March 21, 2008

Al Sharpton and NAACP Are Wrong in Dunbar Village Gang-Rape Case

Important nubian women in my life, such as my former wife, my mom and my sisters often tell me that I have a 'hard head'. Usually, this is a result of me being slow on the uptake for an issue that they see clearly from the start. The impact of the Dunbar Village gang-rape may be yet another example of me ... and perhaps other brothers ... having a 'hard head'.

You see, the issues surrounding the Dunbar Village gang-rape that occurred last year continue to burn hot in our community ... especially with Black women. Many Black women look at the way that the Dunbar Village situation has been handled as an example of the way Black women are treated in too many situations from Corporate America to our neighborhoods.

Villagers remember the horrific story of ten youths that forced their way into a Black woman's home in Dunbar Village housing complex down in Florida. For several hours,they not only gang-raped her repeatedly and viciously beat her young son, but they forced her to have sex with her own child. The teenage boys then placed the two of them in a bathtub and poured nail polish remover in her son's eyes, blinding him for a period of time. They attempted to set them on fire, but couldn't find a match. So instead, they violated them with ammonia and threatened to kill her family if she told anyone.

Only four of the suspects have been apprehended, there are six others on the loose. There is conclusive DNA evidence on at least one of the boys. There is no manhunt for the rest of the criminals, they are running around loose as you read this.

In November 2007, Al Sharpton showed that he had a 'hard head' about this case as well. He was called on the carpet by a number of people concerned that he was not supporting the young woman and her son who had been victimized in this case. In fact, I went so far as to call Al Sharpton a 'punk' last month on this blog.

Fast forward to today. It seems that the NAACP and Al Sharpton's National Action Network (NAN) both refused to help this woman because it was 'outside the scope of their mission' ... however, both groups found time to send lawyers down to Florida IN SUPPORT OF THE RAPISTS. The lawyers are claiming that it is 'unfair' to not offer bail to these four rapists.

Barack Obama spoke on the rage that exists in Black America when it comes to race relations. That rage burns especially strong when sexual crimes are committed against Black women and children ... even if the criminals involved are Black!

I encourage all like-minded villagers to join in collective action against the NAACP and Al Sharpton's NAN as a result of their misguided criminal advocacy in the Dunbar Village case. Perhaps it is time for right-thinking villagers to stop fueling the NAACP and NAN with our money and our volunteer activism until they stop trying to hinder the successful prosecution of this heinous crime down in Dunbar Village.

Perhaps it is time to ensure that the safety of Black women and children are non-negotiable. Here are some specific steps you can take:

  1. Share this post with others so they might have their conscience and concern raised as yours as been today.
  2. Demand an explanation from your local NAACP and NAN chapter about the Dunbar Village case.
  3. Cancel your membership to these organizations
  4. Write a letter explaining that you will return when they prioritize the public safety needs of Black women and children.
  5. Stop donating your time or money to these organizations; instead invest in other organizations that take the lives of Black women and children seriously.

Even if you do not belong to these organizations, call or write them to express your displeasure:


NAACP National Headquarters
4805 Mt. Hope Drive
Baltimore MD 21215
(410) 580-5777

National Action Network
Rev. Al Sharpton
106 W. 145th Street
Harlem, New York 10039
(212) 690-3070

You can obtain more information about the direct action against NAACP and NAN from the Dunbar Village blog (BBR #494).

I am interested to hear your take on the Dunbar Village case. Is there any excuse for what Al Sharpton and the NAACP West Palm Beach Branch president are doing in this case as they defend the young rapists? Are you willing to take direct action yourself to protect our Black woman and children? Will you share this information with others in your personal network?

37 comments:

SheCodes said...

Thank you so much villager, for speaking out on behalf of black women. It did my heart good to read this today.

Danielle said...

Al Sharpton is a punk! Inactions like this coming from well established black leaders fuels racism.

If the youth were white, there would be an entirely different response. The whole country would be in an uproar if this atrocity happened to a white family. This is the disgusting reality that we must free ourselves from.

We must all look at the ourselves and our social groups with an equally focused lens. What is wrong is wrong.

