Triggered: Street Harassment and Rape Culture In D.C.’s Ward 8

One can make the argument that it began on July 23, 2017, when community activist Schyla Pondexter-Moore and her two teen-aged daughters attempted to get a meal at a community food table in Ward 8 set up by the nonprofit Quest2Change.  Instead of getting a meal, they got an earful about how a tied t-shirt and a leggings justified harassment by the men in the community, including the men who were serving the food.  Schyla and her daughters left when the harassers, seven grown men, threatened them with violence.

The incident led to a Speakout Against Street Harassment sponsored by the newly formed group Reclaiming Our Bodies DC.  I went with my camera, expecting to get a few good soundbites, and to put together a 3-5 minute video about street harassment.  But the footage gathered that day has required a little more attention.  The result is the 30-minute documentary Triggered:  Street Harassment and Rape Culture in D.C.’s Ward 8.

The first screening will be followed by a panel discussion about street harassment.  Details are below.Reclaiming Our Bodies Flyer 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was clear at the Speakout that Reclaiming Our Bodies DC had touched on an issue that was about far more than one incident.  While most of the media focuses on sexual harassment among the political elites and Hollywood insiders, the rest of us are dealing with it in the streets.  Grassroots DC invites you to join the discussion.

Black Lives Matter Long-Term Goal: Full Implementation of the NEAR Act

Black Lives Matter activists worked for two years to pass the NEAR Act and get it fully funded.  Now they’re working to see that it’s implemented correctly.   The video above, edited by Malik Thompson, is of a march and rally from April 2017.

By Eugene Puryear
Stop Police Terror Project DC

WHAT IS THE NEAR ACT?

The NEAR (Neighborhood Engagement Achieves Results) Act establishes a set of long-term programs and policies to address public safety in DC specifically through a public health lens. These programs and policies have been empirically proven to reduce shootings and violence in cities around the US.

In its fullest form, the NEAR Act would begin to de-emphasize the use of policing and force as the primary tactic for ensuring neighborhood safety in DC. It would protect vulnerable and minority (namely Black and Latino) residents in high-crime areas of our city from further harm. It would support individuals involved in potentially violent situations instead of turning to incarceration or violence to resolve the issue at hand. The policy would thus pave the way for the long-overdue transformation of these vulnerable populations and neighborhoods towards a deeper culture of safety, support, and opportunity.

WHY WE NEED YOU NOW:

After passing the DC Council unanimously in 2016, and being fully-funded in 2017, the NEAR Act is now in its next phase: implementation. Despite being fully-funded, most of the provisions in the NEAR Act have not been implemented. As such, the NEAR Act remains largely unfulfilled as promised in 2016.

In order for the NEAR Act to reach its full potential, it is going to require us as DC residents to make sure our elected officials fully and faithfully implement all of the comprehensive approaches in the NEAR Act. To do so, we want to create a corps of “NEAR Act Ambassadors” to show up to DC Council hearings, community events, ANC meetings, and candidate fundraisers and campaign events. In doing so, we have an opportunity to hold DC Council to their word and to begin the process of protecting the most vulnerable neighborhoods in our city from further violence with a better approach.

We would like to invite you to take part in a training that will equip you with the knowledge and skills to hold our DC elected officials to their word of fully implementing the NEAR Act, to move away from the failed approach of policing and incarceration, and to make DC an example for a better way to prevent and reduce violence while empowering and uplifting all of its residents.

THE TRAININGS:

The Stop Police Terror Project will be running a number of trainings in November for each Ward to provide interested individuals the skills and knowledge they need to be NEAR Act Ambassadors, to let our elected officials know that the NEAR Act is still alive in our minds as a priority for our city. Through these trainings, you will gain the knowledge and skills to mobilize your local neighborhoods/networks to show up to these events prepared to pressure our elected officials towards full implementation of the NEAR Act.

NEAR Act Ambassador Training
Wednesday, November 8, 2017
We Act Radio Station
1918 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE

We encourage you to attend the event for your Ward if possible, as there will be some Ward-specific information covered. BUT, everyone is welcome at any of the trainings, so please come to the one that works best for you even if it isn’t your home Ward. If you don’t know what Ward you live in, you can find out here: https://planning.dc.gov/page/wards-district-columbia.

Please share these events with your networks, and let us know if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you at a training, and to working with you to ensure the promise of the NEAR Act becomes reality.

