On June 17th, 2017, four Black queer and trans people–now known as the BlackPride4–were arrested while peacefully protesting the Columbus Pride Parade to draw attention to the disproportionate murder of trans women of color and the non-indictment of Philando Castile’s murderer, Minneapolis Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez. Since then, three of the BlackPride4 have been found guilty of charges ranging from disorderly conduct to resisting arrest.
Now, Judge Ebner of Franklin County Municipal Court will have the final say in their sentencing on March 7. We cannot let these injustices continue; we cannot simply let our community go to jail for trumped up, unjust charges.
Wriply Bennet and Kendall Denton and their lawyers have suggested that sending letters to Judge Ebner asking for minimal sentences may help their case and potentially lead to more lenient sentencing. They are depending on you to keep them out of jail and in their communities.
Guidelines for letters to Judge Ebner:
- Your letter should “accentuate the positive.” Rather than pointing out the injustices of their charges, the police, or the judicial system, letters should ask for minimal sentencing and state that Wriply and/or Kendall are integral to their communities and are of superb character.
a. Those who have met/know Wriply or Kendall should speak about their relationships with them, their characters, their place in the community. If you have worked closely with either of them, speak to their specific roles in improving the community and their character as you know them.
b. Those who have not met Wriply or Kendall should state how they became aware of them and the BlackPride4 (through local or national media, their organizing work, etc.) and also speak to the importance of them in the community and their freedom.
- Please indicate in your letter how you know Wriply and/or Kendall, and, if you don’t know them, how you know of them. The “RE:” line of your letter should be “Wriply Bennet,” “Kendall Denton,” or both.
- It is critical that letters are written in a respectful manner as any negative or threatening letters may negatively affect Wriply and Kendall’s sentencing.
- Please email your letters to firstname.lastname@example.org by Monday, February 26 so that we and the lawyers can make sure they are appropriate for the judge. We will reach out for edits if needed; please respond promptly so we can get the letters in on time.
Please share this call widely so that Wriply and Kendall can get the most support before their sentencing date. Remember, letters are due by Monday, February 26.
Lastly, please sign and share this petition asking the judge for minimum sentencing.
Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus (BQIC)