Tag Archives: abuse

DC: Smithfield Workers, the N-Word, and North Carolina relatives

Thousands of people in the Washington, DC area have ties to North Carolina, especially African Americans.  Many of our family members migrated to the region for better work opportunities and–at times–to escape abusive working conditions.   I was suprised to see this sign in the Gallery Place metro station today.  Well, maybe not suprised…I do come from an area of the midwest where meat packing plants thrive and I’ve heard about how conditions can be.  However, the allegations are just something you would never want to hear about taking place in 2008.  Beatings???  Being called the N-word by your manager???  Dag!  Supporters of the Justice@Smithfield campaign say that horrible conditions persist at the world’s largest hog processing plant, in Tar Heel, NC.

smithfield justice

“This summer, DC area families of Smithfield workers are beginning to reach back to their loved ones in Tar Heel, with a major advertising campaign spotlighting injuries and abuses at the plant. In late June, we will unveil a series of adverstisements in select metro stations and bus routes putting a human face on worker abuses at the plant, and urging DC area consumers to consider alternatives to Smithfield products in their local supermarkets. The campaign will also include radio advertisements and voice messages from movie star Danny Glover, which will air in Prince George’s County and the District of Columbia.” – www.smithfieldjustice.com – Click here to see the other 2 ads

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Keep Fighting: Violence at the Katrina Public Housing Protest

katrinaGood ole southern justice I guess, huh?!?!?

Haven’t these people gone through enough America?? Visit ABC NEWS for the story in photos. (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP Photo)

NEW ORLEANS (Associated Press) — After violent clashes with police at City Hall, protesters vowed that the fight over a plan to demolish 218 public housing buildings for the poor was far from over, both in the courts and on the streets.

On Thursday, police used chemical spray and stun guns on protesters who tried to force their way into a City Council meeting where the members voted unanimously to allow the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to demolish 4,500 public housing units.

The vote allows demolition crews to begin tearing down the buildings within weeks unless they are blocked in the courts. Lawyers fighting the demolition say they have not exhausted their legal options.

Endesha Juakali, a protest leader arrested on a charge of disturbing the peace, said the confrontation with the council was not the last breath from protesters.

“For everything they do, we have to make them pay a political consequence,” Juakali said. He vowed that when the bulldozers try to demolish the St. Bernard complex, “it’s going to be an all out effort.”

For weeks, protesters have been gearing up to battle with bulldozers and have discussed a variety of tactics, including lying in front of the machinery.

Thursday’s confrontation was the most violent and tense of a string of protests that have brought attention to the plight of a growing number of homeless and the lack of inexpensive housing for people displaced by Hurricane Katrina.

Developers chosen by HUD to do the $700 million in redevelopment work said they were eager to get started and that the protracted fight over demolitions has stood in the way of building better communities.

Police said 15 people were arrested on charges ranging from battery to disorderly conduct. Four people were taken to hospitals — two of them women who had been stunned with Tasers — and five others were injured and treated on the scene, police said. All four in the hospital were stable, police said.

Protesters said they pushed against the iron gates that kept them out of the building because the Housing Authority of New Orleans had disproportionately allowed supporters of the demolition to pack the council’s chambers. Dozens tried to force their way in.

At the peak of the confusion, some 70 protesters were facing about a dozen mounted police and 40 more law enforcement officers on foot. Continue reading

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Oprah Speaks to Allegations of Child Abuse at her South African Academy

This must be terrible, just terrible for Oprah who is a sexual abuse survivor herself.  My heart goes out to her and those involved. 

:: Her school was hit two weeks ago with allegations of fondling and physical abuse.  The school’s principal – indentified only as Dr Mzimane – and at least one other matron were put on administrative leave following the charges, News24.com, the South Africa’s No. 1 news site reported.

“I trusted [Dr. Mzimane],” the station quoted Oprah as telling parents.

“But, I’ve been disappointed,” she said.

“It’s not your fault. We don’t blame you.,” a father was quoted as saying.

“You have more passion for the school and its existence than anyone else in this country, including us parents.”

The talk-show host reportedly gave students her personal phone number and email address if they needed to contact her again, the station reported. ::

More on the story from the NY Post 

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Megan Williams says, “I hope they fry”

Associated Press | “They just kept saying ‘This is what we do to niggers down here,”’ Williams told The Associated Press in one of her most extensive interviews since the shocking case made national headlines last month.

Seated in a rocking chair in her mother’s living room, about 50 miles from that shed, the slight woman with cocoa-colored skin says she was hopelessly outnumbered by people who just wanted to hurt a black person.

“I just hope they fry for what they did to me. That’s really all I got to say,” she said. “I hope they fry.”

West Virginia does not have a death penalty, but the six suspects could spend the rest of their lives in prison if convicted of rape and kidnapping charges.

Williams has been advised not to discuss anything about her prior dealings with the suspects, or the more graphic details of her experience.

But when Williams does detail her alleged torture, it comes in fits. Horrifying, disjointed memories of all that she allegedly endured spill forth while she fidgets and frowns.

“They braided some switches together and beat me across the back,” she said.

“They tore my clothes off of me and everything, and then they took me up to the lake and they said that was the place they were going to cut my throat and throw me in,” she said.

Williams looks off into the distance at the end of each recollection. She often falls quiet, reverting to yes and no answers, each response softly punctuated with “ma’am.”

At times, she reaches up to touch her scalp, where her hair was cut off and yanked out during her ordeal.

Megan’s adoptive mother, Carmen Williams, said her daughter is “not at full capacity” mentally and easily trusted others.

“She’s a little slow, so it’s kinda hard for her to comprehend sometimes,” she said. “So I think that played a big part in it.”

Suspects in the case have outlined a series of sexual crimes.

Statements from Frankie Brewster and her son Bobby Brewster allege that Williams was forced to perform oral sex on Frankie Brewster under threat of death, that she was forced to perform oral sex on Danny Combs at knifepoint, that she was made to lick their toes, raped and humiliated.

“They said I was never going to see my family again,” Megan Williams said.

It was that fear that led her to cut her duct-tape constraints with a knife she had hidden away. She then hung her tiny arms out of the small window of the shed she was kept in, yelling for help.

Williams says “a guy named Eddie” heard her calls, and she believes he called for help. Within hours, deputies responded to an anonymous tip, and came to the Brewster trailer asking for Williams by name.

She has no doubt that if the police hadn’t shown up, she would be dead.

Memories of the captivity haunt Williams in the form of terrifying dreams.

“Every time I close my eyes all I see is that knife. The one they kept stabbing me and stabbing me with,” she said. “I was screaming, I was crying and they were kicking me.”

Large scabs cover her left leg, where her ankle was cut and her thigh was stabbed three times, and she still walks with a slight limp.

She has received hundreds of cards and gifts from as far away as Iraq. She hopes to use donations to her trust fund to obtain her GED and attend college. She speaks of becoming a nurse’s assistant.

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