Women of Protest: A Feminist History Refresher
It wasn’t until 1920 that women were granted suffrage, but it was 1917 when members of the National Women’s Party — Alice Paul, Lucy Burns and others — picketed outside the White House, burning copies of Woodrow Wilson’s speeches and demanding the right to vote. What resulted — mass arrests (most for “obstructing traffic”), unlawful imprisonment and bloody beatings — became known as the Night of Terror, though it’s fair to say most among my generation don’t know it.
The Night of Terror took place on Nov. 15, 1917, when the warden at the Workhouse Prison, in Occoquan, Virginia, ordered his guards to teach the suffragists a lesson. For weeks, the women’s only water had come from an open pail. Their food had been infested with worms. But on this night, some 40 prison guards wielding clubs beat the women senseless — grabbing, dragging, choking, kicking and pinching them, according to affidavits recounting the attacks.
* Lucy Burns (bottom left) was beaten, then chained to her cell bars and left hanging for the night.
* Dora Lewis (bottom center) was hurled into a dark cell, her head smashed against an iron bed. (Her cellmate suffered a heart attack.)
* Alice Paul (bottom right) attempted a huger strike, but was tied to a cell chair and force fed with a tube down her throat.
Another woman was allegedly stabbed between the eyes with the wood from her broken picket sign. The beatings made national news, and two weeks later, the protesters were released. (The DC Court of Appeals declared their punishment and arrests unconstitutional.)
But it would take three more years for women to win the right to vote.
A FEMINIST REMINDER: DON’T TAKE YOUR VOTING RIGHTS FOR GRANTED.
—This is an edited, fact-checked and condensed version of an email making its way around the web. Photos courtesy of the Library of Congress.
Today is October 12th 2012, it is the day Matthew Shepard passed away—murdered. October 7th 1998 is the day he was abducted, tied to a fence, and brutally beaten with the end of a gun. This is considered one of the most horrific anti-gay hate crimes to this day. 18 hours later a passing bicyclist found Matthew, at 12:23am in a hospital, surrounded by loved ones, Matthew passed away. This loss enraged millions of people across the world, the sheer violence and disregard for a human life is beyond the definition abomination. This loss also sparked national attention and in it, thus The Matthew Shepard Foundation was born. Such blatant bigotry and malevolence will not be tolerated. Matthew, you may have suffered a horrific death, but you are still a light in the LGBTQ community. We can only hope that one day everyone will look upon your story and see the illumination. Our condolences are never ending for the family and friends of Matthew Shepard.
In & Out: Transitions out of Youth Custody
The Centre for Youth & Society is pleased to launch the graphic short story “In & Out”!
The graphic novel was written and created by youth at the Victoria Youth Custody Centre. The youth used their experiences and knowledge to develop a story about successfully transitioning out of custody. They identified protective factors, such as establishing healthy and pro-social relationships in the community, getting a job, or connecting with school, as well as challenges to staying out of jail.
You can also download the graphic novel in printable booklet form.
For print copies, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 250.472.5414.
Johnny Ramensky (1906-72), also known as Gentle Johnny, was a Scottish career criminal who went on to become a safe-cracking commando during World War II.
As a young man, Ramensky worked in a coalmine, where he got used to handling dynamite. During the depression of the 20s, his family moved to the Gorbals, a slum on the southside of Glasgow, and Johnny began his career as a burglar and skilled safecracker. His nickname, Gentle Johnny, came from the fact that he only ever targeted businesses, never homes, hated violence and was always friendly and cooperative with the police when he was caught.
He was also legendary for his strength and his skill as a gymnast, which I like to imagine made him an early criminal freerunner. These talents helped to escape from formidable Scottish prisons no less than five times; sadly once to attend his wife’s funeral, for which he had been denied leave.
Whilst in prison in 1941, Ramensky wrote to the Governor and begged to be allowed to fight for the Allied cause. Due to his special skills, he became a commando and was parachuted behind enemy lines where he blew up safes and retrieved key documents.
A criminal yes, but also a courageous, kind and strangely honest man, as well as a real cutie. If only James Cagney was still around to play him, it would have made a hell of a movie.
I want this movie immediately.
I want this movie right now.
From Senator Jaffer Mobina. (First emphasis mine.)
I don’t think I know enough swear words to adequately express my disappointment here.
Last Thursday was a sad day for Canadians. It was on this day that, by a vote of 48 to 37, the Omnibus Crime Bill was passed through the Senate. All Liberal Senators present, with the support of Conservative Senator Nolin, fought hard and voted against this bill but unfortunately we were out numbered.
As the Conservative members brought forward a motion which would limit the time Bill C-10 was debated to a maximum of six hours, I was given the opportunity to deliver two speeches, both of which I have attached to this e-mail.
The first speech I delivered focused on why it was problematic to place time limitations on the debate of such an important and complex piece of legislation.
The second speech which I delivered was at the Third Reading of Bill C-10 where I focused on mandatory minimum sentences and how they would adversely affect vulnerable populations such as Aboriginal peoples, our youth and those who suffer from mental illnesses.
Bill C-10 is now back in the House of Commons where the amendments introduced in the Senate will be reviewed and voted upon. Sadly, it is quite apparent that this bill will very soon become law.
