Muslim Teen Found Dead May Have Been Lynched

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Ben M. Keita, a 19 year old Black Muslim man, had been missing since November  26th from his home in Lake Stevens, Washington. According to his mother, who plead for his return in local media. He disappeared into thin air without his phone, car or wallet. Over a month later, the unthinkable happened. On January, 9th, Ben was found hanging from a rope, tied 50 feet high to a tree, in a wooded area that had already been searched by authorities twice – and a mere 12 feet from a home.

The Snohomish County medical examiner, Dr. Daniel Selove, ruled Keita’s death a suicide.

Washington Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) director Arsalan Bukhari told Patch.com, “There were searches [for Keita] done on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, and at least one with a K9. There was a helicopter search on Dec. 7,” Bukhari said. “Ether the searches were missing something or the body was missing.”

There were plenty of reasons to find the death alarming, such as his proximity to a populated home, the elevation of his body suspended from a tree and the fact that it had not been there during prior searches. Also, his mother, Aissata Keita, claimed on facebook during the searches that he had no mental illnesses that could have led to such a profound act, and had never acted out of rebellion.

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Ben’s father, Ibrahima Keita, doubled down on her statements. “No history of depression, anxiety, any psychological breakdown at all, so he was a very … happy young man.

Now, the Medical Examiner has changed Keita’s official cause of death from “Suicide” to “Undetermined” – an unusual classification involving cases where very little information is available or if evidence supports conflicting conclusions about the circumstances surrounding a death.

CAIR has asked the FBI to open a formal investigation into Keita’s death.

In a Nation whose President has perpetuated fear and bigoty toward Muslim Americans, including the suggestion of increasing surveillance of Muslin Neighborhoods and banning travel from majority Muslim countries, the discovery of a young black Muslim man hanging from a tree is more than terrifying, it is surreal, especially given America’s dark racist history.

 

Ciara McElveen – 6th Transwoman murdered in 2017

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I woke up and found it hard to speak today. My voice is in tact, but my thoughts couldn’t compose a coherent sentence after reading about the murder of another Transwoman of color. I’m not even going to use the broad term “Transwomen” anymore when referencing these ladies- They are Transwomen of color, specifically, and they are being murdered in disproportionate numbers. The fact that these are Black women is equally important, to me, as the fact they are Trans. These are not broad spectrum, indiscriminate deaths here. We need to use our words wisely and point directly to the clear problem. Black Trans women are in danger. It cannot be be brushed under the rug or glazed over by the media. The death of these women are sending a terrifying message to our younger black trans community. They know they are vulnerable and they are terrified. These women dying are not allowed to do so in vain. We cannot let them.

Perhaps the most jarring aspect of this is the bitter realization that this comes just a week after Donald Trump rescinded the previous President’s executive order that provided protections for Trans women across the nation. In this grotesque abuse of power that demonstrates his disinterest and absolute disconnect from disenfranchised minorities, he put a target on our backs. His own message may have appeared political, but it was not. By his adoring fans, ripe with adulation and appetite for violence and bigotry, he empowered their distorted ideologies that Transwomen are not people. Consequentially, we’ve had our value reduced by the wealthy, white and inconceivably privileged businessmen on Capitol Hill. Through his action, Trump is advocating, vicariously, discrimination and violence toward the trans community… and our black Trans sisters will suffer the most. The loss of another young woman is evidence that the American President sees no value in protecting us from being victimized and even killed.

Betsy DeVos, the newly appointed Secretary of Education, will sit party to these crimes as she funnels money away from public schools toward private, majority white, Christian schools that preach to students that LGBT people are perverts, mentally ill and criminal threats to their safety – especially in bathrooms.

To compound this, the Vice President with his heinously Anti-gay rhetoric and advocacy for conversion therapy to return gay people to his acceptable heterosexual lifestyle still has his hand ready on the trigger as states like Colorado campaign to ban the vicious, religiously motivated treatment.

This adds fuel to the boiling cauldron of hatred and intolerance that we thought had been brewing more and more quietly until this past election where newfound leaders raised their voices and found endorsements from extreme religious organizations and the KKK’s most notorious leaders… as well as every individual you thought you knew who, suddenly emboldened, outed themselves as a racist, misogynist bigot.

The question that must be asked is this: In these times of threats of oppression and freshly fed hate, how do we push ahead? We must, of course, or decades of work by those who came before will be lost as oppressors in power shove us back into closets and socially defined roles of gender. We must remember that our lives are not ballot issues or tabletop conversations to be had without our inclusion. We are not Hot Topics. We are human beings. It is not for Men in suits to discuss and debate our value to society. We cannot allow them to continue propagating misinformation and provoking this rage against innocent people.

