Post Demonstration Press Release: Transgender and Cisgender Groups Demand Transparent Investigation of Transphobic Murder of Islan Nettles

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:  January 31, 2014

CONTACT:

E. NARIKO WRIGHT Luzs.Daughter.Cares@gmail.com 718-924-3322

TERRY ROETHLEIN  tkr2001@columbia.edu 347-449-2881

WEBSITE:

https://luzsdaughtercares.wordpress.com/2014/01/20/press-release-justice-for-islan-nettles/

 Transgender and Cisgender Groups Demand Transparent Investigation of Transphobic Murder of Islan Nettles

 On Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 4 p.m., over 150 transgender protestors and their supporters braved sub-zero temperatures to gather outside of NYC Police Headquarters in Downtown Manhattan to demand incoming NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and the NYPD explain thier negligent investigation in the immediate aftermath of the brutal beating death of transgender woman Islan Nettles last summer in Harlem. The emotionally charged group also demanded a report on the current status of the case’s lagging homicide investigation by NY County District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., and later in the evening emailed an extensive list of questions to Bratton and Vance.

“There is a target on the backs of trans women of color!” said Lourdes Hunter, Co-Founder, Trans Women of Color Collective of Greater New York, who spoke at the event.  “If Islan was a white woman we would not be out in the cold demanding justice!” she said from atop snow-encrusted steps at One Police Plaza.

A series of impassioned speeches by Hunter and others were punctuated by fiery chants against the NYPD, including “NYPD do your job!”  Enumerating the many errors and delays in the investigation, protestors chanted “How many more? Not one more!” and “Trans lives matter!”

Speakers angrily repeated the puzzling details of the August 17, 2013 attack, including the fact that officers from Public Service Area 6, where the crime occurred, pulled Paris Wilson, the accused assailant, off of Nettles yet failed to adequately question Nettles’ or Wilson’s companions and never checked on Nettles’ condition after her admittance to Harlem Hospital, where she later died. A failure to obtain DNA evidence from the assailant’s hands and ten broken surveillance cameras at the location were viewed as serious problems that had not been addressed in the case.  Speakers also expressed disgust over the fact that Simone Wilson, Paris Wilson’s mother, coerced another man into falsely confessing to the crime but she was never held accountable for hindering the investigation. Five months after the unsolved murder, protesters were still enraged that even a misdemeanor charge against Paris Wilson was dropped and that the D.A.’s office had produced no new charges in its homicide investigation.

Delores Nettles, mother of the victim, said the NYPD’s handling of the case was so inept that an officer called her three weeks ago to ask for Paris Wilson’s address.

Telling the crowd about findings published in her recent report on various statistics on transgender Americans, Jennifer Louise Lopez, of media group Everything Transgender in NYC, said that of the approximately 750,000 transgender people in the United States, 90% are likely to experience discrimination, mistreatment, or harassment. She also said that 61% of Black and Latino transgender individuals report harassment by police, and that there were 16 reported murders of transgender people in the United States in 2013.

“Islan Nettles is my fourth trans client who has been murdered in the streets of NYC in the twenty years I have worked with homeless youths,” said Carl Siciliano, Executive Director of the Ali Forney Center, which houses homeless LGBT youths. “Not one of their murderers has been brought to justice. This is a disgrace that reveals a pattern of transphobic bias on the part of the NYPD,” he said.

“The murder of Islan Nettles is an unspeakable tragedy and the police and district attorney’s response has been underwhelming and disappointing,” said Melissa Sklarz, President of Stonewall Democrats of New York City. “The New York trans population is probably the biggest in America and yet, young people like Islan Nettles, and Lorena Escalera before her, are killed in cold blood and no justice is done,” she said.

Endorsers included the Transgender/Cisgender Coalition, ACT UP NY, Luz’s Daughter Cares, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), Harlem Pride, Lambda Legal, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, Translatina Network, Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), Stonewall Democratic Club of NYC, Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, Destination Tomorrow, Ali Forney Center, VOCAL-NY, ETNYC, Global Network of Black Pride, and Make the Road.