This incident hits me hard. The horror that this family endured is beyond comprehension.

Violence against women and children does not receive enough coverage and the root causes of this violence none at all.

We will all become stronger if our missions are expanded to include essential, basic human rights for all peoples.

So many humanitarian and civil liberty organizations box themselves into inaction. Dr. King saw the danger in this when he met with opposition for speaking against the Vietnam war.

We are in this together. Violence against one mother and her son is violence against humanity.

I will add this post to stumbleupon, digg and reddit to expand the scope of your contribution.

It is not easy to look at our flaws and faults but it is absolutely necessary for real growth.

In light and love

Aaron & Alaine said...

What the NAACP and Al Sharpton have done in the Dunbar Village case is in my view a moral atrocity. It is an example of our community's failure to demand accountability of the organizations that claim to speak for us. Actions such as these diminish the moral authority of legitimate struggle to overcome issues or racism. This incident highlights the struggle of black women both within and without the community justice in the face of many kinds of problems.

I've reached out to my local NAACP chapter to inform them and to ask them to urge the West Palm Beach chapter and the national organization to change course on this. I encourage all villagers to do the same where you live. Speak to your pastors about it and ask them to contact the local chapter and national organization as well. NAN and the NAACP have both been notified that they have a 7 day window to reverse course before this goes to another level. Perhaps this early whisper campaign will bring them around before this has to escalate.

sdg1844 said...

I can't believe that they are both that blind and short-sighted. Once again, a sista gets lost in the shuffle.

They are more concerned about defending these fucking rapists against the legal system than administering justice for this sista.

It makes my fucking blood boil and yes I will be writing. Ralph Ellison talked about the "Invisible Man", well we can add "Woman" to mix as well.

Villager said...

Shecodes - Kings can never claim to be kings if we never learn to protect the Queens, princes and princesses. Hopefully, pressure can be brought on NAACP and Al Sharpton to make them realize how boneheaded their stance is in this case. On the other hand, we should probably give praise where it is due to the Florida judge or district attorney that put the 'no-bail' hold on these four rapists...

Danielle - The atrocity committed in Dunbar Village by those 10 young people should cause an uproar no matter the nationality, race or color of the victims. It was barbaric. Thank you for your help in spreading the message. Hopefully, your blog readers can weigh in as well...

Aaron or Alaine - Asante sana! I thank you for bringing this matter to my attention again. I first learned about it many moons ago from Gina, SheCodes and others. However, it slipped from my radar in recent weeks. Leave it to Al Sharpton to bring it back into focus in his typically bass-ackwards manner...

sdg1844 - Amen! (and 20+ women as well! (smile)

Invisible Woman said...

It is BEYOND time for Ass Sharpton to go away...forever. This crazy fiasco is conclusive evidence.

Cliff Samuels Jr said...

This is a classic case of the confusion in our community and leaders. Hilary Clinton has shown us with the major support she gained through our leaders to endorse her over the truly capable black man; Barak Obama. We are still listening to the brainwashing done slave owners almost 100 years ago. It is time to purge this bad and erroneous data from out minds and reload our personal computers (the brain) with the correct rules to function as a cohesive community.

MsMarvalus said...

I agree with all here that the NAACP and the Rev have veered to the left of this situation...waaaaayyyy to the left.

God Damn America (yeah, I said it)...this is some backward a** bullsh** and it infuriates me to no end that this sister has to be pushed to the side while her RAPISTS get attention! Where is the justice in this?! I tell you: NOWHERE!!!

I think I even saw where the NAACP posted their goals and it included something about standing up for women and children...

B U L L S H * * !!!

SjP said...

Having recently served on a jury where the defendent, who was 19 at the time and Black, was accused of raping a woman of color who was/is and escort - your post is painful as it makes me relive the guilty verdit we handed down. Try and wish as we might, there are times when we have to do what is right even when that right means sending our own away for the wrongs they have done. As my Mamma always says "right is right and right don't wrong nobody".

When I read your post, I was still reeling over the news about those precious babies murdered by their cowardly father. My heart is breaking. How and in God's name why?! These are dispicable actions by dispicable human beings (and I use that term very lightly) who should be punished and certainly not supported. The cowardly father took his own life rather than face justice - but the Dunbar Village Gang-Rape defendents must be brought to justice!