We have to be louder. We must demand a voice in the conversation. We cannot continue to quietly suffer and die.

I’m Disappointed I Have To Keep Talking

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No lie.

I’m as shocked as you are.

To be clear, I’m not sorry that I might inconvenience people with my ongoing pushback against the Trump administration and their horrific decisions, but, alas, I am pissed off about it. I’m angry that in 2016, yesteryear’s idyllic future of world peace and flying cars, I’m having to plead with people to understand the difference between right and wrong.

Things that would be easier than watching the entire state of America collapse beneath the self serving, narcissistic weight of bigots and billionaires in power? A kidney stone. A rectal prolapse. Probably death.

Okay, maybe a teensy bit dramatic, that being death, but I’d be lying through my veneers if I didn’t admit that every day I wake up to some new political disaster, a little of me dies. The unconscionable targeting of women, of Muslims, of the poor, now Transwomen. Everyday, someone else is on the sharp end of Vlad Trump’s shimmering pike, and I have to- literally must- say something.

Silence is not an option. Silence is, in fact, passive approval of the stripped rights, blanket attacks and dehumanization of millions of Americans. Silence is easy, I guess, if it isn’t you.

I’m disappointed I have to explain why the revocation of protections for Trans people hurts countless individuals and makes us even further vulnerable to violence.

I’m disappointed I have to explain why the murder of Transgender women of color is a big deal and disproportionate to other national homicide statistics.

I’m frustrated that I have to keep asking the media to respectfully report on such tragedies with compassion and beg they preserve the dignity of the victims by simply referring to them as the gender they presented.

I’m deeply saddened that I have to repeatedly point out what seems so painfully obvious: “You’re killing us.”

“You’re placing us in harms way.”

“You’re reducing us to ballot issues, prioritizing personal opinions over our very lives.”

Worse than anything? “You’re lying.”

We Trans people are being grossly misrepresented by the louder voice of fear-driven policies and ignorance. Platforms are being given to Religiously motivated politicians who suffer, not a christian dilemma, but a complex of narcissism. Those using religion as an excuse to vilify Trans people aren’t religious devotees, they’re angry, self-righteous wrecking balls of moral corruption who don’t give a shit about God or the concept of loving thy neighbor at all. They want power and superiority over those they deem weaker; those unworthy of the same rights and liberties they enjoy. Don’t let them convince you that their enthusiastic introductions of new bills and legislation designed to persecute me for being Trans is due to being beholden or accountable to any God. They simply don’t want me to sit at their table of social elites. They’ve confused their lack of approval for me as a right to use government to condemn me.

So, I have to keep talking. I have to educate, advocate and remain visible.

Sure, wouldn’t it be dandy to have been born white, straight, CIS gender John, happily digging away with my spoon in the garden, planting tulip bulbs while the rest of the world fought the battle of Politicians versus minorities. You know, not having to think about what is going to happen to my rights as a Transwoman… or worry for my friends who have a uterus, all of which are currently painted with a bullseye. Or, my muslim friends living in terror over the emboldened intolerance and uprising of hate in America.

You see, silence is a privilege; One I don’t have. So many who have that option, where silence is so easy, take it for granted. And they get irate because I won’t shut up. They tell me “It’ll be fine” and to “Relax” like I’m a twelve year old waiting anxiously for a flu shot. Of course, I had to listen to them squalling in absolute panic for the last Eight years, swearing up and down that Obama was coming for their guns.

They weren’t concerned with silence back then. No. Not when they demanded a birth certificate from the President to prove his authenticity as an American. They were a loud gaggle of geese then, weren’t they? However, they’re bizarrely quiet about the current Presidents evasive tax returns. But, if you point this out, you’re told to sit down and shut up. How can the self professed Moral America be so blind to their own hypocrisies?

How can they not understand that as a human being, I’m more worthy of protecting than a gun? I support the second amendment, honestly, by why is it that all the others, where my rights are concerned, are negotiable?  The sitting president just blocked credible media organizations from attending his press conference because they’ve criticized him… violating the Freedom of Press- the first amendment for those wondering why it was such a tremendous issue. His blindly loyal followers will bend on that, just as the newly appointed conservative lawmakers are failing to uphold this:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion”

But damn, this is my new normal. Talk, talk, talk. Write until my finger hurt.  Not your fight? Lucky you. Stay silent if you choose, but expect me to follow your lead. You weren’t silent when you felt threatened by the untouchables on Capitol Hill, how dare you expect me to be, when I’m in the firing line now, again.