Writer Frank Cerabino of the West Palm Beach Post wrote an an article that described Sister Shecodes and her organization: The Black Women's Movement and their blasting of Al Sharpton:
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Al Sharpton and the local chapter of the NAACP have gotten themselves into trouble with black women for trying to turn the Dunbar Village rape case into a showpiece of racial injustice.
During the past three weeks, a network of about 30 black women bloggers have been blistering Sharpton and the local NAACP for coddling the black teenagers accused taking a neighborhood woman at gunpoint into her West Palm Beach home, raping her and forcing her to have sex with her own pre-teen son.
Earlier this month, Sharpton stood in front of the Palm Beach County State Attorney's Office with local NAACP officials and relatives of the accused Dunbar Village rapists to complain that these teenage boys are victims of racial discrimination.
"Sharpton bills himself as a spokesman for the voiceless," wrote Tonyaa Weathersbee in BlackAmericaWeb.com "Too bad this time he decided to lend his voice to the ones who needed it the least - and guarantee that more raped black women will continue to suffer in silence."
Weathersbee and other politically active black women bloggers say Sharpton has ignored the indisputable victims in the Dunbar case - a 35-year-old black woman and her 12-year-old son.
Maude Ford Lee, the president of the West Palm Beach NAACP chapter, spoke alongside Sharpton while the assembled media were handed a flier showing the photos of three of the accused Dunbar Village rapists with the words, "Voiceless, Vulnerable, Victims!!" next to them.
"These children are being unjustly persecuted because of corrupt politics, racism and economics," the flier said. "The State Attorney's Office has grossly overcharged these children."
Sharpton had the victims wrong
The gist of the racial discrimination complaint was that the Dunbar teenagers were being held without bond while a group of white teenagers from suburban Boca Raton charged with rape earlier this year were free on bond.
In the suburban Boca Raton case, the teens were accused of getting two neighborhood friends drunk and then raping them while they were too drunk to resist.
"Am I the only one that sees some GLARING DISTINCTIONS in these two cases that have absolutely nothing to do with the race of the defendants or am I missing something?" wrote blogger Arlene Fenton.
Fenton organized a letter-writing campaign against the local NAACP, Sharpton and his National Action Network for using the west Boca case to make victims of the Dunbar Village teenagers.
"It is breathtaking that the National Action Network brain trust can't seem to comprehend the difference between a home invasion by masked gunmen who torture, rape, sodomize, cut, burn, and beat their victims for THREE HOURS and culminate the event with crime against nature committed against a 12-year-old child ... and a case involving NONE of those facts," Fenton wrote.
Bloggers see victory
The outrage of black women like Fenton has made its mark.
Lee, in a letter this week to the Florida State Conference of the NAACP, left out any mention of the Dunbar Village attack suspects as voiceless victims who should be given the same bond as the suburban Boca Raton teenagers.
She recast her involvement to say it was only to "call for fair and just treatment in all phases of the criminal justice system" for the Dunbar Village defendants.
Sharpton, who spoke with Fenton and Weathersbee on his radio show this week, now claims he never wanted the Dunbar rape suspects to be free pending trial.
The women bloggers take all this backpedaling as a victory.
"Let this be the alarm for any man, woman or organization that decides to align itself with those who harm Black women and children - today is a new day," blogged Tanisha Mathis. "Today is the day you realize we are an omnipresent force to be reckoned with and respected.
Sister Shecodes responded to the article forcefully and succinctly:
I am glad that this article was written, but I would like to clarify what the definition of 'victory' is in this situation. To me, victory in this case would mean:
1. All of the rapists/torturers (not just the four in custody) are apprehended and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.
2. The victims, both mother and son, receive genuine comfort and support from the black community. They should live in a very safe place, receive all of the medical and psychological care that is possible.
3. Steps should be taken to make sure that the growing phenomenon of this kind of behavior is immediately stopped, dead in it's tracks. The most vile elements in our society have enjoyed open season on Black women, because almost no one stands up for us -- unless there is some other, unrelated political point to score by doing so.
A victory in the grander sense would mean:
1. All organizations, politicians, and public servants would mentally raise the value of black female life and act accordingly. No more lip service toward black female victims of violent crime, no more allocation of black female dollars and man hours to shield rapists, batterers, or murderers of black women from prosecution.
2. The collective psyche, self esteem, and mental wellness of black women and girls will stop taking a beating from both the black and white communities.
3. The full implementation of the Black Women's Agenda.
There is no movement for black women until we become our sister's keepers. Every black woman has a right to live free from violence, from sexual and racial ridicule, from social oppression, and from financial bondage.
We have used our enormous strength to help everyone except ourselves. That is over in 2008. Yes, Tanisha, it is a new day in America.
The NAACP has not expressed regret from the statements that they made concerning the Dunbar Village tragedy. They are hoping that we will go away and that this will die down. Whew, are they sadly mistaken. They haven't felt NUTHIN' yet. It's time to expose this agency for what it really is... stay tuned.
I could not agree more. Enough said for now.