SMALL PROTEST IN SAN FRANCISCO AFTER D.A. REFUSES TO CHARGE POLICE WHO KILLED A 21 YEAR OLD IMMIGRANT

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare
A small protest on front of the Valencia street police station in the Mission District of San Francisco.
The people peaceful gathered to demand justice for Amilcar Perez Lopez, who was an 21 year-old immigrant from Guatemala.

For more information use link below:
https://missionlocal.org/2017/04/district-attorney-will-not-charge-officers-who-killed-amilcar-perez-lopez/

NOT YOUR AVERAGE DIVAS

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

 

 

If some were to mention “Divas Night Club” to the average San Francisco resident in the Tenderloin neighborhood, the word “Haven” would not probably be the last word to come to mind. Words like dangerous, scary, drugs, homeless, hookers, police, vice, squad, are words more commonly used to describe the poverty-stricken (but quickly being gentrified) area that surrounds San Francisco’s #1 transgender nightclub.

 

Dictionary.com defines “Haven” as: “any place of shelter and safety; refuge; a asylum.’’

And a place of shelter and relative safety is exactly Divas has been to San Francisco’s transgender community, the most vulnerable community, within the LGBTQ community. Even in one of the most gay-friendly cities in the entire world, the transgender population is still heavily discriminated against, so much so that many of them are today, being forced in the illegal sex industry, just to survive and afford their daily needs.

 

 

 

The National Center for Transgender equality, states: The National Discrimination Survey showed that: “26% of trans people lost a job due to bias, 50% were harassed on the job, 20% were evicted or denied housing, and 78% of trans students were harassed or assaulted. And the transphobia that drives the discrimination is exacerbated when the trans person is a person of color and also faces compounding racism. Trans people of color face higher rates of discrimination.”

 

Long before Lavarne Cox from “Orange is the New Black” and Caitlyn Jenner brought the transgender movement to mainstream America, Divas was at the forefront of the transgender movement.

 

Despite that fact, many transgender Bills are sweeping across red-state America, attempting to disenfranchise even more, an already marginalized people, like a controversial transgender Bill that was proposed last year by South Carolina Senator Lee Bright, that aimed to block transgender people from using the bathroom for the gender they identify with. But you will not find people crying about that here, in this four-story club, with three open to the public, which has always sought to empower trans-people, by giving them jobs as bartenders, cocktail waitresses, DJ’s, dancers, promoters, etc.

 

And though far from perfect; if you were to walk pass Divas on 1081 Post street, which is next to a SFPD firehouse and a weed shop, during the night hours you will soon notice many scantily clad transgender women walking up and down the street, people buying weed at the pot dispensary next door and some shady characters in this “Not so Tender”, Tenderloin neighborhood.

 

All that being said, Divas is still the number #1 hangout spot for pre-op trans-people, crossdressers, post-op trans-people, drag queens, gender benders, female impersonators, and non-binary gender people within the SF Bay Area. It is also a place where men questioning their sexuality, bi-sexual men, straight men, and men interested in trans-women and trans-women interested in men can explore their sexuality without the harsh judgement of bigots.

 

 

Dance shows happen on Wednesday and Thursday

 

 

On Friday Night, a couple of weeks ago, I walked into Divas and met a trans-women, who goes by the name Shelley Wilde, she was behind the bar, tending to patrons, she kind of looked like a 40ish version of Adele.

When asked has Divas in her opinion been good for the transgender community? Wilde said: “It can be very good if you allow it. It has been good for men, but unfortunately a lot of trans-women you see are in the sex industry’’.

 

When asked if she is originally from San Francisco? Wilde said: “No. I am originally from Texas, I moved to San Francisco 13 years ago.”

 

When asked how long has Divas existed? Wilde said: “for over 30 years, it was first called the Motherlode, it was at another location. It has been at this location for over 15 years.”

 

After Wilde returns from serving several thirsty patrons at her bar, which is starting to get busy this evening, she is asked if she believes Divas has been good for the transgender community? Wilde said: I would say yes. Most of us are so busy with our own lives, but when we’re here together, it’s a little community.”

 

As it got later in the night and various demographics of people continued to arrive, drink and party, Wilde was asked one last question. Would you say Divas is friendly to non-trans and LGBTQ people? Wilde said: “Yes. All people are welcome. Most of our patrons are straight men.”

