A brief excerpt from yesterday's anti-violence rally in honor of Mark Carson, who was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime early Saturday morning.
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)
From the DC Center:
UPDATE: The time for this meeting is 6-7:00 pm
An independent committee is currently conducting a review of the relationship between the Metropolitan Police Department and Washington, DC's LGBT communities and how police are handling hate crimes targeting the LGBT community. Please join us in a safe and confidential space. Tell us what you have seen, experienced or heard about. We want to hear from you. Your input is very important!
When: Wednesday June 12th
Where: The DC Center for the LGBT Community
1318 U Street, NW | Washington, DC 20009
This has to be one of the best breaking news interviews ever.
PS: No, Mister Ramsey doesn't look a thing like D.C.'s former police chief of the same name. But he is one upstanding citizen. As he was eating McDonald's takeout when the rescue incident started, he got the following tweet from the fast food giant:
Jon Stewart mocks the lineup at the NRA convention.
Meanwhile, a march on Washington is planned for July 4 in which gun-rights protesters will carry loaded rifles. The organizers state:
This is an act of civil disobedience, not a permitted event. We will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny. We are marching to mark the high water mark of government & to turn the tide. This will be a non-violent event, unless the government chooses to make it violent. Should we meet physical resistance, we will peacefully turn back, having shown that free people are not welcome in Washington, & returning with the resolve that the politicians, bureaucrats, & enforcers of the federal government will not be welcome in the land of the free.
Gee, what could go wrong?
Congrats again to all five honorees from GLAA's anniversary reception on April 25. For me, the highlight of the evening was this inspiring speech by the remarkable Jason Terry of the DC Trans Coalition.
JASON A. TERRY
REMARKS TO GLAA AWARDS RECEPTION
25 APRIL 2013
Thank you to GLAA, and especially to Rick, Charles, Kevin, Gary, and Alison, for this distinct – and truly undeserved – honor. Thanks also to those who have shaped me, guided me, and inspired me all through life: the fierce and fearsome Appalachian women who raised me; my three grandfathers who taught me patience and calm; the teachers, choir directors, and old school activists who lit my path, taught me discipline, and gave me hope; and to my beloved and ever-growing community of rabble rousers here in DC who make this city more livable, and bring us closer to peace. Chief among those, I have to thank Ruby Corado for teaching me everything I know. And, of course, I must thank my partner Elijah Edelman, who is with me not just in life, but in an ongoing journey towards justice, and who, without his unending support, absolutely incredible intellect, and remarkable strength, I would be less than half the activist I am.
Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz, nicknamed "Big Papi," pleased the crowd at Fenway Park today, and television viewers, as he spoke for the team. Boston Globe reports that the Federal Communications Commission gave his f-bomb a pass:
“David Ortiz spoke from the heart at today’s Red Sox game,” the FCC tweeted this afternoon. “I stand with Big Papi and the people of Boston.” The message was signed by “Julius,” presumably FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.
Footage of one of the explosions today at the Boston Marathon. I believe this is on Boylston Street.
In the initial chaos, there have been false reports and conflicting accounts. We know a few things: The Boston Marathon is a major international event that has a history of more than a century. Today is Patriot's Day in Massachusetts in addition to Tax Day. We don't yet know who set off the bombs or why. One report says that a wounded suspect is under observation in a Boston hospital. Another report says the police commissioner says no one is yet in custody. An explosion at the JFK library reportedly turned out to be from a boiler and not to be related. This confusion is to be expected.
President Obama is starting to speak as I type this. I am sure he is going to call for people to remain calm and let law enforcement personnel do their jobs. One conservative writer and Fox News contributor already tweeted an outrageous call for reprisals. We cannot allow our own communities to turn into irrational mobs, provoked by unscrupulous and hateful persons exploiting the fog of breaking news. The President just said we must not jump to conclusions. He is right.
If you are a praying person, now would be a good time to pray for the victims of the bombings, and for the first responders and caregivers.
