Police violence against African American women

This video from the USA says about itself:

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women

20 May 2015

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest.

During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, “Police Brutality Against Black Women.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, student newspaper of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA:

#SayHerName highlights police violence against black women

Sofia Edelman

25 August 2015

Stories of rape, murder and discrimination against black women were told at the #SayHerName vigil in front of Wilson Library Monday night. The vigil sought to remember transgender and cisgender black women who were killed by police or died in police custody in recent years. “If anyone asks why we are here, we are here to heal so later we can act,” senior June Beshea, who organized the event, said at the beginning of the vigil. “We are here to say her name because so many have not.”

This vigil comes less than a week after the Silent Sam monument was spray-painted with the words “Who is Sandra Bland?” Bland was a black woman who was found dead in her Texas jail cell in July after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide by officials in Waller County, Texas. During the vigil, the stories of the deaths of 10 black women from around the country were told, highlighting whether or not the police officers involved in the event were indicted. Poets and speakers also took the microphone to tell their personal struggles of feeling unsafe because of their skin color.

“I wasn’t trying to educate as much in this event as more give a space to heal,” Beshea said. “But I guess people will come away from it knowing just the scope of black women that are killed by police in this country.” Beyond holding vigils and offering spaces to grieve, Beshea said she plans to use this semester to showcase plays, display art and hold Pit takeovers under the umbrella of “Black Heals” to celebrate blackness. Reverend Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which co-sponsored the vigil with on-campus groups, said he was happy to see college students taking up social justice issues. “All this feeds into why we should focus on what is the value of a life,” Campbell said. “What is the value of a female’s life? What is her worth? Not just as a mother, not just as a sister, but as a human being that should have the same rights as a male.”

Destinee Grove, president of the UNC chapter of the NAACP, which also co-sponsored the vigil, said she hoped the vigil created allies and informed attendees on what they can do as students to become involved in events like the #SayHerName vigil. “I think (Say Her Name) means ‘don’t forget, don’t move on, don’t be undone by the initial murdering of a person and then forget them. Remember these people,’” Grove said. “It’s a catalyst to keep the movement going. If you just take away anything, I think that’s a positive.” Junior Charity Lackey, who spoke at the vigil, said it’s important that individuals inside and outside the black community learn more about violence against women of color. “I get emotionally drained just trying to see all of the women’s lives that are lost,” she said. “You just have to keep your eyes open and your ears open, and listen more than you speak sometimes.”

Mignon Talbot and the forgotten women of paleontology


On female paleontologist Mary Anning, see here.

Originally posted on Letters from Gondwana.:

Sin título Mignon Talbot  (From Turner et al, 2010)

The nineteenth century was the “golden age” of Geology, and women began to play an important role in the advance of this field of science. They collected fossils and mineral specimens, and were allowed to attend scientific lectures, but they were barred from membership in scientific societies. It was common for male scientists to have women assistants, often their own wives and daughters. A good example of that was Mary Lyell (1808–1873), daughter of the geologist Leonard Horner and the wife of eminent geologist Charles Lyell. But for most of men, the participation of women in geology and paleontology was perceived as a hobby.

Mary Anning (1799-1847), was a special case. She was the most famous woman paleontologist of her time, and found the first specimens of what would later be recognized as Ichthyosaurus, the first complete Plesiosaurus, the first pterosaur skeleton outside Germany…

View original 659 more words

Black Lives Matter, news update

A memorial sits outside the Waller County Jail last month in Hempstead, Texas. Activists have taken to demonstrating outside the jail, where Sandra Bland died in her cell. Photo: Pat Sullivan/AP

From NPR in the USA, 15 August 2015:

It has been another 100-degree day in Hempstead, Texas. But no matter: dozens of activists have still come to demonstrate outside the Waller County Jail, setting up improvised camps and playing songs, as they’ve been doing for the past month. …

Bland’s death also sparked a heated conversation on social media — and inspired activists like the Rev. Hannah Bonner to brave the summer heat demanding answers.

