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A Tragic Story of Continual Violence against Women of Color: Anyisah’s Mother’s Story, Angeline

In Uncategorized on August 10, 2009 at 1:37 pm

New Update Video featuring Angeline’s Story, “Please Watch!!”

Here at Document the Silence, one of our goals is to break the silence surrounding violence against women of color, particularly those who are poor and working class. Moreover, we want to raise awareness about how this violence informs and intersects with various dsc_0362aspects of our culture, including the media, and the legal system. Thus, we think it’s critical to point out that the “Where’s Aniysah” campaign is not only about the failings of the family court system. But, it’s also about domestic violence and how it has shaped the legal struggles of Aniysah and her mother, Angeline. As a survivor of domestic violence at the hands of Anyisah’s father, Angeline’s story is a testament to the “intimate” connections between experiences of abuse among women of color and the mistreatment they experience in the family court system

As word continues to spread about this campaign, we’ve received two important questions about Aniysah’s story that, when considered, illuminate the ways that Anyisah’s father used the legal system to continue to terrorize and harass Angeline and Aniysah.

Many people have emailed us asking, “How did Anyisah end up in family court system?”

Answer:

* Angeline separated from Aniysah’s father because he was physically, verbally, and emotionally abusive. Angeline has documentation of his abuse and the court orders forcing him to take anti-battering classes. Judge Fernando Camacho issued an Order of Protection for the father to stay away from Angeline and Aniysah, May of 2005.

* Even though Angeline separated from Aniysah’s father, he continued to harass and terrorize Angeline and Aniysah by fabricating lies to Child Protective Services (CPS) and filing for full custody of Aniysah. June 2005 — October 2006 Judge Morgenstern issued several Orders of Protection for the father to stay from Angeline.

* Judge Morgenstern granted the father unsupervised visits on the weekend with Aniysah at the father’s mother’s house. However, just as the unsupervised weekend visits begin, Aniysah begins to display unusual behaviors. She told the social worker that someone named “grandpa” touched her inappropriately. Aniysah developed a rash between her legs and Angeline takes her daughter to the doctor and the doctor reports the rash to CPS as a possible issue of child abuse. At this point, the doctor at the emergency room reported on the possibility of Aniysah being abused while in her father’s care.

The second question people have asked us, “How and why was Anyisah taken from her mother, Angeline?”

Answer:

* The law guardian appointed to the family’s case within the court system continued to make false accusations by suggesting that Angeline is fabricating lies about the father sexually abusing his daughter. However, Angeline has not once reported these accusations and the Child Protective Services’ reports as well as the emergency room reports show that Angeline never once accused the father. These reports were filed independently by the doctor and the social worker.

* In response to the Law Guardian’s lies, unlawful actions, and inappropriate behaviors, Angeline wrote a letter to Judge Morgenstern explaining how the Law Guardian is fabricating lies as well as not following protocol and proper procedures for reporting on Anyisah’s care when she is with her father. Judge Morgenstern disregarded Angeline’s complaints and maintained that the law guardian was following procedure.

* Without any legal recourse to protect Aniysah, and fearing for the safety of her daughter and herself, Angeline moves with Aniysah to Utah to protect Aniysah and herself. While in Utah, Angeline starts a new and renewed life for Aniysah and herself.

* While Angeline is in Utah, Judge Morgenstern summons her to court. However, she was never contacted in Utah. The papers were delivered to her old lawyer who she was no longer a client of. She documented proof that she informed the law guardian that the old lawyer no longer represented her beginning in August of 2006. Because Angeline did not show up to court, Judge Esther Morgenstern granted the father custody of Anyisah even though Judge Morgenstern knew the court file contained the returned notices showing that the mother had never been served.

* Because Angeline did not have any family in New York to provide care for Aniysah, the police officers were informed by Child Protective Services that they had to take Aniysah to the paternal grandmother’s home.

* It has been 122 days since Angeline has seen Aniysah on March 3rd, 2009. She has only seen Aniysah on two occasions each one hour visits each costing of $125.00 each visit. She has had no physical or phone contact with her daughter at all during the month of August.

