June 2, 2014
NewBlackMan (in Exile): When There Isn't a Case for Debate: Black Men Listening to Our Sisters

Carrie Mae Weems (The Kitchen Table Series)

When There Isn’t a Case for Debate: Black Men Listening to Our Sisters
(organized by Brothers Writing to Live ~ Darnell L. Moore, Mark Anthony Neal, Kiese Laymon, Marlon Precedent Peterson, Mychal Denzel Smith, Wade Davis, Kai M. Green, Hashim Khalil Pipkin)
Brothers Writing to Live is a collective formed across identities, geographical boundaries and generations to create space for black men to work through the question of what a progressive black masculinity looks like. We come together through the understanding that there is power and transformation in collective struggle. It is imperative that we push one another, with trust and love, to think critically about the ways we move in a world created by toxic visions of blackness and manhood.
It is with that as our mission that we have recently engaged in a public conversation around the issue of sexual violence, one sparked by the dissemination of retrograde ideas surrounding black womanhood through the blogosphere. We reject these ideas on the basis that they help promote rape culture and absolve black men of their responsibility to confront the destructive forces of patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism that continue to afflict the lives of black women. It is particularly egregious given that black women have been at the forefront of movements to end racist oppression of black men. It is cause for shame that we have not shown up in a meaningful way for them.
Brothers Writing to Live seeks to model a new path forward, where black men are no longer silent on the issues which face black women, particularly those that implicate black men. We have talked. We have written. But talking and writing are not enough. The most radical thing we can do is listen. We must learn to actively and intently listen when black women tell us the stories of their lives and what we as black men need to do in order to support them. We must learn to step back from our privilege and be led by the sisters already doing the work. We can not presume to know all there is to know about patriarchy, misogyny, and sexism ravaging our black communities. We must be willing to hear the truth about our complicity in these system of oppression and hatred, and then take adequate steps toward reconciliation and healing.
It is with this in mind that we turn to our sisters, whose brilliance is unmatched and whose dedication to building strong communities inspires us all to move forward with the same graciousness, respect, and love that they have shown us throughout history.
Here, we listen. We encourage you to listen, too.
Mari Morales-Williams:
I’m the education director of a community center in a tough neighborhood in North Philadelphia.  One day, I was speaking with a 9 year Puerto Rican boy in my office about his phone.  When I asked him who he texted, two other young men in their 20’s joked, “He texts his girlfriend.”  The boy laughed and agreed. When I asked him why did he like his girlfriend, he said that she had a big butt. I looked at him squarely and probed, “Is your girlfriend a body part or a human being?”  He laughed and said, “A body part.”  The older youth joined in his banter.
That is what misogyny sounds like on a 9 year old boy.  And as long as men continue to think that that is funny or not that big of a deal, then they will have a hard time seeing how that kind of thinking has unhealthy effects on how young boys and men build genuine relationships with girls and women.  That kind of thinking keeps boys and men from seeing how they become violent with women in small and profound ways.  I’m not speaking of brutal acts of violence that are privileged in media.  That is a naïve and basic way to think about how sexual violence occurs in reality.  I mean the everyday violence that is seen as “not that serious”: harassing a girl in the street because of what she is wearing, bullying a girl in school because she doesn’t like you, only being courteous to feminine presenting women or women you think are pretty, only engaging with women to have your needs fulfilled, and the list goes on.  Men can end sexual violence by broadening their minds about what that violence looks like and being honest about how they might engage in that.  They can stop it by letting their younger brothers know that such violence is far from something to joke about, but a sore wound that we all need healing from.
Lori Adelman:
"We are of the same blood, you and I." -Rudyard Kipling
Vengeful. “That woman”. Leg-opener. Diseased. “Stripper/jump off/random woman.” Child-support thief. Life-ruiner. “FLAT-OUT-CRAZY.” Temptress. Deceitful. “A wolf in freaks clothing.” Punitive. Greedy.
These are just a few of the characterizations of black women perpetuated in an effort to make the case for black men to “be careful about their sexual choices” and presumably avoid fates such as unwanted fatherhood, STIs, or unjust detention.
I wish I were more surprised. I wish I could feign outrage or even ignorance. But the truth is, I’ve become accustomed to this line of thinking, one in which uplifting blacks is a zero-sum game requiring sacrifice in the name of solidarity above all — which just happens to fall neatly across gender lines. In this line of thinking, rather than tackling systemic injustices by fighting said systems and the correlating powers-at-be, we can simply demonize and deride black women, and particularly their sexuality, to solve a problem like mass incarceration.
I understand the pain goes deep, and black men are looking for solutions to a problem they didn’t invent, that shouldn’t exist. But our pain goes deep, too. The rates of sexual violence — including intimate partner violence and sexual assault — against black women are alarming. Hateful stereotypes and mischaracterizations compound this unprecedented epidemic in ways both concrete and immeasurable.
This is hardly a battle of the sexes; for community solutions to a wide range of issues, black men need look no further than the very “jump offs” and “wolves” they so joyously berates. Rather than trumped up stereotypes of mythical female demons, black women are community leaders; activists; organizers; advocates; journalists; and so much more. We are in the streets fighting against unfair drug laws and “stop & frisk” policies, and for reproductive health access in our communities. We may make for an easy scapegoat, but women of color are not the obstacle standing in the way of black men’s emancipation. We must be each other’s saviors, not demons. We are of the same blood.
Je-Shawna Wholley:
There is a way to encourage men to make healthy and informed decisions about their sexual partners without painting this picture of women being gold-diggers, conniving, and armed with an agenda of entrapment. What is to be gained from this narrative? Where is the self-accountability? At the end of the day, the key to saving Black men should never be the demise of Black women. We are not your enemy.
Moreover, we often speak of rape with a lightness that completely dismisses the trans-historic and everlasting trauma that is a result of rape and rape culture.  As a Black woman who is also a survivor of sexual assault conversations centered on rape are honestly triggering for me. I vividly remember sitting in the court room on the same pew as my assailant’s family. I remember feeling shamed when his mother looked at me and then shouted out to her son “it’s going to be okay baby,” as if to let me know that she “knew” her son was innocent. I remember her glares. I remember the sadness I felt as I looked at his toddler son. I was putting another Black father in jail. I was responsible for another Black boy growing up without his father. But these internalized pressures are far from the truth. I was not responsible for any of that. No matter how hard it must be for that mother to realize that her son sexually assaulted me, it is the truth. I did not “put” him in jail; his actions and the punitive system that we live by are responsible for that.
Instead of centering the bodies and experiences of Black women in a conversation amongst men about “how to not be accused of rape” I would like to see men having a healthy dialog about consent. What does it mean to gain consent from your partner? How do you start that conversation? What is the difference between “yes” and “not no?” Is there a difference between the two? What are healthy sexual boundaries? Who determines these sexual boundaries in our society, men or women? How do we honor the trans-historic realities as it pertains to Black bodies (of all genders)?
Mariame Kaba:
Feminist organizers responding to the murders of black women in Boston in 1979 marched in the streets in protest carrying a banner with a line from a poem by civil rights organizer Barbara Deming which read: “WE CANNOT LIVE WITHOUT OUR LIVES.” In 2014, the assaults against Black women are unrelenting. We continue to be disproportionately beaten, stalked, raped, imprisoned, disappeared, and murdered. We are fighting for our lives. We need solidarity rather than vitriol and violence from black men.
In his seminal 1970 essay about rape, Kalamu ya Salaam wrote: “The rape of African-American women is not seen as a major problem precisely because the victim is both Black and female in a racist and sexist society.” We desperately need black men to see anti gender-based violence as a primary site of their activism and organizing. I can only ask ‘what’s taking so long?’ We desperately need each other if we are to live fully and ultimately be free. Black women cannot live without our lives.
Brittany Carter:
The idea that being falsely accused of rape is as harmful as the actual rape of a black woman’s body is rather mind-blowing.  The same line of thinking informs the popular claim that being called a racist is somehow as harmful as enduring the actual violence of white supremacy.  This is the ingenuity of dehumanization - attempting to level the playing field between the oppressor and the oppressed so that the two become indistinguishable and justice itself becomes elusive.  If the conversation is, in fact, about justice (and it should be), then surely there is a way to lay out the harms of false accusations of rape and their contributions to the epidemic of mass incarceration without doing so at the expense of our sisters. Historically, subjugating black women in the service of black men’s liberation is a strategy that has not served the black freedom struggle well.
Charlene Carruthers:
We too, are human and deserving of safety and agency. Black women don’t need protection — we need recognition, respect, love and the forging of transformative spaces in partnership with Black men.
