Sounds of Independent News - Headline 7 - September 2011

Sounds of Independent News - Headline 7 - September 2011

Clayton Conn

Hello world! Welcome Autumn! And welcome back to our Baltimore-centric (although not exclusive) headline-news-round-up called Sounds of Independent News. We are committed to posting snippets of independent news, to help equip and inform local social justice activists and organizations. We are committed to posting regular segments and updates. We solicit your important news and announcements, as well as any suggestions and ideas. Email us at:



The Troy Davis Case
In 1991, Troy Anthony Davis was convicted and sentenced to death for a crime he claims, and a substantial amount of evidence upholds, he did not commit. Convicted for the 1989 murder of a white, off-duty Savannah Georgia police officer named Mark Allen MacPhail - since Davis’s trial, 7 out of the 9 “eye witnesses” have recanted their testimony and the physical evidence linking him to the scene, has been withdrawn and proved as false. Numeous appeals for Davis to be retried have been thrown out.

Davis’s Georgia execution is scheduled for September 21st, of this year, at 7pm, by lethal injection. Scores of human rights organizations, activists, and public figures - from the NAACP to Amnesty International to the ACLU to  the Pope have called for Davis’s pardon from execution. The last hope appears to be on September 19th, when Davis will have a clemency hearing in front of the five-member Georgia State Board of Pardons and Parole. If he is granted clemency, his sentence is likely to be reduced to life in prison. Activists are hoping for this outcome, so that they can then work for his retrial and release.

In the past few weeks, a coalition of organizations have organized a series of vigils, marches, and a variety of petitions, amassing around 500,000 signatures. September 16th, 2011, is hailed as the “Global Day of Solidarity for Troy Davis”. Thousands of marches and actions are estimated to happen worldwide for Troy Davis.

Organizations declare that “...this is about Troy Davis but it is also bigger than him - his fight is one for justice in the face of an unjust criminal system.”

Racism in Baltimore Lead Paint Study
Baltimore’s Kennedy Krieger Institute is facing a class action lawsuit after more than ten years of litigation, surrounding a case that it had, knowingly exposed more than 100 African American children to lead poisoning, in a medical study. The study, which took place for six years, in the 1990’s, was looking at the effects of lead paint. Many of the children were between the ages of 12 months and five years old.

According to the lawsuit, that represents the families of the children, many of the youth have suffered irreversible neurological damage and were not given any treatment for their injuries by Kennedy Krieger, nor it’s affiliate, Johns Hopkins. In 2001, the Maryland Court of Appeals compared the study to the infamous forty plus year Tuskegee syphilis experiment, in which the US Public Health Service intentionally infected several hundred African American men of syphilis without their consent between the 1930’s and 1970’s.

Anniversary of Attica
Tuesday, September 13th, marked the 40th anniversary of  the suppression of the rebellion at Attica Prison. In 1971, prisoners revolted against the prison, demanding better living conditions. Approximately 2,200 inmates rebelled and took 33 staff hostage. As was desired, the state began negotiating with prisoners. Within the next four days of negotiations, the state agreed to some of the prisoner’s demands, but refused to agree to either the removal of the state superintendent or amnesty for the prisoners for the rebellion. On Gov. Nelson Rockefeller’s orders, police forces stormed Attica -- crushing the rebellion and massacring 39 people in the process.

Newly released tapes, of a conversation between President Nixon and Gov. Rockefeller, show that President Nixon wholeheartedly endorsed the massacre and also completely disregarded the multiracial components of the uprisings and stating that it was “basically a black thing”.

Forty years after the uprising, abolitionist activist state that we should keep it as a reminder that resistance is possible.

Tax Payer Money Allocated to Cover Excessive Police Force Costs.
Originally reported in the Baltimore Brew, the city of Baltimore has been allocating significant amounts of the city budget to settle lawsuits of excessive force committed by the city’s police. According to the article, the 2012 Baltimore City budget has allocated $1.9 million to handle litigation involving the police and it’s use of excessive force against citizens.

The city is currently dealing with a case where it will be paying out $30,000 after one incident in 2009, when city officers broke the wrist and induced head injuries to Michael Wright a repairman, after they aggressively yanked him from his vehicle after a routine traffic stop.