“I’m a millennial, and so I do live in this social media generation,” Bonner says. “But I also understand the weaknesses of that, and one of those is an addiction to technology and also using technology as a placebo for actual action.”

So Bonner drives an hour each way between Houston and Hempstead every day to protest in person. Demonstrators hope to keep attention on the issue by camping out at the jail.

Some days, there are dozens of people gathered here. On this day, there were six, including graduate student Carie Cauley. She’s been taking part in the vigil for three weeks and feels a personal connection to the cause.

“Sandra Bland was black, which I happen to be. She was a woman, which I happen to be. She was educated, which I happen to be. She had a bachelor’s degree, which I happen to have,” Cauley says. …

As Bonner stands strumming her guitar in front of the jail, Waller County resident Mary Dolen approaches her and bursts into tears, sharing her own concerns about local law enforcement.

“I wanted to get the courage to come in here and say something and let you know it’s not just you, it’s not y’all,” Dolen says. “It’s people like me, too.”

By “people like me,” Dolen means white residents. Bonner says she’s had lots of encounters like this over the past month.

“It’s taken people some time of us sitting out here, and now that we’ve been out here long enough, it seems like our courage is giving other people courage to speak up.”

Bonner says connections like these can only be made in person, and that’s what keeps her coming back to Hempstead every day in the 100-degree heat.

Sandra Bland was pulled over for dubious reasons, treated rudely by a Texas state trooper, tackled to the ground, and arrested for “assault.” She died 3 days later in jail custody. Her family has filed a federal lawsuit against Texas authorities for her arrest and subsequent death in jail custody. Details and commentary on what exactly the lawsuit alleges are below: here.

From the CodePink women’s movement in the USA, 14 August 2015:

Dear Activist,

It is time for CODEPINK to join the vigil at the Waller County Sheriff’s Office, calling for an investigation into the death of Sandra Bland. The vigil has already exposed the hate in the sheriff’s office. Bring the Pink to support Hannah Bonner in her vigil for Sandra Bland.

From the Tampa Bay Times in Florida, USA:

Saturday, August 15, 2015 8:31pm …

Nearly 80 people assembled Saturday afternoon at Curtis Hixon Park before marching through downtown for Blackout Tampa, a national event that highlighted police treatment of black Americans and other civil rights issues.

“I’m here because we’re demanding our freedom,” said Jayson James, 31. “I am tired of every day seeing another black person who is murdered, unarmed, by the police.”

The protesters, mainly black but including some whites, wielded signs that read, “Straight outta patience,” “They choose if we live or die,” and “Don’t apologize for your blackness, or your fear.”

As they marched single-file toward the police station, the occasional car sounded its horn, eliciting waves of cheer that rose above the city din. “I believe that we will win, I believe that we will win,” chanted Crystal Wilson, an activist and University of South Florida student.

She weaved through the crowds with fellow activist Ashley Green, a 25-year-old St. Petersburg resident, sparking small bursts of protest songs.

The overwhelming message? Change comes from the bottom, not the top.

Nia Knighton, 19, the event’s main organizer, said it’s essential to discuss institutional racism. “But a lot of the time, we forget to talk about the changes we can make after the protests,” she said, which include equipping children with black history books and providing after-school programs.

Many of the black protesters said they had not been victims of police brutality. “But I know several friends who have been,” said James, of St. Petersburg. He recalled how one of his three brothers was stopped because his windows were “too dark.”

Nothing happened, James said, but these minor events continue to inspire a deep fear in the wake of Sandra Bland, a black Texas woman who died in jail shortly after a routine traffic stop.

Outside the police station, the chanting reached a fever pitch, with protesters denouncing the entire American justice system as “guilty as hell.”

No one came outside.

After a few minutes of demonstration, they crossed through the green light at Kennedy Boulevard and Franklin Street, disrupting a small line of traffic. The cars idled while throngs of black-clothed protesters crowded the intersection, waving flags and jumping up and down.

