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Hey folks – I just got this email and hope you will join me in placing a call to the Department of Justice to demand an investigation into the Durham Police Department. Here is the message from the body of the email:

“There are still more questions than answers in the tragic death of 17 year old Jesús Huerta. The young man died of a gunshot wound to the face received while handcuffed in the back of a police car in Durham, North Carolina.

Durham Police have released a report saying that Jesús somehow shot himself, a claim that defies logic. Jesus’s hands were cuffed behind his back, and the officer who arrested Jesus claims to have frisked him before arresting him.

Jesús’s grieving family needs answers they can trust now more than ever. Last month the Department of Justice received more than 18,000 petition signatures calling for a patterns and practices investigation of Durham Police Department, but so far they’ve done nothing.

It’s time to increase the pressure for them to act. Can you take a moment to call the DOJ to ask for an investigation of Durham Police? We’ll give you the phone number and a short script you can use.

Sunday night marked two months since Jesús’s death, and his family organized a prayer vigil in Durham. Jesús’s family and community are still seeking answers and assurances this will never happen again.

While we still can’t be sure how Jesús died, we do know that he was the second Latino and third man of color to die in the presence Durham Police Department since July. We know that the police chief is under investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission following his own vice chief’s allegations of discriminatory practices in hiring and promotion. And we know that an analysis of traffic stop data reveals troubling evidence of racial profiling by Durham police.

A Department of Justice investigation could lead to the kind of reforms within Durham Police Department that would ensure that no other family would have to grieve the way Jesús’s family has.

Please place a phone call to the Department of Justice and ask them to investigate the Durham Police Department. We’ll give you the phone number and a brief script.

Thanks and ¡adelante!
Arturo, Roberto, Jesús, Erick, Erica, Refugio, and the rest of the Presente.org Team”

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FSU has voted to co-sponsor this event organized by campus maintenance workers.

This Thursday April 7
9am: Join workers for an all-day sit-out in front of South Building!
12 noon: Major Rally of Workers and Students!

Join campus workers from 9am-5pm on Thursday April 7th on the steps of South Building to protest attacks on workers rights! There will be food, speakers, conversation, performances and community.

…It’s important to be there all day, or as much of the day as you can. Skip class, rearrange appointments, ask off from professors. But, if you can only make part of the day, the most important part will be from 12 noon to 1pm, when workers and students will rally and speak out to the media.

Facilities workers from around campus have decided to take vacation time and sit on the steps of South Building next Thursday to protest unfair schedule changes by management. They and other workers are courageously standing up for their rights and for a voice on the job in this time of budget cuts, tuition hikes, and other attacks on workers and students.

It’s essential that we as students support them and sit-out with them! With the climate of fear and intimidation that workers face constantly from management, it’s a risk to speak out as a worker on this campus, let alone to protest publicly. These unfair schedule changes that workers are facing are just another example of the administration trying to balance the budget on the backs of workers and students, and we’ve all got to unite to fight these attacks. As workers, they face retaliation, increased health care costs, unfair schedule changes, intimidation, and decreased benefits.

We gotta work together to fight for justice on the job and dignity in the workplace for campus workers!

 

Tonight at UNC-Chapel Hill, members of Feminist Students United handed out programs challenging the audience of pornographer Larry Flynt’s keynote address for the First Amendment Law Review to think deeply about pornography’s harmful effects on women, people of color, and low income people in particular, its harmful effects on everyone in general, and its contribution to our society’s rape culture.

Before Flynt’s address, several men passed out these programs to audience members lined up outside the Great Hall of UNC-CH’s student union. The program, a joint creation by members of FSU, asked the question: “Does Larry Flynt Have the Right to Speak?” and answered: “Absolutely.”

However, the program went on to ask the audience members to consider the violently sexist and racist content of Flynt’s porn industry. “Instead of having an abstract dialogue about ‘Freedom of Speech,'” the program says, “we must examine the content of his work, and its effects. Let’s start talking about how to move our sexual imaginations toward respect, toward empathy, toward connections based on equality, not domination.”

Though Feminist Students United acknowledge Larry Flynt’s legal right to speak, we feel it is important to ask deeper questions about exactly what he and his company are saying. Pornography represents the widespread acceptance of men’s domination over women in sexuality. Mainstream pornography uses society’s most racist and sexist stereotypes in its depictions of sexuality. How can a society truly be free and egalitarian when a man like Larry Flynt, who has created such works as “Barely Legal Cumming of Age” and “Big Phat Ghetto Azz All Greased Up,” is regarded as a hero of free speech and invited to speak at a public university? What does it mean that many young boys learn about sexuality through films like “Gag Factor?” What does it mean that many women who appear in such videos as “ATM [ass to mouth] Guzzlers” are completely dehumanized and subjected to humiliation and violence in order to make a living?

The event itself, though posed as an open exchange of ideas wherein two moderators asked Larry Flynt several questions about his work around free speech, was instead yet another legitimation of pornography in mainstream society. The questions the moderators asked Flynt were simple and uncontroversial: “Do you feel mainstream media has gone soft?” “What do you think about Obama?” “Do you feel today’s politicians are hypocritical?”

His answers, though dismissive of conservatives, organized religion, and the recent rise of the populist “Tea Party,” revealed no acknowledgement of the effects pornography has on our society. Despite the desperate conditions capitalism places many women into, he insisted that his films have never exploited anybody; despite the epidemic of men’s violence against women that occurs in our culture, he insisted that no person has ever been harmed by his films. Of course, porn does not cause men to attack their partners, but can it really be said that erotic films depicting violent sex acts have no connection to sexist violence?

Finally, despite the introduction of tonight’s talk as a marketplace of ideas where conversation about free speech can take place in a manner befitting “high level academic discourse,” a member of FSU who asked a lengthy question during the audience Q&A session was told by the moderators to stand down.  He was interrupted by the moderators while he read his question.  When he continued to read his question, a police officer covered the microphone with his hand and threatened him with arrest unless he immediately asked Flynt the question.  Can an event where civil but opposing viewpoints are shouted down, and where one voice (the voice of the rich, white, pornographer) is the loudest, truly represent an egalitarian marketplace of ideas?

Pornography harms our friends, family, and loved ones. Feminist Students United condemns this distorted view of sexuality, and advocates the creation of an equal, compassionate, and respectful sexuality in its place.

Check out this post for updates on news coverage of FSU’s direct action at the Larry Flynt event.

Feminist Students United (FSU) is a progressive feminist organization which affirms that no form of oppression can be overcome until all aspects of racism, classism, sexism, and heterosexism are dismantled. We acknowledge intersecting identities and strive to be mindful of these intersections in all our work. We endeavor to create an environment which is non-hierarchical and supportive in nature, and we work to bring about change in our community through education, outreach, direct action and community organizing.

Weekly Meetings

Spring 2015: Wednesdays at 7:30 PM in Murphey 202

For a better look at events, check out FSU's Calendar

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contact us

uncfsu AT gmail (dot) com