Support Lierre Keith!

This was initially a facebook status by Rachel Ivey, and a very important message:
 

“Hello members of the Senate, It has come to my attention that the ASUO is considering passing a resolution “condemning” feminist author and activist Lierre Keith, who is slated to give a keynote address at PIELC.
  My name is Rachel, and I serve on the Steering Committee of Deep Green Resistance, the organization co-founded by Keith. I write to you to implore you not to demean the office you hold by lending legitimacy to the long-standing intimidation and censorship campaigns that have been waged against Keith and others, including myself, who share her radical feminist politics. The lies and misinformation spread by those who wish to silence Keith have done their job well, and I would imagine that to a casual bystander, the truth of the situation may not be immediately obvious at this point. I will not make any attempt to hide my convictions on this issue, which are in alignment with Keith’s politics. However, as someone who has been observing this controversy from the inside for quite some time, I would like to present some evidence as it’s presented itself to me.
    Radical feminists have been increasingly subject to blacklisting, censorship, smear campaigns, and in many cases, intimidation and threats of violence against themselves as individuals and, more disturbingly, against their families and children. In multiple instances, radical feminists have been physically intimidated and attacked by those who disagree with their politics. Keith herself, a physically disabled woman, was assaulted at a public talk by three men who, each in turn, slammed pies laced with Cayenne pepper into her eyes.
 No one in the room lifted a finger to stop the attack or assist her afterward, and in addition to causing her excruciating pain, the attack left her vision impaired for some time. For more background on these attacks, I have attached an open letter on the topic penned by 37 radical feminist academics in 5 countries, titled “Forbidden Discourse.”
By condemning Keith, and by failing to condemn her attackers, your institution would throw its weight behind those who think attacking women and threatening them with rape and assault are legitimate methods for getting them to stop speaking publicly.
You have been receiving letters from Keith’s supporters all day, and it is worth noting that to publicly support Lierre Keith or any radical feminist is to open oneself up to the same abuse and intimidation that they face.
A facebook friend of mine, a mother and a lesbian, posted something supportive of Keith on facebook this morning. I have attached an image to this email that is a screenshot of the abuse she received for that post, entitled “abuse example.” She was called “evil,” “ugly,” “bitter,” a “vile hag” and a “fucking cunt.” One commenter simply wrote, “I hope your children die.” The woman-hating, homophobic, violent messages she received are standard fare for those like Keith and her supporters, who have the courage to speak up no matter the cost. The example I present to you here is not exceptional in any way – it happens every hour of every day to women who speak out on this issue. Despite the threats, the intimidation, the misinformation, and the backlash, the outpouring of support Keith has received in the last week or two has been tremendous.
A petition (see here: https://www.change.org/petitions/university-of-oregon-support-lierre-keith) entitled “Support Lierre Keith” gained 1000+ signatures in just seven days. 100+ positive comments poured in from as far away as Brazil, Germany, Australia, Chile, Mexico, Hungary, the UK, New Zealand, Spain, Bosnia, Denmark, Canada, and all over the United States. Lierre’s work has touched thousands across the world, and if she is censored at PIELC, a global audience will be witness to that act of censorship.
In North America, Keith’s organizational allies include Vancouver Rape Relief, Canada’s oldest rape crisis center (see here for their letter of solidarity: http://bendittilitbreaks.wordpress.com/2014/02/08/vancouver-rape-relief-supports-lierre-keith-at-pielc/), Indigenous Women Against the Sex Industry (IWASI), the Committee for Domestic Workers and Caregivers Rights, the Asian Women’s Coalition Ending Prostitution (AWCEP), EVE (formerly Exploited Voices now Educating) (see here: http://www.rapereliefshelter.bc.ca/learn/resources/solidarity-deep-green-resistance) The lies and misinformation being widely circulated about Keith are rooted in total fabrication. A recent article went so far as to label Keith as an “exterminationist” toward transgender individuals. Unsurprisingly, the article made no attempt to support that assertion with evidence. In truth, Keith’s environmental and feminist work as an author never, ever even mentioned transgender issues until she wrote this response to the backlash she was receiving: http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/06/21/55123/ That response is, literally, the only opinion she has ever penned on the issue – and I challenge you to find a reference in it to extermination of any kind. I cannot overstate my desire that you read the entire article in full before taking any action. That is the absolute minimum that you must do to be informed about her political stance regarding radical feminism. However, if I can’t compel you to read the entire article, let me close by quoting a few paragraphs that are poignantly relevant to the issue this senate hearing is responding to: “Isn’t all this worth discussing? Why do we have to plead something so basic: in a pluralistic democracy, people can hold differing beliefs? Ideas qua ideas are our only defense against the human tendency to fundamentalism with all its attendant horrors. That’s why books are so much more fragile than paper, and why they need our defense. We don’t say that as writers but as citizens. Right now the gender fundamentalists are doing their best to shut down dialogue. They’ve damaged books—books that don’t even mention their concern—pressured bookstores, and silenced speakers scheduled at universities. It should come as no surprise that they are using the final tactics of all fundamentalists: bullying, threats, assault. And they’ve done this with increasing frequency and intensity. How long does it take to see the pattern?” The fact that this hearing is happening at all is an embarrassment to your office and your university. The fact that this farce has progressed so far and you STILL have yet to reach out to Keith herself to speak on her own behalf is not only incredible, it’s irresponsible. If this resolution is passed, you will have bowed to the demands of those who think threats and violence are legitimate means, and silencing women is a legitimate end. I will be in attendance at the hearing Wednesday evening. Rachel Ivey Deep Green Resistance”

Letters can be sent to
asuopres@uoregon.edu
asuopres@uoregon.edu
and senate@uoregon.edu
before tomorrow evening, when the hearing will be held.
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