Hello CeCe Supporters!The Call-In campaign for CeCe to get her correct dosage of hormones was an incredible success! The prison’s health administration were so “inconvenienced”, they were compelled to clear the issue immediately.CeCe is doing fine and looking fabulous. She is steadily devouring the books that everyone is sending - currently she is reading Angela Davis and is totally inspired.She spoke a bit about the push from some supporters to launch large-scale campaigns to get Gov. Mark Dayton to pardon her, and/or to have her moved to a women’s facility. She talked about how these campaigns would not only not benefit her, but how they exceptionalize her in a way that she doesn’t want.The pardoning process would not only be painful for her, but were she even to get considered, it wouldn’t be until after she served her sentence. She thinks about people incarcerated for much longer terms than she, and for incredibly minor offenses (mostly drug related). Even if the emotional hardship of the process was something she felt up for, and even if the slim chance of it working actually succeeded, the outcome of her getting a pardon while others sat in prison is antithetical to her values and the whole reason she is struggling against this racist system in the first place.As for being transfered to a women’s facility, her thoughts are: Prison sucks. Period. CeCe is not safe in any prison, women’s or men’s. Prisons are not safe for anyone. Period. CeCe asserts (as do we) that incarcerated individuals should be able to decide for themselves where they would be safest within the system. For now, CeCe is fine being in a men’s facility. For supporters to push for her to be transferred from one hell to another only serves the purpose of misdirecting energy away from the real problems of incarceration in america, and the problem of the Prison Industrial Complex as a whole.To sum it up: CeCe does not want supporters to launch long-term campaigns on her behalf that exceptionalize her situation. Also importantly, these specific campaigns: a pardon from Gov. Dayton and getting transferred to a women’s facility, wouldn’t actually be beneficial to her at all. Short term campaigns such as call-ins to administration, and media blasts, are targeted efforts that let the DOC know that CeCe has widespread support, and it sends a message that we are watching them and will respond to prisoner’s needs - CeCe’s today, and other incarcerated transpeople tomorrow.CeCe sends her love and gratitude to everyone who called-in on her behalf. She wishes that every wrongly incarcerated person had the same incredible support that she has, and prays for a world without bars, a world without cells.Towards Justice,CeCe Support Committee
Demand that Chrishaun CeCe McDonald be administered the 20 milligrams of hormones that she is prescribed and allowed by court order!
CeCe is doing well in St. Cloud, even though she is putting up with a lot of harassment from guards and administration.
It took three weeks for her to begin receiving her hormones, and we learned yesterday that they are only giving her 6 milligrams instead of the 20 milligrams she is prescribed. This is egregious and insulting.
CeCe is asking her supporters to call-in to St. Cloud Health Services Director Cheri Meyer, MN DOC Health Director Nanette Larson and St. Cloud Psychological Services Director Bruce Hedge. Please CALL ALL THREE!
Demand that Chrishaun CeCe McDonald be administered the 20 milligrams of hormones that she is prescribed and allowed by court order!
Cheri Meyer (St. Cloud Health Services Director): (320)240-3077
Nanette Larson (MN DOC Health Services Director): (651)361-7280
Bruce Hedge (St. Cloud Psychological Services Director): (320)240-3030
Call today, call tomorrow, and leave messages. Fill their voicemail boxes and let them know that we are watching and that CeCe is not alone!
Please be firm but courteous when you call. Remember that prison administrators have enormous control over CeCe’s treatment, and antagonizing them could be harmful to CeCe.
Thank you for yr support of CeCe.
CeCe got her first visitor today! Katie, who’s part of her support committee, went to St. Cloud to visit CeCe at the men’s prison she is being held in. She has been transferred to general population while the administration decides where to place her for the long term. CeCe was in high spirits, joking and hugging in her joyful way. That’s one good thing about prison, WE GET TO HUG HER AGAIN! A new list of things the community can send her will be posted on her website within the next day. Thanks so much for supporting CeCe everyone!
please take a moment to sign this petition and to pass it on.
It asks that CeCe serve her time in a women’s prison rather than a men’s facility, where she is currently set to serve her time.
Hey everyone, I know that you all have nothing but the best of intentions, but recently on Twitter members of CeCe’s support committee have been talking about this. Here:
The only petition made with CeCe’s consultation was the “Michael Freeman - Drop the Charges”. Nothing else is planned.
Dear everyone: stop starting petitions for CeCe without consulting with her or her support committee. It’s not about you. #freecece
Let’s please respect CeCe’s wishes and the work of those on the ground trying to help her.
