Pic compliments my oldest Bashinsky first cousin Leo, in Birmingham, Alabama
Connie Gilbert of Key West, who is bisexual, replied to yesterday’s post:
Apologies–was just trying to clarify solares hill book review policy–and I hadn’t heard the guy at UU’s theory before then (UU finally drove me off last spring–I only went to announce the Coalition rally and NOW Roe v Wade action).
What makes you think Matthew Gilleran was gay (and why do you continue to misspell the surname)? Happy MLK,Jr Day
I am responsible for misspelling Matthew’s last name. He was not gay? From what I have heard, that might be a surprise to a few people, or a lot of people. Maybe the angels will whomp me in dreams for going in that direction. If they don’t, Matthew was gay.
Connie, you should take with a very large grain of salt anything that is put forth at UU [Key West Unitarian Church] on anything important.
Connie wrote back:
You’re probably right.
I replied: I took a nap since last writing to you. I had a dream that left no doubt in me that Matthew was gay, which dream also caused me to reply to an email from Larry Murray in a way I might not otherwise have replied. Probably to be included in tomorrow’s post.
I will be looking for it. Sleep well. ===============================
My dreams last night told me to be a sweet boy today. Hard as that will be for me to pull off, I will give it the good old college try.
Capt. Ed assured me today that he will be pulling the Wybensinger contract from the Consent Agenda. Rumor has it that other Consent Agenda items will be pulled as well. In the past, I have not always closely monitored the Consent Agenda. The message seems to be: “Once burned, twice warned.” The bureaucrats in the Henriquez Building can be sneaky devils.
I wrote back:
Hi, Larry – In a nap dream earlier, I was told to bring something from Big Pine Key down to Little Torch Key. So, curious me, I go to my laptop and find this email from you …
The rest of what I wrote to Larry was not particularly sweet, so here’s the sweetened version:
I am glad Ed Davidson is on top of that consent agenda item, and I hope he is just as on top of what happened at Key West High School Friday a week ago, around which it sure looks to me the Trumbo bureaucrats are being sneaky devils.
During that nap was when the angels would have corrected me, if I was mistaken that Matthew was gay. Their silence on that point was their agreement Matthew was gay. They pointed me toward pulling Larry Murray’s email, which I did not yet know existed, into my current assignment in the school district, which is what happened to Matthew at Key West High School Friday before last? That’s pretty straightforward angel talk once you get used to it.
I hope Matthew being gay is not the reason the school board members and the superintendent of schools have not gone to Key West High School and together sat down privately with each student in Matthew’s classes, and given each student a chance to tell what he/she saw and heard happen Friday before last. I say that because I finally became convinced that prejudice against gays was why Carol King got the run around from Key West High School and from the then superintendent of schools and that school board, when she tried to stop the ongoing harassment at Key West High School her son was getting for being gay.
In that regard, this letter to the editor in The Key West Citizen today:
Another tragedy places our schools on notice
School administrators have one responsibility, and that is to the students. This is a responsibility to all students and not a select few. Educators and administrators should not demonstrate bias for the wealthy, popular or athletic students. In their purview, all students should be equal.
This being said, we have an epidemic developing within our island schools. Living in paradise does not make us immune to the pressures students from larger urban areas experience. It appears school officials are turning a blind eye to it in hopes that it will go unnoticed.
Today, the board of directors of the Key West Business Guild is seeking to invoke the social conscience of our community to stand up against bullying. We are placing the administrators and School Board on notice, and asking for an independent investigation.
We experienced a real tragedy last weekend with the tragic suicide of a Key West High School student that could have been prevented. Reports of bullying surfaced, and the administration was quick to discredit them. This is the second time in as many terms in which acts of bullying surfaced and have been refuted. These can no longer be considered isolated incidents.
When will the school admit that there is a problem and at what cost? The real injustice here is the indifference that school administrators have toward the protection of all of their students. The choice of inaction sends a message that there is no issue, yet if you ask many of the students at the school, they will acknowledge that there is a real world problem. This was overwhelmingly illustrated in the 2011 district climate survey on school violence with questions specific to bullying.