I am now working on Bill C-19, An Act to Amend the Criminal Code and the Fire Arms Act. This bill aims to abolish the long gun registry.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with you over the past few weeks. I have benefited greatly from all of your contributions and I would welcome the opportunity to continue working with you. I would be happy to keep you informed about the work of the Senate Standing Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs. However, if you would like to be removed from this mailing list please contact my assistant Nadia Charania whose contact information is listed below.
Thank you once again for your continued support.
Received February 8, 2012.
Last week, on February 1st and 2nd, the Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs commenced its study on Bill C-10. Over the course of two days the committee heard from several witness including the Minister of Public Safety and the Minister of Justice, who appeared jointly, as well as from the Minister of Justice for the Government of Nunavut and the Canadian Police Association.
Unfortunately, the time allotted to questioning these witnesses was very unreasonable, thus I was unable to put forward many of the important questions you had submitted to our office. However, I encourage you to continue to submit your questions and concerns as I plan to work hard to put these questions and concerns before the committee.
Please find attached a copy of the brief submitted to all members of the committee by the Minister of Justice for the Government of Nunavut. In this brief Minister Shewchuk very articulately describes the adverse effect Bill C-10 will undoubtedly have on citizens of Nunavut, particularly those belonging to Aboriginal communities.
I would like to thank you once again for your support on this very important bill.
Kind Regards, Mobina
Can I have everyone's attention for just a moment please?
I don’t know how many of you are aware of the Syrian crisis going on- I myself only just discovered it, which is sad considering that the Ramadan Massacre has been going on since Sunday, July 31st
- Nearly five months ago (March 15th), demonstrations and rebellion began in Syria protesting Bashar Al-Assad’s regime
- This past Sunday, July 31st, Syrian troops cracked down on Hama, storming through the city and shooting down civilians.
- Around 142 people were killed all over Syria on Sunday alone, leaving corpses littering the streets and many many more are wounded and filling up the hospitals, which are running out of capacity.
“One hundred civilians were killed on Sunday in Hama by gunfire from security forces who accompanied the army as it stormed the city,” Abdel Karim Rihawi, head of the Syrian League for the Defence of Human Rights, said.”
- Syrians have been smuggling live videos of the massacre. If you’re going to watch them, I’m warning you that they are rather gruesome.
- Many countries are threatening sanctions against Syria, and President Obama has spoken out about how appalled he is by the situation.
For more information
“People are being slaughtered like sheep while walking in the street,” said the resident, who spoke by phone on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisals.
“I saw with my own eyes one young boy on a motorcycle who was carrying vegetables being run over by a tank.”
He said he left Hama briefly through side roads to smuggle in food supplies.
The resident said about 250 people have been killed since Sunday.
- Hello Syria (a tumblr that’s been updating with the information)
- Track ‘Ramadan massacre’ and ‘Syria’ on tumblr
I know that there’s very little that we can do, but we are fortunately in a state where we have access to the very core of society as we know it- social networking. So please, please if you can, spread the word. Reblog this post. Add the Ramadan massacre hashtag to all of your tweets to help in the effort to get it trending. Spreading awareness is the most that many of us can do, and we can do a pretty impressive job of it, so please.
And please keep these people in your thoughts. People are dying, injured, scared; the lockdown is distancing them from communication, they’re lacking in food and water and basic supplies, so please just keep them in your thoughts.
The Trials of Nunavut: How A Crime Epidemic is Challenging the Future of Canada's Newest Territory
It is Canada’s largest and most desolate region. It is also the most dangerous. Nunavut is struggling to cope with a violent crime rate that is more than nine times the national average. And the problem is getting worse.
I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I’m glad they’re reporting on Nunavut and addressing the problems there. On the other hand, it’s a very cold and bleak and statistic-focused look at the issues, and the clips are dismally short. It deserves more and better coverage than this.
Feminists helped defeat the Republican attempt to narrow the definition of rape to “forcible rape” in their recent efforts to put new restrictions on abortion. But as Ms. writer Stephanie Hallett reports in the forthcoming issue of Ms., the FBI—in its Uniform Crime Report—still uses an impossibly narrow and outmoded definition of “forcible” rape to gather its statistics.
The FBI needs a modern definition of rape that reflects a popular understanding of the crime and doesn’t exclude the vast majority of rapes. Rape is rape. Period.
Without an accurate definition we won’t have accurate statistics about rape, and without accurate statistics we will never have adequate funding for law enforcement to solve these crimes and stop violence against women.
We also need to make sure that police departments swiftly test rape-evidence kits. The backlog of untested kits around the country is outrageous, as it leaves serial rapists—and the vast majority of rapes are committed by serial rapists—free to rape again.
1. The FBI must change its outmoded definition of rape.
2. City police departments must test every rape kit in their backlog and make sure untested kits don’t accumulate again.
Go to our online campaign headquarters where you’ll be directed to letters you can send to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. You can also order a local take-action package that includes a dramatic video about the rape-kit backlog by Lorraine Sheinberg and Susan Rubin and ideas for making a difference in your community on this vital issue. Together, we can make our communities a safer place for all women!