After last year’s concession of former councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente (who referred to political protests as “domestic terrorism”), many residents had hoped that the latest incarnation of the city council would progress in representing the voices of those they were elected to represent — hopes that, if still held in tatters at the start of last night’s meeting, were completely eradicated before the sun rose this morning. Somewhere between 6:30 pm and 2:00 a.m., Oakland City Council proved once again that they are just as capable of corruption and complete disregard for their constituents as ever.
There was no need to consult Zoltar the fortune teller to see this one coming, as many councilmembers announced the way they would vote to the press ahead of the public’s chance to speak on the issues at the meeting. However, the consequences are no less damning — Oakland City Council unanimously ushered in a new era of mass government spying throughout the city, and near-unanimously banned the public from carrying items that are 100% legal — all of which are also involved in many trade professions — within the vicinity of what they determine to be a protest. Both of these are frightening abuses of power and arguably violate the Constitution.
At 6:30pm last night, the Oakland City Council meeting was packed with constituents holding signs protesting what’s known as the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC– an overarching surveillance system up for vote on the July 30th meeting agenda. But it wasn’t just “on the agenda.” DAC, along with fellow controversial resolution “Tools for Violence,” was strategically placed at the very end of the list — 35 and 36 respectively, out of 36 agenda items. To say this was anything but political just doesn’t make sense statistically . To not let comments about the item regarding the following begin until five hours into the meeting – past 11 pm — is ridiculous:
- nearly 1,000 cameras being installed throughout Oakland to spy on people and to be watched 24/7
- tracking via license plate
- twitter feed tracking
- and even more, all linked up into warrant-free access to an aggregate of data about anyone
Dozens and dozens of people had to leave early simply to make the last public transportation home, many of whom came straight from working all day. The city council indubitably knew this would be the case when they placed the rights-stripping bills at the very end of the agenda, in an all too familiar abuse of the democratic process. Oakland’s local slice of the PATRIOT Act mimicked the same populace-overruling force that inaugurated it’s national predecessor — an action even more striking given the amount of time the country has had to watch the countless abuses of rights unfold in the twelve years since it’s passing. After all, according to national polling, the majority of the population think that the government, in it’s attempt to allegedly fight terrorism, has gone too far in restricting civil liberties.
When 35 finally came up on the agenda, about 20% of the original crowd remained, eager to speak. As the clock approached midnight, people began doing so – one after the other speaking strongly against the implementation of the Domain Awareness Center, including ACLU Attorney Linda Lye. She cited statistics from long-term studies on the effects of CCTV in the UK, which showed that people of color are multiple times more likely to be profiled than white people. Another British study showed that one in ten cameras was used to “follow women for voyeuristic ends.” These also aren’t accounting for people who face multiple oppressions — if those numbers are high, how will the people behind the cameras treat trans women of color?
Any way you slice it, the Domain Awareness Center is a dangerous invasion of privacy, under the guise of increasing safety and liberty. Not a single person spoke in favor of the DAC — but did the Oakland City Council listen to their constituents, (who, unlike them, weren’t paid almost $40/hour to be at the meeting)? No – they unanimously voted to take millions of dollars in federal tax payer money to implement the Domain Awareness Center, saying they would “add some privacy protection later.”
Aside from the Domain Awareness Center, Oakland City Council also voted to pass an ordinance they call, ”Tools of Violence.” This ordinance makes it a crime to have certain items anywhere near the vicinity of a protest. These items include things that are 100% legal such as wrenches, spray paint, signs being held up by more than 12″ of wood, and even shields.
[To be continued]
Clear Channel talk show Lex and Terry advocated murdering trans women. Even using the slur they featured or any other form of transmisogyny alone is perpetuating violence against trans women, let alone outright stating support for murder.
What Can I Do?
- Sign the Change.org petition demanding an apology from Clear Channel
- Write the sponsors of Lex and Terry telling them that you will not purchase anything from companies like them that support hate speech. Here are several ways to contact Lex and Terry sponsors:
- idopecustoms – tweet at them: https://twitter.com/idopecustoms
- rockstar marketing – contact form on website: http://www.rockstar-marketing.com/contact-us
- rokform – contact form on website: http://www.rokform.com/support
- the law office of john m. phillips – email firstname.lastname@example.org
- zerovapor – contact form on website: http://www.zerovapor.com/contact
Sample message you can use when writing sponsors:
I’m writing in protest of your decision to advertise with Lex and Terry. Recently, they advocated for the murder of transgender women. I will not be monetarily supporting you while you sponsor this kind of hate crime encouragement, and I will be sure to tell everyone I know to do the same.
Additionally, you can contact Clear Channel here. Clear Channel get money from the show in question, so they must take responsibility for its content as well.
