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September 24, 1997 - Image 4

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 1997-09-24

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4 - The Michigan Daily - Wednesday, September 24, 1997

Nbz £itwu flailg

420 Maynard Street
'Ann Arbor, MI 48109
Edited and managed by
students at the
University of Michigan

Editor in Chief
Editorial Page Editor

Unless otherwise noted, unsigned editorials reflect the opinion of the majority of the Daily : editorial board. All
other articles, letters and cartoons do not necessarily reflect the opinion of The Michigan Daily.
In memory of Tamara
Fid support for domestic violence survivors

'This is a loss for the entire University of Michigan
community - all of us grieve for her and her family
during this very sad period.'
- Vice president for University relations Walter Harrison,
reacting to the murder of LSA senior Tamara Williams

isabling shock and grief descended on
campus yesterday as University stu-
dents, faculty and staff learned of the horri-
fying murder of LSA senior Tamara
Williams. Williams was stabbed to death by
her off-and-on boyfriend, Kevin Nelson,
only six days shy of her 21st birthday. As the
aftermath of the tragedy unfolds, Williams'
family - including her baby daughter -
and loved ones will be left to grieve.
Students and neighbors may struggle with
unanswered questions - and some may
despair as they come to realize the danger of
their own relationships. Now is the time for
the University community to band together
- across boundaries - to support, educate
and assist one another in cherishing the
memory of Tamara Williams and ensuring
that no others need repeat her tragic fate.
"1Iknow that the decision on his sentenc-
ing is in your hands but I wanted to express
my concern whether or not you're aware
assault charges have been brought against
Kevin (Nelson) many times before."
- From Tamara Williams 'letter to the
Washtenaw County 15th District Court on
Oct. 23, 1995.
Nelson had a history of abusing
Williams and her 2 1/2-year-old daughter,
Kiera. Ann Arbor Police Department
records show two 1995 reports of domestic
violence by Nelson against Williams.
Nelson was brought up on domestic assault
charges after one of those calls. Williams
sent an impassioned plea to the Washtenaw
County Courthouse, asking the officiating
judge to remember Nelson's history of
All too often, hindsight reveals the insuf-
ficiency of penalties for domestic abusers.
No one knows whether a harsher penalty for
Nelson in 1995 may have saved Williams'
life yesterday, but the fact remains that the
young woman felt afraid, alone and unsure
if she should trust the system that was sup-
posed to protect her.
Something must change.
Perhaps greater support at the communi-
ty level for survivors of domestic violence
s a good place to start. Students should
know that relationships like Tamara
Williams' are not that rare, even at the col-
lege level. According to the University's
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness
,Center, more than one in four high school-
and college-age people said they had expe-
rienced dating violence; as many as 50 per-

cent of women involved in dating relation-
ships at any age report physical, sexual,
emotional or verbal abuse from their part-
The statistics demonstrating the urgency
of domestic violence are even more fright-
ening: According to the Federal Bureau of
Investigation, about 30 percent of female
homicide victims are killed by their hus-
bands or boyfriends. About 6 percent of
male homicide victims are killed by their
wives or girlfriends.
'Again Iask that you please don't be soft
when sentencing Kevin Nelson because he s
been tapped on the wrists one too many
times. One would think after going to court
once before for assault that he would learn
his lesson but obviously he didn 't."
Increased protection for survivors of
domestic violence and strengthened legisla-
tion against abusers must become a reality.
Courts across the country must be more
receptive to cases against abusers and sup-
port the survivors in their courageous steps
to safety.
Lawmakers must also fight the ever-
increasing, disturbing backlash that rises
among abusers. Members of the communi-
ty who are interested in learning more about
this backlash should attend the panel dis-
cussion tonight titled: "Backlash: Are Gains
Made by Women and Children Under
Attack?" The forum is sponsored by CIVI-
TAS Child and Family Programs at the
University of Michigan School of Social
Work. Presenters will provide information
on survivors' legal rights, the community's
perception of domestic violence and sur-
vivors of domestic violence, prosecution of
abusers and community resources for sur-
vivors. The forum will be held tonight at
6:30 in the Modern Languages Building,
Lecture Room 1.
Tamara Williams' tragic death should be
a reminder to all members of the University
community that none of us live too far away
from someone who suffers the worst kind of
betrayal: violence in the context of a rela-
tionship that is supposed to provide love,
nurturing and support.
People who are involved in abusive rela-
tionships must take action to save their lives
and those of their children or dependents.
Below is a resource list - if you are

