping her off at her dorm and walking away.

“I kind of just felt that he was letting me out with the wolves. You’re on your own. It clicked in my mind,” she said. “I found my bed, I placed my stuff on my bed, and then I sat there for about an hour and people were just coming in and out as if this was some kind of showcase.”

Under federal law, states must seriously consider transgender inmates’ safety concerns — and the Georgia Department of Corrections has said it has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct. Yet the state of Georgia placed Green in a men’s prison, where she faced a greater risk of being assaulted. Around the country, decisions on transgender inmates’ placement and their level of protection are ultimately made on a case-by-case basis. But according to her lawsuit, these often ambiguous decisions and lack of safety oversight may have played a role in Zahara Green’s alleged rape by another inmate — not while they mingled in general population, but while she was being secured in “protective custody.”

Green was approached by Darryl Ricard — a high-ranking gang member within the prison, she said — right after moving to the dorm at Rogers. He was in his seventh year of a life sentence for aggravated child molestation, rape, and kidnapping.

“He basically made me his property,” she said.

Over the next few weeks, as Ricard repeatedly coerced her to perform oral sex on him, Green would write to prison administrative staff about the unsafe environment for transgender and homosexual inmates, Green said. Rogers State Prison housed one other transgender woman at the time, to Green’s knowledge, although Green was the only one receiving hormone treatment. In one letter, she says she mentioned being sexually targeted by Ricard.

Shortly afterward, she requested to be put into protective custody, which is typically a solitary cell for prisoners who believe their safety is at risk, carefully monitored by prison officials. What allegedly happened next makes up the bulk of a lawsuit Green and her Atlanta-based lawyer Mario Williams filed in May against the prison’s warden, deputy warden, and two correctional officers. Last week, they filed another complaint against an additional 13 additional correctional officers.

On Sept. 21, 2012, Green and Ricard were separately admitted into protective custody. According to Green, Ricard was the chief reason she had requested the special security measures. But for still unclear reasons, when Green entered her protective custody cell around 4:30 a.m., “Ricard was waiting” there, the complaint says. “Ricard raped Green, and the Defendants to this action all knew Ricard was going to rape (or at the very least, sexually assault) Green yet permitted Ricard to sexually assault Green.” The correction officers allegedly “condoned” the rape.

According to Williams, Green’s attorney, Green and Ricard had been assigned to different protective custody cells, and Ricard should have never been allowed in Green’s cell. Nearly 24 hours passed, though security checks were supposed to be made at least every 30 minutes. Williams said he believes the Georgia Department of Corrections knew about the situation and did nothing to prevent Green’s assault. The department declined to comment on the case to BuzzFeed News, citing pending litigation.

“Everyone has to wonder how Green’s assailant got put in protective custody on the same day and same time as Green. Then permitted to be in Green’s cell for nearly 24 hours,” Williams said. “This case is about more than Ricard. There has been official misconduct.”

In a court document responding to Green’s complaint, a lawyer for the defendants — repeatedly referring to Green as “he” — denied that the deputy warden had read any letter about Ricard’s “oral sodomy” of Green. The response noted that Green’s mother had contacted the prison about her daughter’s safety concerns, but alleged that when asked directly, Green said she “was not afraid.” The response also said that Green was “at some point … placed in the same cell as inmate Darryl Ricard.”

While the case moves forward, some local and national groups have begun rallying around Green. One of the first people to reach out to her was Kenneth Glasgow of the Ordinary People Society. He describes Green as “humble and quiet,” but also “tormented and traumatized,” unable to talk at length about the incident; while Green spoke to BuzzFeed News on Wednesday, she once paused to keep from crying.

After the alleged assault — when Green eventually got a guard’s attention — a sergeant came to the cell, she said. He apparently saw Ricard with a razor blade in his hand and stuck pepper spray through an opening in the cell door. Ricard quickly surrendered, Green said, and they were both separately removed from the cell. Later, Green was taken to a sexual assault examination nurse, who performed a rape kit.

Green was kept in protective custody for the next week and a half. Then she was transferred to Georgia State Prison, a facility down the street, where she immediately requested protective custody. Eventually she was placed in a unit made up a several single cells housing all transgender inmates. “I was the sixth or seventh on transgender hormone therapy,” Green said. She felt safe there.

But it wasn’t until her final transfer — to Atlanta Transitional Facility — that Green said she felt her life begin to change for the better.

Green was 17 when she began transitioning. It wasn’t long after that she began shoplifting from various Walmarts — landing her with a prison sentence and a life ban from the retailer. She says she doesn’t think this anymore, but at the time, theft felt like her only option.

“I did not think it was possible to find a job as a transgender person in Georgia. All the trans people I knew were either shoplifting, forging checks, or prostituting,” she said. “I didn’t know a single transgender person who had a job.”

At the transitional center, “they opened my eyes to another way,” she said. She’s been on parole since her release in March. In August, she began school, working to become a paralegal. She has a job at Walgreens. She’s helped her other transgender friends find jobs. She’s 25 now and said, “There’s a better life for me.”

She hopes one outcome of the lawsuit is that transgender people are not tested out in general population before officials decide it’s not a safe fit. While the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act forces states to take transgender inmates’ safety concerns into consideration, Harper Jean Tobin of the National Center for Transgender Equality said it’s not clear that they always do. (In Georgia, another transgender inmate is currently fighting for her access to hormone therapy in a high-profile case.)

“If institutions are able to make the culture shift … toward not making those auto assumptions but really focusing on what is keeping each person safe,” Tobin said, “they will start making those placements in women’s facilities more often.”

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