UPDATE – JUNE 8, 2013:
One of the companies that was advertising with Lex and Terry, called The Original Retro Brand, has pulled all advertising after being informed on the matter, and had this to say:
we contacted the Lex & Terry program immediately and requested they remove our ad on their website as soon as possible. We were told the soonest it can be taken down is this Monday or Tuesday the latest, and we will follow up with them to be sure they stick to their word. We have also been assured a formal apology will be given by the hosts, also confirmed by GLAAD as quoted below: “Syndicated radio hosts Lex and Terry say they will make a formal apology and have promised to work with GLAAD and transgender advocates to address the issue of anti-trans violence on the air, following an anti-transgender incident that occurred on their program earlier this week. On Friday, GLAAD spoke with an agent for the show, who said that the hosts now understood the severity of the incident and the harm that statements like this can (and do) cause, and that a formal apology from the hosts would be forthcoming. Lex and Terry will also work with GLAAD and members of the transgender advocacy community on a way to meaningfully address the issue of anti-transgender violence on the air. We do not yet know the contents of the apology.” Thanks again for bringing this to our attention.
Further proof that this kind of protest (contacting sponsors) is one of the most effective ways of combating media bigotry.
Corporate entities donating to organizations that exist to stand against LGB people are obviously run by bigoted losers who need to get a life outside of worrying about who other people love and/or have sex with. Whether or not you believe that a business that spends money in this fashion still has the right to operate under the First Amendment, you probably agree with the above statement if you’re not against LGB people yourself.
But here’s the thing: corporate money donated to fight for gay marriage is actively used to oppress people, too. It goes to politicians who speak out and vote against trans rights. It goes to alleged “LGBT” organizations lobbying for trans rights to be removed from bills (HRC, Equality Maryland, to name a few). It goes to trading the legal rights of transgender men and women to not be kicked out of homes/fired from their workplace for the rights of cis gay people to get married (look at the situation in New York for example). It’s thoroughly fucked up that a company is donating to bigoted organizations, and I won’t knowingly support one when avoidable. But the fact is, if Chik-Fil-A was donating to most gay marriage organizations, they would still be perpetuating bigotry. And many of the people protesting them now would instead, no doubt, be going out of their way to support them.
Yet, many liberal cis people become enraged when this is pointed out, despite the fact that it’s backed by years of evidence. How would the cis gay community feel if trans men and women cared more about our right to marry than your right to not be fired from your job or made homeless? There are many LGB trans men and women, too, and what’s referred to as “gay marriage” also affects the marriage rights of thousands of transgender men and women. Clearly, the legal right to marriage is something that many trans men and women care a great deal about. You don’t see trans money being funneled into organizations that fight against these rights.
But the monied machines that fight in support of gay marriage have blood on their hands as well; a fact that is consistently ignored in marriage discourse.
(Note: I am aware that Chik-Fil-A has also donated to other types of anti-gay organizations – this is in response to what almost every single comment I’ve seen protesting their donations has been about: their donations against gay marriage.)
HuffPo (short for Huffington Post) often reports on what they tend to refer to as “LGBT issues.” Unsurprisingly, their focus is usually on cis gay issues, which is a form of cis-normativity and trans erasure in and of itself, but they often go a step further and actively engage in cissexism and transphobia.
Some examples (I realize that I’m giving them traffic by linking to them here, so please click-through only at your own discretion if seeing the source is important to you) -
- In this article about anti-gay violence, there are almost too many problems to mention, but I’ll try. The article starts out by staying that “more murders motivated by anti-gay bias occurred last year than any year since the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs began collecting data.” What it doesn’t tell you is that the number of murders is only around 1/10th of the number of trans women that were murdered last year. This is not to say that anti-gay bigotry doesn’t matter, but to focus on a FAR less prevalent form of hatred and sensationalize it comparatively is cis and white privilege personified. The article then goes on to state: “In 2011, 30 fatally violent hate crimes were committed against lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender victims.” Unbelievable… because it’s wildly inaccurate; flat-out using the word “transgender” as an utter and complete throwaway. Do you know how many transgender women, majority of color, were murder victims last year? 221. How dare Huffington Post claim there were only “30 fatally violent hate crimes” against a group that includes “transgender victims.” Sloppy reporting, poor proofing, and outright erasure at work. Later in the article, HuffPo reports that “People of color, immigrants, transgender people, youth, and young adults were all disproportionately hurt in 2011, but white gay non-transgender men still represented the largest group of victims.” No. Factually incorrect. White cis gay men may get listened to the most, but they are not the largest group of victims if 1/10th of them were killed in the same time period when hundreds of trans women of color were murdered.