Queer Unity
Project also
boycotts the
In response to the recent
incidents of racism on the
part of Nectarine employees,
the members of Queer Unity
Project would like to official-
ly express our support for the
Ramirez family and Rahul
QUP is deeply committed
to solidarity with people of
color, and encourages every-
one with an open. mind-
especially keeping in mind
the connections between all
forms of oppression against
the members of Ann Arbor's
lesbian, gay, bisexual and
transgender communities -
to boycott the Nectarine until
the demands of the Ramirez
family are sufficiently met.
Publicize 'U'
parking law
I have enjoyed the use of
the South commuter lot for
the past four years. During
this time, parallel parking
was posted/allowed within
the lot along Stadium
Boulevard. Recently the
signs were removed without
notification. By law, the only
notification that the
University is obligated to
provide is the removal of the
signs themselves.
I certainly do not contest
the right or the need for the
University to have dynamic
parking privileges. I do
believe, however, that the
University could have taken
painless steps to extend a
courteous notification to stu-
dents and faculty alike who
enjoy the use of this lot. A
simple purchase of a 50-cent
posterboard could have been
used to indicate that parallel
parking would no longer be
allowed as of Sept. 20, 1997.
Obviously, the receipt of a
$20 parking ticket was the
event that precipitated this let-
ter; I would have gladly paid
the 50 cents. Thank you for
your effort on behalf of the
people who have received non-
contestable parking citations.
Lose the

people. I sure hope it does
not take Michigan fans this
long to lose the tomahawk.
Let us show the nation
that we who are associated
with the University have
more sense.
Gays must
do more to
support other
The letter I sent to the edi-
tor a few days ago was not to
raise the issue of whether or
not alleged incidents occurred
at the Nectarine Ballroom. It
was to simply raise awareness
to the LGBT communities to
stand up for other forms of
oppression besides their own.
Whether at one time I was
an ally to the queer communi-
ty or a full-blown gay man, I
have accepted the term Same
Gender Lover. This title is
distinctly different than that
of gay or queer. This term
sets me apart from any group
that has turned its back on
any forms of oppression, and
that is what the gay commu-
nity has done.
This is a community that I
feel is not very accepting of
people of color who still
involve themselves with the
people of color communities.
This gay community has
intentionally set focus on
issues of solely being gay. As
an African American gay man,
I am more than gay, I am more
than African American.
The bad precedent set by
the gay community is a
wound they have left to heal,
or they will ultimately run
away its people of color. As
for my fans who can mark my
every word, I applaud you on
your willingness to know
more about me. Well, know
this: I am not here to heal any
wounds the gay community
has self inflicted. I belong to
no community where I need
to leave my dark melanin-
inflicted skin at the doors of
As an SGL, I can firmly
say now I am an ally to the
gay community, but I will
never be a member in this
community where I am not
accepted, or where others feel
I need to suppress my identi-
ty, whereas to tighten the
ranks of fighting homopho-
Lastly, as far as semantics
go, you can call me an SGL.
Use this as an opportunity to
educate yourself more around
the issue. We are at an insti-
tute of higher learning, igno-
rance is not acceptable. Those
individuals that do boycott the
Nectarine Ballroom enforce
their endeavors to fight

Crockett was
a courageous
'crusader' for
civil rights
George W. Crockett Jr., a
civil rights crusader who was
never part of the establishment,
died on Sept. 7 at age 88. Mr.
Crockett left an indelible mark
on the state of Michigan in his
quest'for racial equality, and so
I was surprised to not see any
mention of his death in your
Mr. Crockett received a
law degree from the
University of Michigan
before moving on to an
eventful and productive
career as a lawyer and public
servant. He was the first
black American to join the
Labor Department, as an
attorney during the New Deal
era. During his time at the
Labor Department, Mr.
Crockett became convinced
that black Americans and
American workers were all
too often victims of an
oppressive society.
Crockett moved on to the
United Auto Workers, where
he ran the union's fair-
employment division. He was
quick to criticize top officials
at the UAW about the unac-
ceptable tolerance for racial
discrimination within the
union, which ultimately led to
his expulsion from his post.
During this time, Crockett
became a hero to civil liber-
tarians. He defended four
blacks accused of being
Communists during the
Smith Act political trials in
New York in 1949-1950. His
defense earned him a con-
tempt conviction and four
months in jail. He also
helped found the nation's
first integrated law firm here
in Detroit, and later ran the
legal defense arm of the
Mississippi voting project.
In 1966, Crockett was
elected to Detroit's
Recorder's Court, and
became an outspoken advo-
cate of equal justice, in a sys-
tem that consistently exploit-
ed the rights of poor black
defendants. Crockett retired
from the bench, and was
elected to the U.S. House of
Representatives from Detroit
in 1980. During his tenure in
Congress, he became a force-
ful advocate against many
policies adopted by the
Reagan administration.
While serving as chair-
man of the Foreign Affairs
subcommittee on the Western
Hemisphere, Crockett intro-
duced several resolutions
denouncing South African
apartheid, and was arrested
while picketing the South
African Embassy.
This is just a brief
description of the many
accomplishments Crockett