Upsurge in Hate Crimes against Transgender Individuals in Washington, DC

Washington DC’s mayor, Mayor VIncent Gray, made a 2010 decision to slash victim services. Since July of this year, four transgender or gender-variant individuals, have suffered shootings. In one case, an off-duty police officer was convicted of shooting at three transwomen and their two male friends. Allegedly, this incident occurred after the police officer propositioned one of the women for a sexual favor, and she turned him down.

On Tuesday, September 13th, a 20 year old man was convicted of shooting a transwoman with intent-to-kill, the day before.

These are just a handful of the growing and numerous incidents, and local LGBTQ organizations have called for the city to address the targeting of transgender individuals within the city, the police to pursue investigations thoroughly, and the city to actively work to end hate crimes against LGBTQ individuals within the city.

During a press conference, this past Monday,this press statement was given, “... police officials expressed concern that at least some rank and file officers continue to show a bias against members of the LGBT community, especially against transgender women.”

Activists declare that with the strong surge of hate crimes against trans-individuals, only being given this meager statement, and little else, is deplorable - and not enough.

Wage Protest

This past September 15th, on the independence day of many Central American countries, dozens of workers from the produce packing facility of Lancaster Foods, in Jessup, Maryland, held a protest demanding for their unpaid wages. The demonstration was organized on a day that represents, for many Central American migrant workers, a day to celebrate struggles against injustice. The workers were directly employed by the temp agency SS Staffing, which recently closed and failed to pay the workers three months worth of wages. Now the workers are taking it up with Lancaster Foods, which is ultimately responsible for their pay. One worker and organizer of the protest, Adan Perez was quoted stating “The irony is that while we were packing food to be delivered to tables across Maryland, our families were frequently forced to go hungry because we were not paid.”


Philosophy Colloquium at Morgan State

Thursday, September 22 · 11:00am - 1:00pm
Morgan State Department of Philosophy and Religious Studiespresents, “Secret Wars in Post-Soul Battleworld: Philosophy of Race beyond the Black/White Binary”

Play for Palestine!
Friday, September 23 · 8:00pm - 10:00pm
@ Teavolve Cafe & Lounge
1401 Aliceanna St.
"Play for Palestine!" is a music event benefiting "The Freedom Theater" in Jenin.The Freedom Theatre - a theatre and cultural centre in Jenin Refugee Camp - is developing the only professional venue for theatre and multimedia... in the north of the West Bank in Occupied Palestine. Since it opened its doors in 2006, the organisation continues to grow, develop and expand, enabling the young generation in the area to develop new and important skills which will allow them to build a better future for themselves and for their society.All donations are highly appreciated!

The 2011 Radical Bookfair Pavillion
Friday, September 23rd to Sunday, September 25th - 12pm to 8m on Fri & Sat  and 12 to 7pm on Sun
@ Mt.Vernon Place

The annual Radical Bookfair Pavilion at The Baltimore Book Festival is upon us! A three day celebration of informed resistance filled with exciting panels, discussions, and tablers from around the country and beyond! Being organized by our favorite radical bookstore and cafe, Red Emma’s, this yea’rs bookfair will include...

- The Baltimore Free School’s literature and language-related skillshares and workshops.  
- Friday’s all day Zine Bazaar, which celebrates independent publishing, DIY politics, crudely drawn comics, uncompromising self-expression, long arm staplers, with our favorite locall and national zine authors


Panels throughout the rest of the weekend ranging from: a Baltimore Histories Panel to a RAce and Sports Panel to a panel  exploring race,gender, privilege, identity, and solidarity within punk culture to a Transpolitics Panel to a Social Movements/State Repression Panel and so so much more.

For more information please visit:

A Ride Till The End: Bikes Not Bombs

Thursday Sep 29, 7PM @ Red Emma's

A Ride Till The End (ARTTE) is a collective of veterans and artists riding bicycles around the U.S. raising awareness about the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan.  We see art as an effective medium for healing and facilitating palatable dialogue amongst diverse voices on the occupations.  Many veterans return home with frustration from participating in senseless war and need to find their voice in-order to begin a path of healing.

Join Veterans and Civilians as they make their pitstop in Baltimore!

This event is sponsored by the Civilian Soldier Alliance

Movie Viewing "Cruel and Unusual"

September 30th, 2011 @ 5pm
Towson University
Student Union Bldg
Rooms 314- 316

Imagine being a Woman in a Men's Prison?
This moving and thoughtful documentary raises awareness about the abuse, isolation, and poor medical care faced by Transgender prisoners
This event is open to the public and is free to attend
HOST: The Towson Queer Alliance and Trans-United