 

 

MICHIGAN ENDS WATER SUBSIDIES PROGRAM

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

The leadership in Michigan, officially ended a program that was subsidizing water bills in Flint.
The program that was originally implemented to subsidize water cost for those most affected by the Flint water lead contamination.

According to Abc news:

Anna Heaton, a spokeswoman for Gov. Rick Snyder, told ABC News today that tests conducted on Flint’s tap water in the past three months found that it meets all federal standards, although state officials recommend the use of filters as a precaution. The state is providing the filters.

Flint Mayor Karen Weaver stated the “city was caught off guard,” and claimed they state had originally promised to continue payments until the 31st of March.

For additional information use link below:

https://newsone.com/3684050/michigan-state-burdens-flint-residents-with-water-bills-amid-more-health-fears/

IN-CLASS SPEECH: WAR ON PROTESTERS ( Read Transcripts)

By: Leon Kwasi Kuntuo-Asare

There is a war going on today, and it’s not in some far off land, rather it’s being fought here in the United States.

Not for oil or gold, but for justice, freedom and liberty.

This war has been fought since the creation of this nation.

This war and its many forms has been fought through protests, like the Boston Tea Party, the Abolitionist Movement, Women’s Suffrage Movement, the L.G.B.T.Q Movement, to the movements being fought today.

Today, I will explain how this war for justice, freedom and liberty is being fought today, between protesters and the rich and powerful.

I was deeply troubled when I heard of Republicans in Republican-controlled states, writing new laws to punish peaceful protests.

This is socially relevant, because in a time when we have a White House full of white supremacists, this is a dangerous time to have our 1st Amendment rights violated.

Today, I will tell you how peaceful protesters in states like New York, Minnesota and North Dakota are having their rights violated and freedom threatened by politicians trying to silence dissent.

In New York, a city that has a giant statue dedicated to liberty, protesters are having that very right violated by the men and women paid to protect it.

According to the New York Daily News ” protesters said the NYPD used undercover surveillance at the demonstrations over the chokehold death Eric Garner on Staten Island and shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.”

When Black Lives Matter protesters discovered this possible constitutional violation, they took the NYPD to court to discover what was collected and why.

A later New York Daily News article states ” the NYPD must disclose documents and video surveillance of Black Lives Matter protesters at Grand Central Terminal in 2014 and 2015, a judge ruled.

At this time the NYPD has not complied with the orders of the judge.

According to the same New York Daily News article ” the NYPD had argued that revealing its tactics would interfere with with law enforcement work.”

Now that you know about the illegal spy tactics being used against Black Lives Matter protesters by NYPD, let me inform you of the treatment of protesters in North Dakota.

If you were given two black and white photos, one of civil rights activists in Alabama in 1963 and the other Standing Rock Sioux activists in North Dakota in 2016.

It would be hard to tell they were taken 53 years apart. Both groups of people were attacked by armed men with trained attack dogs.

According to RT.com “Native Americans protesting the Dakota Access pipeline were reportedly attacked by security officers and their guard dogs.”

To my knowledge, not one person has been arrested for those harsh crimes.

Now that you know about North Dakota, let me tell you about Minnesota.

Republicans in Minnesota are advancing a Bill that will allow city governments to sue protesters.

The law if passed will profile African-Americans some people believe.

According to theGuardian.com ” Both critics and supporters of the Bill agree on one thing, it is a response to Black Lives Matter-inspired protests in the Twin-cities area over the last two years, particularly after an officer shot and killed Philando Castile in July” of 2016.

Minneapolis Branch President, of the NAACP called the Bill ” highly racialized “.

The Bill recently passed a Republican-controlled committee in the Minnesota House of Representatives.

In other Republican-controlled states…..

According to the Intercept.com ” Republicans in Washington state have proposed a plan to reclassify as a felony civil disobedience protests as economic terrorism.”

“Republicans in Michigan introduced and then last month shelved an anti-picketing law that would increase penalties against protesters and would make it easier for businesses to sue protesters.”

” And in Iowa a republican law maker has pledged to introduce legislation to crackdown on highway protests.”

Today I informed you on the current political war being fought between political activists and politicians.

I described how local police have spied on protesters, and how state governments have written new Bills to silence dissent.

In closing:

One of the worst things any American can do is remain silent in the face of injustice.

Never be afraid to voice dissent.

Never be afraid to use your 1st Amendment rights.

Thank You!