Got a gun? You get none!

Women. Have. Power.

Archive for the category “Community”

Well, if Spike Lee says so…

So, imagine my surprise when friends started calling me up to talk about Spike Lee’s new movie, ChiRaq. Now, a new Spike Lee movie is ALWAYS cause for conversation in certain circles, and mine is no exception. But my friends insisted that this particular movie would be even more interesting to me. The storyline? Women withholding sex to stop the violence in Chicago. Hello! Now that got my attention.

GQ magazine reported that Spike Lee thinks that sex strikes will become “a thing”. Truth be told, such strikes were already a thing and have been used time and time again, on the small stage (at home) and on the larger stage (politically). But hey, if Spike is talking about this, let’s see what can happen.

Chiraq opens in theatres on December 4. Let’s keep the conversation going. #ChiraqTheMovie


They can’t stop us

“If the gun extremists want to attack me, they have a constitutional right to do so, but don’t ever think that they will stop us from believing in nonviolence approaches to cure the sicknesses that are ailing our communities.” — Russell Simmons, The Anti-Violence Approach to Violence

International Day of the Girl: A Strong Message

I just has a conversation with some young women at work with and I am scared for the young women of this generation…
Young women please think of yourselves as BENTLEYs ….Not many people can afford one… Stop being HONDAs….Trust me YOU do not have to belittle yourself to be with a man ….You don’t have to have a child to keep a man….What will help you to achieve your goals in life is to always remember to respect yourself in every way possible….Educate yourself and i don’t mean going to school …yes that is a part of it….look for strong female role models that are doing positive things with their lives and have that conversation….Find a Sister Circle with like-minded people who can help you elevate yourself….let go of the passa passa…and the mix up …stop skinout on BBM and Fassbook… Malcolm X said to educate a man is to educate an individual …but to Educate a Woman it To Educate and LIBERATE a NATION…..So Young Women read this knowing that it is coming from a place of love…. One Love and please share your comments …. — Elaine R.

Pick you battles…and your allies

The last few days have been quite the worldwind of media attention. Thank you to CBC’s Ontario Today for giving us the first mainstream opportunity to take this conversation from Facebook and the blog to the airwaves. And thank you, somewhat, to the other media outlets that didn’t quite put in the effort required to create news and report accurately…but still helped to draw attention to the discussion, although with the sour taint of sex scandal dressed up and misrepresented to attract as many readers and listeners as possible.

And a special thank you to those who actually came to visit the site, maybe even read something, and tried to get a sense of what we are really talking about. Now that we’re all here, we’d like to lay out some groundrules.

Please consider this blog to be a virtual living room. In this virtual living room, we are having a conversation about the issue of harbouring and enabling armed criminals and potential criminals in our families and in our communities. You are welcome to join in. Make yourself comfortable. Stay for awhile. See what others have shared. Add your own thoughts and ideas.

This is NOT a conversation about self-proclaimed “law-abiding gun owners” nor is this conversation about hunters, sport shooters, people in the army, police, collectors, or any of the other “firearm owners” who are worried about gun control and a loss of rights. This blog is neither about you nor for you.

If the issues of criminal gun use do not affect you, your family, or your communities, please do not feel obligated to participate. However, your insight may prevent another Eaton’s Centre shooting or Just Desserts. Gun violence does not just impact the places where we think it should. We may all be one cappuccino or croissant away from facing these problems ourselves.

Like in any other living room, in this conversation you will be expected to respect the rules of the house. If your purpose is to ridicule without adding anything to the discussion, don’t expect to see your comments posted here. Unnecessary verbiage may be edited for clarity. We are trying to discuss real issues. Anything less is a waste of everyone’s time, and certain types of comments only make it difficult for those who actually want to participate in this discussion.

Do women really love the bad boys?

Tomorrow Guns Get None will be featured on CBC radio’s Ontario Today, a call-in show where listeners can share their opinions, ask their questions, and basically let their voices be heard. The time is 12 noon to 1PM and the call-in number is 1-888-817-8995. In Toronto, you can listen on your radio at 99.1FM or also listen live online at

Today’s question came out of a conversation I had…it seems that some people feel the idea of asking women to say no to sex with gunmen would be ineffective because women actually choose those men because of their thug gangster lifestyle. For any number of reasons (money, prestige, excitement, even low self esteem on our part), many of we women select this type of man and prefer this type of man. Sometimes violence is actually an integral part of the relationship. Or it may be the thrill of perceived power.

