(photo caption: Activist N’Dana Carter and fellow protester “Mo” at the Woodlawn mental health clinic. Mo turned out to be an undercover police officer named Mehmet Uygun.)
Two years after Mayor Rahm Emanuel closed the mental health clinics, he’s finally allowing his City Council allies to hold a hearing on them sometime this month.
If it actually happens, I’m hoping someone asks about the curious tale of Mo and Gloves, because their story reveals a lot about the Emanuel administration’s attitude toward mental health care in poor areas.
The tale started in the fall of 2011, when the mayor decided to close six of the city’s 12 clinics, most of them in low-income, high-crime neighborhoods.
As I’ve written before, Emanuel never gave a reason for the closings. He never conducted a study or convened a task force or, most importantly, met with the patients—even though a number of them, backed by other activists, demanded that the mayor hear firsthand the consequences of closing clinics in low-income communities where residents are under stress from gunfire and unemployment.
In fact, the mayor repeatedly went out of his way to avoid any face-to-face encounters.
On April 12, 2012, soon before the clinics were scheduled to be closed, activists occupied the Woodlawn clinic at 63rd and Woodlawn. In the wee hours, police officers cleared the clinic, arresting 23 protesters.
The arrests fired up the movement. Within a couple of days, activists set up camp on vacant city-owned lots across the street from the Woodlawn clinic.
By this time, the protest had drawn interest from members of the larger Occupy Chicago movement. Among those who showed up in Woodlawn were a couple of demonstrators who called themselves Mo and Gloves.
Mo was husky, about six feet tall, and often wore a hoodie. Gloves was short and slender and said she was of Syrian descent.
"They said they were cousins," recalls Matthew Ginsberg-Jaeckle, a mental health activist. "Mo said he was a laid-off construction worker and he was pissed off at the 1 percent and had decided to join the Occupy movement. He said he had a cousin struggling with mental health issues."
Mo and Gloves chatted up pretty much anyone who would talk to them. So they were there on April 23 when police cleared the vacant lots, and they were among the ten people arrested for trespassing on city property.
Mo was taken with some of the other activists to the Third District police station at 71st and Cottage Grove and put into a holding cell.
"I was handcuffed to Mo," says Ginsberg-Jaeckle. "We were both cuffed to a pole."
The two spent the next five hours in the cell together—until about three in the morning.
Ginsberg-Jaeckle says Mo was funny. “He had me laughing, though I’m not sure if it was from sleep deprivation. He was trying to get me to say something incendiary. He kept saying, ‘We need to take it to the next level.’ I said, ‘I don’t know what you mean. But whatever it is—this is not a place to discuss it.’ I mean, we’re in a jail cell.”
Ginsberg-Jaeckle and other activists began to feel that something was off about Mo and Gloves.
A few weeks later, the two became front-page news. It turns out they were, respectively, Mehmet Uygun and Nadia Chikko, Chicago police officers assigned to the “intelligence unit in February 2012 for a 90-day public safety temporary duty assignment,” according to court documents filed by the Cook County state’s attorney’s office.
"In their undercover capacity, officers Chikko and Uygun gathered intelligence and information in various locations, including coffee shops, meetings, protests, rallies and concerts in an effort to root out any plans for criminal activities for criminal activity before, during or after the NATO summit."
Ah, the NATO summit. In case you’ve forgotten, the mayor spent millions of dollars to “showcase” Chicago for the three-day summit in 2012. I’m not sure what was showcased, since the wider public basically hunkered down as police barricaded the Loop.
But back to Mo and Gloves. “To prepare for their assignment, the officers researched the NATO summit, obtained covert identities and created a cover story,” say the court documents. “The officers represented that they were cousins; that Officer Chikko lived with her girlfriend; that Officer Uygun lived with his mother and her boyfriend; and that they were both unemployed but looking for jobs.”
A few days after they were arrested for the clinic protests, Mo and Gloves hooked up with a group of twentysomething drifters who were in town for the NATO protests. And, well, you probably know the rest of the story.
On May 16, 2012, police arrested Brent Betterly, Brian Church, and Jared Chase—the so-called NATO Three—and charged them with conspiring to commit terrorism. The charges were largely based on testimony from Mo and Gloves, who said the three had plotted to attack four police stations and President Obama’s campaign headquarters and shoot an arrow through Mayor Emanuel’s house.
The three sat in jail for more than a year before their case came to trial. In February, a jury cleared them of the more serious terrorism charges while convicting them of mob action and possessing an incendiary device.
In April, Judge Thaddeus Wilson sentenced each of them to between five and eight years in prison, much less than the 14 years sought by state’s attorney Anita Alvarez.
In the meantime, the cases against the activists arrested for trespassing on vacant lots in Woodlawn dragged on for about six months before they were dismissed.
Neither Mo nor Gloves showed up for any of the hearings, protesters tell me.
I called the news affairs office at the police department to ask, among other things, how much the undercover operation cost taxpayers and whether other local movements and organizations had been infiltrated, such as the Chicago Teachers Union.
The Police Department has not responded to my questions.
As activists see it, Mo and Gloves used their arrests at the clinic protests as street cred so they could worm their way into the good graces of Church, Chase, and Betterly.
The irony is painful. Somehow the city doesn’t have the money to treat our most vulnerable mental health patients, but it has the resources to spy on them.
Niara is a black trans woman imprisoned in Pennsylvania. Currently, she is struggling to get the money together so she can afford the legal fees associated with changing her name to match her gender identity.
PLEASE, if you can spare ever a few dollars, send her some money to help with these costs!
1. Go to https://jpay.com/.
2. Type state and inmate ID: Pennsylvania, KU1265
3. Click the name of the prisoner: Herman Burton
4. Register an account
5. Send money
NYC Rev Club and others with the movement for revolution, standing up against the outrageous, military style police raid at Grant Homes in Harlem, with 400 police officers and helicopters overhead, arresting 40 people ages 15-30 on ‘gang related’ offenses. Whether or not all these people were guilty of these crimes, this is a CRIMINAL system that is not meant to actually help the people in these conditions. This system is not meant to meet their basic needs, so for those who do what they have to to survive, they are massively incarcerated and treated as less than human. We in the movement for revolution say NO MORE! We need to bring in masses of people to stand up against these outrages and build up the strength to beat these monsters, through revolution and nothing less!
Read the article published by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network condemning these actions taken by police.
Hi y’all! I’m a 20 year old transwoman from Boston. Recently, I lost my job and currently babysitting to try and pay my bills.Trying to pay all my medical bills, buy my medicine, and pay my college bill on 120 a week is not the most realistic or easy thing to do ( not to mention buying food,…
Help a young TWoC sista out by giving and/or reblogging!
Anyone got deets on this film?
Here’s what I got from the Facebook:
OUT IN THE NIGHT (formerly titled The Fire This Time) follows the journey of a group of African American teenagers who went to a gay-friendly neighborhood in New York City for a night out. These lesbian and gender non-conforming friends, Patreese, Renata, Terrain and Venice, were confronted by an older man on the street. They defended themselves. Strangers jumped in to support them and a fight ensued. Only the women were rounded up by police and charged and convicted as perpetrators of gang assault. They became known as The New Jersey 4.
OUT IN THE NIGHT follows their journey to Rikers Island, to the courtroom, and through slanderous media coverage that labeled them a “Wolfpack” and “Lesbian Gang”. While exploring the fight from all sides through the security camera footage that captured it, that hot August night in 2006 can be seen from many perspectives. But our film’s purpose is to examine the events after the fight: biased media coverage likening the women to “man-hating” animals, and unprecedentedly harsh sentencing by the court. This story shows how four young, queer women of color were unfairly criminalized for defending themselves.
It’s currently running the film festival circuit, but you can keep checking the website for new screenings: www.outinthenight.com
This evening I had the misfortune to hear “Transgender Woman Never Cheats” by Thai artist Vid Hiper Rsiam.
According to Gay Star News the song tells the story of “a transgender woman who reunites with her best friend she fell in love with as a teenage boy”; but is in actuality the visual representation of a trans woman struggling with her affection toward a one time (and now again) aggressor.
The clip tells two stories featuring the main characters side by side; one set in the past, and one in the present.
In the past a young girl (who appears male at the time) pines for her friend (a cis man) as they share good times together. They ride bikes, they hang out, they even get matching tattoos. After he confides in her and falls asleep, the young woman leans over to kiss him. When he wakes he is furious, attacks her, leaves her face bloody and then stands to kick her while she is down.
Despite this the two are still upset when one has to move away. The narrative implies they are left without the chance to reconcile.
The present day story sees the two main characters (with the woman now presenting as herself) unknowingly reunite. They sleep together, part ways, then return for bed upon a chance meeting. During the second encounter he sees her tattoo and they learn of their past relationship. The man is infuriated and repeatedly pushes her away, even bloodying her head in the process. He raises his fist to hurt her, but sees affection in her eyes.
At the end of the clip his anger eases and they smile to one another.
This, apparently, is a love song.
The title of the song says it all: “Transgender Woman Never Cheats.” In that alone there are myriad implications which, while appearing to be passive, sympathetic and well meaning, makes a generalization about the loyalty of trans women to their partners. In any other context this might be considered a virtuous stereotype, but when applied to a story about a woman who is beaten and abused, loyalty in spite of herself is a dangerous and misguided thing.
Her gaze toward an abusive figure is sold as endearing and as a form of enduring love that sees beyond the violence he inflicts upon her. Throughout the narrative she is understanding of him, patient, and puts her own safety aside for the sake of his coming to terms with who she is. When he does harm to her she excuses it, accepts it as normal for a man who feels conflicted, and is waiting with open arms when his anger settles.
For the women who’ve been in similar situations, counting on the rage of an abuser to subside is not a certainty. For that idea to be sold on a mass media platform is a dangerous and irresponsible thing.
The message to trans women has long been made clear; that revulsion is the ‘normal’ reaction to our existence, that recognition of our beauty is cast into the land of fetish, that violence toward us is expected, and that our affection toward other human beings (in particular cisgender men) is justification for our being murdered.
There is no fault to be laid on women who have feelings for violent partners, but to call the violence part of a “love story” is a gross idealization of what no individual deserves from a relationship.
what a perfect example of the kind of shit we were talking about. yeah, thats totally not like really explicit serve the men shit and trans women totally dont get this shit all the fucking time our entire lives starting from when were young, on top of all the other misogyny everywhere. /bitter sarcasam
Look at these pathetic fucking notes. You’d be reblogging your asses off if this was another one about a cis woman. But you won’t see blowback for this shit going viral like it did for blurred lines, we just aren’t important enough.
Message: “Trans women, we found a niche for you to fit into as viable partners: find an abusive jerk, smile at every punch he throws, and your stockholm-syndrome-like loyalty will have us so endeared that we’ll look past your transness.”
@DarkMatterRage is #NotProud of the co-optation of Pride and the depoliticization of the white cis gay agenda.
Solidarity to all the trans, queer, PoC, &/ low income folks experiencing micro and macro agressions this Pride season. Keep the resistance alive!
To continue the conversation follow DarkMatter on Twitter and Facebook
Literally the theme of this year’s pride in NYC is “Yesterday’s Struggle Is Today’s Heritage.”
i don’t think i will ever recover from this
i want to be this amazing tho
I cannot handle all of the life I just receivedOMG YAS, YASSSSSSSS TO THE HUNNITH POWAH OMG!!!! Chile you ain’t NEVER seen voguing like this in your whole damn life!
omg, this is werq! so sexy too
omggggggggg i got my life