- In this article about Janet Jackson producing a transgender-related documentary, HuffPo links to a photo gallery of “Straight Allies.” Acting like “straight” is somehow inherently different from or opposite of transgender? Ignorant and un-gendering. Sexual orientation is NOT the same thing as gender identity! Like cis people, transgender men and women can be straight, gay, bisexual, pansexual, asexual, etc.
- Putting the transgender section under the category of “Gay Voices.” What the fuck? Calling us “gay” by default is playing into the cis trope that we’re all just cis gays who want to be straight. It is easily proven as incorrect (judging by the fact that there are thousands of transgender people who aren’t straight) and extremely offensive.
- As for their readers, this poll result says it all – the majority think that gay marriage is more important than: transgender rights, gay adoption, workplace protections, housing and public accommodations, sexual liberties, bullying, and LGBT homeless youth. Privilege at work.
These things are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to Huffington Post cissexism, transphobia, and trans-misogyny. Please think twice before considering them to be positive regarding transgender issues, or even gay issues for that matter, unless we’re solely talking about marriage.
CeCe McDonald, a trans woman of color who was viciously attacked by trans-misogynistic racists and fought back in self-defense, was officially sentenced today. In regards to her sentencing, Hennepin County Spokeswoman Sarah Russell spoke on CeCe’s jail housing situation and willfully mis-gendered her in the process. Let’s be clear: mis-gendering a transgender woman or man is bigoted, point-blank. For a cis woman like Sarah Russell to do so is completely unacceptable, especially while speaking as an employee of the State.
CeCe McDonald is a woman. End of story. How would you feel being housed in the male section, Sarah Russell? How would you feel being referred to with male pronouns? You are on the wrong side of history.
Russell also added that the state will make their own assessment regarding what CeCe’s gender is. According to her, that will involve “any and all collateral documentation and a physical and psychological evaluation.” When are cis people going to get it? Documentation and physical characters do not determine gender. And trans men and women don’t need to submit to your creepy psychological evaluations to know what our genders are. Shame on you for treating CeCe McDonald, victim of a vicious hate crime, with even more hate and disrespect.
Hope no one’s planning on dressing up as a knight this Halloween, because Oakland City Council is mulling over a proposal to ban shields. Are they concerned about the fact that a federal judge threatened sanctions against OPD (Oakland Police Department) after their militant response to protests? The group of people who are actually carrying loaded guns, clubs, bean bag bullets, tear-gas canisters, and pepper spray, and regularly using them? Of course not. This is the Oakland City Council we’re talking about, which includes Councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente, who called Oakland protests “domestic terrorism.” Yes, spray-painting and property damage in which not a single person is hurt is terrorism, but using actual weapons against human beings, a la OPD? Of course not!
The article detailing the new proposal says the following:
Rather than having to catch Occupy agitators in the act of damaging property or using the makeshift weapons, police would be able to arrest protesters they saw carrying the prohibited items, potentially weeding out agitators before protests get violent.
Do people realize what a truly terrifying precedent this is? It’s tantamount to claiming that because someone was holding a lighter, they should be arrested for arson.
The article goes on to say:
Several council members had recently inquired whether the city could approve a law prohibiting any item that could be fashioned into a weapon.
Literally anything could be “fashioned into a weapon.” A pair of shoes could be used as a weapon. A belt could be used as a weapon. A fist can be and is regularly used by people as a weapon. Guess we should cut off everyone’s hands and make nudity mandatory.
Oakland City Council, folks, where intelligence and freedom go to die!
On May 6, 2012, the Oakland Police Department added to the list of black people that have been killed by police so far this year by taking high school senior Alan Blueford’s life.
Alan was standing outside with some friends (around 90th & Birch in Oakland) when some members of the Oakland Police Department pulled up and racially profiled him. Alan ran, and was SHOT IN THE BACK three times while fleeing. Even if you think he deserved to be punished for running away from a police officer (which, really? Who can blame people of color for being fearful of police?), the punishment, even within our broken “justice” system, is supposed to be arrest. As Hammer, formerly known as MC Hammer, said at the vigil last night, “How can the penalty for fleeing be death?”
The same officer who killed Alan Blueford also shot himself in the foot – suspicious much? OPD tried to lie about this too, but later admitted it. “Uhoh, better make it look like I got shot, too!” certainly wouldn’t be surprising behavior from an OPD member, and if it was an accident, we need to have police officers who don’t lose control of their weapons!
There will be a march for justice for Alan in Oakland today, beginning at 9200 Birth Street and ending at Eastmont Mall Police Sub-Station (at 2652 73rd Ave.).
To stay up-to-date on activities, check out Justice 4 Alan Blueford.
RIP ALAN BLUEFORD! STOP RACIST POLICE KILLINGS!