Why are Bay Area District Attorneys Reluctant to Charge Police on Rape Case?

The following statement listed below is coming from the Anti Police-Terror Project: Folks need to pay attention and see how these elected officials respond.. Pay close attention to the actions or lack thereof of district attorneys Nancy O’Malley (Alameda County) Mark A Peterson (Contra Costa County) and George Gascon (San Francisco)
Bay Area District Attorneys

Anti-Police Terror ProjectWhy no charges for Bay Area law enforcement sexual exploitation, corruption and conspiracy?

Coalition members to retrieve signed promises to prosecute criminal cops from District Attorneys

In the 3 months since the public learned of the Bay Area-wide sexual exploitation and misconduct by law enforcement, no charges have been brought against any officers or staff involved in the commission or cover-up of crimes and departmental policy violations. Why aren’t our District Attorneys dedicating the same resources toward this gang activity as they would if it were conducted by civilians?

On Thursday, August 4th, members of the Take Back Oakland Coalition dropped off letters to the District Attorneys in Alameda, Contra Costa (Richmond office) and San Francisco Counties demanding the following:

Prosecute all sworn officers who committed or had peripheral involvement in crimes or the conspiracy to cover up those crimes.

Investigate with the intent of pressing charges and jailing criminal cops — and enumerate the reasons why DAs chose not to file charges for any officers they have already cleared.

Charges to pursue include but are not limited to:

California Penal Code:

52.1 Police brutality and coercion

186 California Street Terrorism Enforcement and Prevention Act (gang enhancement)

236.1 False imprisonment/human trafficking of a minor

261.5 Statutory rape

266i Pimping and Pandering

182 Conspiracy

118.1 Perjury

Weapon enhancements for all of the above
Federal law:
Criminal street gangs (18 U.S.C. 521)
Coercion And Enticement of a Minor (18 U.S.C. 2422)
Perjury (18 U.S.C. 1621)

Announce a full investigation by an outside agency that will examine how many people have been wrongfully incarcerated due to cases touched by these officers, as well as the depth and breadth of corruption within each department.

Acknowledge the imbalance of power that always exists between police officers and the general public and state that the coercion and enticement of a minor is never the fault of the child.

It is time for our District Attorneys to behave like elected leaders and work on behalf of the people. They have a duty to charge and convict these officers to combat the existing culture that allows them to simply quit or transfer when they’re caught abusing their power and preying on civilians.

The Coalition indicated that members would return on Tuesday, August 9th to pick up the DAs’ signed agreements to honor the demands brought forth in the letters. Coalition members and representatives from allied organizations will visit each office simultaneously at 10:30am this Tuesday to accept our elected officials’ commitment to uphold the law as they are sworn to do.

Bill Cosby is being Judged by the Moral Standards He Insisted we all Follow

Davey-D-brown-frameBill Cosby is not some poor, down and out bump on the log type of cat who is incapable of handling whatever attacks he is facing… He has money and resources and if he is falsely being accused then he can fight this and those who did the accusing should be punished severely-period..

With that being said, Cosby still gets a big middle finger and his behavior is to be condemned… His ‘moral’ presentation and lifestyle he was insistent we as Black folks subscribe to did not add up to his own grave short comings.. and its on those points alone people will judge him, catch feelings and push him away as they see fit..

Bill Cosby and Dr Heathcliff Huxtable were seen as one and the same in the minds of many

Bill Cosby and Dr Heathcliff Huxtable were seen as one and the same in the minds of many

Stories of casting couches, quaaludes for sex, rampant cheating on his wife etc stand in sharp contrast to the Bill Cosby who many of us have come to know. It was Cosby who pretty much created the environment that had him and his character Dr Cliff Huxtable be seen as one and the same for many. It’s what he sold us. It’s what he benefitted from.

Lisa Bonet in the movie 'Angel Heart'

Lisa Bonet in the movie ‘Angel Heart’

When he got honorary degrees and was deemed ‘America’s Dad‘, he was bestowed those honors because he was seeen as his TV character. Again, he purposefully allowed Bill and Dr Cliff Huxtable to be one and the same…

Anyone trying to skirt around that is either dishonest, disillusioned or has selective memory… I have not forgotten that Bill Cosby was the one who publicly put the moral smash down on his own cast members like Lisa Bonet who in her own private life did not live up to the high moral standards her character was supposed to represent…

When Lisa Bonet the actress, did the movie ‘Angel Heart’ where she had an onscreen sex scene with actor Mickey Rourke, that was all she wrote as far as Bill Cosby was concerned.. There was no separating Lisa Bonet from Denise Huxtable in his mind. It was really a wrap after she got pregnant by singer Lenny Kravitz.