Sarah Haley:
Recently, some have attempted to shed light on a taboo and allegedly serious (but undocumented) problem of black women’s complicity in black male incarceration, claiming this as a radical act of antiracism.  Some might believe that trafficking in powerful and wholly American stereotypes of black female sexual treachery is an effective strategy to make the academy more relevant to black communal interests.  By this logic exposing a hidden pattern of women’s sexual revenge (erroneous rape allegations) that purportedly leads to black male incarceration is a public service.  This strategy is…regrettable.Critics of this approach have been accused of espousing Democratic liberalism, which is ironic because it is the notion that black women are to blame for black men’s carceral downfall that constitutes the mainstay of mainstream bipartisan law and order politics; such stereotypes of black female moral and sexual pathology contribute to the criminalization of black women to be sure, subjecting them in disproportionate numbers to the terror of incarceration each and every day.  But they also fortify assumptions about the thorough and unredeemable inferiority and criminality of black communities writ large.  For such morally bereft and lascivious black women are believed to inculcate and socialize (if not biologically propagate) moral deviance, endowing their daughters and sons with such depraved and criminal characteristics and reproducing a culture (tangle) of pathology.  This condemnation of blackness that scholars have so eloquently exposed ensnares both black women and men in extraordinarily violent regimes of exclusion and captivity.  It is an inadvisable approach to refute presumptions of black male guilt by imposing such presumptions upon black women.  Of course there are other ways of thinking about gender, violence, and imprisonment.  Black women and men in and beyond the academy have advocated prison abolition, one of the most radical and expansive critiques of white supremacy and the prison industrial complex.  This abolitionist theorizing and organizing emerged from a deep and thorough recognition of the magnitude of harm that imprisonment wreaks upon poor, LGBT, Black, and Brown communities, women and men.  It comes from the recognition that carceral terror relies upon late capitalist surpluses and stereotypes of black male threat as well as notions of black female deviance, black women’s perceived irrationality, unscrupulousness, and hypersexuality.  Dismantling will prove far more effective than redeploying the ideological brick and mortar of mass incarceration. 
Danielle Moodie-Mills:
Excusing rape by blaming black women for our “wild ways” is not only disturbing but an incredibly dangerous act. The number of men that have been wrongly accused of sexual assault pales in comparison to the number of women that are scarred both emotionally and physically by having their bodies violated against their will.  We need to have honest conversations about rape and rape culture within the black community that don’t pin men against women and vice versa.  We need to create a culture of respect and compassion for black women, not degrade them as objects of sexual desire or perpetuate the idea that black women are just trying to “trap a man” and are mischievous and not to be trusted.  Instead of enlightening the “brothers” using old tropes to that allow black men to escape responsibility from ending rape and rape culture.  We need responsible policy and engagement not rhetoric.
Heidi Renee Lewis:
Just over a year ago, in March 2013, my colleagues and I published short video responses to Rick Ross’ “U.O.E.N.O.” lyrics in which he raps about giving a woman drugs and having sex with her without her knowledge. While we did receive a lot of support for speaking out against rape culture, we also received many heinous and violent threats. One viewer commented that the women in our videos should actually be raped. For these reasons and others, it was, and still is, important that our brothers, including Darnell L. Moore and Mark Anthony Neal of Brothers Writing to Live, participated in the videos. These Black men were able to stand strong beside (not in front of) Black women, because they know, as we all should, that 1 in 3 women will be raped in their lifetime and that most sexual assaults are committed by perpetrators of the same race as their victims. These Black men were able to stand strong beside (not in front of) Black women, because they know, as we all should, that most Black women victims of sexual assault remain silent due to the shame and violence they fear they will face if they speak out. Almost 40 years ago in “A Black Feminist Statement,” the Combahee River Collective wrote, “We struggle together with Black men against racism, while we also struggle with Black men about sexism.” The same year, Audre Lorde reminded us, during a panel at the MLA, “My silences had not protected me. Your silence will not protect you.” How long will it take for us to learn that we must work together to fight a persistent and dominant rape culture that tells Black women that we aren’t worth the love and loyalty that we need? How long will it take? How long?
Sikivu Hutchinson:
Every day I work with young Black women and girls who have been emotionally and mentally battered by the constant cultural propaganda that their sexuality is dirty, pathological and destructive.  As “protectors” and “defenders” of Black masculinity, black girls are taught early on that unquestioned allegiance to Black boys and men should supersede their allegiance to themselves.  They learn early on that there will be no “My Sister’s Keeper” initiatives to “save” them, nor national attention given to the epidemic rates of sexual assault, intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS contraction and Black female criminalization that jeopardizes all Black lives, families, and communities.  They are repeatedly shown in white supremacist corporate mass media, popular culture and the Black community that violence and systematized terrorism against Black women and girls is acceptable, normal and “just the way shit is”. Despite the long history of radical Black feminist resistance, violence against Black women and girls has never been regarded as an urgent civil or human rights issue in Black liberation struggles.  Due to this history, it is imperative that more Black men and boys stand with Black women and girls against the structures of patriarchy, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia which normalize and institutionalize violence against women of color.  For starters, Black men and boys can begin having the difficult conversation about how toxic, naturalized images of hypersexual Black women and women of color shape their everyday practice, relationships, sexuality and gendered perceptions.  They can actively support the intersectional activism of black cis, lesbian, bi and trans women around intimate partner violence, HIV/AIDS and STI education, sexual assault and criminalization.  Instead of venerating the usual charismatic male civil rights heroes they can lift up the lives of lesser known figures in movement struggle like Ida B. Wells, Claudette Colvin and Recy Taylor; women whose forerunning activism linked Black women’s resistance to sexual assault and sexual harassment with civil rights struggle.  Through the holocaust of slavery and racial apartheid, Black men have never been told by Black women that their dehumanization was normal, natural and “just the way shit is”.  Yet, even when it was at their expense, Black women have always been expected to uncritically support Black men’s self-determination.  This double standard endangers Black lives.
Syreeta McFadden:
I wonder what kind of naivete persists in this conversation among men in our community that would continue propagate a narrative of rampant mistrust of women that could ultimately lead to sexual misconduct, assault and rape. I wonder what’s at stake for masculinity when we teach men not to rape. What is it about no that we fail to understand? How is possible that we do harm to people we claim to love? What kind of world do we believe must be protected to teach young men to embrace this ideology?
This argument is intellectually dishonest and reductive. One vague anecdote of a sexual assault case does not a rule make. While I’m not ignorant the legacy of false claims of rape by white women in a racist society, that boondoggle has now become a cloak and crutch for our community to engage in serious discussions about sexual assault and violence within our communities. The gospel of respectability mired in dated tropes of feminine and masculine identities have barred us, in many instances, from reckoning with the realities of sexual assault and misconduct and acts of violence against women on HBCUs.
We know better and we can do better to address it.
Aishah Shahidah Simmons:
FBI statistics state that less than 2% of reported rapes are false charges. Another way of looking at this is that 98% of reported rape charges are true.  There are many more rapists who lie about raping women then there are women who lie about having been raped.  Black men need to ask themselves why it’s so much easier to focus on the very small percentage of false accusations than it is to focus on focus on the pervasiveness of rape? I believe Black men have a non-negotiable responsibility to focus on addressing and ending rape in our communities.
In the last stanza of his riveting poem, “To Some Supposed Brothers,” the late, award-winning Black Gay Poet Essex Hemphill wrote,
But we so-called men,
we so-called brothers
wonder why it’s so hard
to love ‘our’ women
when we’re about loving them
the way america
loves us
As a community we have an acute collective awareness about the horrific impact of racism in our communities, especially as it relates to Black men and boys. Unfortunately, however, we tend to close our eyes and ears when it’s time to raise awareness and talk about the horrific impact of intra-racial rape, sexual assault and other forms of violence perpetuated against Black women in our communities. We spend so much time blaming women and girls for the violence that they experience at the hands of men and boys in ways in which we do not tolerate (without protesting) the blaming of Black men and boys for the violence that they experience at the hands of white supremacist state sanctioned violence.
We must remember that single-issue politics will never be our community’s salvation. If we do not address gender-based violence while we simultaneously address white supremacist violence, over half of our community will be vulnerable to all types of unspeakable violence, which will render our communities unsafe and not healthy.

April 11, 2014
How Does A Sister To A Rape Survivor Heal?

#SAAM #BelieveSurvivors #NOtheRapeDocumentary #ALongWalkHome #Sisterhood

(photo: Joan Brannon)

"…Fall 1996 Salamishah (Tillet) told me over the phone about her sexual assaults and that she was a multiple survivor. I was frustrated. I didn’t know what to actually do when she told me that she was raped. Should we talk about it? I didn’t know what to do. Two years later in a social documentary class at Rutgers University, I asked Salamshah if I could do a documentation of her healing process…How does a sister to a survivor heal as well? That’s one thing I learned. Not only was it easier to talk about her healing, look at her healing, but how do I heal as a survivor’s sister and break that silence and begin to talk about it with my sister and help her heal?” ~ Scheherazade Tillet , Visionary Photographer, Co-Founder & Executive Director of A Long Walk Home, Inc. in NOtheRapeDocumentary.org

How Does A Sister To A Rape Survivor Heal? She co-founds and executive directs an organization that educates and empowers young women to work towards eradicating a rape culture!

February 3, 2014
Woody Allen's Good Name by Aaron Bady

"This is a basic principle: until it is proven otherwise, beyond a reasonable doubt, it’s important to extend the presumption of innocence to Dylan Farrow, and presume that she is not guilty of the crime of lying about what Woody Allen did to her…

…Because I am not on Woody Allen’s jury, I can be swayed by the fact that sexual violence is incredibly, horrifically common, much more common than it is for women to make up stories about sexual violence in pursuit of their own petty, vindictive need to destroy a great man’s reputation. We are in the midst of an ongoing, quiet epidemic of sexual violence, now as always. We are not in the midst of an epidemic of false rape charges, and that fact is important here….

What is the burden of proof for assuming that a person is lying? If you are a famous film director, it turns out to be quite high. You don’t have to say a word in your defense, in fact, and people who have directed documentaries about you will write lengthy essays in the Daily Beast tearing down the testimony of your accusers. You can just go about your life making movie after movie, and it’s fine. But if you are a woman who has accused a great film director of molesting you when you were seven, the starting point is the presumption that, without real evidence, you are not telling the truth. In the court of public opinion, a woman accusing a great film director of raping her has no credibility which his fans are bound to respect. He has something to lose, his good name. She does not, because she does not have a good name. She is living in hiding, under an assumed name. And when she is silent, the Daily Beast does not rise to her defense.

In a rape culture, there is no burden on us to presume that she is not a liar, no necessary imperative to treat her like a person whose account of herself can be taken seriously. It is important that we presume he is innocent. It is not important that we presume she is not making it all up out of female malice. In a rape culture, you can say things like “We can’t really know what really happened, so let’s all act as if Woody Allen is innocent (and she is lying).” In a rape culture, you can use your ignorance to cast doubt on her knowledge; you can admit that you have no basis for casting doubt on Dylan’s statement, and then you can ignore her account of herself. A famous man is not speaking, so her testimony is not admissible evidence. His name is Woody Allen, and in a rape culture, that good name must be shielded and protected. What is her name?”

#BELIEVESURVIVORS

May 13, 2013
Savaging Women (and Men) by The Rev. Dr. Wil Gafney

"…It is not enough for good men not to rape. It is not enough for people of faith to condemn atrocities after the fact. We must nurture human dignity in each child, each adult; teach and model manhood that is not based on conquest or dominion. The savages among us are savaging the illusion of civilization. No amount of digital technology can prevent the deployment of a weaponized penis yet technological advances and innovations further rape and trafficking. It is far past time to target men and boys and our rape-normative culture with messages of transformation. You are not savages. We will not be savaged.

The time has come for rape-culture to be buried in a grave from which it will never rise again.”

May 5, 2013
Aishah Shahidah Simmons joined Spelman College’s Fight to End Sexual Violence on HBCU campuses

I was honored to receive an invitation from Dr. Beverly Guy Sheftall to return to Spelman College on April 25, 2013 to join their fight to address and end sexual violence on Historically Black College and University campuses (HBCU).

With the news about the recent arrest of four Morehouse College students on sexual assault charges, it is explicitly and undeniable clear that now is the time to continue the very difficult dialogue about eradicating rape and rape culture. Make no mistake, rape and other forms of sexual violence are happening on all college campuses across the country. Tragically, there aren’t many “rape free” spaces. In a culturally specific context, however, the horrible combination of racism and misogyny often results in a deafening silence when Black men rape Black women. This is evident on too many HBCU campuses.

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Ramesh Kathandhi and Aishah Shahidah Simmons (photo: Lani Jones)

On the evening of April 25, 2013, we were small in number in Spelman College’s Cosby Auditorium. And yet, we had a powerful post-NO! The Rape Documentary discussion about breaking the silence about sexual violence and ending rape culture on our college campuses, in our families, our communities, and society at large. I was very fortunate to co-facilitate the dialogue with Ramesh Kathandhi, who is the internship coordinator at Men Stopping Violence. Drs. Beverly Daniel Tatum (President of Spelman College), Darnita Killian (Vice President of Student Affairs), and Kimberly Ferguson (Dean of Students) were also in attendance and expressed a commitment to tackle this issue head on with the students.