A Florida police sergeant was fired for possessing several so-called Trayvon Martin shooting targets, authorities said Saturday.
Sgt. Ron King of Port Canaveral Police Department was fired Friday after an internal review investigated how he offered the hoodie paper shooting targets to two fellow officers, said John Walsh, interim CEO of the Canaveral Port Authority.
The officers, who saw King with the targets in his police vehicle, declined the offer, Walsh said.
In the annals of sick bastards with guns, perhaps the most disturbing are those who also carry badges. At least this guy was fired, and he had colleagues who remembered they were human beings.
From the Anti-Defamation League, celebrating its centennial year.
Rachel Maddow shares new information reported by the Hartford Courant on Newtown, CT mass murderer Adam Lanza before tearing into Texas Senator Ted Cruz for his patronizing treatment of California Senator Dianne Feinstein. I confess I have trouble watching Rachel's show because she persists in repeating every important point three times, and it drives me up the wall; but here she shines.
Memo to Republicans: You might want to think twice before challenging Sen. Feinstein on the subject of guns. She will be happy to tell you about November 28, 1978, when she knelt over the body of Supervisor Harvey Milk, and, feeling for a pulse, found bullet holes.
"This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens."
The FBI said Wednesday that it has been monitoring the state investigation into the death of an openly gay mayoral candidate in Mississippi, but the agency didn't indicate it had opened its own investigation.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson asked Tuesday for the FBI to "review the circumstances and evidence" in the slaying of Marco McMillian, who was running for mayor of Clarksdale in the Mississippi Delta. Thompson, whose daughter attended college with McMillian, said he had known the victim for years.
"The FBI is aware of the case, has been monitoring the state investigation, and will assess evidence to determine whether federal prosecution is appropriate," FBI spokeswoman Deborah Madden said Wednesday in a statement.
Big news today: a win for women, LGBT rights, and President Obama. Multiple reports/reactions:
Thanks to all who made this victory possible.
Jonathan Capehart talks to Trayvon Martin's mother, Sybrina Fulton, one year after her son was shot to death by neighborhood vigilante George Zimmerman in Florida. She talked about the prospect of Zimmerman walking away with immunity under that state's "Stand Your Ground" law:
“It sends a signal, [a] terrible message to people that in order for you to get off from murdering somebody you have to kill the person so they don’t tell their side of the story,” she said. “Now, I’m not by any means an attorney, so I understand generally what the Castle Doctrine is and also the ‘stand your ground’ law. I’m an average person and my understanding [of the] message that they will be sending [is] that you don’t have to be accountable for what you’ve done.”
Our friend Michael Petrelis reports from the left coast that FOIA requests to both the FBI and DC's Metropolitan Police Department for their files on gay rights pioneer Frank Kameny have yielded nothing. He comments:
I find it beyond comprehension that the FBI contends it has no records whatsoever on Kameny, a proud gay activist who stood up to government homophobia countless times from the Cold War up to his death. Recently, I submitted new details to the FBI regarding Kameny's interactions with the agency and requested further searching.
We now have the MPD in the same company as the FBI, maintaining there's nothing of relevance in the archive. Either record-keeping at the FBI and MPD was incredibly shoddy regarding Kameny's public activism, or files have been misplaced or destroyed.
Do you really believe there are no surveillance records on Kameny?
It is indeed hard to believe that MPD and the FBI had no records on this gay rights pioneer.
(Photo: Frank Kameny delivers a letter to the White House in 1965. By Kay Tobin Lahusen, New York Public Library.)
John Riley reports at Metro Weekly:
A lawyer for Kenneth Furr, the Metropolitan Police Department officer found guilty of an off-duty assault with a dangerous weapon and solicitation of prostitution, filed a notice with D.C. Superior Court Feb. 11 stating that Furr's defense team will be appealing his conviction.
Furr, who was found guilty of the two charges in October 2012, a year after the Aug. 26, 2011, incident, was sentenced to three years and 30 days in prison, 100 hours of community service and a $150 fine, which he has already paid, according to court records. But Judge Russell Canan also took into account the 14 months Furr spent in prison as he awaited trial, as well other circumstances, and suspended the prison sentences, allowing Furr to be placed on three years' probation.
