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    america-wakiewakie:

Do Not Turn Killer George Zimmerman into a Reality Show Star | Existence Is Resistance 
As if we do not have enough crappy reality TV shows and people doing whatever embarrassing or outlandish things to become reality TV stars now the murderer of 17 year old Trayvon Martin is weaseling his way into becoming one by asking to fight a celebrity.
Rapper The Game accepted the challenge but now reports are that DMX will be the one fighting Zimmerman instead. I’m opposed to celebrities or anyone for that matter accepting his offer for several reasons.
First of all, he will be profiting off of the killing of Trayvon Martin by possibly getting a paycheck for this fight. He is using his “fame” or notoriety after getting away with shooting to death a young unarmed teenager as a way to get his foot into the reality show world.
His offer to fight a celebrity has garnered him a lot of attention and that is his goal. I believe he is using this fight opportunity to eventually pitch a new reality show or to join one of the countless ones in existence already.
Second of all, it won’t bring justice or peace to the Martin family even if Zimmerman loses and gets beaten. Many have argued that they will be joyed to see Zimmerman get beat up and their feelings are understandable but if it’s going to lead him to more money making opportunities then it’s not worth it.
Zimmerman should be shunned and isolated from greater society for what he has done. He should live every moment thinking about that night and his assumptions and decisions that led him to murder a teenager walking home from the store. He should live with regret and struggle to make ends meet as a form of punishment since the justice system failed the family of Trayvon Martin. Instead he is making money off of what he did in the form of a painting he drew which sold for $100,000 on eBay and now with this fight.
Even if George Zimmerman loses the fight he still wins. He wins by getting paid for the fight. He wins by using the fight as a way to catapult himself into more reality TV. He wins by trivializing the death of Trayvon Martin and turning this very serious injustice into a mockery.
Third, we should be talking about racial profiling, the stand your ground law, the ways the cops handled the case, the injustice in the court verdict and the double standards of it all not focusing on a boxing match that will only benefit a murderer and not the Martin family.
Racist killings of innocent black men and women have continued even after the murder of Trayvon Martin. All of us, including these celebrities, should be putting our energy into organizing people and speaking out against injustice, racial profiling and murder.
One way to honor Trayvon Martin and his family would be to stop another racist killing like that from happening not allowing the killer to profit from it.
The opinions reflected in this article are those of Ayman El-Sayed and do not necessarily represent the views of Existence is Resistance.

    america-wakiewakie:

    Do Not Turn Killer George Zimmerman into a Reality Show Star | Existence Is Resistance 

    As if we do not have enough crappy reality TV shows and people doing whatever embarrassing or outlandish things to become reality TV stars now the murderer of 17 year old Trayvon Martin is weaseling his way into becoming one by asking to fight a celebrity.

    Rapper The Game accepted the challenge but now reports are that DMX will be the one fighting Zimmerman instead. I’m opposed to celebrities or anyone for that matter accepting his offer for several reasons.

    First of all, he will be profiting off of the killing of Trayvon Martin by possibly getting a paycheck for this fight. He is using his “fame” or notoriety after getting away with shooting to death a young unarmed teenager as a way to get his foot into the reality show world.

    His offer to fight a celebrity has garnered him a lot of attention and that is his goal. I believe he is using this fight opportunity to eventually pitch a new reality show or to join one of the countless ones in existence already.

    Second of all, it won’t bring justice or peace to the Martin family even if Zimmerman loses and gets beaten. Many have argued that they will be joyed to see Zimmerman get beat up and their feelings are understandable but if it’s going to lead him to more money making opportunities then it’s not worth it.

    Zimmerman should be shunned and isolated from greater society for what he has done. He should live every moment thinking about that night and his assumptions and decisions that led him to murder a teenager walking home from the store. He should live with regret and struggle to make ends meet as a form of punishment since the justice system failed the family of Trayvon Martin. Instead he is making money off of what he did in the form of a painting he drew which sold for $100,000 on eBay and now with this fight.

    Even if George Zimmerman loses the fight he still wins. He wins by getting paid for the fight. He wins by using the fight as a way to catapult himself into more reality TV. He wins by trivializing the death of Trayvon Martin and turning this very serious injustice into a mockery.

    Third, we should be talking about racial profiling, the stand your ground law, the ways the cops handled the case, the injustice in the court verdict and the double standards of it all not focusing on a boxing match that will only benefit a murderer and not the Martin family.

