Leslie Feinberg stays firm: ‘Free CeCe McDonald!’


Baltimore Pride 2012

This article uses the gender-neutral pronouns hir and ze.

Leslie Feinberg, an internationally known and widely respected author, editor and transgender liberation warrior, has been recharged by the Minneapolis attorney’s office for hir June 4 act of solidarity with Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald. Feinberg was arrested and jailed for three nights without bond for hir participation in the actions outside the jail. Mass pressure on the county attorney resulted in Feinberg’s release and the dropping of felony charges.

McDonald, a young African-American transgender woman, was brutally attacked by bigots exactly one year before, yet was the only person arrested, charged and convicted in the incident. Facing two felony charges of second-degree murder, McDonald understandably accepted a plea offer for a reduced charge and 41 months in prison.

After McDonald’s sentencing on June 4 — her “punishment” by the state for self-defense against a racist, anti-gay, anti-transgender attack by neo-fascists — hundreds protested in the streets outside the jail. Feinberg, who struggles with late stage Lyme disease, traveled from New York state to be in Minneapolis at the sentencing and protest. Feinberg traveled in April to visit McDonald in jail, after which ze announced the rededication of hir groundbreaking novel, “Stone Butch Blues,” to McDonald for its 20th anniversary edition next year.

Feinberg has been ordered to appear on Sept. 13 at 8:30 a.m. at the Hennepin County District Court, 401 S. Fourth Street, in Minneapolis. The charge, which is classified as a “gross misdemeanor,” carries with it a possible 1-year prison term plus a $1,000 fine. Supporters are urged to attend and wear purple in solidarity with McDonald.

In the meantime, a national campaign has been initiated to demand the Minneapolis city attorney as well as Mayor R.T. Rybak immediately drop the charges against Feinberg. Minneapolis City Attorney Susan Segal: email: [email protected]; phone: 612-673-2010; fax: 612-673-2189. Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak: email: [email protected]; phone: 612-673-2100 twitter: @MayorRTRybak; fax: 612-673-2305.

‘I am not intimidated’

Feinberg told Workers World ze would not plead guilty. “I’ve asked the National Lawyer’s Guild to help me fight this charge politically.” On Sept. 4, Minnie Bruce Pratt posted on social media the following message from Feinberg to activists:

“I travel to South Minneapolis gladly. I wrote the peoples’ verdict on the jail house wall — ‘FREE CECE NOW!’ on June 4 — the day CeCe McDonald was sentenced to prison, and on the last night she would spend in that county jail.

“My action in demonstration of solidarity — on the one-year anniversary of the attack on CeCe and her loved ones, and CeCe’s arrest, almost to the hour — was not furtive.

“The prosecution is aggressively defending the value, the ‘personhood’ of the jailhouse wall — property!

“My action demonstrates my solidarity with the lives of oppressed people struggling behind the walls of the jails, prisons and detention centers in mass, racist concentration camps known as the Prison-Industrial Complex.

“The charge of Gross Misdemeanor, like the felony charge, is meant to intimidate — to discourage actions of solidarity in struggle.

“I am not intimidated. As an anti-racist, I stand my ground — alongside warriors who are rolling forward towards liberation, and who are double-clicking forward to freedom while confined to bed.

“To those who ask how they can help me: Please help keep the focus of my court-ordered appearances on these struggles against oppressions and injustice!


Visit supportcece.wordpress.com for more information on the struggle to free CeCe McDonald.

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