Oh shit, kicking myself for not following the source on this one. Cece should absolutely have as much control as possible over her PR strategy and none of us(!!!! D:) should be taking that away from her.
Eeep, yeah, good point. Thanks, and I apologize.
Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, who has been transitioning from a man to a woman, will be formally sentenced Monday afternoon for fatally stabbing a Richfield man outside a Minneapolis bar nearly one year ago and then will be incarcerated by the state as a male until a more detailed determination by corrections officials can be made.
On June 5, 2011, McDonald stabbed Dean Schmitz, 47, in the chest with a pair of scissors during a melee outside the Schooner Tavern.
McDonald’s plea last month to second-degree manslaughter came as 100 or so of the defendant’s supporters gathered at the Hennepin County Government Center, still demanding the case be dropped. The supporters said the confrontation outside the bar included transgender and racial slurs directed at McDonald, who is black.
The plea agreement calls for a sentence of three years and five months in prison, with time for credit served.
Upon sentencing before District Judge Daniel Moreno, McDonald, 24, of Minneapolis, will be taken into custody by the state Department of Corrections and housed as a male “because he is being housed as a male with Hennepin County,” corrections spokeswoman Sarah Russell said Monday. “We will intake him as a male at St. Cloud prison.”
Then, Russell added, the state will initiate an effort to make its own determination of McDonald’s gender.
In the meantime, the state will house McDonald based on the inmate’s safety and the well-being of others, the spokeswoman said, adding that dealing with gender uncertainty among inmates “is not a unique situation” for the department.
“We will assess him as any other offender would be assessed,” she added. “The assessments include, but are not limited to, screening for potential vulnerability to sexual assaults, tendencies to act out with sexually aggressive behavior and any disabilities” as defined by federal law.
Russell also pointed out that department policy dictates that inmates are not provided “surgical services for the advancement of sexual reassignment therapy.”
However, the policy continues, the department will provide “gender-related mental health services and other medical or mental health therapy as necessary throughout the offender’s incarceration.”
Star Tribune staff writer Abby Simons contributed to this report.
Take a break from the Internet to send some letters of love and support to some of the trans women held captive in men’s prisons—mostly for just trying to survive.
How to Write Your First Letter to Someone in Prison
“When someone hears their name called by a prison guard during mail call it can be a powerful reminder that people on the outside care about them, and it sends a message to guards and other inmates that this person has support and isn’t forgotten.”
Info and resources to help you take action and write to CeCe McDonald. Also an important reminder that CeCe is not alone, this article includes links to programs for writing other LGBT people that have been incarcerated.
please sign and pass this around as much as possible:
Self-defense is not a crime.
Surviving is not a crime.
And yet, in the city of Minneapolis, a woman has been convicted of exactly that. CeCe McDonald, a young trans woman, was convicted of manslaughter. Manslaughter, in this case, meaning the act of defending herself from her attackers. Several men attacked her, with the obvious intent to kill, on the basis of her race and gender identity. In the act of protecting her own life, she killed one; and was charged with murder.
As if this was not enough, the judge in her case was quite obviously biased against her from the start. He selectively excluded evidence that could cast her attacker in a negative light, while permitting evidence that cast her in a negative light. As such, she accepted a plea bargain, down from forty years. And she was sentenced to over three years in a men’s prison.
A woman was sentenced to a men’s prison, for the crime of defending herself from someone who intended to kill her. In such a place, she will almost certainly face more of the same, and worse.
Please, reverse this decision. Pardon her. Let justice prevail.
[ via @Free_CeCe’s retweet of https://twitter.com/#!/ihatehackney/status/198405894793478146 ]
Mailing Address:Office of the Governor
130 State Capitol
75 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
St. Paul, MN 55155
Other ways to reach our office:
Toll Free: 800-657-3717
Minnesota Relay 800-627-3529
Contact the Governor’s Office
some online free faxing places:
The headline itself makes me angry — while the deal involves pleading “guilty,” coercively accepting the best of bad options in a terrifying situation where you are being aggressively prosecuted and likely to face a hostile jury that is NOT made up of your peers is not the same as “admitting” that the whole self-defense line was bullshit — this is the first time I’ve actually seen Freeman make his argument about why prosecuting CeCe was necessary:
“This is not a self-defense case, because if you have a weapon, you have a duty to retreat,” said Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman.
