June 17, 2008
Six years have gone by since we first heard the allegations that R. Kelly had filmed himself having sex with an underage girl. During that time we have seen the videotape being hawked on street corners in Black communities, as if the dehumanization of one of our own was not at stake. We have seen entertainers rally around him and watched his career reach new heights despite the grave possibility that he had molested and urinated on a 13-year old girl. We saw African Americans purchase millions of his records despite the long history of such charges swirling around the singer. Worst of all, we have witnessed the sad vision of Black people cheering his acquittal with a fervor usually reserved for community heroes and shaken our heads at the stunning lack of outrage over the verdict in the broader Black community.
Over these years, justice has been delayed and it has been denied. Perhaps a jury can accept R. Kelly’s absurd defense and find “reasonable doubt” despite the fact that the film was shot in his home and featured a man who was identical to him. Perhaps they doubted that the young woman in the courtroom was, in fact, the same person featured in the ten year old video. But there is no doubt about this: some young Black woman was filmed being degraded and exploited by a much older Black man, some daughter of our community was left unprotected, and somewhere another Black woman is being molested, abused or raped and our callous handling of this case will make it that much more difficult for her to come forward and be believed. And each of us is responsible for it.
June 11, 2008
Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Independent Documentary Filmmaker interviewed by Sonya Shields
“Aishah Shahidah Simmons and I met over ten years ago in Washington, DC when she was dating an old friend. We spent a Saturday night with friends dancing at the Hung Jury and talking about our future goals. I remember thinking that she was intensely passionate and I followed her career. I had not seen Aishah since that fun night until I ran into her this past fall when she attended the event to celebrate Katherine Acey’s 20th Anniversary with the Astraea Foundation. I knew that I wanted to talk with Aishah about her work and journey to becoming an award-winning independent documentary filmmaker, television and radio producer, published writer, international lecturer, and activist living in Philadelphia…
What is your passion?
My passion is centralizing the margins of society. Making the invisible, visible. Documenting the lives of women of color globally. I am an activist. The camera lens is my medium to make social change irresistible.
May 16, 2008
The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors (CCCO) is pleased to announce our new counter-military recruitment brochure:
The Hidden Wounds of War
There are now 1.5 million troops who have served in the current wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, including a growing number of women. Over 26,000 troops who have served in either place have been physically wounded. There are substantially more veterans from other wars who are still struggling with returning to their lives back home and trying to pick up where they left off. While some have received a hero’s welcome, more are going through the day to day challenges of dealing with the hidden injuries of war.