We've been
poisoned by
thesefairy tales
t's amazing what you can learn f
you just pay attention. For exam-
ple, this weekend, due to ESPN's
College Game Day on Saturday and
the Lions on Sunday. I watched a
damn lot of TV I found out a whol
bunch of things that I didn't know.
Drinking Surge
will make you
tough and off-beat
in that Bivouac
sort of way
Eating Doritos
will make a party
happen around
you. The right
skin care product .
will attract a pret-
ty young mate.AE
with neat hair and AME
a dentist's office MILE
smile. And, appar- ItX
ently, there are ON TAP
several types of
beer that will make strange, affection-
ate women, with large breasts and
small clothes, want to fondle you in
God, what an ass I've been, trying
woo with Otis Redding albums and
pilfered Byron poems. I'm not such a
Pollyanna that I'm shocked at every
half-truth and quarter-truth the adver-
tising community hands to me. But)-
am surprised by the feverish pitch at.
which these nuggets of fiction are
thrown at me.
Does everything have to be a
exercise in machismo? It's ba!
enough that even college athletic
have Nike's logo feces smeared a
over them, intoning that skill,
strength and hard work are dwarfed
before the powers granted by a pait
of $150 shoes held together by snot,
staples and the 35 cents an hour
sweat of a third world factory work-
er. But pop? Is there anybody above
the age of 12 who believes "a fully
loaded citrus soda with carbos" is
going to inspire somebody to scra
ble over furniture, beat up thei
friends and behave like an extra from
"Quest for Fire?"
Do people who parachute, climb
mountains and bungee-jump really get
a giant woody over Mountain Dew?
Does owning a Buick make you intQ
one of those puffy, suburban high-
rollers with golf clubs in the truck and
a trophy wife? Who believes thi
Wedo Daily.
We've gotten used to being lied to. lt
started out small. Bryllcream will
make all the girls pursue us. Pall
Malls will make us sophisticated
Successful people drive Fords. The
small, innocuous lies of post-war
prosperity. And then it grew. Choosy
moms choose Jif. If you don't feed
your children Jif, they just might turn
into reefer addicts and join gans
C'mon, I saw "West Side Story."
know how this works. Are you fat?
Buy this make-up, you whale. Here
try a milkshake diet. Or just watch
"Baywatch" marathons, and beat
yourself in the head with the can.
Advertising cuts to our insectrit s
and exploits them to the nines. An
for a while, women bore the brunt f
the blast. Bull Gravy Wrinkle Cream
will make you look younger, which is
necessary because looking the a
you actually are is gross - an
women with wrinkles and (gaspG,.
gray hair will die homeless, penniless
old bags, and no one will ever love

Now the fellas are getting it, and the
plague comes to us in the form of
extreme advertising. Whether it's soft
drinks, beer, cars, motor oil or cloth-
ing, they have us by the short and
curlys. Every product decision is
just a consumerist whim, it's a refer-
endum on your manhood. Your every
possession, action and nuance of your
appearance has to be balls-out, hard-
core, flaming proof that you are a Big
Man, a GQ, mountain-biking kind of
guy. Everything from driving to
church to having a beer after work leas
to be done with a kind of frenzied
testosterone madness that makes .it
seem like you've been. rubbin
methamphetamine on your eyebal
since breakfast.
This cola is Cool! The guys who
drink it are Cool! They do Cool
things! They have Cool girlfriends
who are buxom and do Cool things
with them! If your pantry isn't full of
the stuff, you have tiny genitals and
the only woman who will look at you
is the old bat from two paragraphs
ago, who wouldn't buy the wrink
It used to be that men of good con'-
science who loved their families, did
their jobs well and were just, upright
and decent were macho. Now, for rea-
sons too sad and numerous to get into,
we no longer respect that. It doesn't
interest our sunken, microscopic

involved with;
honor Tamara

a domestic

abuser, please
life by saving

you are involved in an abusive relationship, you are not
one. Please find help - seek refuge with a neighbor, a
end, or an emergency shelter. The Ann Arbor and
niversity communities offer a number of resources to
sist you.
you know someone who is being abused, offer your help.
you are not able to intervene, help the survivor find some-
ie who can.
Department of Public Safety 763-1131
Campus emergency 911
Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Center

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