McDonald did not try to walk away, Freeman said, nor did she act reasonably toward Schmitz. He said McDonald was beating up the woman who threw the glass when Schmitz pulled McDonald away.
“There was no indication in that point in time that there was any weapon about to be used against Ms. McDonald. Nor was there any evidence that she was in any threat of harm by the victim,” Freeman said. “She pulls her scissors out and stabs him in the chest. That’s not self-defense.”
1. CeCe had ALREADY been attacked with a weapon. How is it “reasonable” to assume that they did not have an additional weapon when they had already used one against her?
2. How, exactly, do you “walk away” from a group of white supremacists who have smashed your face in?
3. In what universe is being grabbed by the guy who just made violent threats against you (shouting racist and transphobic slurs at a person walking down the street is a threat) an example of “no evidence” that she was about to be harmed? How is that NOT a threat?
4. Notice the differences and similarities between this case and that of Trayvon Martin. CeCe was arrested immediately over a death in a fight where she was not the aggressor, had been attacked with a weapon, and received threats against her safety. George Zimmerman was free for over a month after a fight in which he was the aggressor and was the only one who possessed a weapon. BOTH CeCe and Trayvon were expected to “retreat” from their aggressors rather than fight back. George Zimmerman got to “stand his ground” in a fight that he started, while CeCe McDonald was expected to somehow walk away from a group of people who had used a weapon against her … because she had a weapon, too.
I know that someone is going to say something about different states, different laws, and good for them. That might be the “technical” “explanation.” But what this comes down to is that white folks are allowed to assault and even kill Black folks as much as they damn want to, and Black people are not allowed to defend themselves.
I drew this. If you want to use it feel free. If you want to make changes to it ask me first. The quote is attributed to Mother Jones. I have been very sad today.
Please send a letter to CeCe while she is in jail. Let her know she has a huge amount of community support and that we are all here for her.
Public Safety Facility
Chrishaun Reed McDonald #2011014667
401 South 4th Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55415
Inmates are not allowed to receive packages, including photographs. Packages will not be accepted and will be returned to the sender. Photographs will be removed from the envelope and returned to the inmate at the time of release. Please note that all letters sent to the jail are opened, read, and inspected by jail staff. Use good sense about what you say in your letter, and don’t write about anything that is likely to get you or anyone else in trouble with the cops.
You can also organize a letter writing party! If you live in the area, you don’t even have to worry about paying for postage-bring your letters to the drop box for at The Exchange (3405 Chicago Ave S, Mpls) and we will mail them for you.
It was just announced that CeCe McDonald, who was being charged with two counts of second-degree murder in an incident of self-defense, has just taken a plea-deal—second degree manslaughter with a recommended 41 month sentence. CeCe McDonald’s sentencing hearing will be in a month.
But Ms. McDonald isn’t the first young Black trans woman to be thrown in jail and aggressively prosecuted for surviving a violent attack on her life. Unfortunately, without real systematic change, she isn’t likely to be the last either.
It should be no secret that young trans women of color (TWOC) are being murdered at alarming rates. This is a social problem largely ignored by most people, including the media, the service/nonprofit sector and government. But this is something people in the affected communities can’t afford to ignore.
But attacks on the lives of TWOC don’t go without resistance, and when TWOC resist sometimes their attackers end up dead. This was the case with Ms. McDonald, but it was also the case last year with Akira Jackson, a Black trans woman currently serving a four-year sentence for “manslaughter” for stabbing her boyfriend in self-defense when he beat her with a baseball bat.
Jackson, a Detroit native, moved to the California Bay Area where she became an advocate for young TWOC. She was a Program Specialist from TLISH (Transgender Ladies Initiating Sisterhood), a transgender youth program where she spent her time counseling young women about housing, government assistance, and employment.
If Ms. McDonald and Ms. Jackson weren’t Black trans women it is likely that their cases might not have ended up differently. By being criminalized for their survival, these two women share something in common with many other women of color, including the New Jersey 4, a group of Black lesbian women who were attacked in the New York City’s West Village and later aggressively prosecuted for defending themselves. The attacker fully recovered, but the women were forced to serve time.
It’s a sad irony that we promote self-defense classes as a way of combating violence against women, yet many of the women of color, trans and cis alike, are currently imprisoned precisely because they fought back against violence in their homes and in the streets.
Too often trans and queer women of color survive violence in their homes and on the streets only to have the police, courts and prison-industrial complex come after them for having the audacity to survive in a world where, as Audre Lorde said in her poem “A Litany For Survival,” they “were never meant to survive.”