That these women who sought to harm no one, but, instead, were vilified and castigated because of their attacker’s hatred, while he still walks free, and they languish in prison, is unconscionable. Deemed a so-called “hate crime” against this straight male, every possible racist, anti-woman, anti-LGBT and anti-youth tactic was hurled against these women by the state of New York, and that they lived in a working-class black-majority city of Newark, N.J., and their gender expressions and body structures, was dehumanized, and demonized, in the eyes of the public, and ultimately, the jury that decided against them, is concrete proof that LGBT people have rights that no heterosexual is bound to respect.
On August 18, 2006, seven young black American lesbians traveled to the West Village, New York, from their homes in Newark for a regular night out. When walking down the street, a male bystander assaulted them with sexist and homophobic comments. The women tried to defend themselves, and a fight broke out. Thus began the women’s nightmare for almost a year. Three of the women accepted plea offers. On June 14th, 2007 Venice Brown (19), Terrain Dandridge (20), Patreese Johnson (20), and Renata Hill (24) received sentences ranging from 3 ½ to 11 years in prison.
On June 14, 2007, four black lesbian women out for a night on the town with their three friends, to enjoy the sights and fun of the city, were attacked, and for defending themselves, were sentenced to cruel and unfathomable prison terms for the audacity of defending themselves against attack from a heterosexual male who sought to degrade and destroy them for daring to live in this world that seeks to marginalize and annihilate those who do not fit the heterosexist paradigm of denying themselves agency, autonomy and self-actualization.
Four women who were minding their own business while just simply being themselves—four women who have a right to live in this world with the right to move about freely in this society that supposedly states they all had the right to live without fear of harm, the right to enjoy their freedom to safely be what they are, instead of what some hateful, racist, sexist, misogynistic human felt he had the right to do, when these four women were attacked and defended themselves.
The insult that they were indicted, convicted and imprisoned for defending themselves against a human being who attacked them out of homophobic harrassment, is one of the most egregious and damnable miscarriages of justice ever.
Injustice. To be honest. Injustice in that the attacking male comes off as the hurt and damaged victim, when it was he who started the attack.
Read the story here:
That these women could not go to this area of town as if they had no right to be there (per the district attorney who prosecuted their case) reeks of society’s desire to segregate and suffocate these women for what they are. Lesbians.
The organization, FIERCE!, (http://www.fiercenyc.org ) is fighting a campaign to free these women who have been unjustly imprisoned for having the temerity to be themselves in a lesbian, homosexual-hating society.
Please do not forget the Newark Women.
Contact FIERCE! to lend your help for these unjustly accused women in their fight for justice.
Give them your solidarity, your support, and let them know that they are not forgotten. Let them know that respect and dignity are the rights of all people: black, white, male, female, heterosexual—and lesbian and homosexual.
Yours always in the struggle.