"March, Rally to Fight Rape" - WE DID IT!!!!!!!! a big thanks from durham!


Sue Stock, Staff Writer DURHAM - In the city where sexual assault charges against three Duke lacrosse players became a national sensation, protesters gathered Saturday to decry sexual violence. The event, called the National Day of Truthtelling, drew people from the Triangle and beyond for a march, rally and afternoon of educational programs.

Organizers were quick to say that the event was not a response to this month's dismissal of charges against the three lacrosse players. But the case provided an undercurrent for the event, which included a stop at the home where an escort service dancer who was later discredited reported being gang-raped during a team party.

"We can take the energy around this case and we can heighten the silence around sexual violence, or we can push to break that silence," said Emily Chavez, a member of Ubuntu, one of the nine groups that pulled the event together. Ubuntu is led by women of color, most of whom have been victims of sexual violence.

The marchers began at E.K. Powe Elementary School on Ninth Street and wound their way through the streets, led by a percussion group. Participants carried bright signs and banners with slogans, including "We still believe survivors" and "End rape culture."

Others carried orange, yellow and green signs bearing African symbols from the Ivory Coast that represent the ideas of perseverance, strength and learning from one's past.

Brunch patrons outside Elmo's Diner on Ninth Street came to the curb to see what the commotion was about. Volunteer Manju Rajendran ran back and forth across the street handing out fliers explaining the march to onlookers and stopped drivers.

"We just heard the noise," Carrboro resident Jeanne Bishop said. "It's wonderful. They made a statement today, sure did."

About halfway through the march, the procession paused in front of 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. -- the house where the lacrosse team held its party and in which Crystal Gail Mangum reported being raped.

Durham resident and Duke doctoral student Alexis Pauline Gumbs read an open letter called "Wishful Thinking" addressed to the university's black women. In it, Gumbs spoke of the pain shared by sexual violence victims, along with some specifics of the Duke case. "No camera waits to amplify your pain," she said. "There is no law anywhere that depends on your silence."

From Buchanan Boulevard, the march proceeded to the Durham County Courthouse for the rally. Serena Sebring, also of Ubuntu, asked audience members to raise their hands if they or someone they love had been a victim of sexual violence. Nearly everyone in the audience did.

"Look around you," she said. "This is the reality. This is who sexual violence affects. This is why we must speak."

From the courthouse, the group marched to the W.D. Hill Recreation Center for more afternoon sessions and performances.

Though the Duke lacrosse case was on the minds of many throughout the day, participants tried to avoid defining the protest by that one case.

Even for groups such as Ubuntu, which was formed in March 2006 in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse case, the event was about healing, speaking out and feeling safe.

"I live two blocks from where that house is," Gumbs said. "Trauma is triggered from where we live. We thought it was really important to reclaim our community."


but some of us are brave - aishah shahidah simmons supports the national day of truthtelling!

But Some of Us Are Brave---In Support of the April 28, 2007 National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina By Aishah Shahidah Simmons

While there are many folks who are rejoicing that Imus was fired, I fear that we may have won a battle but could have *temporarily* lost this relentless racist/sexist war against Black women in the United States. While most eyes were focused on the outcome of Imus' fate, the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team were exonerated. Very, very tragically, many of the same Black (overwhelmingly male) voices who were demanding the firing of Imus, haven't said a peep about the recent dropping of charges against the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team. Additionally, in the ongoing mainstream media discussions about Imus calling the predominantly Black women's basketball team at Rutgers University "nappy headed-ho's," there hasn't been any mainstream media correlation/analysis/commentary/discussion about the fact that:

1. Some of the (White) Duke Lacrosse team members called the two (Black) women "niggers" and "bitches"; 2. One of the (White) Duke Lacrosse members threatened to rape them with a broomstick; 3. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member spoke of hiring strippers in an e-mail sent the same night that threatened to kill "the bitches" and cut off their skin while he ejaculated in his "Duke-issued spandex;" and 4. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member shouted to the (Black woman) victim as she left the team's big house, "Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt."

Instead there were subtle and not-so subtle racist implications that hip-hop is the cause of Imus' racist/sexist comments; and that the Black woman stripper/whore (not daughter, not mother, not college student, not sex worker) lied on/set up the innocent White Duke Lacrosse team members (who hired her and her colleague to perform for them).

So, in this very direct way the corporate owned media message to the American public is that Black people, especially Black women, are the perpetrators of violence against White men (and I would argue Black men too).