 

PRESS RELEASE: Coalition of Human Rights Groups Demands Transparent Investigation of Brutal Transphobic Murder of Islan Nettles & all victims of transphobic violence in New York City.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 20, 2014

CONTACT: E. NARIKO WRIGHT

EMAIL: Luzs.Daughter.Cares@gmail.com // http://wp.me/p44SHq-bu

NYC Human Rights Coalition Demands Transparent Investigation of Brutal Transphobic Murder of Islan Nettles

On Thursday, January 30th, 2014 at 4 p.m., a coalition of representatives from New York City human rights organizations (including transgender and cisgender [non-transgender] activists) will protest the NYPD’s negligence in the immediate aftermath of the brutal beating death of transgender woman, Islan Nettles. The protest at One Police Plaza demands an explanation by incoming NYC Police Commissioner William Bratton and the NYPD for its initial malfeasance and demands a report on the current status of the felony investigation by NY County District Attorney Cyrus R.Vance, Jr. Members of The Transgender/Cisgender Coalition, ACT UP NY, Luz’s Daughter Cares, Trans Women of Color Collective (TWOCC), LGBT Faith Leaders of African Descent, Harlem Pride, Strategic Trans Alliance for Radical Reform (STARR), Jamaica Anti-Homophobia Stand, Ali Forney Center, Lambda Legal, Everything Transgender New York City (ETNYC), Translatina Network, Stonewall Democratic Club of NY, VOCAL, Make the Road, Global Network of Black Pride and Destination Tomorrow have all endorsed the action.

Several glaringly obvious breaches of procedure stand out about this case. At midnight, August 17, 2013, Paris Wilson, accompanied by friends, flirted with Islan Nettles in Harlem, directly across the street from Police Service Area 6 at 2770 Frederick Douglass Boulevard, between West 147th and West 148th Street.  (Public Service Area 6 covers the 24th, 26th, and 32nd Precincts.) Upon realizing Nettles was transgender, Wilson became enraged and began to harass Nettles and her transgender companions with transphobic slurs. Wilson began punching Nettles vigorously in the face until she fell to the pavement, slamming her head on concrete, according to the NYPD. Notified by one of Nettles’ friends, police officers arrived at the scene and pulled Wilson off of Nettles, according to DNAinfo.com. Nettles was then transported to Harlem Hospital and admitted with severe head trauma. Officers at Police Service Area 6 did not question Nettles’ companions thoroughly and never checked on Nettles’ condition after her admittance to Harlem Hospital, law enforcement sources have confirmed. Officers at the scene never obtained DNA evidence from Paris Wilson’s hands. Investigations were halted until August 23rd, when the D.A.’s office learned that Nettles was declared brain dead and removed from life support. When asked about crucial footage from the ten surveillance cameras located on the PSA 6 edifice and on surrounding structures, the D.A.’s office said all cameras were broken and no footage existed.

After the assault, Simone Wilson, mother of Paris Wilson, coerced an inebriated friend of her son to confess to the crime but he later denied the allegations, according to the NYPD. Shockingly, Simone Wilson was never held accountable for falsifying evidence or for hindering the investigation. Nettles’ friends and family also report that Simone Wilson aggressively photographed them at Harlem Hospital, as if threatening them if they filed charges. Following a misdemeanor charge of third degree assault, Paris Wilson was immediately released from jail on a mere $2,000 bail and on November 19th even that charge was dropped due to “lack of evidence.”  The D.A.’s office has since said it is “aggressively investigating the crime as a homicide,” but no suspect or statement on the progress of the investigation have been presented in the two months since the investigation began.

The Jan. 30 protest calls for the NYPD to explain its failure to immediately and adequately investigate the crime scene, question witnesses, retain DNA samples and surveillance footage, and check on Nettles’ condition, even if the crime was initially misperceived as merely an assault. We call for the NYPD to explain why Simone Wilson has never been charged with obstruction of justice. We demand that D.A. Vance provide a status report on the investigation. Finally, we call for the NYPD to audit the 24th, 26th, and 32nd Precincts and all city precincts for their capacity to conduct timely and unbiased investigations of this and all transphobic violent crimes.