    Racist killings of innocent black men and women have continued even after the murder of Trayvon Martin. All of us, including these celebrities, should be putting our energy into organizing people and speaking out against injustice, racial profiling and murder.

    One way to honor Trayvon Martin and his family would be to stop another racist killing like that from happening not allowing the killer to profit from it.

    The opinions reflected in this article are those of Ayman El-Sayed and do not necessarily represent the views of Existence is Resistance.

    — 2 months ago with 273 notes
    #george zimmerman  #trayvon martin  #injustice  #violence 

    felicefawn:

    blackmanonthemoon:

    TRIGGER WARNING (violence, gore)

    rikaorlanda:

    agent orange?

    takemetotheothersidex:

    The government (AKP) wanted to build a shopping mall but Istanbul already has got 93 shopping malls so we’re sick of it. And they wanted to build it in taksim gezi parki. That park is really important to us it’s like Central Park in NY. They wanted to destroy our park and build a new AVM. Then out people go there to defend our park and block the government. But the police started to throw agent orange, pepper spray and hard water (firemans trucks) Lots of people died and they’re still standing there and waiting 5pm because if our war continues for 48 hours our government is going to fall. We’re walking on Atatürk’s road and we don’t want Erdogan to controle us because that’s what he’s doing. So let thw world know what the fuck is he doing to his own people and he is doing just because the defenders dont like him and dont obey him. As you can see if people dont obey him he use illegal things to torture us and he blocked the media too so when other countries are making news about us suffering in our turkish channels there’s nothing just regular things like soccer or magazine news. They blocked the phones and internet in defending places so people are stuck there without electricity and no food there are no gas masks so lots of people are poisoning and police attacks people with armed combat car and they shout like run over people so ERDOGAN= HITLER HELP US (Reblog)

    Spread the word, signal boost, reblog. These people seriously need all the help they can get to let the world know what’s going on, and we’re in a position to do that.

    (via anarcho-queer)

    — 10 months ago with 31075 notes
    #trigger warning  #tw  #massive trigger warning  #gore  #violence  #turkey 
    "

    One of the dead, Prakash Singh, was a priest who recently immigrated to the United States with his wife and two young children, said Justice Singh Khalsa, a temple member since the 1990s.

    Relatives of Kaleka, the president of the temple in Oak Creek, Wisconsin, said Monday that he was killed fighting the attacker.

    “From what we understand, he basically fought to the very end and suffered gunshot wounds while trying to take down the gunman,” said Kanwardeep Singh Kaleka, his nephew.

    “He was a protector of his own people, just an incredible individual who showed his love and passion for our people, our faith, to the end,” the nephew said, near tears. “He was definitely one of the most dedicated individuals I have ever seen, one of the happiest people in the world.

    "

    Source (via sassy-alphonse-elric)

    We should be focusing on telling the stories of the victims, not the shooter. Prakash Singh sounds like he was a beautiful person and he deserves recognition for the life he lived and was ultimately deprived of, as do all of the victims. We need to focus on the good and the love the victims spent their lives spreading and tell their stories to continue spreading each for them, not the hatred of the shooter.

    (via mohandasgandhi)

    (Source: dr-erland, via activistaabsentee)

    — 1 year ago with 4280 notes
    #oak creek wisconsin  #racism  #violence 
    womenaresociety:

Violence Against Women Act Divides Senate
With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.
The fight over the law, which would expand financing for and broaden the reach of domestic violence programs, will be joined Thursday when Senate Democratic women plan to march to the Senate floor to demand quick action on its extension. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has suggested he will push for a vote by the end of March.
Democrats, confident they have the political upper hand with women, insist that Republican opposition falls into a larger picture of insensitivity toward women that has progressed from abortion fights to contraception to preventive health care coverage — and now to domestic violence.
“I am furious,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”
Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.
Some conservatives are feeling trapped.
“I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”
The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.
Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.
Critics of the legislation acknowledged that the name alone presents a challenge if they intend to oppose it over some of its specific provisions.
“Obviously, you want to be for the title,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, said of the Violence Against Women Act. “If Republicans can’t be for it, we need to have a very convincing alternative.”
The latest Senate version of the bill has five Republican co-sponsors, including Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, a co-author, but it failed to get a single Republican vote in the Judiciary Committee last month.
As suggested by Mr. Sessions, Republicans detect a whiff of politics in the Democrats’ timing. The party just went through a bruising fight over efforts to replace the Obama administration’s contraception-coverage mandate with legislation allowing some employers to opt out of coverage for medical procedures they object to on religious or moral grounds.
*Click link above to continue reading

    womenaresociety:

    Violence Against Women Act Divides Senate

    With emotions still raw from the fight over President Obama’s contraception mandate, Senate Democrats are beginning a push to renew the Violence Against Women Act, the once broadly bipartisan 1994 legislation that now faces fierce opposition from conservatives.