Now in all fairness, it was pointed out that Cosby didn’t completely abandon Bonet. He did eventually bring back her character and put her on a spin off show, but the debate about her private morality decisions was already cemented in the minds of many. At the time when she did the movie Cosby anger and disappointment was well known and it was widely debated if he was being too hard or if Bonet was being ungrateful and making bad life choices.

Malcolm Jamal Warner aka Theo

Malcolm Jamal Warner aka Theo

Over the years I interviewed Theo (Malcolm Jamal Warner) on a number of occasions and each time he talked about the high expectations Cosby had for him and the cast. They were expected to toe the line and uphold the image. This is the playing field Cosby laid out. It’s the playing field he insisted all act upon. Many seem to have forgotten how Bill used to go after comedians like Eddie Murphy and others for cursing and not being a ‘good image’ for Black folks? He stayed on their cases and was often referenced sometimes humorously There are landmark stories of Bill Cosby, not Cliff Huxtable demanding comedians like Eddie Murphy tone it down, stop cursing  and be more respectable. This moral landscape is the same one Bill himself was detached from in the most glaring ways.

Bill Cosby’s moral missteps both public and private would be akin to someone like Minister Farrakhan coming to the Million Man March talking about the importance of uplifting Black women, keeping the Black family together and insisting our daughters keep to the straight and narrow only to discover he left his wife to have an affair with singer Miley Cyrus or Khloe Kardashian.

Bill CosbyWould his action be legal? Sure. Could we argue he has a right to make his own adult decisions? Sure…Ethically the shyt would be foul as hell and most of us would write dude off.

Heck many of us were mad as hell to the point of non forgiveness when it was discovered that some of our favorite rappers may have had ghost writers.
We would write off our ministers and pastors if we saw they were morally flawed in such an egregious way. Many would feel a trust was violated. This is how many feel with Cosby. Him and his character Dr Huxtable were an important counter narrative to the constant maligning and negativity being heaped on Black folks at the height of the crack era.  Hence he took on a special meaning for many. He was the person along with his TV family were the ones we could point to as shining examples of non contaminated, crack free Black family  The fact that he publicly insisted on that line of morality be walked by all, led many of us trusting him to be man of his word even more.

It wasn’t about what was legal or not legal or what the court of law said. For many it was about lack of integrity and violation of trust.  It wads about representing and saying one thing while doing another…

Again, much of Cosby’s brand is built on the Dr Huxable. People’s upset at its core is seeing that dude did not keep it 100… It’s compounded by the fact that he made millions smashing down on Black folks who came up short in the least transgressive type of ways…

In other words, Bill Cosby got at you because you liked certain types of rap music. He got at you because you had a ‘funny (African) sounding name. He got at you because you didn’t speak out to moral short comings in the community (Poundcake speech)  All the while this mofo is making a grand sham of his marriage with hordes of women and in some instances offering career advice and guidance to women in exchange for intimacy and that’s pretty much by his own admission. The fact that many of them were Hollywood white women cut even deeper when Cosby was positioned as the epitome of what it meant to be a Black Family

Now that all this drama is unfolding, there are some making the claim that all of a sudden we are supposed to separate Bill Cosby from Dr Cliff Huxtable? Get the F– Outta Here with that Bullsh–… Your word and integrity means something, especially when you’re the main one demanding excellence from us on the moral tip…

Cosby’s actions are even more compounded by the fact he may have actually raped or sexually assaulted one of those 30-50 women pointing fingers at him… If he even did this with one, that should be enough for all of us.  He gets no passes, He gets no love, He gets nothing… If he wants to redeem himself,  so be it,  Go redeem yourself.. For many of us it won’t be enough. As a matter of fact, I’m sure most of us reading this will understand if Cosby had in any way transgressed with any of our loved ones, whether he did it once, twice, because he was drunk, high or had a momentarily lapse, you wouldn’t be trying to hear excuses about Hollywood is out to get him,there were folks who are lying on him or some of what he was accused of happened along time ago. That’s madness.. He’d be getting smashed on, no questions asked if your loved one was a victim.

