Leslie Feinberg upon release from jail: ‘Free CeCe McDonald!’
By Kris Hamel
Jun 15, 2012
Chrishaun “CeCe” McDonald, a 24-year-old African-American transgender woman from Minneapolis, was sentenced June 4 to 41 months in prison for defending herself against a brutal attack by neofascists who verbally and physically assaulted McDonald and her friends outside a bar in June 2011. McDonald, who courageously defended herself and her friends against anti-trans, anti-woman, racist slurs and violence, was the only one arrested, charged and jailed at the time.
Protesters came out in downtown Minneapolis the evening of McDonald’s sentencing, on the eve of her transfer to the state prison system, and took to the streets to hold a “noise” demonstration in solidarity with McDonald and to demand her immediate freedom.
Leslie Feinberg, an award-winning author, transgender lesbian and beloved people’s warrior, was the only person arrested during the protest. Feinberg, who has publicly acknowledged that she is very ill with advanced Lyme disease, was held without bond for three nights in the Minneapolis jail and faced felony charges of property damage for allegedly spray painting “Free CeCe” on the outside walls of the county jail.
Because of a flood of outrage in the form of calls and emails to the prosecutor’s office, Feinberg’s arraignment and bail hearing were adjourned several times and finally cancelled. The felony charge was dismissed and Feinberg was released from jail.
Leslie Feinberg after arrest on June 4.
Credit: PHOTO: FREECECEMCDONALD.TUMBLR.COM
On June 8, Feinberg issued a statement, which reads in part:
“The power of the people: felony charge dismissed before court hearing!
“The felony charge I faced was dismissed before court hearing this a.m. I may be recharged within weeks — or within the next three years — on misdemeanor/gross misdemeanor charges.
“If a month passes and I have not been recharged, … I will plan a trip here to South Minneapolis in order to take part in fundraising for CeCe and to offer our thanks to the ongoing work of the activist communities here.
‘It’s about freeing CeCe!’
“For media interviews, and other information about CeCe McDonald’s struggle, please contact her defense committee — not me. As I wrote in the media statement after my release from the county jail: ‘This arrest is not about me. It’s about keeping the focus on CeCe McDonald’s struggle!’
“If/when the state summons me back to Minnesota on new charges, I would demand a jury trial and use every court appearance to help keep the focus on the struggle for CeCe’s freedom.
“Over the summer, I plan to write a new introduction to the 20th-anniversary author’s edition of ‘Stone Butch Blues,’ which I drafted while inside the same jail that CeCe was being held in before transfer upstate.
“The prosecution wants the struggle to free CeCe to be over. But it’s far from over!
For information on the struggle to free McDonald, go to supportcece.wordpress.com or join the “FreeCece McDonald” page on Facebook.