We as a community must look at how the district defines “bullying,” as well as the protocols in place. The definition that is provided to the students and faculty in the Monroe County Student Handbook is ambiguous, at best, and leaves the policy up for interpretation. Protecting our students is a continued investment into the future and the survival of our One Human Family.
Darren Paugh, president
Todd German, vice president
Vanessa McCaffrey, treasurer
Mary Lou Hoover, secretary
Julie Ann Floyd
Guy A. Ross, executive director
Founded by Key West gays, the Key West Business Guild has straight members, as well. I was a member when I lived in Key West.
Also on topic, this forward yesterday from Sancho Panza:
Here is the full text of the poem as written.
One sun rose on us today, kindled over our shores, peeking over the Smokies, greeting the faces of the Great Lakes, spreading a simple truth across the Great Plains, then charging across the Rockies. One light, waking up rooftops, under each one, a story told by our silent gestures moving behind windows.
My face, your face, millions of faces in morning’s mirrors, each one yawning to life, crescendoing into our day: pencil-yellow school buses, the rhythm of traffic lights, fruit stands: apples, limes, and oranges arrayed like rainbows begging our praise. Silver trucks heavy with oil or paper— bricks or milk, teeming over highways alongside us, on our way to clean tables, read ledgers, or save lives— to teach geometry, or ring-up groceries as my mother did for twenty years, so I could write this poem.
All of us as vital as the one light we move through, the same light on blackboards with lessons for the day: equations to solve, history to question, or atoms imagined, the “I have a dream” we keep dreaming, or the impossible vocabulary of sorrow that won’t explain the empty desks of twenty children marked absent today, and forever. Many prayers, but one light breathing color into stained glass windows, life into the faces of bronze statues, warmth onto the steps of our museums and park benches as mothers watch children slide into the day.
One ground. Our ground, rooting us to every stalk of corn, every head of wheat sown by sweat and hands, hands gleaning coal or planting windmills in deserts and hilltops that keep us warm, hands digging trenches, routing pipes and cables, hands as worn as my father’s cutting sugarcane so my brother and I could have books and shoes.
The dust of farms and deserts, cities and plains mingled by one wind—our breath. Breathe. Hear it through the day’s gorgeous din of honking cabs, buses launching down avenues, the symphony of footsteps, guitars, and screeching subways, the unexpected song bird on your clothes line.
Hear: squeaky playground swings, trains whistling, or whispers across café tables, Hear: the doors we open for each other all day, saying: hello, shalom, buon giorno, howdy, namaste, or buenos días in the language my mother taught me—in every language spoken into one wind carrying our lives without prejudice, as these words break from my lips.
One sky: since the Appalachians and Sierras claimed their majesty, and the Mississippi and Colorado worked their way to the sea. Thank the work of our hands: weaving steel into bridges, finishing one more report for the boss on time, stitching another wound or uniform, the first brush stroke on a portrait, or the last floor on the Freedom Tower jutting into a sky that yields to our resilience.
One sky, toward which we sometimes lift our eyes tired from work: some days guessing at the weather of our lives, some days giving thanks for a love that loves you back, sometimes praising a mother who knew how to give, or forgiving a father who couldn’t give what you wanted.
We head home: through the gloss of rain or weight of snow, or the plum blush of dusk, but always—home, always under one sky, our sky. And always one moon like a silent drum tapping on every rooftop and every window, of one country—all of us— facing the stars hope—a new constellation waiting for us to map it, waiting for us to name it—together.
Richard Blanco is Hispanic and gay.
Moving laterally, Morticia, of Locust Fork, Alabama, about 30 miles northish of Birmingham, who major league beat up on the Birmingham Bible gay- basher in the bigotry against homosexuals ain’t holy just because the Bible sez so post, which grew in length since I first posted it about a week ago, replied to the child-sex trafficking part of yesterday’s post at goodmorningkeywest.com:
If you will look at the last video on the page. The one that is in color.. The lady runs a facility in B’ham to rescue girls that are being trafficked. She was one herself when she was 17 I think from Atlanta to Bham. She stated in the video that 1-20 is a hotspot, the most traveled road with the young victims. Pelham, AL is also a hotspot to get the girls.