“The transgender and cisgender communities together call on William Bratton and the NYPD to set an example with the Islan Nettles case by committing to seeing justice served, for Islan Nettles and all victims of transphobic violence in New York City,” said Brooke Cerda Guzman.

PROTEST: Thursday, January 30th 2014, 4 p.m., One Police Plaza, Manhattan

Take the 4,5,6, J, Z trains to Brooklyn Bridge/City Hall, walk on Chambers St. straight through the One Centre Street building, past the large red sculpture, to the front entrance of One Police Plaza.

Incarcerated To Death: How The Mentally Ill Are Abused, Neglected, And Humiliated In South Carolina’s Prisons

Jerome Laudman, a schizophrenic, intellectually disabled inmate in South Carolina, was placed in solitary confinement, although he was neither aggressive nor threatening. During his transfer to the “Lee Supermax” facility, he was sprayed with chemical munitions and physically abused by a correctional officer. Although the transfer should have been recorded, the videotape turned up blank. While Laudman was confined naked in his cell, officers observed that Laudman had stopped eating and taking his medication, and appeared sick and weak. They did not report it. A week later, he was found laying in his own feces with 15-20 trays of molding food in his cell, vomiting. Nurses and an officer refused to retrieve his body. When two inmates were eventually sent to remove him, he was transferred unconscious to a hospital, where he died of a heart-attack.

Continue reading this story by Nicole Flatow here: http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2014/01/08/3137621/incarcerated-death-mentally-abused-neglected-humiliated-south-carolinas-prisons/

 

Racism, Sexism, And The 50-Year Campaign To Undermine The War On Poverty

povertyIt has been 50 years since Lyndon Johnson first declared that the nation could, “for the first time in our history,” conquer and win a war on poverty, pledging a “total commitment by this President, and this Congress, and this nation, to pursue victory over the most ancient of mankind’s enemies.”

1960s –

Reagan: “She wanted a divorce to get an 80 dollar raise.”

Late 1960s – Early 1970s –

Nixon claims the War on Poverty programs led to race riots, “violence and failure across the land.”

1980s –

Reagan seizes on “the continued backlash against civil rights” to oppose welfare programs.

1990s –

Bill Clinton’s welfare reform and chastity training for poor single mothers.

2000s –

President Bush expands food stamps and unemployment benefits.

2012 –

The 47 percent.

Read the complete article By Igor Volsky here:

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/01/08/3122111/war-poverty-race-sexism/

Trayvon Wasn’t the First: Sanford’s Black Problem

trayvon-martin-death-photos-6-27-13-1Not guilty.

I wasn’t surprised by the verdict. I was born and raised in Sanford, a city of 54,000 people north of Orlando. For many years, an invisible line separated Black and White, rich and poor.

The shooting exposed Sanford’s racist history and the years of mistreatment and mistrust by the mostly White police department in the Black community.

I had been a journalist for more than 20 years, but this was my first time covering a trial. Even so, I knew something was terribly wrong during jury selection when a White woman in her 50s said that Trayvon Martin would have never been shot and killed if he hadn’t been suspended from school. She was chosen for the jury. I watched as a blond woman in her 30s seemed to flirt with defense attorney Mark O’Mara. She also was chosen. From the beginning I wondered, “Will this group of mostly middle-aged White women really understand the life, the challenges, the fears of a 17-year-old Black boy?”

Read the complete story here: http://http://www.essence.com/2013/07/18/trayvon-wasn%E2%80%99t-first-sanford%E2%80%99s-black-problem?XID=OUTBRAIN_EE

The forgotten victims of Haiti’s earthquake

t1larg_haiti_clouds_giFour years ago this Sunday, a devastating earthquake struck the Caribbean island of Haiti, leaving an estimated 200,000 people dead and more than 2 million homeless. It was a disaster on an almost unprecedented scale. And, for a country already wracked by poverty with so many institutional weaknesses, it was a complete catastrophe.