Our anger would be no different then the anger  when a man named Will Lynch went and beat up a Catholic Priest a few years back who he accused of molesting him when he was 7 years old… They tried to explain the incident took place back in the days and that the church was trying to improve, blah, blah, blah.. Dude literally tried to kill that priest  and got off because as the judge noted.. It was wrong but he understood what would drive someone to that point of anger…

So Good luck Bill Cosby in beating back those who you say are falsely accusing you. He is blessed to have the means to fight a system known for unfairly railroading innocent people. He is blessed to be able to combat a racist system that has long framed folks.. But F— You Bill for not practicing what you preached. F— U Bill for insisting and demanding of others to the point of ridicule, moral outrage and even financial punishment a moral compass and set of behaviors you routinely trampled on and held in deep distain.. my two cents

Breakdown FM: End Violence Against Women (No More Tears, No More Shame)

logo-End-Violence-No-More-tears-No-More-shameIn recent weeks there’s been far too much violence directed at our sisters, mothers, daughters and women in general.. It ranges from the reaction to Steubenville rape verdict and the local NAACP President Royal Mayo saying she wasn’t really a victim to the recent Rick Ross song advocating ‘date rape’..to highly publicized gang rapes in India to on going assaults in our own military where they say as much as 30% of the women enlisted have been assaulted..

A couple of years ago we did this mix in reaction to the disturbing domestic violence incident between singers Chris Brown and Rhianna. We wanted to bring it back out and give folks something to think about..Much of what was expressed then is still relevant today, if not even more so.. We wanted to leave folks with a message that is hopefully uplifting and healing..  Consider it our Anti-Rick Ross mix..

Speaking of which folks should be aware there is a petition directed at industry executives around Rick Ross and his disturbing song.. Be sure to check it out,  sign it and pass it along


There is also another campaign designed to remind people about the horrors of rape and how we must draw clear lines.. The video below speaks for itself..


Lastly with respect to the mix.. among the cuts we got hold of include jams from Brother J and X-Clan called ‘Wiz Degrees‘. Its a nice song about love and his appreciation for his partner and what she means to him. Its off the album ‘Mainstream Outlaw‘ which is banging.

Desdamona out of the Twin Cities has a searing song that’ll make you pause and think called ‘Faulty Fuse‘.

Two of my favorite songs addressing this issue comes from MC Hammer and Brand Nubian. Hammer’s track ‘Big Man‘, off the Family Affair album hits a homer as he reminds folks the harsh consequences of such behavior.

Brand Nubian‘s song ‘Sincerely‘ was completely overlooked when it was released on the 1st anniversary of the Million Man March‘. You will be asking yourself, why wasn’t this record being exposed to the masses? It’s an incredible song.

Two other songs to check is Bridgette Gray‘s heart wrenching Letter to Hip Hop. She lays out some serious questions that still have yet to be adequately answered.

We follow that up with a piece from fellow spoken word artist Amir Suilaman called ‘How Beautiful‘.

Anyway there’s lots of joints to get you thinking. Enjoy, reflect, pass along and most importantly Try to make a difference help bring about a world where the horrors of violence against women no longer exist….

Listen to 25 Joints by clicking link below:

25 Joints to Get U Through the Day #9
No More Tears-No More Shame-No More Violence

01-PSAStop Domestic violence
02-Tabb Doe ‘Sleeping w/ the Enemy’ (San Francisco)
03-MC Hammer ‘Big Man’ (Oakland)
04-Poetess w/ Def Jeff, Kool G Rap, Almighty ‘Love Hurts’ (LA)
05-Brand Nubian ‘Sincerely’ (New York)
06-KRS-One ‘Brown Skinned Woman’ (New York)
07-Bridget Gray ‘Letter to Hip Hop’ (LA)
08-Amir Suilaman ‘How Beautiful’ (Oakland)
09-Hard Knock ‘Hands of a Stranger’ (New York)
10-Sister Souljah ‘Relationships’ (New York)
11-Paris ‘Assata’s Song’ (San Francisco)
12- J Boogie w/ Zumbi ‘For Your Love’ (San Francisco/Oakland)
13-Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘Hey World’ (San Francisco)
14-Urban Ave 131 ‘Heaven Help Us’ (Washington DC)
15-X-Clan ‘Wiz Degrees’ (LA)
16-Bambu ‘Nicole’ ft Micah (San Francisco)
17-Desdamona ‘Faulty Fuse’ (Minneapolis)
18-NY Oil ‘You’re A Queen’ (new York)
19-M-1 ‘Love You Can’t Borrow’ (New York)
20-Gabriel Teodros ‘Warriors’ (Seattle)
21-Public Enemy ‘Revolutionary Generation’ (New York)
22-Queen Latifah ‘Nature of a Sista’ (New York)
23-Kofy Brown ‘Just a Woman’ (Oakland)
24-Michael Franti & Spearhead ‘U Can’t Sing R Song'(San Francisco)
25-Jennifer Johns ‘Afraid of Me’

Steubenville, NAACP President Says Rape Victim Ain’t Really a Victim…Nat’l NAACP Condemns Remark

Update (03-29-13) So yesterday after we ran this story about Royal Mayo who was identified as president of the Steubenville, Ohio NAACP, stating he didn’t think the rape victim was really a victim, we soon heard from the National NAACP..Derek George Turner, director of communication sent this statement:

NAACP Condemns Remarks Disparaging Steubenville Rape Victim; International Business Times Article Misidentified Mayo as Local NAACP President

(WASHINGTON, DC) – The National NAACP released the following statement condemning the remarks disparaging the victim of the sexual assault in the Steubenville case:

“The NAACP abhors the remarks attributed to Royal Mayo regarding the rape victim in the Steubenville. The remarks are Mayo’s own, and do not reflect the position of the NAACP and its membership.

Mr. Mayo is not the president of the Steubenville NAACP and is not a spokesman for the NAACP. The article attributing him as such has been corrected by the International Business Times.

Rape is a despicable crime of violence. The NAACP understands that comments that blame victims for the actions of their attackers contribute to and perpetuate a culture of acquiescence to rape.

The NAACP advocates strongly for a society where victims of rape and sexual assault can come forward and seek legal redress without further retribution from the community, media or society at large.”

Royal Mayo

Royal Mayo

Reading this article from Steubenville, Ohio, where the NAACP president  Royal Mayo is raising the issue about why only two men got convicted and not everyone else.. His claims and layout of the incident should not be immediately dismissed, especially as he places it in the context of long standing police corruption in Steubenville. He notes it’s the first police department in the country to come under a federal court decree..

Where Mayo, loses me and I’m sure many other folks is when he makes the outlandish statement that this teenage girl really isn’t a rape victim.. He claims that the teenager shown in those sordid videos and pictures wanted to have the type of sex the young men from the football team were on trial for… Unbelievable.. No wonder we have such confusion amongst people about sexual assault…Thinking like this is not usual it’s embedded in the minds of far too many people..The thinking goes; If she’s drunk and out of it and unable to stand, she’s good to go.. Inevitably that leads to young men making moves to get a young women in that condition.. ie Dropping a molly or some other mind altering substance in her drink.. All that gets accentuated when popular entertainers like rapper Rick Ross rap about it in a song..or as you may recall last fall, Cee-Lo Green gets accused of doing this..

Perhaps its time we draw clear lines in the sand similar to ‘No means No‘.. How about we make it clear, being drunk, too high, unable to stand and be in full control of your faculties means ‘No’.. end of story?

The article that appears in the IBTimes has the following excerpts: Peep the entire article


Mayo described the 16-year-old girl as the “alleged victim” and said she might have been having consensual sex. “She said her mother brought her to the party, at 3 o’clock, with a bottle of vodka,” Mayo said. “Where did you get it, young lady? You brought it from home? Where’d you get it? You came to the party with your mother.”

Mayo added that she might have been a willing participant, apparently unfazed by the inflammatory nature of such statements. “They’re alleging she got raped; she’s acknowledging that she wanted to leave with Trent. Her friends say she pushed them away as she went and got into the car, twice telling them, ‘I know what I’m doing; I’m going with Trent,’” Mayo said.