Overall, Angeline’s story shows how domestic violence and being a woman of color in the family court system are “intimately” tied to the injustices women of color endure when trying to protect their children and themselves. In order to advocate for Angeline and Anyisah, we must see the complexities of her case and how Anyisah’s father could continue to harass and abuse Angeline and Anyisah through the court system. A court system that ignores black and brown women because it fundamentally sees poor and working class women of color as women who are incapable of making sound decisions about their lives and the lives of their children. This is a systemic problem.

With respect to Angeline’s case, the two judges who have chosen to ignore the facts of Angeline’s case and the law guardian who has been unethical in her testimonies are equally complicit in the abuse of Anyisah and Angeline. They, like Aniysah’s father, must be held accountable because they represent a legally sanctioned system of abuse. “Where’s Aniysah?” is a cry countless numbers of women of color cry daily when having to negotiate the terrains of domestic violence and terrains of the family court system. Where’s Aniysah . . . Where’s Aniysah . . . and how do we protect her and her mother from continual abuse.

Where’s Aniysah?

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2009 at 9:19 pm

dsc_0371On March 3rd, 2009 Aniysah was taken from her mother’s arms and has only seen her one time since!  This is a story about the (in)justice system and how it fails brown women and children daily. Please help Angeline get her daughter back. Please help this story be but a painful memory.

Where’s Aniysah? Facts

Where’s Aniysah? Updates

Where’s Aniysah? Timeline

Where’s Aniysah? What You Can Do to Help!

please click on this link and leave a comment of support and sign the petition!

If you are in the New York  Area, please show your support for Angeline’s case by coming to her next family court hearing on Thursday, August 5, 2010:

The hearing will be held on August 5, 2010 at 9:30 am.

Location: Courtroom K-18, Annex Building
Justice Fernando M. Camacho
125-01 Queens Boulevard
Kew Gardens, NY 11415

Click here for directions!

If you can make it to Angeline’s next court hearing on August 5, 2010, please let us know by emailing us at:

WheresAniysah_Campaign@yahoo.com

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If you cannot make it to Angeline’s hearing on August 5, 2010 please click on this link and leave a comment of support.

“The History of Document the Silence’s Website”

In Uncategorized on July 26, 2009 at 8:25 pm

In October 2007 people all over the United States gathered physically and in spirit to speak out against violence against women of color. The violence that lead us to action was:

Organizing on October 2007

Organizing on October 2007

  • The brutal and inhumane rape, torture, and kidnapping of Megan Williams in Logan, West Virginia who was held by six assailants for a month.
  • Rape survivors in the Dunbar Housing Projects in West Palm Beach, Florida one of whom was forced to perform sexual acts on her own child.
  • A 13 year old native American girl was beaten by two white women and has since been harassed by several men yelling “white power” outside of her home
  • Seven black lesbian girls attempted to stop an attacker and were latter charged with aggravated assault and are facing up to 11 year prison sentences

The title of the campaign was Be Bold Be Red Be Brave: Ending Violence against Women of Color. Some of us wore red all day and explained that we were reclaiming and reframing our bodies as a challenge to the widespread acceptance of violence against women of color. Some of us wrote powerful essays about why we were wearing red and posted them on the internet. Some of us gathered with bold and like-minded folks and took pictures, shared poetry and expressed solidarity.

Then on the first anniversary of the Be Bold Be Red Campaign, October 30, 2008, we once again invited people to make bold stances against the violence enacted on women and girls of color in our society visible. In D.C., Chicago, Durham, Atlanta and Detroit women of color gathered to renew their commitment to creating a world free from racialized and gendered violence through the use of Cyberquilting which uses video conferencing technologies to connect all of these gatherings in real time. To learn more about Cyberquilting, which is a woman of color led project to stitch movements together using new web technologies and old traditions of love and nurturing, visit http://www.cyberquilt.wordpress.com.

And now we are launching a new cyber campaign entitled, “Where is Aniysah?”

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