    The fight over the law, which would expand financing for and broaden the reach of domestic violence programs, will be joined Thursday when Senate Democratic women plan to march to the Senate floor to demand quick action on its extension. Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, has suggested he will push for a vote by the end of March.

    Democrats, confident they have the political upper hand with women, insist that Republican opposition falls into a larger picture of insensitivity toward women that has progressed from abortion fights to contraception to preventive health care coverage — and now to domestic violence.

    “I am furious,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

    Republicans are bracing for a battle where substantive arguments could be swamped by political optics and the intensity of the clash over women’s issues. At a closed-door Senate Republican lunch on Tuesday, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska sternly warned her colleagues that the party was at risk of being successfully painted as antiwoman — with potentially grievous political consequences in the fall, several Republican senators said Wednesday.

    Some conservatives are feeling trapped.

    “I favor the Violence Against Women Act and have supported it at various points over the years, but there are matters put on that bill that almost seem to invite opposition,” said Senator Jeff Sessions, Republican of Alabama, who opposed the latest version last month in the Judiciary Committee. “You think that’s possible? You think they might have put things in there we couldn’t support that maybe then they could accuse you of not being supportive of fighting violence against women?”

    The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

    Republicans say the measure, under the cloak of battered women, unnecessarily expands immigration avenues by creating new definitions for immigrant victims to claim battery. More important, they say, it fails to put in safeguards to ensure that domestic violence grants are being well spent. It also dilutes the focus on domestic violence by expanding protections to new groups, like same-sex couples, they say.

    Critics of the legislation acknowledged that the name alone presents a challenge if they intend to oppose it over some of its specific provisions.

    “Obviously, you want to be for the title,” Senator Roy Blunt of Missouri, a member of the Republican leadership, said of the Violence Against Women Act. “If Republicans can’t be for it, we need to have a very convincing alternative.”

    The latest Senate version of the bill has five Republican co-sponsors, including Michael D. Crapo of Idaho, a co-author, but it failed to get a single Republican vote in the Judiciary Committee last month.

    As suggested by Mr. Sessions, Republicans detect a whiff of politics in the Democrats’ timing. The party just went through a bruising fight over efforts to replace the Obama administration’s contraception-coverage mandate with legislation allowing some employers to opt out of coverage for medical procedures they object to on religious or moral grounds.

    *Click link above to continue reading

    — 2 years ago with 12 notes
    #republicans  #women  #war against women  #democrats  #contraception  #women's rights  #protection  #law  #domestic violence  #senate  #conservatives  #female senators  #harry reid  #violence  #violence against women act  #immigration  #controversy  #new york times  #lisa murkowski  #jeff sessions  #politics  #stalking  #same-sex couples  #gay couples  #roy blunt  #michael d crapo  #obama  #president obama 
    MPAA: Don’t let the bullies win! Give ‘Bully’ a PG-13 instead of an R rating! →

    womenaresociety:

    Please join me in signing this petition to allow the most impacted age group to see the important upcoming documentary, Bully (scroll down 3 posts below to see the trailer). Reblog if you can, and thanks for signing!

    I’m speaking out for all those students who suffer every day at school.

    When I was in 7th grade, a few guys came up behind me while putting my books in my locker. They called me names and asked me why I even bothered to show my face at school because no one liked me. I ignored them because I was scared of what else they might say and who else they might tell if I stood up to them. When I went to shut my locker, they pushed me against the wall. Then they slammed my locker shut on my hand, breaking my fourth finger. I held back tears while I watched them run away laughing. I didn’t know what to do so I stood there, alone and afraid.

    I just heard that the Motion Picture Association of America has given an “R” rating to “Bully” — a new film coming out soon that documents the epidemic of bullying in American schools. Because of the R rating, most kids won’t get to see this film. No one under 17 will be allowed to see the movie, and the film won’t be allowed to be screened in American middle schools or high schools.