“Whose streets?” one protester screamed. “Our streets!” came the hearty reply.

Demonstrators, marking the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, protest along West Florrisant Street on Aug. 10, 2015 in Ferguson, Missouri. Getty Images/Scott Olson

From the International Business Times:

Christian Taylor Death: Friends And Family To Gather For Funeral Of Unarmed Football Player Shot By Police

By Luke Villapaz

August 15 2015 11:37 AM EDT

UPDATE 5:28 p.m. EDT: More than 1,000 people gathered Saturday for the funeral of Christian Taylor, the 19-year-old football player shot to death by a rookie police officer in Arlington, Texas. The Dallas Morning News reported among those attending were teammates and coaches from Angelo State University, some five hours away. Also in attendance were Mayor Jeff Williams and Police Chief William Johnson.

The officer involved, Brad Miller, was fired earlier this week.

Journalists Arrested in Ferguson for Doing Their Job: here.

Sandra Bland, African American women update

This video says about itself:

Candlelight Vigil For Sandra Bland in Austin Texas

On July 23, 2015 Austin residents held a candlelight vigil for Sandra Bland that started at the historic Victory Grill and ended at the state capital. Sandra was found dead in a Waller County, Texas jail cell of an alleged suicide. However, her family, friends, and most of the public have questions surrounding her death which has caught the attention of the world. Sandra was a vocal activist who spoke out against social injustices and police brutality.

From Amsterdam News, in New York City in the USA:

Dear Attorney General Loretta Lynch,

8/13/2015, 10:24 a.m

For centuries, Black women in America have been raped, beaten, jailed and killed, with minimal or no federal response. The very recent escalation of the murderous history has caused Black women nationwide to demand a response from you.

I need not recount the past number or the horrific experiences, the degradation of “domestic workers,” used by white men in any way they saw fit, or the “angry Black Sapphire,” who would be put in her place, including those Black women whose station in American had risen above the masses of Black women subjected to the vicious brutality of the systemic racism of America.

Surely your office, nay your leadership, must first acknowledge, investigate and immediately bring to bear the weight of the U.S. attorney general’s office to put a stop to these outrages.

Bring justice for the July 2015 deaths in police custody of Sandra Bland, 28, in Waller, Texas, found hanging in a jail cell after a minor traffic violation; Kindra Chapman, 18, found hanging in a cell in Homewood, Ala., after allegedly stealing someone’s cell phone; Raynetta Turner, 44, arrested for theft in Mt. Vernon, N.Y., found dead in her cell after being returned to police custody from a hospital medical examination; Joyce Curnell, 50, found dead in her cell in Charleston, S.C., after an arrest for shoplifting; Ralkina Jones, 37, found dead in her cell of “unknown” medical issues in Cleveland after an arrest for domestic violence, and for the public police strip-search rape of Charnesia Corley, 21, in Harris County, Texas.

Police terrorism against Black women is escalating nationwide. We regard you, because of your position as attorney general but indeed because you are a Black woman, as someone who can attest to these realities.


Viola Plummer, chair, December 12th Movement

The 5 Black Women Found Dead In Police Custody In 2 Weeks Highlight An Often Silenced Narrative: here.

Can You See Me Now: Raynette Turner, Sandra Bland and the Invisibility of Black Women: here.

Who Is Charnesia Corley? Texas Woman To Sue Police Over Vagina Search In Public After Traffic Stop: here.

As protests continue highlighting the widespread scourge of police brutality and anti-black racism in the U.S., the Department of Justice quietly released a survey on national use-of-force statistics that reveal a twofold dilemma: law enforcement agencies are ineffective at collecting such data—and the lack of such information, in turn, may hamper federal efforts at reforming the police: here.