Unsurprisingly, in the aftermath of the earthquake, Haiti was headline news across the globe. Yet four years on, with the cameras gone, the problems and suffering of the people remain.

Read the complete article here:  http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/01/10/the-forgotten-victims-of-haitis-earthquake/

Want to know what REALLY happened in the Islan Nettles case? Listen to this:

Justice for Islan Nettles UNCUT – The Radio Interview

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/social_action/2014/01/10/social-action-radio-justice-4-islan-nettles-transphobia-and-homicide#.UszXbSsZPtB.facebook

What Nene Leakes of Real Housewives of Atlanta & I have in common, more or less…

Twin parksI remember, I was about 11/12 years old, crossing the street of my projects complex in the South Bronx when a female voice with a heavy Southern drawl called my name. This would be around 1981 or 1982 and we were well trained back then – no talking to strangers. Still, the woman calling my name had authority in her voice. Made me feel like I should respond. I turned around and an old woman of less than 5 feet, dark complexion, stood there with her hand on her hips and said, “Nariko, do you know who I am?” Umm, well no I could not recall, I thought and shook my head. Turned out she was my dad’s mom! How did she recognize me when I could not recall her? She pointed across the street to the other side of Twin Parks projects where she now lived, gave me the apartment number and told me she expected to see me often. Then she wrote something down on the brown paper bag of groceries she was carrying, tore off a piece, folded it over several times and handed it to me.

Well, I’ll be damned! I just bumped into my father’s mother!  I’ve never seen, nor ever even spoken to my father! My mom had quietly, always spoken highly of him. She told me that my father had been the best man she’d known in her life and after him there could be no other. She also iterated, he was locked up for a long, long, long time on a federal charge of some sort of theft. I could not recall if it was bank robbery or jewelry theft. She said not to worry, that he had hid some of it away so when I was grown I’d have some of it. Hell, what did I know? Sounded like a good thing to a young girl growing up in the projects! I couldn’t be more happier except I was confused. If daddy was so great, why weren’t you together?

My mom, (for as long as I could remember) was the lifetime partner of Denise*. Denise, was an aggressive female who was head of our household. My parents were both females. That however, wasn’t what confused me. My mom had explained my father to me as if he’d been a fairy tale. Beyond reach. How is it with a piece of paper and a pencil I could actually, (gasp) communicate with him?

Those were my thoughts as I skipped home after meeting my grandmother for the first time. I told Mom everything. Hard ass Denise tried to say this or that to end the conversation but for once, my mom wasn’t having it. Guess she really had loved my daddy because she never stood up to Denise for anything. I showed her what Granny had given me; an address to write daddy. I could see the steam coming out of Denise’s ears but nonetheless mom found me a pad, pencil and 3 crumbled mail stamps. Later that night while Denise threw my mom around their room beating her and making her cry for allowing the extension of my father into our home, I selfishly ignored them and wrote my dad my very  first letter. I so wanted a father. Someone outside this madness to love me and claim me.

From that night forward, the relationship between my dad & I was just that. My mom never questioned me and Denise kept to her own business. It was my dad, through letters who introduced me to Islam and the Quran. We explored and shared many things that I had no need to involve my mom in. That was until I turned fourteen and needed my social security card and birth certificate to register for Summer Youth Employment. Casually my mom handed me my birth certificate and left my bedroom.

Slowly, I rubbed my fingers, then my palms across the aged paper. Then I read the contents; Mother: Luz Maria Gonzalez* of Puerto Rico, Father: Barrington Wright of Jamaica, WI. Huh!? I shook my head as if there were bubbles in it. This was wrong. The man I have been writing to for two years, my father – his name was Bobby Simmons*. I called out for my Mom. That is rare in my family. You wait to speak when you are spoken to, yet she came to me as if expecting my call.