I guess I had my head in the sand mostly because I knew probably some of this went on but 32 billion dollars a year business, I did not have a clue that the situation was this bad. I have always wondered if this is what happened to Natalie Holloway. You remember there supposedly was a mysterious man in a boat. Then later on the young lady who went over to Aruba with her friend and she disappeared. He claimed she drown. Her family said she wore hair extensions and there was no way she would have gotten in the water. I wonder if he sold her.
I think you will find the video very interesting. I looked up the information on the lady and she went on to get her degrees at UAB and you can tell by listening to her she is very articulate and intelligent. She was one of the lucky ones that got away.
This is really a sad situation. Not long ago in Center Point a massage parlor was raided. It was a sex slave operation. I just could not believe it. Right out in the middle of businesses and you would never suspect.
This text came with the video:
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month and non-profits are challenging Congress to reinstate the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which expires in 2011. The TVPA Act helped to fund the work of non-profits dedicated to stopping human trafficking. On Thursday, Georgia State Troopers announced they had rescued a 17 year old during a traffic stop. She spoke up and notified the trooper she was being held against her will. Troopers soon learned the teen had been abducted from the Birmingham area five years ago when she was 12. The teen had been traded as a sex slave during that time across four different states. The Wellhouse is a Birmingham based non-profit which is dedicated to the rescue and recovery of women who are sexually exploited. On Friday, Wellhouse released a 22 minute long video on youtube. The video tells the story Interstate 20 and how it’s a major corridor for the sex trade. Founder Tajuan McCarty says the billion dollar underground industry is operating all around us.
You can learn more about The Wellhouse by clicking
You will also find our special report on human trafficking here.
Thanks, Morticia. Yes, this is a terrible thing. It’s huge, world wide. I keep telling the Keys Coalition people they and the Florida Legislature and Congress and Federal Law Enforcement will not make a dent in it, but each kid saved from it is a good thing. I think Keys Coalition and I agree that education/prevention has more chance of saving kids.
Not surprised to hear it’s as bad in Bham as maybe lots of other places. Very little of it down here in the Keys, as far as I have heard, been shown, by Keys Coalition, which mostly seems focused on what is happening elsewhere. We do have the Duval Street sex trade magnet in Key West, though, which I imagine is well known to every teen in the Keys.
I keep telling the Keys Coalition people to put their time and effort, and take the serious heat that surely will come in such a small city, into shutting down the Duval Street sex trade magnet, which is a huge capitalistic enterprise in Key West, makes lots of people money, including the young women and young men performers, and puts plenty of money in the city’s tax coffers.
I also keep telling the Keys Coalition people there is no way they will shut down the Duval Street sex trade magnet, but to be true to their cause, that is where they should focus – in their own back yard. Not in Birmingham. Not in Miami. But in their own back yard. Maybe they set up a safe house and recovery center in Key West, like the one in Bham.
Morticia wrote back:
Well we have always heard growing up by my parents to be careful that we did not get sold into white slavery.. I just figured it was a story my mother told us to keep us in line. As I got older I found out I did not always get the truth out of her on things. She used terror tactics to scare us. But my sister and I turned out ok so I guess it was worth the tactics she used on us.
I just happened to be watching a show on CBS 42 out of Bham that we had taped and the very last few minutes of the tape stated stay tuned for this story.. I googled it and watched the video online and I was shocked. I never ever realized it was this bad. I just thought run away girls prostituting to make a way to live. It is very sad and shocking. I wonder why we do not hear more of this in the news? Maybe if we were more aware we could do something to help.
I did see a special back during the first of the year on television. We were on a trip and I was flipping channels and there was a story about some women that were lured over here for a free college education. I can not remember what country they were from but they landed at Atlanta I want to say. They were taken from the airport put on a bus with a handler and sent to another state to work in one of these houses. They were forced to work at a strip club and had someone living in the house to watch them 24/7. They had to give every penny of the money they made to their owners.