Both convictions related to a series of events that included Furr brandishing a gun, and shooting at a car in which five people sat, including two transgender women.
A police officer who should be counting his blessings that he got off so lightly instead tacitly asserts his right to be above the law. If such an out-of-control cop gets away with this, the police lose moral authority. Without the self-policing that sustains their credibility as servants and defenders of the public, police are little more than frontiersmen with a bigger arsenal and a stronger network. Why would anyone but sociopaths want that?
Disgraced Cardinal Roger M. Mahony thinks it's God's will that he be humiliated. That's right, Grace, it's all about you.
The crescendo of President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night came when he called for a vote in Congress on gun safety reform and introduced people in the gallery whose loved ones were lost to recent gun violence.
This came today from SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests:
5 Steps Pope Benedict should take in the next 2 weeks
Statement by Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Western Regional Director (949-322-7434, email@example.com)
For immediate release Monday, Februrary 11
By stepping down, Pope Benedict has proven he’s capable of bold action. For the safety of children, in the weeks ahead, we hope he’ll show similar decisiveness and
---discipline at least a handful of current prelates who are concealing or who have concealed child sex crimes,
--insist that every bishop post names of the credibly accused predator priests on his website (as 30 US bishops have done: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AtAGlance/lists.htm),
--order bishops to actively work with lawmakers to pass stronger child safety measures and reform archaic laws that shield officials who commit and conceal child sex crimes,
--turn over all church abuse and cover up records held by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to local law enforcement and
--halt the canonization of Pope John Paul, so all church employees will see that ignoring or hiding child sex crimes will lead to consequences. The time for promises and policies is over. It is time for decisive action.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
I couldn't agree more; but why would Emperor Palpatine do any of those things at this late date? He's likelier to re-establish the Magdalene Laundries.
That said, I applaud SNAP for its persistent voice for justice.
Chilling. Your legacy, Holiness?
Gay Catholic Andrew Sullivan has written another powerful, moving indictment of the Roman Catholic Church's betrayal of children and of justice as he reviews Mea Maxima Culpa, the documentary by Alex Gibney that debuted the other night on HBO. Andrew writes:
It is both an inspiring testament to faith and truth – as well as a devastating indictment of pride, power, and lies. The former come from four boys who attended St John’s School for the Deaf in Milwaukee in the 1970s. The latter comes from the Vatican and everyone in its power structure then and ever since....
Gibney finds Father Lawrence Murphy confessing to raping over 200 boys over a long period of time. He raped them in their dorm rooms; he raped them in the confessional, using the small window as a glory hole and granting absolution based on rape or masturbation. The detail I cannot quite recover from is that he picked out for abuse those deaf boys who had parents who could not use sign language – so that even if the boys had the courage to say what had happened to them, their parents would not understand. It’s things like that that simply chill you, haunt you, force you to confront the pre-meditated, profound assault on human souls that the Catholic Church, from the Pope on down, enabled, perpetuated, and lied about for so long – and still hasn’t been held fully accountable for....
Trayvon Martin would have been 18 today. Jonathan Capehart writes about the viciousness his death at the hands of George Zimmerman last year has provoked in some people.
As I have mentioned before, I am a thesis advisor for HS students in DC who are the same age as Trayvon was when he was killed. As I witness their energy and curiosity and passion and hopes, I keep thinking of him. And I think of the George Zimmermans of this country and say, You are going to lose, because the DNA of this country is with these kids, and you can never kill them all, and those you do cut down will remind those who are left to carry on of what is at stake and of the ancestors who are lifting them up. I normally include some curse words, but I am cleaning this up. The heartbreak at the center of this story is ultimately greater than the anger. But a bottomless pit of anger is there.