South Korean self-immolation in anti-Japanese war crimes protest

This video from South Korea says about itself:

This documentary aims to highlight the issue of “Comfort Women” or girls forced into sex slavery by the Japanese Army during World War II as grave violation of human rights that affected AND continues to affect women all across Asia and Europe.

The film begins in South Korea and moves on to meet victims in Wuhan, China, Shanghai, the Philippines and Australia.

It was aired on March 1st, 2013 on Arirang TV, Korea’s only global network.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

South Korea: Man sets himself alight in protest over WWII Japan

Thursday 13th August 2015

AN ELDERLY man set himself on fire in Korea yesterday during a protest demanding Japanese recognition of its war crimes in the 1930s and ’40s.

The rally outside the Japanese embassy in Seoul was held days before the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and the liberation of Korea from Japanese colonial rule.

Protesters rushed to smother the flames after 80-year-old Choi Yeon Yeol poured a bottle of fuel on himself and ignited it in a nearby flowerbed.

Mr Choi was taken to Hallym University Medical Centre, where he was said to be unconscious and suffering breathing difficulties after sustaining third-degree burns to the face, neck, upper body and arms.

Police said that a five-page statement found in his bag, apparently written by himself, condemned Japan’s stance on issues related to its colonial rule of Korea and wartime conduct.

Since 1992 there have been weekly protests in front of the Japanese embassy to demand justice for South Korean women who were forced to work as “comfort women” — a euphemism for sex slaves — for the Japanese military during the war.

Hundreds of thousands of Koreans also were forced to fight as front-line soldiers or work as slave labour.

With the approaching anniversary, yesterday’s turnout was particularly high.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has evaded requests for an official apology, while moving to glorify wartime Japan and remilitarise the country in violation of its post-war constitution.

Ferguson solidarity women, after marriage, four years in jail?

This video is called Ferguson protest leaders get engaged & apply for marriage license at St. Louis City Hall.

These two women, now married, Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell, have been featured on this blog before.

Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell

From SheWired in the USA:

Love Through Activism: Two Ferguson Protesters Get Engaged

Alexis Templeton and Brittany Ferrell proclaimed their love with a marriage proposal at St. Louis City Hall.

By: Trudy Ring

December 17 2014 6:22 PM

Love has blossomed through protests: Two women active in the protests over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., are engaged to be married.

Alexis Templeton, 20, and Brittany Ferrell, 25, met in August at demonstrations calling for police accountability after Brown was shot to death by a Ferguson officer. Both are Ferguson residents and students at the University of Missouri-St. Louis, but they didn’t know each other previously. In an interview with The St. Louis American, Ferrell recalled when she first saw Templeton.

“She had on an UMSL shirt,” Ferrell said. “I was like, ‘Oh, hey.’ I embraced her just because she was there. You hug people and you welcome them, especially in a time like that.”

Their attraction to each other grew quickly. Templeton’s sister, Bre, said she learned about the relationship in mid-September. “Alex came up and sat with my son and she fed him,” she told The Huffington Post. “She was like, ‘Dude, I got a crush.’ I was like, ‘OK, that’s cool.’ And she was like, ‘No, I got a crush on a girl.’ I asked her how she felt about it and she said good. I asked her if she wanted to talk about it and she said no.”

Templeton and Ferrell discussed marriage in private Monday night, then made a public declaration Tuesday at St. Louis City Hall. “One hundred and thirty days ago, I fell in love with somebody and her 6-year-old mini me,” Templeton said to Ferrell in her proposal, in front of friends, strangers, and media, the American reports. “I didn’t expect you to want to be with me … other than fight on the front lines with me. You have every single piece of my heart.”

And now, today.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Ferguson protester faces four years’ jail over charges of kicking SUV

Brittany Ferrell accused by St Louis police of causing $5,000 damage to car as driver forced her way through demonstrators at Michael Brown anniversary

Jon Swaine in New York

Thursday 13 August 2015 02.09 BST

A protest leader in Ferguson, Missouri, could face up to four years in prison after being charged with a felony for allegedly kicking a vehicle as it ploughed through a line of peaceful demonstrators who were blocking a highway.