    I can’t believe the MPAA is blocking millions of teenagers from seeing a movie that could change — and, in some cases, save — their lives. According to the film’s website, over 13 million kids will be bullied this year alone. Think of how many of these kids could benefit from seeing this film, especially if it is shown in schools?

    If enough people speak out and ask the MPAA to give Bully a PG-13 rating, maybe we can get them to change their minds. Will you sign my petition to the MPAA asking for a PG-13 rating instead of an R?

    From what I understand, the MPAA ruled by ONE vote that Bully deserves an R-rating because of “language,” robbing many teenagers of the chance to view a film that could change their lives, and help reduce violence in schools. This makes me really mad. It means that a film documenting the abuse that millions of kids experience through bullying won’t be seen by the audience that needs to see it the most: middle school students and high school students.

    Please sign my petition and demand that the MPAA give “Bully” a PG-13 so this important film can be seen by as many kids and adults as possible.

    Thanks! 
    Katy Butler, Michigan high school student

    P.S.: You can learn more about the movie on Facebook and Twitter.

    — 2 years ago with 34 notes
    #mpaa  #motion picture association of america  #controversy  #bully  #documentary  #bullying  #bullied  #students  #children  #school  #epidemic  #violence  #violent  #r rating  #rated r  #pg-13  #petition  #letter  #sign  #help  #suicide  #save lives  #language  #high school  #middle school 
    SIGN THE PETITION: Ask Grammys to Apologize to Domestic Violence Survivors →

    fuckyeahfeminists:

    from change.org

    Chris Brown recently performed at the 54th annual Grammy Awards, just three years after missing the 2009 show because he was in the process of beating his girlfriend at the time, Rihanna, to a bloody mess. While he did turn himself in to the police and served his time, he has not been properly reprimanded by society for his grave injustices. In fact, he continues to be rewarded.

    Almost 50% of Boston teenagers believed Rihanna was to blame for her beating. During his performances at the Grammy Awards people (WOMEN) tweeted things like, “Not gonna lie, I’d let Chris Brown beat me.”

    These reactions are NOT acceptable. They perpetuate the cycle of violence towards women and cannot be condoned.

    Even more appalling, Grammy Executive Producer Ken Erlich stated, “it may have taken us a while to kind of get over the fact that we were the victim of what happened.” That’s right: Erlich thinks the Grammy Awards were the victim of Chris Brown’s violence against Rhianna. To equate themselves with a domestic abuse victim goes beyond the pale.

    Also - read this morning that Brown’s new pickup line is “What’s your number? I promise I won’t beat you.” Almost puked on my newspaper on the train. As a survivor who has been ridiculed and ignored while my abusers got scott-free this issue has particular importance to me.

    [SIGN SIGN SIGN]

    p.s. fuck you, Ken Erlich. The saying the Grammys is the victim instead of the actual survivor is so fucking ridiculous.

    — 2 years ago with 343 notes
    #petition  #violence  #gender  #media  #accountability  #activism 
    More reasons to hate Republicans: they voted AGAINST renewing the Violence Against Women Act

    fuckyeahfeminists:

    I am raging so fucking hard this morning. I can’t even.

    From the New York Times:

    Even in the ultrapolarized atmosphere of Capitol Hill, it should be possible to secure broad bipartisan agreement on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act, the 1994 law at the center of the nation’s efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. The law’s renewal has strong backing from law enforcement and groups that work with victims, and earlier reauthorizations of the law, in 2000 and 2005, passed Congress with strong support from both sides of the aisle.

    Yet not a single Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor last week when the committee approved a well-crafted reauthorization bill introduced by its chairman, Senator Patrick Leahy, and Senator Michael Crapo, a Republican of Idaho, who is not on the committee.

    The bill includes smart improvements aimed, for example, at encouraging effective enforcement of protective orders and reducing the national backlog of untested rape kits. The Republican opposition seems driven largely by an antigay, anti-immigrant agenda. The main sticking points seemed to be language in the bill to ensure that victims are not denied services because they are gay or transgender and a provision that would modestly expand the availability of special visas for undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence — a necessary step to encourage those victims to come forward.

    RAAAAAAAAGE. VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE A PARTISAN ISSUE. THIS IS PEOPLE’S FUCKING LIVES!!!!

