Updates!

There will be a longer update post coming down the line, but right now we have two bits of important news to share with you!


First, is regarding the Free Bresha Campaign. Bresha and her legal team were able to reach a plea deal in May, however, our fight is not over! Here is the campaign’s statement on the deal and please check out our #FreeBresha page for ways to support.

“The #FreeBresha campaign is infuriated that 15-year-old domestic violence survivor, Bresha Meadows, has been forced by Ohio prosecutors to submit to a plea deal that would keep her in juvenile detention for a full year (which includes 10 months of time served) and an additional 6 months of incarceration in a “treatment facility.”  Though an earlier version of the plea deal would have released Bresha to the “treatment facility” today, the final plea deal has increased Bresha’s time in juvenile detention for another two months. Prosecuting Bresha, including the pointless punitivity of adding time in juvenile detention, should be condemned by all who care about the well-being of children.

Bresha’s move from juvenile detention to the “treatment facility” is scheduled for July 30th.  Once transferred, this facility has the power to determine whether they will confine Bresha beyond the 6 months stated in the plea deal, opening the door to further incarceration.  Also, Bresha’s family will be forced to pay for the cost of Bresha’s “treatment” confinement, adding yet another economic burden to the family.  As we have stated, we believe that true care cannot and should not be delivered in the context of punishment.  The #FreeBresha campaign is in solidarity with Bresha Meadows and her family who have been forced to make hard choices to try to reduce further harm in a coercive context of violent prosecution and incarceration.

It is truly unconscionable that Bresha has been targeted by prosecutors for taking desperate action to survive domestic violence.  Ohio prosecutors Dennis Watkins and Stanley Elkins’ insistence on punishing Bresha for self-defense demonstrates a disgraceful lack of accountability by the state of Ohio who repeatedly failed to protect Bresha and her family, causing this horrific situation.  If a Black girl who is abused in her home does all the things adults tell children to do when faced with violence — tell an adult, report it to the police, trust family services — and, one by one, each system fails her, what exactly do prosecutors imagine she should do next?  Bresha tried to run away from the violence, but police forced her to return home.  There was nothing else left to do but be beaten and possibly killed or defend her life.  Do these prosecutors believe that it would have been a better outcome if Bresha and her family lost their lives to her abusive father?  Why must a child carry the burden of profound failure by police, prosecutors, family services, and other adults?  When will Dennis Watkins and Stanley Elkins take responsibility for blaming a child for their failures?

Yesterday, we learned details of the abuse in Bresha’s home from her cousin, Ja’Von Meadows-Harris, who stayed in Bresha’s father’s home when he was a child.  Ja’Von shared that he was also a constant target for physical violence, isolation, extreme control, and threats by her father.  Ja’Von was only 12-years-old when he witnessed Bresha’s father repeatedly punch Bresha’s mother while Bresha was a baby in her mother’s arms.  When Ja’Von tried to protect Bresha, he was also beaten and threatened.  The pattern of terror in this home was real, it was relentless, and it was inescapable.  We are so grateful to Ja’Von for sharing his story.

Finally, we want to emphasize that Bresha Meadows is just one girl of tens of thousands of girls in cages across the United States. Understanding the details of how Bresha has been treated is instructive of how the criminal punishment system is a destructive force against children, especially Black children.  As we said in our May 8th statement, the #FreeBresha campaign will continue to push for Bresha’s freedom until she is truly free. We ask all who support her to do the same.

-#FreeBresha Campaign”

free bresha
#freebresha supporters outside the courthouse


 

Second, is that BFL now has a home at Makeshift Boston! Makeshift is a wonderful coworking space dedicated to progressive causes and is now our new office space. We’ll be hosting many of our events there, such as the BFL crafting night coming up this Friday and we encourage people to check out thespace on their own time, during one of Makeshifts fantastic events such as Evan Greer’s Break the Chains or POC yoga on Wednesdays!