Brittany Ferrell was accused of causing damage worth more than $5,000 to the SUV as its driver forced her way through the group, which had gathered on Interstate 70 near Ferguson during events to mark the anniversary of the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a police officer.

Ferrell, 26, was charged with first-degree property damage, which is a class D felony in Missouri. She was also charged with trespassing and disturbing the peace, according to Bob McCulloch, the prosecuting attorney for St Louis county, who oversaw the grand jury inquiry into Brown’s death. Ferrell was released on a $10,000 bond on Wednesday.

Ferrell’s wife, Alexis Templeton, was charged with misdemeanour assault for allegedly punching the driver through her vehicle’s window, and misdemeanour charges similar to Ferrell’s for alleged trespass and disturbing the peace. Templeton, 21, has also been released.

The charges prompted a furious reaction among the wider Black Lives Matter protest movement. Brittany Packnett, an activist who sat on President Obama’s White House taskforce on police reform, said several demonstrators were struck by the vehicle.

“Feet don’t cause $5K worth of damage to cars,” Packnett said on Twitter. “McCulloch meant ‘drive over’, not past. They were almost hit.”

Soon after being released on Wednesday Templeton was defiant. “I’m not worried & y’all shouldn’t be either,” she said on Twitter. “We gon get free whether they like it or not!” She urged St Louis county police department to “quit lying”.

The two women are the co-founders of Millennial Activists United, an activist group that grew out of the demonstrations in Ferguson last summer. They married in December 2014 after months of protesting against the deaths of Brown and other people killed by police.

They were arrested the day after the rush-hour highway shutdown, which took place on a “Moral Monday” of civil disobedience, when they went to inquire about dozens of other people arrested during the protest action.

From Poynter.org in the USA:

Aug. 12, 2015 2:07 pm

The News Guild this afternoon condemned charges brought against two Washington-area journalists stemming from their brief detention while covering civil unrest in Missouri last year, joining the chorus of news organizations and journalists who have also voiced their concerns.

The charges, brought by St. Louis County against Washington Post reporter Wesley Lowery and Ryan Reilly of The Huffington Post, came nearly a full year after the pair were arrested in a Ferguson, Missouri McDonalds amid protests against the police in the wake of Michael Brown’s killing.

Lowery and Reilly have been charged with trespassing and interfering with a police officer and have been ordered to appear in a St. Louis County court. They could be arrested if they refuse.

In the statement, the News Guild President Bernie Lunzer called the charges “a gross abuse of power” and a “vile assault on the First Amendment.”

Edward Fitzpatrick: From Missouri to Iran, press freedom under attack: here.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today about Ferguson:

PARAMILITARY vigilantes took to the streets of the US city of Ferguson on Tuesday as protests against police violence began to wind down.

Right-wing libertarian militia the Oath Keepers patrolled the streets of the racially divided city for a second night in a row, even as police outnumbered peaceful protesters.

The group, which purports to protect the US constitution, was first seen in the small hours of Tuesday on West Florissant Avenue, the centre of protests on the anniversary of the police shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown.

St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar criticised the arrival of the militia, whose members openly carried assault rifles and handguns, as “both unnecessary and inflammatory.”

But Missouri Oath Keeper leader John Karriman said that police had approved their presence.

“We checked in with law enforcement when we got here, we told them what we were doing and who we were with,” said Mr Karriman.

“We walked up and they came over and we shook hands and smiled. We said we’re here to protect Info Wars,” referring to far-right conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’s website.

“They nodded and said: ‘Good on ya, just, if you would, please don’t walk through us’.”

Rexdale Henry, 53, a Choctaw activist, died on July 14 in unexplained and suspicious circumstances in the Neshoba County Jail in Philadelphia, Miss. He was being held for unpaid traffic fines, a minor misdemeanor charge: here.