She explained the discrepancy on my birth certificate as such; she said that her and my dad had dated for a while and my father had told her she was not the only one.  My dad, being the smooth 70’s cat he was, openly dated a few women and none would risk fighting each other and losing him. Mom, with love in her voice explained to me it was her, not him who decided to move on. She left my father’s dating circle and began to date a Jamaican by the name of Barrington Wright. In the interim of dating Barrington, she found out she was pregnant. She said, while she knew by the calendar date that the child in her stomach was Bobby’s, Barrington was kind and loving and most importantly needed a green card. That was the reason why she named him as my father on my birth certificate. It made sense to a pre-teen who was happy just writing a father who two years ago didn’t exist. What the hell did I know about green cards?

Fast forward to a decade or so, after my mother died, after my father and I agreed to disagree on some of the choices I made in life while he was still incarcerated, after my first and only child was born: my father was released from prison. If I remember correctly my age was somewhere in the early 30’s. On my birthday, he pulled me into a private room of the church he worked in and over a lighted cake, told me he didn’t think I was his daughter. Just like that.

He said it was impossible that I was his daughter because both he and my mom stopped having “affairs” many months before I could have been conceived and it simply was not possible. Internally my glass shattered. He was all I had left. I’d been writing him for decades,  sending money orders to him for decades, writing the parole board begging for his release many times. What is he saying to me? And why now, when I can finally see him in the flesh and hold him in my arms? Mom said my dad was all of this but he was telling me he was none of that. Now what? The child within me conditioned to neglect and abuse put a smile on the face of the adult I now was and said, “Oh Daddy, stop it! I am your daughter!” So he said no more about it.

Still, I was overwhelmed by his declaration. I questioned my oldest sister (I have three older sisters who share the same father) and she said, “Come to think of it, Mom was away from Bobby a long time before she got pregnant with you. I remember Barrington you know? He was short and so handsome. Light-skinned Jamaican. Cooked real good but right after you were born he was gone. You DO look like him, actually.”

I asked my aunt, the oldest living sister to my mother, the aunt who raised my sisters and I when my mother couldn’t or wouldn’t. “Titi Maria*, my dad said I may not be his. Mommy is gone so tell me the truth – is it possible the man on my birth certificate IS my actual father?” “Oh, no, no, no” she said, “that’s not possible. Bobby is your father and don’t ask any questions about it.”

Several years passed, and circumstances and events beyond my control kept bringing me back to my father’s declaration that I may not be his daughter. I couldn’t take it anymore. I ordered a paternity kit from on-line. When I approached my father about doing the procedure, he cried. He NEVER cries. He asked why would I want that? He seemed to have forgotten it was he, who brought it to my attention – that I may not be his daughter. Privately, we followed the instructions and swirled the swap inside our mouths collecting the needed saliva. I packaged the swabs as directed and sent it off in the mail. Results take up to six weeks.

After eight weeks, I received the results. Slowly, I rubbed my fingers, then my palms across the envelope. Just like I had my birth certificate the very first time my mother handed it to me. I put it down. I needed a drink. I fixed myself a shot of Jameson, took it back into my throat and let it warm my heart. Only then did I retrieve the envelope. Now, with courage I did not have five minutes ago, I tore it open and pulled out the results.

It said, I was 98.9% not related to the man I’d known to be my father. The year was 2008 and it would prove to be one of the worst years of my life!

Like Nene Leakes, I wish I had not pursued the truth …

From my heart to yours,

I am Luz’s Daughter…

For I know not who my Father is.

*Names have been changed to protect the privacy of the person/persons  referred to in the story

THOUGHT OF THE DAY

“Control oil and you control nations, control food and you control the people”
-Kissinger

Reflect on these words as we go to war time and time again with nations rich in oil under the perception of fighting terrorism.

Consider the purpose as American companies such as Monsanto, integrate Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) as the world’s main food source, eliminating nature and eliminating options.
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