 

A Letter to White Boston

This was written by a BFL member who wishes to remain anonymous.

Dear Boston:

This weekend I felt heartsick and ashamed to call you my city. Not because you harbor a handful of militant white supremacists, but because you are home to thousands—probably hundreds of thousands—of well-intentioned white people who are content to denounce racism with their words while still enabling and supporting it in their everyday lives.

When I first moved to the Boston area a couple of years ago it felt like a breath of fresh air. As a white millennial and a gay woman from the South, living in Cambridge—a city that painted the crosswalks and benches in front of City Hall rainbow—felt like I’d made it to liberal heaven. Like many people here, I thought of my new home as a model of progressive values. I was proud to be a part of it. But I didn’t see the racism that pervades our (white) liberal paradise.

Boston racism is not the racism of skinheads and cross burning. Looking around the Commons yesterday, I saw few people who considered themselves white supremacists. Several dozen, maybe a hundred, turned out yesterday for the “Free Speech” rally. And make no mistake—their message of nationalism, intolerance, and racial purity is evil. But it was many of my fellow counter-protesters who left me feeling sick. Yes, there were signs that said Black Lives Matter and denounced white supremacy. But I also saw counter-protesters with signs that in bright, friendly pastels, claimed “All Lives Matter” and “Be colorblind!” and “We are all one race—human.” And I know that they and many other counter-protestors probably went home congratulating themselves on fighting the good fight and keeping racism out of our city.

But even if you “don’t see color,” racism in Boston is as alive as ever. Sure, we can recognize it easily in faces of self-proclaimed neo-Nazis. But what about in the segregation dividing our neighborhoods along racial lines, or the profound income inequality between white and nonwhite Bostonians? According to a 2015 report, white households in Boston have a median net worth of nearly $250,000, compared to $8 for U.S.-born black households about $3,000 for most Hispanics. Census data from 2010 provides a clear map of the racial divide in our city, which placed in the top handful of the most segregated metropolis areas in the nation. We demonstrated this weekend that we can spot the bigotry of militant white supremacists, but do we recognize the racism lurking in our policing and criminal justice system? In our own unacknowledged, subconscious biases?

It’s easy to spend a Saturday afternoon going to a protest in the park. It’s much harder to actually put in the effort to fight the racism entrenched in our city, our country, and ourselves.

I’m afraid that the message we, the well-intentioned white people of Boston, take away from yesterday will be one of victory. I sincerely hope I’m wrong and that instead we take yesterday’s events as a bit of inspiration in the long, difficult battle to dismantle white supremacy. If you agree and are looking for a place to start, I have two suggestions:

Give what you can—money, time, and labor—to groups like Black Lives Matter (national and especially local chapters) that are fighting back against institutionalized racism.

Educate yourself. Then educate others. Read books. Read blogs. Watch documentaries. Do some self-examining. Working to unravel my own ignorance is one of the hardest and most important things I’ve done—frankly, I’m still doing it. There are a million incredible resources out there, but a few I’d recommend are:

The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander

Between the World and Me, by Ta-nehisi Coates

Killing the Black Body, by Dorothy E. Roberts

Black Girls Matter, a report by the AAPF and Columbia Law School

Thirteenth, a documentary by Ava DuVernay (on Netflix)

Getting Brave

Imagine having a secret. A secret belief, a secret interest, a source of so much shame that you couldn’t even admit it to yourself. Then one day you meet other people with the same secret. The shame doesn’t go away, but you look at yourself differently. You carry yourself differently, you know you are no longer alone. You feel just a bit braver in the world.

You talk to your new friends and together, you work through that shame and fear. Resentment grows, anger ignites, and you start to feel that push to do something. Your group decides it’s worth the risk and you take your secret to the public. Most scorn you, some laugh but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you found just a few more people with your secret, your group learns and bonds and knows what to do better next time. You end the day feeling just a little bit braver in the world.