By 10:30 p.m., other partygoers were making catcalls and bets to urinate on her, according to a New York Times time line of the incident. The victim was “carried” out of the party by Richmond and Mays two hours later. In the car on the way to another party, Mays was videotaped digitally penetrating the victim. At a third party, the victim was unable to walk on her own, and, according to testimony, Richmond was seen digitally penetrating her from behind. In the videotaped testimonies from the teens at the party, they understood that something wrong was happening but did not stop the sexual assault, as reported by Gawker.

Rosa Clemente Blasts Rapper Rick Ross.. Calls on Hip Hop to Say ‘No’ to Rape Culture

Rick Ross brownIn recent days a lot has happened that has kept the issue of rape and rape culture in the forefront.. It ranges from two female social commentators/ bloggers Zerlina Maxwell and Adria Richards being threatened with rape after speaking out against sexual assault and inappropriate sexist jokes to massive rapes in the military to recent fights and resistance that proceeded the passing of the Violence Against Women Act..

Most recently its come in the form of former law enforcement officer turned rapper Rick Ross, kicking lyrics in a new song that advocates date rape…. At a time where one out of three women globally are sexually assaulted and almost half of Black and Brown women in the US being sexually assaulted, Ross’s words are beyond wack. They’re dangerous, irresponsible and reflective of a corporate business culture that has hijacked cultural expression to plant seeds of poison.

The other day long time Hip Hop activist and former Vice Presidential candidate for the Green Party Rosa Clemente responded to Ross with a stinging rebuttal that she posted on youtube.. It was a stark reminder of whats at stake in terms of whats at stake.. Clemente ask for men in Hip Hop to step up draw lines in the sand and protect the culture and the women around them..She calls upon people to put an end to rape culture and uplift the humanity in us all..


Long time industry vet Dee Dee Cocheta stepped up and penned a heartfelt  open letter to Rick Ross that appears on All Hip Hop..

Greetings William,

I am writing you a letter because I have sat back and observed long enough. I am coming to you as a ‘sister’ of the human family we all belong to. WE are connected! AND you my brother, I am tired of hearing negative things about you and now I am mad at how you are treating yourself. So please do not take this wrong or feel I am coming at you to scold or beat you up with my words. I am coming to you because I CARE and LOVE YOU!

What brought me to the point of writing this open letter was after reading ALLHIPHOP.com Hip-Hop Rumors on your new song, “U.O.E.N.O.” (you ain’t even know it) titled: YOWZA! New Rick Ross Lyric Will Upset Smart Women! So yeah I’m a little upset and rightfully so as the lyric you wrote about refers to ‘date rape’ and is exactly how I lost my virginity; someone STOLE it at the age of 14 before entering in high school. I take responsibility for being at a party I had no business being at but I want you to know how scary this now 41-year-old woman felt to wake up to blood on the sheets with an aching pain and empty feeling, that your heart is sunken where you feel you lost something. Well I did, I lost the right to choose whom I wanted to share that special moment with because I was knocked out and taken advantage of. See William, your lyric doesn’t educate it only further glamorize what fools like that man did to me 27 years ago. I happen to believe in karma and I know that man got his without me having to lift a finger.

You can read the rest of this letter at http://allhiphop.com/2013/03/25/open-letter-to-rick-ross-from-a-music-industry-vet/

To further demonstrate the extent Rape Culture has encroached upon us, here’s a panel discussion  we did last year for Free Speech TV dealing with the topic..




Oakland’s Townhall on Misogyny, Teen Violence & the Influence of Rap Music w/ Too Short

Last night (March 14th 2012) the Oakland chapter of 100 Black Men and Safe Passages, an organization from ‘Tha Town’ that is in the forefront of dealing with domestic violence and sexual assault, hooked up with members of the Hip Hop community to hold a town hall meeting inside City Hall.  The topic was Misogyny, Teen Violence and the influence Rap Music has on our behavior..

Lemme just say this from jump street.. what took place last night was riveting, honest, powerful and inspiring..It wasn’t a gripe session or a finger-pointing rap bashing occasion. It wasn’t an event where two generations (Hip Hop and Civil Rights) found themselves at odds blaming one another…

What you had at the Oakland Town Hall was a community who clearly understands there are important issues at hand impacting young minds and we have to go in another direction..

One of the highlights of the town hall was the discussion with Bay Area rap pioneer Too Short. But folks were clear from the beginning these issues are systemic and go way beyond one rapper, one magazine or one incident.. However, the recent controversy around Too Short  giving explicit ‘fatherly advise‘ to middle school age boys in an online video hosted by rap publication XXL had put him on the hot seat..