Shame on Sharpton and the NAACP for contributing to their defense! What in God's name are they thinking? What does this say about their commitment to our community, our children, our women? Their support - our support - must be directed at the family that had to and will continue to deal with this horror!

SjP
"Is Justice Blind" http://sojournersplace.blogspot.com/2008/03/is-justice-blind.html

Villager said...

Invisible Woman - I sense that Al Sharpton must be getting paid in some manner by the four youths or their attorneys. I can't imagine him doing what he did unless he was getting paid...

Cliff - Thanks for the link-love on this post. I agree that we are still struggling with that Willie Lynch chip that is embedded in our brains...

Ms. Marvalus - Hopefully, there will be brothers all over the country ... including here in the afrosphere ... that stand up for Black women and children against this nonsense from NAACP and Rev. Sharpton...

Sojourner - Thank you for the link-love on this post. I can imagine how rough sitting on a jury when the issue is rape must be. However, I think that you're correct ... right is right; wrong is wrong and if you rape a woman ... you deserve to go down big-time...

rainforest39 said...

It is atrociious what happened to that poor woman and her son. I hope she is getting the help she needs. There is so much that needs to not only prevent rape but to help the survivors through the aftermath. What helps is knowing that they are not the only ones out there that have suffered through this. What's great is that there's a new documentary series on the Biography channel called "I Survived" which features people that have lived through seriously traumatic events. Each episode contains at least one rape story. I think a lot of victims will find it highly cathartic and inspiring to hear about people going through this hell and triumphing in the end. It premieres on March 24 @ 9pm ET. If you want to see more about the show you can at http://www.bio.tv . Does anyone here think they’ll tune in?

Villager said...

Rainforest - Thank you for sharing the tip about the documentary with rape victims next Monday night. I hope that it gets people to watch it. Often we don't watch documentaries if the issue isn't something personal to us.

As for the woman and child victimized in Dunbar Village complex. As I recall she was Haitian. I know that they moved right after the attack. I'm uncertain where they are now...

Aaron & Alaine said...

Something else we can do in this fight is to not forget the victim.

Please make a $5, $10, $50, $100 or more contribution to the victim fund to help the Dunbar Village victim and her son rebuild their shattered lives. Do it now, don't wait.

Checks can be made payable to the Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund-St. Ann. You can drop your contribution off at any Wachovia Bank branch or mail them to: St. Ann Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401. The church’s phone number is (561) 832-3757.

Villager said...

Aaron or Alaine - Excellent point. My donation to her fund will be in the mailbox tomorrow morning. Thank you for sharing the 411 with me and others reading this thread...

Symphony said...

I'd call to make sure they are still accepting funds before you send it out Villager.

Sharpton's ultimate slap in the face out of many in this situation is that he was supposed to return to West Palm Beach to help the residents and when he returns, it was instead to speak out for people who terrorized them.

Villager said...

Symphony - I don't have Wachovia branch in Ohio, so I just sent it. I imagine they will get it to the woman and her child or return it. In the meantime, I am very proud of what you, SheCodes and others have done to shine the light on the hypocrisy of Al Sharpton and NAACP West Palm Beach Branch...

Grata said...

Why was this out of the scope of the NAACP?

Was it because the victim was a black immigrant? These are some tough questions Black America needs to ask themselves.

Could this crime be considered a hate crime? And if it was looked at as such in the beginnning would Shapton be running to help the Attackers?

Like I mentioned on another blog, the KKK and their ilk are saying, remember OJ?

Villager said...

Grata - NAACP indicates that they don't take stance on individual criminal cases. It was a regrettable decision. However, NAACP West Palm Beach Branch and Al Sharpton are simply wrong to speak out in favor of the four rapists...

MacDaddy said...

Villager: Thank you for sharing this important info. I've been sharing on other blogs as well. What happened at Dunbar Village was terrible enough. But how the NAACP and Sharpton handled it makes it even worse-- almost like a double gang rape. We can't let this slide.