Your group keeps meeting and pushing and rallying and eventually something gives and your secret isn’t a secret anymore, but just a normal facet of society.  There is no any shame and you don’t feel brave because there is no longer anything to be afraid of.

————————————————————————————————————————————

This is how movements work. Power is created through people finding like minds and drawing strength from each other. Power is destroyed by keeping like minds isolated and ashamed.

Fascists are not exempt from this. The very act of a public gathering allows them to meet others like them, build networks and relationships, and find strength in each other. This is why it is imperative to prevent fascist gatherings from occurring, however, we can. This is why student activists fight for no platform and why anti-fascists activists will resort to physical force. The threat of a fascist rally isn’t just the hate coming from their mouths, but the infrastructure and relationships born out of activism and public struggle.  They know this, its why they are fighting so hard for a public forum. They know they have enough power to reveal their secret, they know they have enough power to build even while facing public scorn. Debates about free speech ignore the most basic realities of movement building, that strength is built through struggle. Every second we allow them to gather gives them more power to realize their end goals of genocide, subjugation, and ethnic cleansing

Those horrors are the future unless we use every resource we have to prevent them from gathering. It really is that simple.

Upcoming Events

People’s Inauguration Potluck

This is the follow up event to the People’s Inauguration March. We will be joining dozens of other organizations and activists to resist Trump and build a liberated future.

Thursday, February 2nd.
5:30-7:30
26 West St
Boston MA

Older Lesbians Organizing For Change Intergenerational Panel

Boston OLOC will be hosting a cross-generational conversation between our older, primarily lesbian identified, audience and a panel of members of a younger generation. Panelist will discuss such topics as what LGBTQQIA life is like today for a younger and more inclusive generation, identities and how they refer to themselves (and why), same-sex relationships and what’s same-gender dating like today, sexual norms and values, opinions on same-sex marriage, parents’ reactions to identity and/or coming-out, community and community issues, feminism today, and current concerns as well as questions on why a lesbian identity and what life is like for our generation of old lesbians.
Sunday, February 5th
2-4PM
Brookline Senior Center
93 Winchester St
Brookline, MA

Open Business Meeting

Join BFL to discuss recent events, plan campaigns and take care of business. This meeting is open to non-members.

Monday, February 6th
6:30-8:00 PM
Somerville Public Library
79 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA

Conciousness Raising:

Consciousness Raising is a tool women started using in the 1960s during the Women’s Liberation Movement. During our CR sessions, we discuss personal experiences around a different topic each week, particularly as it relates to our position as women in society. In our discussions, we connect over our shared experiences living in the politically oppressed class of “women,” and also contrast where our experiences differ — including at intersections of race, sexual orientation, education, socio-economic background, and other statuses that interact with our experience of womanhood.

Saturday, February 11th
10-12PM
Cambridge Women’s Center
46 Plesant St
Cambridge MA

 

Upcoming Events

Open Business Meeting

When: December 10th 10-12 PM
Where: Somerville Public Library
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1754330631559840/

Join BFL to discuss recent events, plan campaigns and take care of business. This meeting is open to non-members.


Consciousness Raising: Working From the Home

When: December 10th 10am-12PM
Where: Cambridge Women’s Center
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1363966573627631/

December marks the height of the holiday season and the beginning of an incredible uptick in the amount of unpaid domestic and emotional labour that women are required to perform. we will be exploring how the work we do outside the workplace impacts our lives and well being and we’ll discuss how to resist this pernicious kind of exploitation.
Suggested Readings:
Metafilter Thread on Emotional Labour: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B0UUYL6kaNeBTDBRbkJkeUtabEk/view?pref=2&pli=1


Book Club & Potluck

When:  December 18th 1:30-3:00 PM
Where: Somerville Public Library
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/659125494269814/

We will be having a discussion on Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici. Silvia Federici is an Italian-American scholar who is most well know for her work in the Wages For Housework campaign in the 1970’s. Caliban and the Witch critiques Karl Marx’s claim that primitive accumulation is a precursor to capitalism. She investigates the transition from feudalism to capitalism to show how the exploitation of women’s bodies and labour are central to the creation and continuation of capitalism. You can read a summary of the book here.