Short said he takes full responsibility for his actions and wanted to be part of the conversation to help rectify and repair the damage and disappointment he caused.. Many felt he was candid and forthcoming with his remarks and the evening ended with him noting this is just a starting point and him appealing to other artists in the room to change direction, expand their horizons and re-define the legacy of Oakland rap..

Last night’s Town hall saw in addition to Too Short, other key stake holders including elected officials, community activists and local artists  come together with a spirit of love, a desire to heal and eager to find ways to bring about brighter tomorrows..Some of the most powerful statements came from the young survivors of rape and sexual assault who shared their perspectives and solutions..

Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson

During the Town hall, Alameda County supervisor Keith Carson along with a couple of members of 100 Black men set the tone, by discussing the harrowing statistics around sexual assault. Carson noted that every couple of minutes a woman is sexually assaulted. He said over 10 million kids had witnessed domestic violence and one out of 5 teenage girls has been assaulted..He also pointed out that since 2005 over 2 million boys/men have been sexually assaulted.

Carson surmised that the figures are probably much higher. he was just noting what had been reported. He also pointed out that rather than we point fingers and play the blame game, we come at this from the spirit of sparking dialogue with a goal of getting solutions to turn the tide..

Dereca Blackmon who is part of the We Are 44% Coalition gave a great presentation on the commodification of songs celebrating sexual abuse and degenerate behavior. She noted that many have come to see confuse videos with real life. She broke down how that impacts us all.

Dereca Blackmon

Afterwards Blackmon sat down with Too Short and had a 20 minute revealing discussion about the music industry, the role artists should take in turning things around and his own personal journey to understanding some of the issues being addressed. He talked about the XXL Controversy and eye-opening the conversation he had with writer Dream Hampton

The evening concluded with a panel discussion where we heard some power statements and solutions from young activists and artists, some of who are survivors of rape, sexual assault and violence.

The mood at the end of the evening was upbeat with many feeling very inspired. Sadly and in typical fashion some of that good energy was dampened by what was shown on the evening news.  In particular  KTVU and KPIX did what many described as hit pieces.. They left before the panel discussion that featured the young folks.. They didnt show any of the commentary from the survivors of rape and sexual assault who sat with Too Short and questioned him.. They totally ignored what everyone plainly stated the gathering was about.. It was not reflective of what took place last night.  In fact the reporter from KTVU seemed hostile that folks were coming together to uplift and not take down.. I encourage all to watch the video of the Oakland Townhall to get a better understanding of what took place..


As your watching the video, we want folks to keep in mind what took place last night was by no means was a new or unique in terms of the topics discussed. Every couple of years something pops off and captures the attention of the media or activists and hence such discussions unfold.. A few years ago we saw this topic broached after radio host Don Imus went on air called women on a college basketball team, ‘Nappy Headed Hos‘. His remarks set off a firestorm with people calling for Imus to be fired. He in turn countered and claimed that he made the unsavory remarks because he was influenced by rap music.. That in turn lead to many of us having reflective self-examination type discussions.


A couple of years prior to Imus’s remarks, we had a situation involving rap star Nelly, who was shown on a video to his popular song ‘Tip Drill‘ swiping a credit card thru the cheeks of bikini clad dancer.. Again it set of a storm of controversy leading up to Spelman College rejecting him when he was scheduled to come on campus and do a Bone Marrow benefit and bring awareness to the plight of his cancer stricken sister..

We can go on and on citing examples where the activities of artists ranging from  2 Live Crew to NWA to 2Pac to Snoop Dogg to Jay-Z and 50 Cent, have led to town hall style meetings, vigorous radio and TV debates to Senate and Congressional Hearings…

As was mentioned earlier, last night’s Town Hall which was held in the chambers of the Oakland City Council came in the wake of incident last month involving Bay Area rap pioneer Too Short and XXL Magazine.. The magazine produced an online video that depicted Too Short dispensing ‘fatherly advise’  to young 12 & 13-year-old boys on how to ‘turn out young girls’ and ‘take it to the hole’..

