Gianna and I are standing in the ladies room discussing my cousin and our mutual hairdresser Carmelo, who’s been AWOL since Friday night. His shop is on the main street in our little town and the front wall is glass. When the doctor is OUT, the whole town can see it. So where is he? We discover neither of us knows what Carmelo’s doing besides covering our roots just as the lights fail. We are left in total darkness just as Gianna walks into a wall with a thud! and delighted laughter. I ask if she’s heard what I heard on the Italian news last night: the Pope’s still nursing a grudge against Galileo. Last night, I couldn’t believe what I thought I was hearing, though that’s perfectly okay since I don’t speak Italian. But holy cow, I was right! In a related note: if you want to have fun with an Italian news report put it through Babelfish. Did you know Italian names are nouns and adjectives? It’s like someone squooze all the naughty out of Mad Libs.
Today is the actual birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., which I would have realized if I ever knew what day it was. Further: if I’d picked up a datebook in December I might’ve known, for instance, that today was Wednesday. Even so, I was surprised to find that on this day Answers.com highlighted a king of redneck culture, NASCAR’s A. J. Foyt. For me, being small and covered with fur has some distinct disadvantages. Fortunately, Digby and the littlest gator reminded me of what I was missing. I can’t write more eloquently than they do on this or any other topic, so those posts speak for me, and for the loving us that we become when we work to make this world more just. We learn, we fail, we learn more. Just this morning, I marveled at my own idiocy. I was mulling over zapping an email to my local NBC affiliate asking what happened to my morning newscaster, when I have been rendered completely and utterly speechless by this by brownfemipower, via Shakes.
Lesbians sentenced for self-defense
That sound you hear is all the oxygen sucked once again from my lungs.
On Aug. 16, 2006, seven young, African-American, lesbian-identified friends were walking in the West Village. The Village is a historic center for lesbian, gay, bi and trans (LGBT) communities, and is seen as a safe haven for working-class LGBT youth, especially youth of color.
As they passed the Independent Film Cinema, 29-year-old Dwayne Buckle, an African-American vendor selling DVDs, sexually propositioned one of the women. They rebuffed his advances and kept walking.
“I’ll f— you straight, sweetheart!” Buckle shouted. A video camera from a nearby store shows the women walking away. He followed them, all the while hurling anti-lesbian slurs, grabbing his genitals and making explicitly obscene remarks. The women finally stopped and confronted him. A heated argument ensued. Buckle spat in the face of one of the women and threw his lit cigarette at them, escalating the verbal attack into a physical one.
Buckle is seen on the video grabbing and pulling out large patches of hair from one of the young women. When Buckle ended up on top of one of the women, choking her, Johnson pulled a small steak knife out of her purse. She aimed for his arm to stop him from killing her friend.
The video captures two men finally running over to help the women and beating Buckle. At some point he was stabbed in the abdomen. The women were already walking away across the street by the time the police arrived.
Buckle was hospitalized for five days after surgery for a lacerated liver and stomach. When asked at the hospital, he responded at least twice that men had attacked him.
There was no evidence that Johnson’s kitchen knife was the weapon that penetrated his abdomen, nor was there any blood visible on it. In fact, there was never any forensics testing done on her knife. On the night they were arrested, the police told the women that there would be a search by the New York Police Department for the two men – which to date has not happened.
After almost a year of trial, four of the seven were convicted in April. Johnson was sentenced to 11 years on June 14.
It turns out the newscaster was on vacation, so there was no need to write. For details of the actual outrage, please see FierceNYC. These events happened months ago, even more than a year ago. I read about this yesterday and I am still reeling.
A datebook would not have helped except to remind me it is 2008 and our futures can be deftly stolen from us, whoever we are.