I appreciate you for doing this.

Villager said...

MacDaddy - There are a growing number of Black bloggers coming out in protest of NAACP and Al Sharpton on this matter. We don't know the outcome. We do know that we must speak truth to power in this case...

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Incidents like Dunbar Village and supporting the rapists over the victims is the precise reason I quit giving the NACCP my time and my money.

Especially when the victim comes to you for help and you victimize her all over again by refusing, but you can dig up the assistant to these animals by sending lawyers down there to defend them.

They need some time in the joint to get their "salads" tossed - yeah, I said it.

Sometimes the punishment should fit the crime. There is no possibility for rehabilitation back into society, and the fact that six of them are still free to gang rape another woman is angering me to no end.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

I am in shock. I don't even know what to say.

Richard Donald Jones Sr. said...

I am the president of the Cleveland Chapter of NAN ....there has to be a mistake here ....this cant be right maybe if it was only us the NAN but the NAACP does get involved in stuff like this. There has got to be something else here. Are you sure we said we cannot help that victim?...something does not make sense

Richard Donald Jones Sr. said...

I did some checking and while I am not allowed to speak for the entire NAN without permission. This and several other blogs are incorrect when they say we "refused" to help this woman. I am not going to disrespect the NAACP but I am not sure they "refused" to help this woman either. I have not got the details as far the fool rapists and why NAN was involved. I think some facts are missing in relation to the victim.

Villager said...

Christian Progressive Liberal - I imagine that they have already had their salads tossed. I am simply disappointed that National Action Network and NAACP chose to seek a lowered bail for the rapists. That is simply wrong...

Ragazza - It is hard to imagine why NAN and NAACP would be so wrong on this issue. Once you get your voice back (smile), please give a call to the NAACP to express your disappointment. OK?

Villager said...

Ronald - First and foremost, I appreciate you sharing your village voice with us on this matter. My understanding is that NAN/Rev. Sharpton did make statements in support of the woman and her son down in Dunbar Village. However, his comments came well after counter-protest of the NAN Hate Crime march in Washington DC and well after the crime itself. For many weeks it appears that NAN/Rev. Sharpton were indifferent to this horrific crime against a Black woman and her child.

Fast forward to last week. NAN/Rev. Sharpton have press conference in West Palm Beach, FL calling for more lenient bail on behalf of the four Dunbar Village rapists. The NAACP West Palm Beach branch joined in this press conference. Our view is that NAN and NAACP West Palm Beach Branch are simply wrong to step out in such a public manner in favor of these four rapist-thugs.

That is the reason for the growing movement taking place in the afrosphere against your organization.

If NAN wants to talk under the radar then you should reach out to SheCodes. She is leading this particular protest against NAN and NAACP West Palm Beach Branch.

What do you see as 'next steps'?

Richard Donald Jones Sr. said...

1. I cant believe I am defending the NAACP but I now as a (former) member that to speak on the NAACP behalf you need permission. I wonder if this local branch had such permission.
No way in hell would the NAACP have turned their back on that woman ( not even the Cleveland branch)
2. As for NAN ( Cleveland NAN that is) I can and will help that victim I am not sure how to contact the family but if anyone knows how please email me at sigmarick@aol.com

SheCodes said...

I will email you with information on how to donate to the victim's fund.

Actually, neither Al Sharpton nor the NAACP have EVER made official statements looking for justice for the victims/apprehension of the remaining suspects.

In fact, the only reason that Al Sharpton even came to Dunbar Village, was that one of the residents accosted him at another event that he was having nearby. This was after months of ignoring WAOD requests for for assistance.

When he visited that day, he only showed interest in the fact that the BUILDING might be razed and changed into mixed housing. He then convinced our bloggers to cancel their town hall meeting, and said that he would conduct his own. He cancelled twice and stood them up once, and then never called again.

Three weeks later, he came out on video, making statements demanding more lenient treatment of the young men.

Also, an NAACP representative DID tell another blogger that it was 'outside of the scope of their mission', and when she asked if they would get involved if the rapists were white, the person said, "probably".

