New Jersey 4

Last August in NYC, seven young Black lesbians from New Jersey made news all over the country for stabbing a man for sexually harassing them. The women claim they were acting in self-defense.

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Harassment of lesbians is not uncommon and right now in South Africa a rash of hate-crimes against lesbians is occurring, with many of the assaults resulting in murder.

The case, being dubbed as the NJ4 (4 of the 7 of the women were convicted), is another example of the heavy-handed legal system dolling out sentences that are far harsher than what is appropriate for the crime. (See also: Genarlow Wilson, a 17 year-old Black boy convicted of having consensual oral sex with a 15 year-old girl. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison.)

(See also: Sakia Gunn, a young Black lesbian murdered for refusing the sexual advances of two men.)

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On August 3, 2007 (tomorrow) there is a benefit for the NJ4 at Remote Lounge at 327 Bowery Street between 2nd 3rd Streets in NYC. DJ Umbrella Helen and DJ Tikka Marsala will be on the ones and twos, with all proceeds of the benefit going towards the legal costs. Suggested donation is $10, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds, and donations of more than $10 will be greatly appreciated.

If you happen to be in NYC tomorrow, please come out and support. If not, find another way to support.

For more information or to donate online go to the Fierce website or check out DJ Tikka Marsala’s bulletin on MySpace.

Here’s some background info sent to me by Dee Finley. Thanks Dee!

–YOUNG LESBIANS FROM NEWARK NEED OUR SUPPORT!

On August 18, 2006, seven young African American lesbians traveled to the West Village 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 1⁄2 to 11 years in prison.

The women and their families now call on our communities for support. Their emotional and financial burdens have already been immense. These hardships will only continue as the women begin their prison terms and the process of appeal.

More information:
Seven black lesbians from Newark, NJ get hollered at on a night out in the gay village last August by Dwayne, a black male DVD bootlegger. What he said: let me get some of that, points to Patrice’s crotch. In court he referred to her as the slightly pretty one.)

What she said: we don’t want any of that, we’re lesbians. Other words were exchanged, he said I’ll fuck you straight! And to another of them, You look like an elephant. She said: well what about your ugly ass shoes? “NOT EXACTLY STEVEN MARBURYS HAR HAR HAR says Judge McLachlin.” Flicks a lit cig at her face.

Yanks out Renata’s hair and starts to choke her.

Go back a few years to May 11, 2003. Fifteen year old Sakia Gunn and a group of friends were coming home from the village via the PATH- Newark. Sakia and her friend were cruised by two black men while waiting for a bus. One of the men jumped out of the car and murdered Sakia in cold blood when she said she was a lesbian, no thanks. This was a classmate of some of these women. 2,500 people showed up at her funeral and mass protests were held to improve the safety of Newark, NJ for it LGBT2sp&GNC youth. The mayors office made a showing and had little to no follow up on the plans to build a safe recreation center.

Compare the press coverage to that of another hate crime committed across the US in Laramie, WY in 1998. Matthew Shepherd’s story has come out posthumously in the form of a foundation in his name, PSA by HRC a widely performed play in 2000 and an HBO film in 2002. His story is taught as curriculum in Universities. In the months after this cute blonde, gay white boy’s murder by straight white men, several hundred articles were written. Only about fifteen articles were written about Sakia Gunn’s murder.

Patrice(under 5 ft.) under oath admits I cut him one time with the dollar store steak knife she carried every night from her night shift at WalMart as a necessary safety precaution. Cut him one time and they walk away.

The court room is full of supporters of the women, there’s an all white jury, white judge, and a bunch of federal martials barking at thesupporters for itching a scratch. The women are all black, their accuser, their attacker, is black. But the press has made him into everyman, straight man, working man, attacked by a wolfpack of black lesbian women for saying ‘hi’.
Tell it to the judge-hear ye from the judge- “I HAVE NO SYMPATHY FOR YOU, YOU MAKE OUR CITY UNSAFE FOR TOURISTS”

Meanwhile surviellance cameras capture two men that jump in on the fight, beating the living crap out of Dwayne while the girls go to MacDonalds a block away, the seven are arrested and charged as a gang with attempted murder. The men who beat Dwayne are never questioned, The knife is never tested. Dwayne is never charged with assault. Its been almost a year of everyone’s life. Two of the women who have been imprisioned since that day have kids, two family members have died, one of their moms morgtgaged her house to move closer only for her daughter to be transferred six hours away to another prison. Terrain got 3 1/2 years, she is a gifted writer who likes junk food, her mom says, a brat. Venice got 5 years. Three of the women plead out to second degree gang assault charges, served six months time and are out on parole. Write Venice and Terrain at Albion Correctional facility.

Renata got 8 years, Patreese got 11 years out of a maximun of 25 on reduced charges, and are upstate at Bedford Hills maximum security.
Please repost! All proceeds go to the cause!

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