If you are unfamiliar with the theory of primitive accumulation, you can read about it here and find a glossary of terms here. Marx is notoriously difficult to read, so if you are having any trouble understanding what these texts are saying or if you have general questions about the reading, please do not hesitate to email us! Many of our organizers learned about these concepts solely through conversations and questions with friends and fellow organizers, slowly over time and so we are hoping to continue that tradition within BFL.


Addressing Crisis Pregnancy Centers

When: January 7th, 2017 1:30-3:30
Where: Somerville Public Library
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/707077402801899/
In 2017, BFL will be launching a campaign to stop reproductive violence and address the presence of crisis pregnancy centers in our communities.

We will be hosting an informational meeting for anyone who may want to get involved or support this campaign. This meeting will cover what crisis pregnancies are, why we are targeting them, and how we see this campaign building.

For all non-women, there will be a meeting happening at the same time to discuss how allies can support. More details TBA.

Please take note of our gender policy: https://bostonfeministsforliberation.com/women-only-policy/

Note: The Somerville Public Library is wheelchair accessible and this is a child-friendly event.

Upcoming Events

What: Zine Release Party
When: October 28th 6 PM
Where: 10 Ward Street, Somerville
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1822911867989011/

To kick off Halloween weekend, join us at the Papercut Zine Library on Friday, October 28th at 6PM to celebrate the release of our zine Gaslighting! This will be a small and spooky gathering so please rsvp through our facebook event.  We will be doing readings from the zine as well as encouraging any attendants to share their own writing, music, and art. Food and drinks will be provided!

What: Open Business Meeting
When: November 5th 11am-1Pm
Where: TBA

Join BFL to discuss recent events, plan campaigns and take care of business. This meeting is open to non-members.

What: Consciousness Raising- Working From the Home
When: November 12th 10am-12PM
Where: Cambridge Women’s Center
Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1857515541137734/

November marks the beginning of the holiday season and the beginning of an incredible uptick in the amount of unpaid domestic and emotional labour that women are required to perform. we will be exploring how the work we do outside the workplace impacts our lives and well being and we’ll discuss how to resist this pernicious kind of exploitation.
Suggested Readings:

What: Book Club & Potluck
When:  November 19th 6-8PM
Where: TBA

We will be having a discussion on Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici. Silvia Federici is an Italian-American scholar who is most well know for her work in the Wages For Housework campaign in the 1970’s. Caliban and the Witch critiques Karl Marx’s claim that primitive accumulation is a precursor to capitalism. She investigates the transition from feudalism to capitalism to show how the exploitation of women’s bodies and labour are central to the creation and continuation of capitalism. You can read a summary of the book here.

If you are unfamiliar with the theory of primitive accumulation, you can read about it here and find a glossary of terms here. Marx is notoriously difficult to read, so if you are having any trouble understanding what these texts are saying or if you have general questions about the reading, please do not hesitate to email us! Many of our organizers learned about these concepts solely through conversations and questions with friends and fellow organizers, slowly over time and so we are hoping to continue that tradition within BFL.

What: Consciousness Raising- Psychiatric Oppression
When: December 10th 10 am-12 PM
Where: Cambridge Women’s Center

onsciousness Raising is a tool women started using in the 1960s during the Women’s Liberation Movement. During our CR sessions, we discuss personal experiences around a different topic each week, particularly as it relates to our position as women in society. In our discussions, we connect over our shared experiences living in the politically oppressed class of “women,” and also contrast where our experiences differ — including at intersections of race, sexual orientation, education, socio-economic background, and other statuses that interact with our experience of womanhood.

You’ll need to ring the doorbell to get in. We’re meeting in the art room, which is up the stairs to your left, then the first door on your right.