Black and Pink: Stop defaming Monica James and maligning her leadership
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Monica James is a black trans woman, and a community leader who has devoted the past 9 years of her life to the fight for trans equality and justice.
From March - December 2017, she was employed by Black and Pink (BP) as their National Organizer. She was terminated by Black and Pink when she attempted to obtain a civil restraining order against a volunteer who had started recording her during an intimate encounter without her knowledge and permission.
Upon terminating Monica James, Black and Pink issued a 14 page statement containing inaccurate account of the chain of events in an attempt to justify their actions of firing the entire staff of black people. Black and Pink has actively attempted to discredit Monica's account of harm and invasion of privacy in an attempt to protect their volunteer.
Since the issuance of the defamatory statements, Monica James' life has been turned upside down. Her livelihood, leadership, and employment record is marked by Black and Pink's false accusations.
On August 1, 2018, Monica James sent a demand letter to Black and Pink notifying them to cease and desist the ongoing unlawful defamation, demanding retraction of their defamatory statements, and to issue a public apology.
Black and Pink has chosen to ignore Monica James' call for resolution, accountability, and harm reduction. Please support Monica in seeking justice. Stand with her as she fights the attacks on her integrity. Demand Black and Pink to hold themselves accountable for the harm they have inflicted on marginalized communities.
For additional details and transparency purposes, the demand letter that was sent to Black and Pink on 8/1/2018 is included below:
"RE: Notice and Demand to Cease and Desist Unlawful Defamation of Monica James, Retract Defamatory Statements, and Issue a Public Apology
Dear Black & Pink:
Expecting you to understand the impact of your actions and take the initiative to stop the harm, and hold yourself accountable is clearly a lost cause. Your incompetence and shamelessness is shocking, painful, and costly. Under the guise of prison abolition, you have forwarded lawlessness and done a biggest disservice to criminalized communities. It’s also shocking to witness you admitting to perjury and proudly claiming that as a byproduct of your prison abolitionist values.
I am a black transgender woman, a formerly incarcerated person, and a prison abolitionist. I live in a world where my basic existence is a matter of public debate. Lawlessness, deceit, and perjury is not what I stand for, and that’s not what we as prison abolitionists represent. Prison abolition is a living value, and an everyday practice in building a reality where one’s survival is not criminalized.
In your individual and organizational capacity, you have acted beyond your lawful authority, invaded my privacy, and have initiated punitive actions as a response to thwart my attempt to seek remedies through lawful means. The shackles of the legal system that once chained me, are the same ones that I use and have transformed into my tools for justice, and therefore I stand strong in my truth.
As such, this is a formal notice to Black & Pink, including the above named individuals and any other unknown participant (“Black & Pink”) to: (i) cease and desist all further unlawful defamation, slander, and/or libel with regards to your actions and/or statements relating to Monica James, and the misleading narrative of the events that transpired at Black & Pink from March 2017 to December 2017; (ii) to retract a statement that was published, on November 30, 2017 on your website, Black & Pink’s Blog, in an articles headed, “MESSAGE FROM BLACK & PINK LEADERSHIP CIRCLE.” Particular reference is made in the third paragraph of the article, which reads as follows, “The Board (LC) is currently in the process of evaluating executive staff in response to certain actions taken that we believe were outside the scope of the role and not in accordance with the mission of Black and Pink.” (iii) to withdraw every statement made in the letter headed “1Jan18 BP Public Statement” and published via email to your list serve and other undisclosed recipients, with the subject line of “Reflections on the 2017 Black and Pink Leadership Transition Process on January 1, 2018, all of which is libelous; and (iv) to publish a full and complete, unqualified apology within 3 business days.
Such withdrawal and apology is to be printed in at least the same size type and appear of at least equal prominence as the libel complained of above.
Frankly speaking, the entire “1Jan18 BP Public Statement” is defamatory, misleading, manipulative, and per se libelous. However, let me extend the courtesy of directing your attention to some of the most tortious and harmful assertions that specifically address me by my name:
(i) “Prior to Jason stepping down as National Director and the current LC stepping in, Monica engaged in a brief intimate relationship with a B&P member, Frankie. At the time, Frankie had recently been released from incarceration and is now still under community supervision. Their relationship didn’t end amicably, and Monica has escalated a number of serious and untrue allegations against Frankie. Given that Frankie is not only under community supervision, but also because of his status as someone on the sex offender registry, these allegations could potentially carry serious criminal penalties for him.” (Pg. 2, Para 6)
Response: Frankie recorded me without my consent and knowledge during an intimate encounter. My privacy was violated. The fact that Frankie had prior criminal background does not by itself make his actions lawful, and my allegations false. It is beyond comprehension as to how you came to that assessment.
Instead of addressing and supporting me in rectifying and containing the harm, you have attempted to dilute the veracity of my credibility, maligned me, and went on a campaign to attack my reputation, and brought harm to me individually and to the social justice community. YOUR assertion in the above quoted statement implies that you know what you are talking about. That’s clearly not the case. That’s a false assertion. Retract it.
