Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Postal Service Incident in Massachusets

Mail carrier Hugson Jean was slapped and called a racial epithet by Hingham, MA resident Erica Winchester after he refused to take back a letter which she had already signed for. Under USPS rules, a postal worker cannot undeliver signed-for mail, so Jean told her to sort it out at the post office. He has since been fired and claims it was because of this incident. Naturally, the post office claims it was for unrelated reasons.

[Warning: These videos, which show the conversation that took place between Jean and Winchester after he refused to take the letter back contain racist language that could be triggering/upsetting to hear.]

After the video surfaced, discovered that Winchester had previously been arrested for threatening members of a cabaret; she told the police officer who arrested her that she would “chop off” his genitals. A prior arrest for drunk driving ended in Winchester being restrained after trying to hit a paramedic.
‘When officers asked Winchester to leave the armory, she refused, and “became immediately offensive.” Cops subsequently placed her under arrest, though she resisted when an officer sought to handcuff her. When she refused to get into the back of a police cruiser, Winchester had to be forced into the vehicle by three cops.

“While putting Winchester in my cruiser," Officer Philip Tracey reported, “She made the comment that she was going to chop off my genitals.”’

A number of accounts refer to her as the “crazy White lady”. While her mental health issues should not be used to exonerate her, the ableism displayed in these discussions is unacceptable. Both racism and ableism serve the same purpose: to preserve a divisive hierarchy of bodies and ensure that certain people are privileged above others. Winchester’s actions do not issue from a place of disability, but a place of hatred.

Blog by Women's Center Volunteer, Laura!

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