28 08 2008


*A Radical Strategizing Forum*

Dear friends and allies,

We have met one another because we intimately understand the experience of surviving violence.  It is unfortunate to have this be our common experience, and yet, it is what makes us so keenly aware of the circumstances that lead to violent outcome so that we can imagine solutions.  During the summer, we reclaimed as many gay PRIDE spaces as we could and exchanged information so that we could arrange a way to meet again to devise a way out.

It is still our belief that we must ready our stance for COLLECTIVE Defense against homophobic and transphobic attacks on our bodies; we are the targets of the sexist and racist imagination of the police and other militarized thugs who turn us into the enemy; we and our loved ones have our patience and dignity tried in the face of the senseless bureaucracy of the courts; we must accept the conditions made by heartnumbed automatons who  keep the rusty wheels of ‘justice’ churning, including forgetful clerks who forget to send your release papers and tired judges who can’t be bothered to hear your appeal; and ultimately, we live under the draconian will of the US criminal injustice system that would rather us be under lock and key in servitude than liberated and free to create autonomous community.  This is the reality of the NJ4.  This is the reality of you and I and the majority of everyday folks surviving oppression and violence in this country.

From those encounters in the summer, we determined that a space to strategize transformative justice is in order, as well as a place to network and collectivize our skills and talents.  This queer strategy forum is just one of many necessary steps towards loving one another better.  Beyond our experiences of violence, we are imaginative spirits, artists, communicators, writers, builders, printers, media producers, abolitionists,  teachers, healthcare providers, healers, organizers, technicians, and experts of our lives and futures.  So this forum is just one of many steps towards cooperative solutions and networks that empower us to address the challenges in our lives together on a community level, without the police, and without the State.

For folks in the Bay Area, we are working hard to find an accessible and free location in Oakland to host this forum. We imagine this forum taking place shortly after CR10, sometime in mid October, just before Venice and Patreese have their separate appeals heard. If you have resources in this department, and can host a gathering or want to find out how to get involved with the planning, please contact freenj4@yahoo.com.

More To Be Announced.  Stay up, Stay ready.



Renata Bail Update

25 08 2008

Unfortunately Renata has not been released due to bail complications. At this time we need to raise more money. Please consider donating to free Renata!

Contact freenj4(at)yahoo.com for information about wiring donations or mail a check to:

Make Checks payable to : BAY SOLIDARITY. The memo line should state “Renata Hill fund.”

Bay Solidarity
P.O. Box 11281
Oakland, CA   94611

New Contact Info for Venice

24 08 2008

Show Venice your love by sending a letter or a package (see here for a list of allowable items).

Her new mailing address:
Venice Brown
Bayview Correctional Facility
550 West 20th Street
New York, NY 10011-2678

Renata to be Released on Bail

20 08 2008

On August 19th, Renata’s bail was lowered to $5000. Over the course of a week, family and supporters from California to New Jersey have been raising the funds and are now waiting for the paper work to clear. If all goes well, Renata will be released on Monday, August 25th.

Thank you for your generous support! And keep spreading the word about the NJ4 since Renata, Venice and Patreese need our support as they go through the appeals process and, in the case of Renata, a new trial.

If you would like to help Renata with additional costs, send a check to:

Sabrina Hall
P.O. Box 22263
Newark NJ 07101

Checks should be made out to “Sabrina Hall.” The memo line should state “Renata Hill fund.”

Bail Update

12 08 2008

Even though Renata has won a new trial and Patreese and Venice wait for appeals decisions, the criminal injustice system continues to keep the women in jail and prison. After the most recent bail hearing, Venice’s bail has been lowered to $5,000.

Supporters of the NJ4 and Venice’s lawyers are working to raise money for Venice’s bail. If you would like to contribute please mail a check to the following:

attn: Michelle Laidlaw
Gibbons PC
One Gateway Center
Newark, NJ 07102-5310

Checks should be made out to “Gibbons PC Attorney Trust Account.” The memo line should state “Venice Brown Bail Fund.”

The firm will facilitate posting bail once $1,800 has been raised.

KPFA Women’s Magazine on the NJ4

8 08 2008

Listen to Kate Raphael’s piece on the NJ 4 on KPFA’s Women’s Magazine.

Sakia Gunn Film Project

7 08 2008

Black LGBT Film Festival at the Parkway in Oakland

The Sakia Gunn Film Project
Sunday, August 17 – 2pm
Directed By: Chas Brack
TRT: 55 min

The Sakia Gunn Project is a documentary that tells the story of Sakia, a 15 year old charismatic, dynamic young woman who was out and proud about being an ‘aggressive’ – (a homosexual woman) who dresses in masculine attire but does not necessarily identify as either lesbian or female-to-male transgender. Sakia held promise as a basketball player and was looking forward to becoming an upperclassman at Newark’s West Side High.

She and her friends were returning from socializing at NYC’s Greenwich Village piers. The ‘piers’ is a popular spot for lesbian, gay, and transgendered (LGBT) youth. On the night Sakia was murdered, two men targeted them and wanted to instigate trouble. First flirting with and propositioning the ‘femmes’ in their group. The girls rebuffed the sexual advances of the much older assailants. Words were exchanged, a fight ensued, and Sakia was stabbed. She died in the arms of her best friend, Valencia. Several rallies and vigils have subsequently been held, galvanizing the Newark community and prompting several LGBT organizations to form The Newark Pride Alliance and Sakia Gunn Aggressives & Femmes, as well as a scholarship fund in her name established by Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays

More info. about the Black LGBT Film Festival at: