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The Wand, June 1995
Page 9
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The Wand, June 1995 - Page 9. June 1995. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. University of Houston Digital Library. Web. July 2, 2015. http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4545/show/4540.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

(June 1995). The Wand, June 1995 - Page 9. Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters. Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved from http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4545/show/4540

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

The Wand, June 1995 - Page 9, June 1995, Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters, Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries, accessed July 2, 2015, http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist/item/4545/show/4540.

Disclaimer: This is a general citation for reference purposes. Please consult the most recent edition of your style manual for the proper formatting of the type of source you are citing. If the date given in the citation does not match the date on the digital item, use the more accurate date below the digital item.

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Title The Wand, June 1995
Publisher Womynspace
Date June 1995
Description Vol. 12 No. 6. On some pages, comic strips have been digitally obscured to protect owner's copyright.
Subject.Topical (LCSH)
  • Women--Texas--Houston--Periodicals
  • Feminists--Texas--Houston--Periodicals
  • Lesbians--Texas--Houston--Periodicals
Genre (AAT)
  • periodicals
Language English
Physical Description 13 page periodical
Type (DCMI)
  • Text
  • Image
Format (IMT)
  • image/jpeg
Original Item Location HQ1101 .W35
Original Item URL http://library.uh.edu/record=b3634790~S11
Digital Collection Houston and Texas Feminist and Lesbian Newsletters
Digital Collection URL http://digital.lib.uh.edu/collection/feminist
Repository Special Collections, University of Houston Libraries
Repository URL http://info.lib.uh.edu/about/campus-libraries-collections/special-collections
Use and Reproduction Educational use only, no other permissions given. Copyright to this resource is held by the content creator, author, artist or other entity, and is provided here for educational purposes only. It may not be reproduced or distributed in any format without written permission of the copyright owner. For more information please see UH Digital Library Fair Use policy on the UH Digital Library About page.
Item Description
Title Page 9
File Name femin_201109_500i.jpg
Transcript Camp Sister Spirit P.O. Box 12 Ovett, MS 39464 Phone & FAX 601-344-1411 Phone: 601-344-2005 E-mail: sisterspir@aol.com March 15, 1995 Dear Family of Fiends, We are writing to thank you for your past support of Camp Sister Spirit. As you know, our presence in Ovett, Mississippi has become a national target of the Religious Right. This radical group, Mississippi for Family Values, is trying to cultivate and sustain a culture of hate and harassment against us because we are Feminist, Lesbians, and Gays. In addition to being the weekly target of assaults from the pulpit, we are also the targets of verbal and physical harassment, intimidation and spurious law suits An outcry of support from people like you around the country forced the Federal Government to respond: In March, 1994, Janet Reno sent federal mediators into Mississippi to manage the conflict between Camp Sister Spirit and our self-proclaimed opposition, the Mississippi for Family Values organization. The "Family value" organization refused to cooperate and sued Janet Reno for intervening. The case was thrown out of court because mediation must be voluntary Mediation never happened We then took our case to Congress. With the help of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force we met with legislators in Washington and as a result, the Committee on the Judiciary for Constitution and Civil Rights held precedent hearings in Mississippi on July 6, 1994 on "Intimidation and Harassment Based on Sexual Orientation". Here, presiding Congressmembers Barney Frank and Gerald Nadler heard first-hand the position of Mississippi for Family Values. The "position:, the stated, was that Ovett, Mississippi has a "Christian" family value standard and tolerates no other personal or political advocacy position. It was at these hearings Sister Spirit demanded Civil Rights law protection for Lesbians^and Gays. Our federal representatives are now being confronted by something we have known for a long time—although Gays and Lesbians have suffered historic discrimination, harassment, and intimidation — Gays and Lesbians are not included among the protected categories of civil rights law in this country. The failed federal government interventions have served to escalate rather than calm the climate against us in Mississippi. And we have learned that because we, as Gays and Lesbians, have not been protected, the United States Government is in violation of International Human Rights laws with mandate the kind of protection we seek. Camp Sister Spirit now finds ourselves in the forefront of a growing movement for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. We have escalated our efforts to maintain our right to stay and thrive in Mississippi on land that Sister Spirit Incorporated owns and we are fighting to change our nation's laws to achieve this basic Constitutional right. We are asking for your continued and generous support of our redoubled efforts. ~ We will file a Federal lawsuit against Mississippi for Family Values to challenge their conspiracy to violate our rights as American citizens. ~ We are traveling around the country to raise funds and consciousness about our fight for Lesbian and Gay Civil Rights. It is essential that people hear directly from us what has actually transpired in Mississippi. Too many people believe press accounts that the federal intervention was successful. We now know that Camp Sister Spirit will never