One young lady had this client that kept coming to her and she got to where she trusted him and she told him what happened and he went to the authorities. That is how they got rescued. But before that the owner of the girls had people working for him in her city in her country and the owner told them if they tried anything like to escape that they would kill her mother, father and brothers and sisters. When the slave owner was arrested he was living in about a 11 million dollar mansion and had all these fancy cars and these girls were living in the slums with a guard watching them 24/7. I just could not believe it.
Oh the slavery owners lawyer tried their best to say they were here on their own and they no one forced them. The jury and judge did not buy it and they got prison time. Which I think was not very much.. They should have gotten the death penalty. It was terrible what these ladies said happened to them. All day long in to the night one customer after another. Really sad situation.
One thing the lady in the video said never take for granted the prostitutes on the streets most of the time are not there on their own will. That is you drive around and watch you will see someone watching them. Their handlers. She said the massage parlors and the businesses that speak do not speak any English are the ones to watch that this is a lot of times going on there. Pelham, AL is a real hot spot to get the girls. Now that is so scary.
[Pelham is about 15 miles south of Birmingham, bisected by Interstate 65, which starts in Mobile and runs north through Montgomery, Birmingham, Decatur, Nashville, Louisville, Indianapolis, terminating at I-90 in Gary, just south of Chicago.]
Connie Gilbert sent this to me recently:
Saturday Rally to Combat Sexual Trafficking of Children
For Immediate Release
Last year a 12-year-old runaway from Monroe County, identified in court records as J.J., was lured to Fort Lauderdale where she was forced into prostitution and “sold” on the Internet. In these United Sates, an estimated 100,000 children are sexually trafficked each year, and another 300,000 are at risk.
To learn how to help prevent this fast-growing crime from happening again to any of our children, attend the 2nd annual Rally sponsored by the Keys Coalition Against Human Trafficking on Saturday, Jan. 26 at 7 p.m. at the Doubletree Grand Key Resort, South Roosevelt Blvd., Key West.
Detective Brice Brittenum of the Special Victims Unit of the Fort Lauderdale Police Department, who was central to the arrest and successful prosecution of the two men who trafficked J.J. and her 14-year-old companion, will be featured speaker. Det. Brittenum, who is also on an FBI task force combating crimes against children, will describe how the Fort Lauderdale police were able to find the men and rescue the victim, a story both tragic and fascinating, according to Coalition founder and staffer Tim Gratz.
Allison Good of Delray Beach, a sex trafficking survivor, will also speak, and Channel 19 talk show host Jenna Stauffer will serve as emcee.
The rally is held to mark Trafficking Awareness Month as proclaimed by both President Obama and Gov. Rick Scott. The Presidential Proclamation included the statement, “We recall the words of the Emancipation Proclamation — that every life saved is ‘an act of justice,’ worthy of ‘the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of an Almighty God.’”
A weekend of prayer was held earlier in January.
The Jan. 26 rally is free and open to the public. Those who attend and wish to contribute to the local effort against human trafficking –modern day slavery – especially the trafficking of minors will be invited to become a supporting member of the Keys Coalition. This is the first time the Coalition will formally open its membership to individuals who do not represent an agency, organization or governmental body.
For additional information please call Constance Gilbert, Coalition chair, at (305) 393-7844 or Gratz at (305) 600-8000.
Contact: Tim Gratz (305) 600-8000
I bet if Dr. Martin Luther King were still with us today, he would be seriously opposed to child sex trafficking, school bullying and prejudice against gays. Dr. King was seriously opposed to the US war in Vietnam, which opposition was said to be what got him assassinated. I bet Dr. King also would be seriously opposed to the US war in Afghanistan, and to its predecessor war in Iraq. I don’t see any opposition to US wars in Richard Blanco’s poem.
The Sufi poet Rumi heard from God, and put it in a poem:
Beyond right doing and wrong doing
there is a field,
And I will meet you there.