White Supremacy & the Police, A Love Affair

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Black August Finale

Black August is almost over.  What is Black August?  I found the following at The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement:

“Each year officially since 1979 we have used the month of August to focus on the oppressive treatment of our brothers and sisters disappeared inside the state-run gulags and concentration camps America calls prisons. It is during this time that we concentrate our efforts to free our mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, uncles, aunts, and all other captive family and friends who have been held in isolation for decade after decade beyond their original sentence. Many of these individuals are held in the sensory deprivation and mind control units called Security Housing Units (S.H.U. Program), without even the most basic of human rights.” – Shaka At-Thinnin Black August Organizing Committee from “THE ROOTS OF BLACK AUGUST”

If you haven’t made it to any events yet this month, here’s your opportunity to make it to one final event.   

black august finale

Charlottesville and It’s Aftermath: D.C. Alternative News Round Up

A quick search revealed no reports from local television news of last weeks events in Charlottesville or the solidarity marches that followed.  Fortunately, the District also has reporters who routinely imbed with the activists and organizers at these events.  Here is reporting from two of them.  

One Dead After Car Plows into Anti-Racist March in Charlottesville

Written by John Zanga
DC Media Group

Charlottesville, Va. — Anti-fascist and anti-racist counterprotestors confronted a planned white nationalist gathering in downtown Charlottesville on Saturday. Multiple angry clashes between groups in the morning resulted in many injuries.

Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and Virginia State Police moved in to end the protest. The Virginia National Guard was deployed and began patrolling Charlottesville.

But, in the early afternoon, a silver Challenger driving at high speed plowed through a march of anti-racist counterprotestors forming on 4th Street, tossing several people into the air like rag dolls before ramming into the rear end of another car. It appeared the car was driven deliberately into the crowd, then reversed and sped backwards.

One person was killed and 19 people were injured.

Charter said that moments after the car backed up, medics were on the scene helping the inured. He was shaken up by the incident.

As many as 30 right-wing groups, led by Alt-Right personality Richard Spencer and accompanied by known supremacist David Duke, rallied at Emancipation Park over city plans to remove a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

The clashes erupted almost from the start of the permitted protests, which began at 10 a.m. Elements from the KKK, Neo-Nazis and the Alt-Right, were met at every turn by about 1,000 counterprotesters.

Mace and tear gas was sprayed with bottles, sticks and smoke grenades thrown by White Nationalists toward Antifa. Antifa returned volleys as White Nationalists waded into the Antifa to attack them with sticks and smoke grenades.

Police formed lines between two rows of barricades, separating Nationalists from counterprotesters. But for an unknown reason police pulled back as more Nationalists arrived, marching in a column down Market Street to confront Antifa. It was at this point that the confrontations saw their most bloody moments.

White supremacists have descended on  Charlottesville since City Council voted to take down a statue of General Lee in an effort to remove Southern Heritage symbols of the Civil War. On Friday night, Neo-Nazis carried torches through the Grounds of the University of Virginia, chanting Nazi Germany slogan “Blood and Soil.” They attacked, beat and maced anti-racist protestors. Conflict also broke out when anti-fascists confronted White Nationalists at the Lee statue.

Update:  A police helicopter which had been monitoring the protests crashed following the dispersal.  Initial reports are that two died in the crash.

 

DC Remembers Charlottesville with march from WWII Memorial to Confederate statue by MPD

written by Luke
DC Independent Media Center

On the 13th of August, DC area residents protested the Nazi outrages in Charlottesville, VA. What began as a medium size march from the WWII Veterans Memorial to the White House mushroomed into a huge march from the White House past Trump Hotel to the Albert Pike (Confederate) statue by MPD. https://archive.org/details/DCCharlottesville8132017540p

Yes, DC has it’s very own statue commemorating a man who loved slavery and the Confederacy so much he moved there from the north to become a Confederate general. A similar statue of Robert E Lee in Emancipation Park in Charlottesville, VA has sparked a controversy over its pending removal blocked by a court. This has been the excuse for ever-larger KKK and Nazis rallies there that culminated in the death of one counterprotester and serious injuries to 19 more on August 12, 2017.

One demand of the protesters here in DC is that a staute commemorating slavery and murder be removed. This should be done before it becomes a magnet for neo-Nazi torchlight parades and terrorist attacks. Oddly, two videographers were nearly run down by a car driving on the sidewalk near 7th st about a half hour after this DC protest ended, but preliminary indications are this incident was only a “normal” drunk driver rather than another terrorist attack.

The deliberate and deadly, ISIS-style vehicle attack on anti-Nazi protesters in Charlottesville by comparison cannot be called anything other than terrorism and murder. All that hate came from somewhere. There seemed to be a consensus in the streets that it comes right from the top. The crowds in DC responded to Trump Hotel with massive boos and chants of “Shame shame shame,” holding Trump himself responsible for the river of hate that has inundated the US since he began his campaign.

In nearby Alexandria, VA, protesters marched on the home of notorious (and notably punched) neo-Nazi leader Richard Spencer. The IWW showed up there with their flags and remembering Heather Heyer, though DC IWW reports that (contrary to earlier rumors) she was not an IWW member. Richard Spencer hid on his roof, with just his cellphone camera peeking over the side.

Video of the massive DC marches for Charlottesville Includes bonus footage from Charlottesville providing 1 min synopsis(0:31 to 1.38)