We have repeatedly called and emailed the NAACP, asking why the Florida chapter is doing this, and if it was sanctioned by the national chapter. They have ignored all requests for clarification.

Therefore, their silence will be interpreted as assent.

g-e-m2001 said...

@ Richard Donald Jones,

IN August I spoke at LENGTH with the director of Communications who called me from NAACP national headquarters, Mr. Richard McIntyre, he said "We Will not be issuing a statement on Dunbar Village, Black on Black crime is not part of our mission"
When I asked him explicitly if they would have gotten involved if this woman's attackers had been ten White teens, he said probably. I remember it like it was yesterday because I was in shock and I actually typed the post immediately after getting off of the telephone with the man.

Irrespective of the events back in August, it is reckless and irresponsible to intentionally mislead people about this case by equating it with that of an unrelated crime of completely different facts. It is reckless to argue that the suspects should be released back into the community, placing the victim and community members at risk without citing a single LEGAL reason why they shouldn't be held.

You've basically injected a circus like atmosphere into a very serious crime for what? 15 minutes of a press conference. This is about moral authority and how can you be expected to be viewed as having any when you make not so much as a whumper on behalf of the victims or the political ineptitude of the city commissioners, law enforcement and the housing authority which left the residents to rot and die, but you will call a news conference to make nonsensical statements about saying fair is fair right is right and two wrongs don't make a right as if to say three hots and a cot is equivalent to being tortured raped and forced to perform a sex act on your own child while telling him "I Love you"

Its not just Dunbar Village, you can take countless crimes of violence against Black victims that go unnoticed as long as the perpetrator is not White. In a sense you are letting who we are victimized by determine the value of our lives and that is ridiculous.

If they were smart, the NAACP and NAN would come out with statements FIRST to head off what may be some really hard questions posed to them by people with megaphones far larger than that of the biggest blogs. Their position on Dunbar Village is indefensible.

Villager said...

Richard (NAN Cleveland) - I hope that the information from Gina and SheCodes is responsive to your questions. I am very hopeful that you can encourage your national organization to respond to our concerns. Otherwise the volume of the anti-NAN protest will continue to rise. Also, do you have a counterpart NAN chapter in West Palm Beach?

SheCodes and Gina - Thank you for sharing the background information on this story with Ronald and other interested villagers...

Richard Donald Jones Sr. said...

DAMN!!!!.....no there is no West Palm Beach NAN ......you guys have my support ..a boycott or anything else I will get the message out ..please email me with anything you need

ClevelandScoop said...

I really really need to talk with the host of this board ..We have our convention in Memphis I want to get the right message to our national board ...is there any way you can email me sigmarick@aol.com

Villager said...

ClevelandScoop - My email address and profile are shown in the right-hand sidebar under title, 'Who is he?'. However, I will reach out to you be email as you requested. Can you share more info on the Memphis convention that you mention in your comment?

Kieya said...

It pisses me off that it took so long for them to acknowledge this in the first place. And when they do, they're on the wrong side? What is that about?

Villager said...

Kieya - We were able to get Al Sharpton to reverse his tracks. We still need to get with NAACP West Palm Beach branch...

The Jay said...

I have, on my own personal time witnessed the abuses of the legal system towards youth, particularly african american youth so rather than blog about it i (attempted) to do something about it. And did my best to 'get at' the youngsters. The response to me was both frightening and revealing. Something in thier psyche is collectively cross-wired, they have no remorse nor respect for anyone. Anything goes. How can i defend them when they are willing to set themselves on fire and thier communities? Its as if they were born without souls, how do you go up against the legal system that reinforces black-on-black crime by ignoring or giving light sentences? What do you, how you address it? If these young men are guilty we will watch sadly as they are put away, hopefully, for many decades if not, for life. This is tragic on all sides.

Villager said...

The Jay - I appreciate you taking time to share your thoughts on this blog post from 2008. More importantly, I appreciate you for volunteering your time to make things better in our community.

The issue of Black-on-Black crime or the impact of the criminal justice system on the Black community are all fine issues that we can talk about if you like.

However, in the original blog post ... Al Sharpton and the NAACP were wrong. We just joined with others to call them out on it.