    — 2 years ago with 372 notes
    #POLITICS  #SEX  #GENDER  #VIOLENCE 
    womenaresociety:

How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts
 
In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.
Yet almost two years later, Zwerling and her associates have taught more than 100 prisoners to knit, while dozens more are on a waiting list to take her weekly class. “I have guys that have never missed one time in two years,” Zwerling says. “Some reported to us that they miss dinner to come to class.”
Zwerling, 67, retired in 2005 after 18 years of selling cars in Columbia, Maryland. She didn’t know what to do with her time, so she followed her passion and started a knitting group in her town. No one came to the first meeting, but the group quickly grew to 500 members. “I looked around the room one day and I saw a zen quality about it,” Zwerling says. “Here were people who didn’t know each other, had nothing in common, sitting together peacefully like little lambs knitting. I thought, ‘It makes me and these people feel so good. What would happen if I took knitting to a population that never experienced this before?’”
Her first thought was to bring knitting to a men’s prison, but she was turned down repeatedly. Wardens assumed the men wouldn’t be interested in a traditionally feminine hobby and worried about freely handing out knitting needles to prisoners who had been convicted of violent crimes. Five years passed before the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup accepted her, and Knitting Behind Bars was born. “I [wanted to teach] them something that I love that I really believe will make them focus and happy,” Zwerling says. “I really believe that it’s more than a craft. This has the ability to transform you.”
The men were reluctant at first, complaining that knitting was too girly or too difficult. But Zwerling assured them men had invented the craft, then gave them a five-minute knitting lesson she swears can teach anyone. Suddenly, Zwerling says, the men “found the zen,” and got hooked. Now, every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., they come to class, leaving their crimes and the hierarchies of prison life behind.

They started by knitting comfort dolls, which they gave to children removed from their homes because of domestic issues. Then they moved on to hats for kids at the inner-city elementary school many of the prisoners attended, Zwerling says. “If you look at them, they’re covered with tattoos, they’re rough looking, and many of the young guys don’t have all their teeth,” she says. “But it doesn’t feel rough. They’re very respectful and grateful and very happy to knit.”
The prison’s assistant warden, Margaret Chippendale, believes the men involved with KBB get into trouble less often. “It’s very positive because you can see when you go into the room, the dynamics of their conversation; very calm, very soothing,” Chippendale says. “It radiates even when they leave the room and go out into the institution.”
Richy Horton, 38, served almost four years at the Pre-Release Unit and reluctantly joined KBB about 6 months before he was released. “I was like, I’m not going to that thing,” Horton says. “And then I went, and you were actually speaking to real people. People can’t really understand [that in prison] you’re completely separated from anything normal or real in the world. You’re always told what to do and when to do it, so to have people come in and treat you like a human being means so much. They came in and they were like my mom.”

Horton and the other men formed deep friendships with Zwerling and her fellow volunteers, Sheila Rovelstad, 61, and Lea Heirs, 58. “They tell us their stories and dreams,” Zwerling says. “And some of them lie to us. They don’t want us to know the really terrible things they did.”
Each week the men eagerly await the women’s arrival, then promptly get to work. “It takes you away a little,” Horton says. “You have to watch what you’re doing, otherwise your stitches will become loose or tight or you’ll skip stitches. It almost makes you feel like you don’t have to be anything. You’re all sitting there knitting. You can just be yourself.”
Horton was released from prison last December and now works in construction. He believes his involvement with KBB helped him get out of jail and onto parole, showing the parole interviewers his small but positive effort to help the outside community. He continues to keep in touch with the women of KBB and is currently knitting a beaded scarf. “They’re not normal people,” Horton says of Zwerling, Rovelstad, and Heirs. “They’re almost like saints.”
To donate to Knitting Behind Bars, visit their Etsy shop, or contact Lynn Zwerling at lynnzwerling@verizon.net.

Wow!

    womenaresociety:

    How Knitting Behind Bars Transformed Maryland Convicts

    In late 2009, Lynn Zwerling stood in front of 600 male prisoners at the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup, Maryland. “Who wants to knit?” she asked the burly crowd. They looked at her like she was crazy.

    Yet almost two years later, Zwerling and her associates have taught more than 100 prisoners to knit, while dozens more are on a waiting list to take her weekly class. “I have guys that have never missed one time in two years,” Zwerling says. “Some reported to us that they miss dinner to come to class.”