Tyler Grigsby posted this slide show of Saturday's vigil for Deoni Jones at 49th and East Capitol Streets with the following note:
The family of Deoni Jones (also known as JaParker), a transgender woman who was murdered last year while waiting for the bus, held a memorial and candlelight vigil at the location of the crime on Febuary 2, 2013 on the one year anniversary of her death.
Local community leaders, politicians, law enforcement as well as Deoni's friends and family gathered to remember her and rally against hate crimes in the District of Columbia.
Yes, that's me speaking with Mayor Vincent Gray in the first photo. Meanwhile, our friend Brian in Ward 5 shares these recent stories about the Metropolitan Police Department's failings:
For Release: Monday, January 28, 2013
Contact: Rick Rosendall 202-667-5139
The Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington, D.C., today launches its 2013 Election Project and releases both its questionnaire for D.C. Council candidates and its policy brief on local LGBT issues in Washington, D.C., "Agenda: 2013." This updated compilation of local advocacy on a wide range of issues is intended for candidates in the April 23 special election for At-Large Councilmember as well as journalists, activists, and the general public. "Agenda: 2013" is online, in both PDF and HTM formats, at:
GLAA's D.C. Council candidate questionnaire is online at: http://www.glaa.org/archive/2013/cqspecial.pdf
GLAA's Election Project 2013 main page is at: http://www.glaa.org/archive/2013/election2013.shtml
The "Agenda: 2013" policy brief is divided into six broad subject areas: Marriage and Family, Public Health, Public Safety and Judiciary, Human Rights, Youth and Seniors, and Consumers and Businesses. It is prefaced by a two-page Action Item Summary listing specific actions GLAA seeks from D.C. officials. Included are 88 footnotes to provide documentation and to facilitate further investigation of the issues raised.
The following are some of the legislative and oversight actions GLAA seeks from D.C. Councilmembers:
GLAA President Rick Rosendall stated, "It is a tribute to the strength of coalition efforts in the District that 'Agenda: 2013' reflects input from allies across the District's entire LGBT community and its supporters. The resulting policy brief is the most comprehensive single document advancing LGBT issues in D.C."
On January 28, 2013, GLAA will email its questionnaire and policy brief to every candidate in the April 23 special election for At-Large Councilmember. (The filing deadline for the primary was January 23.) The deadline for receipt of candidate responses is March 7, after which GLAA will assign ratings to the primary candidates (on a scale of -10 to +10) based on their questionnaire responses and their records on LGBT issues.
Founded in 1971, the Gay and Lesbian Activists Alliance of Washington (GLAA) is an all-volunteer, non-partisan, non-profit political organization that defends the civil rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the Nation's Capital. GLAA lobbies the D.C. Council, monitors government agencies, educates and rates local candidates, and works in coalitions to defend the safety, health, and equal rights of gay families. GLAA remains the nation's oldest continuously active gay and lesbian civil rights organization.
John Riley at Metro Weekly reports:
Gary Niles Montgomery, the 55-year-old Washington man accused of fatally stabbing transgender woman Deoni Jones, aka JaParker, at a Northeast bus stop in February 2012, appeared in court Friday morning, where his lawyers convinced U.S. Superior Court Judge Robert Morin to order Montgomery to submit to a mental-observation screening.
After hearing arguments from Montgomery's lawyers regarding their client's mental state, Morin ordered two separate hearings for Montgomery, one Jan. 24, for screening purposes only, and a mental observation hearing on Feb. 8. Last year, Morin found Montgomery competent to stand trial, based on the results of two separate mental-observation hearings.
Montgomery, who in November pleaded not guilty after being indicted on a charge of first-degree murder while armed, remains held without bond as he awaits trial, scheduled for June 10.
Brian Tashman of Right Wing Watch reports:
The American Family Association’s Buster Wilson has been warning for the last few weeks that Presidnet Obama is getting ready to confiscate guns en masse. When Obama announced his twenty-three executive actions yesterday, gun groups largely shrugged them off, but not Wilson. In his latest effort to stoke fear, he’s warning that the Obama administration may take guns away from pastors and radio talk show hosts like himself who denounce homosexuality.
