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Write letters to free Wriply and Kendall of the #BlackPride4

CALL FOR LETTERS TO JUDGE EBNER ON BEHALF OF WRIPLY BENNET AND KENDALL DENTON OF THE BLACKPRIDE4 (PLEASE SHARE WIDELY):

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:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Please email your letters to blackqueercolumbus@gmail.com 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.


Solidarity,

Black Queer & Intersectional Columbus (BQIC)

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#FreeTheBlackPride4 Trial Support

The #BlackPride4 are scheduled to start trial this Monday, February 5th, 2018. We need to raise public awareness of their trial and their brutal arrests and we need YOUR help!

Here’s how you can help in the next critical week.

Join our texting and selfie campaign!

  • Text seven friends information about the #BP4 and how they can support. See script in the event discussion or click here!
  • Take a selfie using the hashtag #FreeTheBlackPride4, tag 7 friends, and share your message of why you support the #BP4. Feel free to post it in the facebook event  too and/or tag BQIC so that we can share it!

Pack the Court!

  • On Monday February 5th, community members will answer the call to rally for the #BlackPride4 when they most need us. This is the defining moment in not just their cases, but the rest of their lives.
  • We will be holding a rally that day at 11:30 am at 375 South High Street, before trial proceedings begin that afternoon. Please join us there to show your support for the #BlackPride4!
  • Afterwards, we will pack the courthouse and we will CONTINUE to pack the courthouse everyday of trial week. We must show our city that we will not sit idly by as Black queer and trans activists are brutalized by the state.
  • *FORM NOW CLOSED* Here is a form for you to fill out availability if you are interested in sitting inside the courtroom during trial proceedings: https://tinyurl.com/y76r6ejo

Follow BQIC on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to stay updated on the #BlackPride4’s cases.

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Save the date: Community Conversation #2 – August 30 @ 6PM

Please join us for a follow up to our past community conversation on how to better our community, especially for Black LGBTQ+ people. This second conversation will be focused on bringing our minds together to action-plan and figure out what each of us can do to better our community.
If you are looking to figure out how to get involved in our cause, if you came to our community conversation on July 24 and wanted more time to work together and flesh out action items, and/or if you want to better yourself as an accomplice to LGBTQ+ people of color, we invite you to come out on Wednesday, August 30 to build with us.
What to expect:
  1. BEGINNING: Short teach-in on Columbus’ history of police violence by BP4 team
  2. MIDDLE: Smaller team discussions grouped by skills and resources
  3. END: Going over discussions and determining next steps as a group
We look forward to working with you to better support Black LGBTQ+ people in Columbus.
DATE: Wednesday, August 30, 2017
TIME: 6-8:30pm
LOCATION: St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 30 W Woodruff Ave, Columbus OH, 43210
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Save the date: #BlackPride4 led community conversation on 7/24

Join us Monday, July 24th 6-8pm at the St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church and University Center, 30 W Woodruff Ave, for a community conversation led by the #BlackPride4, community organizers associated with the BP4, and other invited Black LGBTQ+ community members.
On July 17, exactly one month after the arrests and police brutality inflicted on peaceful protesters at their own Pride Parade, Stonewall Columbus (SWC) organized a “community conversation” to address people’s concerns. This conversation was called in the wake of a planned meeting between the #BlackPride4 and Stonewall on June 22 that was canceled after the BP4’s arrival, with the BP4 facing disrespect from the SWC board members who told them of the last-minute cancellation.
Stonewall’s community conversation on July 17 was disrupted by community organizers associated with the #BlackPride4 to insist that Stonewall take responsibility for the police violence that occurred at their event and take the issues surrounding the #BlackPride4 seriously. The BP4 community hosted a short panel of their own at the meeting so that the community in attendance could hear responses from the people most affected by the situation.
Since this panel lasted only a short amount of time, we invite all interested to a community conversation led by the #BlackPride4 and their community of Black LGBTQ+ individuals.
Please fill this form out if you have any questions for the BP4 and affiliated organizers so we can best direct the conversation and address your concerns.
More information to be announced.
For updates and information regarding the #BlackPride4, visit blackpride4.com.

#ShameOnStonewall

#ShameOnStonewall

In response to Stonewall Columbus‘ disregard for the #BlackPride4 and LBGTQ+ people of color, we are calling for a demonstration outside of their community meeting this Monday at 6pm at Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd, Columbus.

https://www.facebook.com/events/319354768517035

Exactly one month after the arrest of four peaceful protesters at Stonewall’s Pride Parade, this Monday, July 17, Stonewall Columbus has called for a ‘community conversation’ ‘for a renewed focus to end discrimination based on race, gender identity’ (stonewallcolumbus.org/event/community-conversation/).

Organizers around the #BlackPride4 refuse to attend a meeting proctored by Stonewall without Stonewall proving that they take the needs of the BP4 seriously. Through their failure to condemn police brutality against people they claim to serve, their having silenced the BP4 and BP4 supporters behind closed doors, as well as their lack of support of the #BlackPride4 more broadly, Stonewall Columbus has demonstrated their complicity in the violence against LGBTQ+ people of color.

We call on our community and our allies to stand in solidarity with the #BlackPride4 and aid us in shedding light on Stonewall’s shameful practices.

This Monday at 6pm, we will gather outside of the Northland Performing Arts Center, 4411 Tamarack Blvd, Columbus, where Stonewall will be having their community conversation. We will peacefully demonstrate against Stonewall Columbus for their blatant disregard for the #BlackPride4 and LGBTQ+ people of color.

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LIST OF GRIEVANCES:
1. Stonewall has given no support to the BP4 nor condemned the police violence that happened at their event
2. Stonewall is proctoring a community conversation without taking the BP4’s demands into account — and SWC leadership has avoided direct conversation with the BP4
3. Stonewall has a longstanding history of exclusion of LGBTQ+ people of color, their recent inaction being no exception to the rule

LIST OF DEMANDS:
1. Immediate resignation of executive director Karla Rothan and Stonewall Board executives
2. Stonewall Columbus contact prosecutors Ron O’Brien and Richard C. Pfeiffer, Jr. to demand that charges against the BP4 be dropped
3. Public apology with explicit nod to Stonewall’s inability to follow through on their mission to serve the entire LGBTQ+ community
4. Public condemnation of CPD for deploying violence on peaceful protestors

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Please bring signs pertaining to our grievances and demands and wear ALL BLACK.

For press inquiries, please contact blackqueercolumbus@gmail.com.

#ShameOnStonewall #NoConversationWithoutResignation
#SupportBlackQueerLiberation

Please continue donating to cover the #BlackPride4’s legal fees at www.youcaring.com/blackpride4.