Based on the overwhelming deafening silence from mainstream Black (predominantly male) 'leaders' and organizations about the documented racist/sexist comments made by the White Duke Lacrosse team members, it's clear to me that no one will speak for us-- Black women--but ourselves. It doesn't matter if you're a rape survivor, a child sexual abuse survivor, a domestic violence survivor, a stripper, a prostitute, a lesbian, a bisexual woman, a heterosexual woman, a single mother (especially with several children from different fathers), on welfare, a high school drop out, college educated, working in corporate America, working at a minimum wage job with no health insurance, or working in the film/music/television entertainment industry. Yes, I placed what some people would view as very different/distinct categories of Black women in the same category because I firmly believe that if any of the aforementioned Black women are at the wrong place at the wrong time (which could be at any time), we, Black women, will be left to heal our very public wounds alone.

I was the young Black woman who in 1989, at 19 years old six weeks shy of my 20th birthday, said "Yes", while on a study abroad program. I was the Black woman who broke the rules of the university where I attended by agreeing to sneak out, after hours, to meet the man who would become my rapist. I was the Black woman who after breaking the university enforced rules started to have second thoughts but was afraid to articulate them and was afraid to turn around because my friends were covering for me. I was the Black woman who paid for the hotel room where I was raped. I was the Black woman who said to my soon-to-become rapist, "I don't want to do this. Please stop." I didn't "violently" fight back. I didn't scream or yell to the top of my lungs" because I was afraid. I didn't want to make a "scene." I blamed myself for saying, "Yes" for breaking the rules for paying for the hotel room.

I am one of countless women, regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, age, sexual orientation, class, religion who experientially learned that the (often unchallenged) punishment for women who use poor judgment with men is rape and other forms of sexual violence. And the reward for those same men who perpetrate the sexual violence that we (victim/survivors) experience is the opportunity to perpetrate again and in turn say "WOMEN LIE."

"For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence. For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence. For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture." come to Durham , North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Join the numerous individuals and organizations from across the United States who will come to Durham , North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007 to participate in "Creating A World Without Sexual Violence - A National Day of Truthtelling."

This mobilizing event is organized by a coalition of organizations including North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Ubuntu, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL).

For more information on the National Day of Truthtelling, visit: http://truthtelling.communityserver.com/ http://iambecauseweare.wordpress.com/ www.myspace.com/ubuntunc

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is a Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, writer, and activist based in Philadelphia . An incest and rape survivor, she spent eleven years, seven of which were full time to produce/write/direct NO! (The Rape Documentary), a feature length documentary which looks at the universal reality of rape and other forms of sexual violence through the first-person testimonies, activism, scholarship, cultural work, and spirituality of African-Americans. www.NOtheRapeDocumentary.org www.myspace.com/afrolez


We Need You!!

On April 28, 2007, a coalition of community, statewide, and national organizations are inviting folks to Durham, NC, for a National Day of Truthtelling. The event is named, and focused on, "Creating a World Without Sexual Violence." We will march, sing, and teach each other the skills that we will need to envision this world, and build the community necessary to make it happen. We need you!!! Only with a strong community, committed to connecting across divisions and disempowering silences, can we end the epidemic of sexual violence that plagues our society. Together, WE can make this world a reality!!! PLEASE VISIT OUR WEBSITE TO ENDORSE THIS EVENT!!!!! http://truthtelling.communityserver.com


Call to ACTION! - forward widely

For all those who know that “it is better to speak…”


Creating a World without Sexual Violence National Day of Truthtelling

April 28th, 2007 Durham, North Carolina

For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence… For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence… For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture…

…join us on April 28th, 2007, in Durham, North Carolina, as we come together—across divisions and disempowering silences—to create a world full of the safety, possibility, dignity, justice, and peace that we all deserve. Stand with us as we dare to imagine a world free from sexual violence and ALL forms of oppression.

Meet us in Durham to speak, teach, learn, demonstrate, and tell the truth. Together, WE can make this world a reality!!!

Questions? Contact us at dayoftruthtelling@gmail.com or check us out on My Space at www.myspace.com/ubuntunc

This event is being organized by: the North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Ubuntu, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL.

“What would happen in one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open.” - From: "Kathe Kollwitz" by Muriel Rukeseyer


A Girl Like Me


Condi Rice Raps


the value of my body

i completed the fast last week. lots of juices and a bagel twice when i felt too low. no this is not a diet. this is a cleansing, a detoxification, a reclamation of my black woman body.

i also fasted by moving, taking yoga each day...stretching, releasing, valueing my body. i found something called restorative yoga...for the first time in a long time my muscles relaxed. even the muscles in my thighs that still hold tight from the memory of that night in 1999.

thanks for your support. we feel it here.