    Zwerling, 67, retired in 2005 after 18 years of selling cars in Columbia, Maryland. She didn’t know what to do with her time, so she followed her passion and started a knitting group in her town. No one came to the first meeting, but the group quickly grew to 500 members. “I looked around the room one day and I saw a zen quality about it,” Zwerling says. “Here were people who didn’t know each other, had nothing in common, sitting together peacefully like little lambs knitting. I thought, ‘It makes me and these people feel so good. What would happen if I took knitting to a population that never experienced this before?’”

    Her first thought was to bring knitting to a men’s prison, but she was turned down repeatedly. Wardens assumed the men wouldn’t be interested in a traditionally feminine hobby and worried about freely handing out knitting needles to prisoners who had been convicted of violent crimes. Five years passed before the Pre-Release Unit in Jessup accepted her, and Knitting Behind Bars was born. “I [wanted to teach] them something that I love that I really believe will make them focus and happy,” Zwerling says. “I really believe that it’s more than a craft. This has the ability to transform you.”

    The men were reluctant at first, complaining that knitting was too girly or too difficult. But Zwerling assured them men had invented the craft, then gave them a five-minute knitting lesson she swears can teach anyone. Suddenly, Zwerling says, the men “found the zen,” and got hooked. Now, every Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m., they come to class, leaving their crimes and the hierarchies of prison life behind.

    They started by knitting comfort dolls, which they gave to children removed from their homes because of domestic issues. Then they moved on to hats for kids at the inner-city elementary school many of the prisoners attended, Zwerling says. “If you look at them, they’re covered with tattoos, they’re rough looking, and many of the young guys don’t have all their teeth,” she says. “But it doesn’t feel rough. They’re very respectful and grateful and very happy to knit.”

    The prison’s assistant warden, Margaret Chippendale, believes the men involved with KBB get into trouble less often. “It’s very positive because you can see when you go into the room, the dynamics of their conversation; very calm, very soothing,” Chippendale says. “It radiates even when they leave the room and go out into the institution.”

    Richy Horton, 38, served almost four years at the Pre-Release Unit and reluctantly joined KBB about 6 months before he was released. “I was like, I’m not going to that thing,” Horton says. “And then I went, and you were actually speaking to real people. People can’t really understand [that in prison] you’re completely separated from anything normal or real in the world. You’re always told what to do and when to do it, so to have people come in and treat you like a human being means so much. They came in and they were like my mom.”

    Horton and the other men formed deep friendships with Zwerling and her fellow volunteers, Sheila Rovelstad, 61, and Lea Heirs, 58. “They tell us their stories and dreams,” Zwerling says. “And some of them lie to us. They don’t want us to know the really terrible things they did.”

    Each week the men eagerly await the women’s arrival, then promptly get to work. “It takes you away a little,” Horton says. “You have to watch what you’re doing, otherwise your stitches will become loose or tight or you’ll skip stitches. It almost makes you feel like you don’t have to be anything. You’re all sitting there knitting. You can just be yourself.”

    Horton was released from prison last December and now works in construction. He believes his involvement with KBB helped him get out of jail and onto parole, showing the parole interviewers his small but positive effort to help the outside community. He continues to keep in touch with the women of KBB and is currently knitting a beaded scarf. “They’re not normal people,” Horton says of Zwerling, Rovelstad, and Heirs. “They’re almost like saints.”

    To donate to Knitting Behind Bars, visit their Etsy shop, or contact Lynn Zwerling at lynnzwerling@verizon.net.

    Wow!

    — 2 years ago with 96 notes
    #knitting  #jail  #prison  #inmates  #knitting behind bars  #convicts  #prisoners  #maryland  #lynn zwerling  #jessup  #knit  #inspirational  #inspirational stories  #crime  #violence  #inner city  #creativity  #transformation  #pre-release unit 
    To all those men who don’t think the rape jokes are a problem:

    oforganon:

    I get it—you’re a decent guy. I can even believe it. You’ve never raped anybody. You would NEVER rape anybody. You’re upset that all these feminists are trying to accuse you of doing something, or connect you to doing something, that, as far as you’re concerned, you’ve never done and would never condone. 

