Four African American lesbian women from Newark, New Jersey were sentenced this past June 14th to excessively long prison terms in New York for the crime of defending themselves against homophobic harassment and violence. These young sistas were railroaded by both a dismissively misogynist judge and by the reactionary, sensationalist media. As Imani Henry writes in Workers World:Please read the Workers' World article she linked. Please.Deemed a so-called “hate crime” against a straight man, every possible racist, anti-woman, anti-LGBT and anti-youth tactic was used by the entire state apparatus and media. Everything from the fact that they lived outside of New York, in the working-class majority Black city of Newark, N.J., to their gender expressions and body structures were twisted and dehumanized in the public eye and to the jury.It’s gonna take the struggle of people around the country to get these young women out of prison.
According to court observers, [presiding judge Edward J.] McLaughlin stated throughout the trial that he had no sympathy for these women. The jury, although they were all women, were all white. All witnesses for the district attorney were white men, except for one Black male who had several felony charges.
Court observers report that the defense attorneys had to put enormous effort into simply convincing the jury that they were “average women” who had planned to just hang out together that night. Some jurists asked why they were in the Village if they were from New Jersey. The DA brought up whether they could afford to hang out there—raising the issue of who has the right to be there in the first place.
Kactus has been writing about April Griffin:
From MotherWarriorsVoice:Kactus has posted more here, here, here, and here.Twenty seven year old April Griffin has been in the Milwaukee County Jail since May 14th, 2007 because she refuses to give up custody of her nine month old son.Read the rest, and then see what you can do to help.
May 14th 2007- Ms. Griffin appeared in Milwaukee County Family Court because Mr. Sebuliba was trying to obtain full parental custody of their infant son. Griffin, representing herself, asked Judge Goulee how he could consider giving custody of a 9 month old breastfeeding baby to a man who:
Is on record for having beaten Griffin during her pregnancy
Is not a US Citizen‹Mr. Sebuliba wants to send the baby to Uganda for his mother to raise
Wanted the baby to be aborted
Openly had nothing to do with Ms. Griffin during her pregnancy?
Judge Goulee denied Griffin the right to question her own witnesses. And he refused to introduce her medical evidence.
Judge Goulee changed the baby’s last name against the mother’s wishes.
Judge Goulee ordered Griffin to bring in the infant. HE WANTS THE CHILD REMOVED FROM ALL FAMILY MEMBERS AND PLACED IN FOSTER CARE WHILE DAD IS EVALUATED! (The child has a grandmother and grandfather, 7 aunts and one uncle in Milwaukee.) Griffin refused to subject her child to such trauma.
Goulee told Griffin that she should have overlooked the battery and stayed with Sebuliba because he is a “good catch.” (He’s a nurse. She’s unemployed.) Goulee found Griffin in civil contempt of court. He ordered her to jail, because she was a “threat”.
May 15th 2007- Griffin appeared before Judge Goulee. He again told her to give up custody of her son. She refused. Goulee threatened, ” I can keep you here forever.”
Y'all, what the hell?