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Aishah Shahidah Simmons (middle) with Drs. Beverly Daniel Tatum, Cynthia Neal Spence, Lani Jones, Beverly Guy-Sheftall, and Darnita Killian

We will continue and broaden this dialogue at Spelman College in the fall 2013 and in the spring 2014.  Stay tuned for details when they become available.

Infinite gratitude to Drs. Beverly Guy-Sheftall, Cynthia Neal Spence (Associate Professor of Sociology and Trustee of the Board), and Spelman College’s Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) for their tireless and relentless work to not allow (the too often silent) rape epidemic go unnoticed, unchecked, and/or unaddressed. Founded in 1981 by Dr. Guy-Sheftall, the WRRC has been long-term supporter of NO! The Rape Documentary from conception (1994) to completion (2006) and distribution (present day).

April 18, 2013
Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA) hosts a series of panels/discussions featuring Aishah Shahidah Simmons participating on panels/roundtables with students who are addressing rape, rape culture, and homophobia in our families, on campuses, and society at large. The day will culminate with a screening and discussion of her film NO! The Rape Documentary.

Occidental College (Los Angeles, CA) hosts a series of panels/discussions featuring Aishah Shahidah Simmons participating on panels/roundtables with students who are addressing rape, rape culture, and homophobia in our families, on campuses, and society at large. The day will culminate with a screening and discussion of her film NO! The Rape Documentary.

April 15, 2013
Aishah Shahidah Simmons will screen NO! at Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University presents: a screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary with Aishah Shahidah Simmons.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:30 pm
Claremont Graduate University
Albrecht Auditorium in Stauffer Hall (corner of 10th and Dartmouth)
CONTACT: Lisa Maldonado at 909.607.3509 or <lisa.maldonado@cgu.edu> (PLEASE RSVP)

This event, which is free and open to the public, is a part of a two-part series at Claremont Graduate University to explore issues surrounding the Violence Against Women Act.

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A deep heartfelt gratitude shout out to my Sister/Comrade Linda Perkins, who, since her first meeting Aishah at the 2006 world premiere of NO! at the Pan African-Film Festival in Los Angeles, has been an invaluable source of support in a myriad of ways.

April 11, 2013
Screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary at Florida State University at 7pm on Thursday, April 11, 2013.
Gratitude Shout Out to my Brother/Comrade Dr. David Ikard for his critical leadership role in making my presence on FSU&#8217;s campus a reality.

Screening and discussion of NO! The Rape Documentary at Florida State University at 7pm on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

Gratitude Shout Out to my Brother/Comrade Dr. David Ikard for his critical leadership role in making my presence on FSU’s campus a reality.

March 30, 2013
"I wish we could be as passionate about ending rape & rape culture as so many of us are about protecting those who rape or those who promote rape. In the specific instances of people of color and anti-racist white people, it’s uncanny how so many us are absolutely clear and razor sharp with our analyses about the horrid impact of racism and white supremacy upon our communities. And yet, when it comes to sexism, misogyny, and gender-based violence perpetrated against cis/trans women and all gender non-conforming people, the response is too often a combination of crickets, a rush to blame the victim/survivors, and/or a rush to protect/contexualize the behavior of perpetrators."

Aishah Shahidah Simmons

October 14, 2011
Two photos from DSK and Justice Open Forum

I’m both reveling and invigorated post a powerful evening with Kala Ganesh, Kimerle Williams Crenshaw, Traci C. West, and Beth Ribet at the Open Form on “DSKand Justice: The Politics of Getting Off In A Rape Culture.” This Free Open Forum, which was held on October 13, 2011 at Columbia Law School, was co-sponsored by CONNECT - Safe Families, Peaceful Communities, and Columbia Law School’s Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies. The interactive dialogue with everyone who attended resulted in each one of us moving towards taking individual and collective concrete steps to ensure that “It’s Not Over” for Dominque Strauss Kahn.

Laughing after…

Traci C. West, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Kala Gannesh, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Beth Ribet

Now, for the serious “respectable” (LOL) picture…

Traci C. West, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Kala Gannesh, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and Beth Ribet

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