FOUR WOMEN

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:

http://www.workers.org/2007/us/nj4-0628/

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.

Peace.

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9 Comments

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9 responses to “FOUR WOMEN

  1. Pingback: The Women of Newark, NJ « Ottermatic

  2. Pingback: Women of Color Blog » "Nobody" posting about the Jersey political prisoners

  3. Pingback: Women's Space/The Margins

  4. Nicole

    Hi, everybody. I’m starting a letter-writing campaign on behalf of the New Jersey Four. Here’s the template: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/justice4newark4/message/48

  5. me so real

    hey thats awful im a proud lesbian and im outraged by this injustice lesbians will rise to the efforts of equal rights as for everyone supposingly

  6. Hello,
    My name is David and I am the owner of Own Defense. I am involved with Non Lethal Self Defense. Like most people I am not an experts in karate or some type of fighting technique. You may not own a gun or simply don’t like guns. So for the most part we would like to have a way to protect ourself and love ones from harm. That is where Non lethal defense products come into play, such as pepper spray with a UV dye that could be used in a police lineup. Stun gun that would make the attacker muscles go wild with no lasting effects. Do you travel a lot. The personal travel alarm are a very popular items that hang from the door know and sounds an alarm when the knob is being turn. If you would like to find out more about these items and much more check out my business and see the different ways of protecting yourself from harm.

  7. Natasha

    One of the girls mother died from an ulcer (and stress, no doubt) and the judge would not let her attend her mothers funeral! The following is from the http://www.all7.org website: Renata Hill, sentenced to 11 years with the NJ 4, won her appeal this summer and has been given a new trial on September 3, 2008. Her bail was set at $75,000 and has spent her time until now at Riker’s Island Correctional Facility in New York. Last week, her bail was lowered to $5,000. Friends, family, and supporters from all over the country sent donations for Renata’s release.
    Last night, August 29, 2008, Renata left Riker’s Island to join her family and friends, including Terrain Daindrige from the NJ 4 released after her successful appeal this summer, in Newark until her court date next week.

    She and Terrain will be guest speakers, among others, at the Brecht Forum on September 16, 2008 at 7:00 pm to help further fundraising for the New Jersey 7. The benefit will raise support for all of the women who were originally involved in the incident over 2 years ago. The three women that were not incarcerated still face probation and other hardships due to their criminal records. Venice Brown also has a reachable $5,000 bail and Patreese Brown is anticipating her appellate trial sometime in November.
    ——-
    next Tuesday 9.16.08 at 7pm in NYC, there will be a benefit to raise bail money for the girls. please email me for more info and or to post a flyer.
    Peace and Blessings

  8. Ann

    Natasha, thank you so much for the update on Renata and the other young ladies.I have since posted the info on my blog.

    Much love, peace and justice to the NJ4!

    Regards

  9. Donald the security products guy

    This story just clarifies my point that women should always consider the fact that they need to carry non-lethal personal security products and learn how to defend themselves. I also just want to say that my heart goes out to these four women and it is a sad true fact that they did not get a fair trial. It shouldn’t matter if you are gay or streight. Black, white or any color. We should all have a right to self defense.

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