(ii) “ First, Monica alleged via text, which was entered into evidence during the restraining order hearing, that Frankie asked her to traffick children and threatened to report him (See Appendix A).” (Pg. 2, Para 7)
Response: Your statement attempts to confuse the facts, portray me in a false light, and penalize me for seeking legal redress. Retract it.
(iii) “At the National Gathering in August, Monica was discussing registry issues with soon-to-be LC member, David Booth, and she acknowledged that she texted these untrue allegations because the relationship didn’t end positively.” (Pg. 2, Para 7)
Response: Seriously??!! Stop spitting out garbage and making feces up. Stop the lies. I deny your assertion. Retract it.
(iv) “Ultimately, the restraining order was dismissed due to a lack of credible evidence.” (Pg. 3, Para 2)
Response: False. A civil restraining order was not granted because that was not an appropriate remedy or the forum to address the issue of illegal wiretapping by Frankie, and/or employee’s wrongful termination, harassment, and retaliation in response to seeking legal remedies. Your narrative is misleading. Retract it.
(v) “This week, Monica alleged on Facebook that she had been sexually assaulted by a B&P member, accused the LC of conspiring to cover it up, and terminated her for exposing it. Monica’s employment was terminated for reasons unrelated to her conflict with Frankie.” (Pg. 3, Para 2)
Response: Your assertion implies that my account of events is false. I reject your stated assertion. Stop statements are defamatory and in violation my privacy rights. Retract it.
(vi) “In addition to these interpersonal conflicts, LC members, most of whom had never met before and several who had not served on a Board, had to figure out how operate in a Board capacity while adhering to abolitionist principles. There was a steep learning curve that unfortunately led to Tray feeling tokenized. She expressed concerns via email that while the LC was predominantly POC, the five Directors listed with Massachusetts, at that time, did not reflect the current LC and were majority white.
We acknowledged her concerns, and an LC member drafted a document outlining our legal and fiduciary duties as LC members. Regrettably, these duties were not explained to new LC members when they were invited to join. We worked with Tray to ensure people understood their obligations, agreed to follow them, and set a meeting to replace the original LC with the current LC so that Tray could effectively serve in her capacity as National Director. Several LC members offered and then followed through to offload some of Tray’s more administrative tasks, like scheduling meetings and drafting email language, so she could focus on more important National Director work.” (Pg. 4, Para 7; Pg. 5, Para 1-2)
Response: Your assertion is manipulative, contradictory, and misrepresents the truth. Further, your continued actions, despite your admitted ignorance and lack of understanding pertaining to corporate structures and board obligations are in violation of your fiduciary obligations, and may be held liable for nonfeasance. Your actions account to wrongful usurpation, misfeasance, nonfeasance, neglect, self-dealing, and are in violation of your fiduciary duties. Retract it.
(vii) ““Throughout Tray’s suspension, Monica took several actions against B&P including threatening and maligning B&P leaders, working with Tray to contact and dissuade funders, and attempting to extort funds from B&P in return for her silence. Monica demanded a substantial salary increase; a cut of all funds granted to B&P or a large lump-sum payment; and for full control of B&P to be given to Tray, including the ability for Tray to instate an LC of her choosing.” (Pg. 6, Para 7)
Response: Your statements and the portrayal of the actual chain of events is false, malicious, and misleading. Additionally, in November 2017, I, in my individual capacity, became a fellow of Novo Foundation’s Movement to End Violence Program. My fellowship was individually attached to me, and one of the benefits of the fellowship was that an organization associated with me, and supportive of my work was to receive substantial capacity building funds.
The only funder that I contacted was Novo Foundation. To say that I tried to “dissuade funders” is misleading and defamatory. I did what I was supposed to do, and informed Novo Foundation that I am no longer associated with Black & Pink, and so if they were giving funds to you on my account, they should not do so. Retract it.
Black & Pink’s Tortious Conduct must cease and desist immediately and be corrected.
I, Monica James, hereby demand that Black & Pink immediately: (1) cease and desist the above defamatory, false light, tortious interference, and unfair business practices; (2) provide written confirmation of Black & Pink’s compliance with this demand; (3) retract its previously made false and misleading statements, and (4) issue a public apology.
Further, Black & Pink is hereby placed on written notice that Monica James has claims against Black & Pink for violation of state tort laws. Black & Pink is required to take immediate action to preserve all documents and information, including electronic communications, which in any way relate to Monica James and Black & Pink’s Tortious Conduct. Failure to maintain and preserve relevant documents and information will be deemed spoliation and may subject Black & Pink to further damage and sanction by a court of law. I expect to receive a copy of Black & Pink’s litigation hold memorandum confirming Black & Pink’s efforts to preserve all evidence.
Failure to comply with all of the above cease and desist demands by August 6, 2018 shall force me to pursue all available legal remedies, including (a) bringing a lawsuit against Black & Pink for defamation, false light, tortious interference, and unfair business practices, among other claims; ; and (b) seeking monetary damages, injunctive relief, and attorneys’ fees against Black & Pink and any person associated with or employed by Black & Pink who has participated in Black & Pink’s unlawful conduct.
This letter is without prejudice to any and all rights, remedies, and claims of Monica James, all of which is expressly reserved.
Dated: August 1, 2018
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