Rosa, Joan and Marc-Are Part of the Newly formed We are the 44%

This outraged a  number of Hip Hop generation Black and Latina activists, writers and scholars like Joan Morgan, Rosa Clemente and Dream Hampton to name a few, who felt that not only did this cross   some major fault lines but was the nail in the coffin for what they saw as increasing attacks on young girls, women of color and women in general.

These aforementioned sisters linked up with other women and a growing number of male allies like Dr Marc Anthony Neal, Lumumba Akinwole-Bandele and filmmaker  Byron Hurt to name a few who also who shared in the outrage to form the We Are the 44% Coalition.

We Are the 44% Coalition felt it was important that awareness be raised around the fact that 44% of sexual assault and rape survivors are under the age of 18 and that as a group they push to create a climate where what Too Short & XXL did is never repeated by other artists and publications.

XXL Editor and Chief Vanessa Satten

They demanded that Harris Publication which owns XXL take steps to fire the editor(Vanessa Satten) and donate space in the magazine to have issues of sexual assault to be adequately addressed.

They ‘blew the whistle’ on Too Short and demanded he educate himself and start working with organizations in our community that deal with sexual assault.

Soon after forming weekly online twitter chats started taking place with the hash tag #ItsBiggerThan2Short. It is there that many started come together to discuss these issues, demands  and craft solutions.

During last nights town hall there was a call to action for all of us to not allow the daily assaults on women both verbal and physical become normalized.  Many recognize there is currently an all out war on women both within our community and the society at large that is systemic and far-reaching..

We see attacks coming from law makers in Congress and the Senate where they hold all male panels on women’s reproductive health with them refusing to seat at least one woman to share insights and testimony.

We see legislatures in states like Arizona propose laws that would allow employers to fire a woman for taking birth control pills..

We see popular radio hosts and political leaders like Rush Limbaugh resort to publicly demeaning women by calling them ‘sluts’ and ‘prostitutes’ when he has a political disagreement.

We see many in our mainstream press as well as esteemed lawmakers at the highest echelons of power ignore and try to sweep under the carpet our military’s dirty secret.. Last year alone there were over 19 thousand sexual assaults.. A woman serving in our military is more likely to be sexually assaulted by our own male soldiers then be killed or wounded by enemy fire..

Now, 19 thousand is a staggering number, but one would not know that’s going down by looking at our mainstream news coverage.. an across the board news blackout  about 20 thousand rapes that have taken place on military bases rapes of women in our military the large number of rapes in our own military.

Rev Harry Williams

This was part of the backdrop that led last night’s Oakland’s Town hall meeting …The other part to this was the fact that Oakland and the Bay Area has some ongoing issues that has led to many people talking. First this is a major hub for human trafficking..Recently Allen Temple Baptist Church had a couple of gatherings where over thousand people came out..According to Reverend Harry Williams who heads up the Street Disciple Ministry at AT which deals the rise in human trafficking, in this depressed economy and a competitive drug game that has been sewn up by international cartels making it hard to get supplies, many have turned to pimping. He noted that from his work many who are returning from prison after doing long stretches have stepped into this arena with young girls being a primary target..

This has been echoed by Diamond a local artist and promoter who is also peer leader at United Roots and the Sister Circle which counsels young women. In a recent round table discussion she noted that she has seen increased aggression toward women over the past couple of years. Like Williams she noted that many are returning home after being incarcerated 15-20 years under California’s harsh 3 strikes law, which has all but eliminated rehabilitation and education. For those who don’t know California’s 3 Strikes law was put into place back in 1994 after the kidnapping and murder of then 12-year-old Polly Klass.. Over 40 thousand men were put behind bars under it.. Diamond agreed with William’s assessment that many are jumping into the pimp game to try and make money….

Both Williams and Diamond noted that this all doubly compounded with the rise of ‘Sneaker Pimps‘. These are young boys 11, 12 and 13 out here pimping young girls of similar age. Some are working for older men, but many others have come up without parents and live on the streets with this being the only hustle they know.

This wasn’t the main topic of discussion during last night’s town hall, but its important to understand this as part of the local landscape and the pervasiveness of what they call Rape Culture..  Anyone interested in the discussion we had on this topic with front line workers like Rev Harry Williams and Diamond can watch the video we did at the link below



Overall shout out to everyone who came out and represented.. Special Shout out to Chuck Johnson who reached out to all of us and set the ground work for an important discussion..