be victorious until Civil Rights are won for all Lesbian and Gay people within the Lesbian, Gay, Bi and Transgendered society. ~~ The nuisance lawsuit against us goes to court April 19th. If they win, we intend to stay on our property. We have done no wrong. This lawsuit is frivolous and is pure harassment. ~ We will be facilitating workshops on Human Rights and Civil Rights here at Camp Sister Spirit over Memorial Day Weekend - May 26-29. We continue to expand and build Camp Sister Spirit's program and facilities. Camp Sister Spirit is actually the fourth project of Camp Sister Spirit Incorporated, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, which was established in 1989 to primarily serve the needs of poor working people like ourselves in Mississippi. Over the past four years the Sister Spirit Food Pantry has distributed over 100,000 pounds of food to the Gulf Coast Community and is now distributing food from Camp Sister Spirit. We offer services (education, information, referral, advocacv and meeting space) and intervene in crisis situations with emergency resources to folks who come to us for help. Our international project makes available medical, clothing and school supplies to the Red Cross Outpost, Isla Mujeres, Mexico. Camp Sister Spirit was founded in 1993 as a haven for Lesbians and other womyn—a womyn's land. Because of the militant Religious Right's intimidation, harassment and violence against us, we must fight even harder to meet challenge for "feminist education, teaching and learning non- oppressive lifeways, in the Deep South. With your help, we will continue to move forward for Lesbian and Gay Rights in the United ! States. Camp Sister Spirit has also become a : safespace for people to attend workshops : and seminars that we sponsor to advance our j common tight against oppression, hatred and ; bigotry. We are gradually remodeling structures on our 120 acre grounds so that in the future we will be able to offer our facilities as a gathering space for civil rights organizations. And we are a resident Lesbian Land Community creating Lesbian culture, caretaking and protecting our property and our lives. Camp Sister Spirit is under attack because we refuse to bow down to injustice, bigotry and prejudice. This struggle is herstoric/historic and although we live under intimidation, we will not be moved. We need your love and support for our defense. We do not have large grants. We depend upon you to keep us working. Please send in your tax-deductible donation and consider becoming a monthly sustainer of Camp Sister Spirit. In Sister Spirit, Brenda Henson Wanda Henson Cheri | Michael Pam Firth On-Land Caretakers ; Shirley Kirkconnell Louise McFarland ; Off-Land Caretakers i Make checks payable to: Sister Spirit Incorporated. Mail to Camp Sister Spirit, P.O. Box 12, Ovett, MS 39464. FREEDOM RIDE' TO CAMP SISTER SPIRIT POSTPONED LOS ANGELES — The Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) has announced it is postponing a planned "Freedom Ride" over Memorial Day weekend to assist the embattled Camp Sister Spirit in Ovett. Miss., because of insufficient interest in the trip. Operated by Wanda and Brenda Henson, Camp Sister Sp hit has been the object of death threats, shootings and intense local attempts to drive the women out of the area and close down the lesbian/ferninist retreat. In a press statement, the Rev. Troy Perry of MCC. said. "It saddens me that we have been unable to respond, now. to this critical need. We are asking everyone to rally to this important cause and plan to be present in Mississippi when this event happens next Spring." From Lesbian Connection (celebrated 20 years Elsie Publishing Institute, PO Box 811. E. Unsing, MI 48826 I am writing in response to the two Albuquerque women who declared "We have had enough of the glorification of the very dangerous SITUATION IN MISSISSIPPI. " and went on to accuse Wanda and Brenda Henson of miscalculations, risking women's lives, and so forth. The writers took issue with what they called Hthe elevation of the Hensons to the status of cultural heroines'1 and urged L£ readers to instead support lesbians who struggle "without asking assistance from anyone." My heart sank when I read these words. During the past year I've heard several close friends make disparaging comments about Wanda and Brenda's struggle, ranging from "Why don't they just leave the state?" to "They bring bad publicity for all of us." What many women seem reluctant to understand is that Mississippi is the poorest state in the US. Lesbians there cannot afford to travel out of state for the resources we so often take for granted. If we really believe that every state should be a safe place for lesbians, that in every state there should be a place for lesbians to gather as a community, then someone has to do the kind of civil rights work in Mississippi that the Hensons are doing. The alternative is that we cruelly dismiss the lesbians in areas like Mississippi as somehow less deserving of festivals, educational resources, and woman-only space - all of which the Hensons have miraculously created there. Finally, Mississippi is their home. Wanda Henson's response to the tiresome suggestion that she abandon her native state for somewhere else is that no lesbian should have to be a refugee or flee to a lesbian ghetto. The alternative to flight is digging in and creating change where one lives, surely a grassroots principle most lesbians respect. I would suggest that readers study the lesbian classic by June Arnold, THE COOK AND THE CARPENTER, a '70s novel about another woman-only land community under siege by townsfolk. In that novel one character tells another "You never, ever hinder someone in afight! You might as well attack me yourself. I don't care what principles are involved." Appropriate words to remind us that no lesbian who cares about her own liberty should be undermining the Hensons right now. I suggest you go down there and brainstorm with the women on that land, like I did, if you want to ^ouch base with some authentic feminist integrity. -Bonnie, Washington, DC