Follow the link for audio. If it weren't so scary, it would be amusing that so many on the far-right fringe seem so determined to prove they shouldn't be trusted with guns.
Salon reports. (Hat tip: Pam Spaulding)
The latest from AFA's Bryan Fischer. Of course President Obama has not criticized gun owners, most of whom agree with his reform proposals. He has criticized the NRA, which purports to represent gun owners but actually represents the interests of gun manufacturers. That important quibble aside, if Obama is trying to make the NRA's leaders look crazy, it's not the heaviest lifting he's had to do.
A problem for the NRA: Some of its defenders are so unhinged that they look like they could be the next mass shooter. New slogan: "NRA -- they're all the rage." Below, conservative former congressman Joe Scarborough calls the NRA a fringe group and asks, "What's wrong with these people?"
This video is part of a campaign by the Jamaica Forum For Lesbian, All-Sexuals, and Gays (J-FLAG).
(Hat tip: Joe Jervis)
Mr. Yeager, who is ready to start a civil war, offers these not particularly helpful clarifications. BTW, he demands that everyone who posted his deranged video take it down. How about no? Other than supporting sensible gun control measures, I cannot do much to stop self-styled apocalyptic warriors like him; but I can at least help expose him. Message to sane people: if you don't make clear to your elected representatives your support for gun reform, you are tacitly conceding the field to people like Mr. Yeager. To preserve freedom, you have to exercise it.
BTW, I hate bringing this up, but does this guy set off anyone else's gaydar?
Update: Tennessee has suspended Yeager's handgun carry permit.
John Aravosis explains the above video:
James Yeager, the CEO of Tactical Response, a Tennessee company that specializes in weapons and tactical training, posted a video on Facebook and YouTube yesterday, detailing what he’ll do if President Obama issues any executive orders on gun control.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 10, 2013
Jason Terry or Elijah Edelman: 202.681.3282 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Sentencing of MPD Officer Furr Devalues Trans Lives
If roles were reversed, outcome would have been drastically different
Washington, DC – Community members expressed outrage at the sentencing of Metropolitan Police Department Officer Kenneth Furr, who was released from prison today after convictions of assault with a deadly weapon and soliciting prostitution. In August of 2011, a group that included black trans women and gay men confronted Furr after he harassed one of them for refusing his sexual advances. Furr consequently shot at the individuals involved, wounding several of them. Because the judge suspended 46 months of the 60 month sentence, Furr left jail having already served the remaining 14 months.
"This result is the product of a legal system that constantly devalues trans people's lives," said DC Trans Coalition member Jason Terry. "Officer Furr's defense team actively sought to portray the victims as somehow deserving of this violence, and apparently they succeeded. If roles had been reversed and a trans woman had gotten drunk and flashed a gun at a police officer, the results would be drastically different." It is important to note that Furr was convicted only of flashing a weapon at two gay men involved in the incident, not for shooting at the trans women and others involved.
Several studies document deep levels of mistrust toward police in trans communities. The National Transgender Discrimination Survey found that 46% of trans people are reluctant to call police when they need police services. The Move Along study here in DC noted that 78% of respondents feared the police. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has found that transgender people of color are nearly two and a half times more likely to face violence from police officers than other lesbian, gay, and bisexual people and trans white people. DCTC's own needs assessment found in its first phase that safety and risk is a paramount concern. DCTC expects that the results of our survey phase will reinforce these other findings.
"Officer Furr exemplifies why this fear exists," said Terry. "DC's trans communities face blatant discrimination, harassment, and violence from police officers every day, yet when an officer drunkenly shoots at trans people, accountability seems to disappear."
The DC Trans Coalition (DCTC) is a volunteer, grassroots, community-based organization dedicated to fighting for human rights, dignity, and liberation for transsexual, transgender and gender-diverse people in the District of Columbia. To learn more, please visit our website at http://www.dctranscoalition.org. You can also find us on Twitter and Facebook.