    And they’ve told you about triggers, and PTSD, and how one in six women is a survivor, and you get it. You do. But you can’t let every time someone gets all upset get in the way of you having a good time, right? Especially when it doesn’t mean anything. Rape jokes have never made YOU go out and rape someone. They never would; they never could. You just don’t see how it matters.

    I’m going to tell you how it does matter. And I tell you this because I genuinely believe you mean it when you say you don’t want to hurt anybody, and that it’s important to you to do your best to be a decent and good person, and that you don’t see the harm. And I genuinely believe you when you say you would never associate with a rapist and you think rape really is a very bad thing. 

    Here is why I refuse to take rape jokes sitting down…

    Because 6% of college-aged men, slightly over 1 in 20, will admit to raping someone in anonymous surveys, as long as the word “rape” isn’t used in the description of the act—and that’s the conservative estimate. Other sources double that number (pdf). 

    A lot of people accuse feminists of thinking that all men are rapists. That’s not true. But do you know who think all men are rapists?

    Rapists do. 

    They really do. In psychological study, the profiling, the studies, it comes out again and again. 

    Virtually all rapists genuinely believe that all men rape, and other men just keep it hushed up better. And more, these people who really are rapists are constantly reaffirmed in their belief about the rest of mankind being rapists like them by things like rape jokes, that dismiss and normalize the idea of rape.

    If one in twenty guys (or more) is a real and true rapist, and you have any amount of social activity with other guys like yourself, then it is almost a statistical certainty that one time hanging out with friends and their friends, playing Halo with a bunch of guys online, in a WoW guild, in a pick-up game of basketball, at a bar, or elsewhere, you were talking to a rapist. Not your fault. You can’t tell a rapist apart any better than anyone else can. It’s not like they announce themselves. 

    But, here’s the thing. It’s very likely that in some of these interactions with these guys, at some point or another, someone told a rape joke. You, decent guy that you are, understood that they didn’t mean it, and it was just a joke. And so you laughed. 

    Or maybe you didn’t laugh. Maybe it just wasn’t a very funny joke. So maybe you just didn’t say anything at all. 

    And, decent guy who would never condone rape, who would step in and stop rape if he saw it, who understands that rape is awful and wrong and bad, when you laughed? When you were silent?

    That rapist who was in the group with you, that rapist thought that you were on his side. That rapistknew that you were a rapist like him. And he felt validated, and he felt he was among his comrades. 

    You. The rapist’s comrade. 

    And if that doesn’t make you feel sick to your stomach, if that doesn’t make you want to throw up, if that doesn’t disturb you or bother you or make you feel like maybe you should at least consider not participating in that kind of humor anymore, not abiding it in your presence, not greeting it with silence…

    Well, maybe you aren’t as opposed to rapists as you claim. 

    <source link>  - by timemachineyeah

    Gonna keep spelling it out until people get it.

    (Source: juniperjelly)

    — 2 years ago with 8192 notes
    #Rape  #rape culture  #rape jokes  #feminism  #sexism  #violence 
    "

    [TW: street harassment] When my confident, curious, adventurous 12-year-old daughter asked if she could go get ice cream by herself (we live in a city) the first thing that I thought of was how to prepare her to hear:

    “Where’s my smile, baby?”
    “Wanna go for a ride?”

    What if she is surprised? Looks down? Doesn’t give the guy speaking to her the positive response that he seems to think he’s entitled to? What hurtful, explicit things will he then say to put her in her place?

    From now on, she’ll have to be on alert. How many times will she have to go out of her way, take longer routes, not go certain places, alter her clothes? Not forget to hold her keys poking through her fingers? Not take certain buses, and pay for a cab instead of taking a metro? Take her lighthearted moods and tuck them away behind earphones and fake phone conversations?

    How will it make my daughter feel? Powerless? Angry? Sad? Scared? It’s stressful and depressing to have to acknowledge the underlying threat of violence, especially in a culture that is dedicated to equality for all, a concept predicated on equal and safe access to public space and free speech. Her loss of innocence will have as much to do with the betrayal of this myth of equality and equal access as with understanding her physical vulnerability.

    "
    — 2 years ago with 1486 notes
    #street harassment  #harassment  #women  #feminism  #feminist  #sexism  #sexist  #daughters  #girls  #soraya chemaly  #violence  #violent  #scary  #city  #power  #powerless  #defensive  #inequality  #injustice  #vulnerable  #vulnerability