Do you think this is an accurate perspective? Are women actually embracing and encouraging the gangster lifestyle? Or are we more often turning a blind eye to it and wishing that it would go away? Do we have an individual responsibility to actively work to stop violence in our communities, or should we just live and let live? (That is, unless we get shot.)

Mother the sons, raise the daughters

“There is a saying that black women mother their sons and raise their daughters; when it comes to my mother, the saying is too true. My mother raised me — there were a lot of hard times, times when we both were hurt and angry, nevertheless I am the woman I am today because of her. But my mother let my brother Malcolm walk all over her ever since he was a child. Her way of looking after Malcolm was something I emulated, not out of concern for my brother, but to please my mother. Eventually, though, I became so fed up that I got tougher on him. I felt sympathy and wanted to support Malcolm and all the young brothers in his situation. But unlike my mother and the black women of my childhood, I wasn’t going to support a black man at the expense of myself.” — Veronica Chambers, from her book “Mama’s Girl, a memoir”

Must Read: I Wish I Had A Red Dress

Pearl Cleage’s compelling story of young women struggling in relationships with criminal or violent men and raising their children has all the bases covered: women who are facing cycles of boredom, poverty, low self-esteem, but come together to learn to be “free women;” men who are frustrated and angered by lack of opportunities and trapped in a fruitless quest for respect; a mother who is unwilling or unable to take responsibility for her sons that terrorize both the community that they live in and the women they claim to love; a well-meaning, overzealous social worker, the ever-present funding crisis, wise elders, community deterioration alongside hopeful innovation, and the requisite amount of drama, judgement, friendships and love. I Wish I Had A Red Dress is a must-read for anyone, male or female, committed to social programs for young people, gun control, stopping violence against women…and the list goes on. If you’ve already read it, share your thoughts. If you haven’t read it, please do, and then tell us what you think. I especially like the character Tee (Tomika) who is already on the “guns get none” ideology, turning her back on the kind of relationships she has always known and holding out for her own “Denzel” — her best idea of a do-right man.

Bottom line: you may not agree with everything, or anything, in the book but it’s still worth the conversation.

Feature Film: Doomstown


I just saw this movie on CTV tonight. Doomstown, a Canadian television movie about gang violence, was aired on CTV in 2006. I was amazed at how many of the issues that we have been talking about were so succinctly portrayed in this film. Drug dealing, the quest for respect, immigrant communities, the role of mothers (including young babymothers), the absence of fathers, harbouring, snitching, children, religion, responsibility, love/attraction, and of course violence and death. The character of Monica was especially interesting, the local unattainable woman, who won’t let certain kinds of brothers get next to her…but they sure do want to! What would a man be willing to give up for a chance to get with a woman like that? It was kind of like that Chris Rock line: “Damn baby, what do I got to DO to get next to YOU??”

Apparently it’s almost impossible to find the movie but I’ll be keeping my eyes open and would be glad for any information from anyone who knows how to get this film. It would be great to have a discussion about this film. I would sure want to talk about the threat of violence against the families of people who “snitch” or talk to police. Question: Do you think that there is any excuse for violent retribution if someone that is known in the community shoots your mother? Your sister? Your child? That situation evoked a LOT of outburst from the people watching the film with me. Your thoughts?

Problems with the Police

“Yes i would lie to the police straight up the justice system has failed society and im sure we have all lied to the police at sometime…sometimes we lie to protect i would hate to know i was the cause of my childs incarceration and imagine how they would feel…prevention is the best medicine teach and guide your children and you shouldnt have anything to worry about that all you can do!!!” — D.J.B.

“I think the real problem is our community has been harassed and abused so much by the police that even if we need their help we are reluctant to ask for it. almost as reluctant as they are to give it.” — Dene S.

“The more I ask this question, the more I appreciate the fact that there is a sliding scale of where we will “handle it on our own” and where we will flat out call the po po. So stealing a bike vs stealing a car. I guess what i can’t wrap my head around knowing my child has committed a more heinous crime and feeling that they are being protected by not turning them over to the police. So what they have done being wrong is not at issue, just that one doesn’t trust the police so justice will be served better at home? What if this same child commits another crime, or one more serious?… I am no big fan of the police for various reasons, but I feel I can talk to the issue, because I have worked with them many times trying to find solutions to these ‘silence’ problems. It has been said many times, we all hate the police until its our own child’s murder that they have to look for, then we are all up in their ass for them to “do their jobs!” But this isn’t about the police or anyone outside of our community… Our children are killing each other, and we need to keep talking, and asking questions, and sharing information. We need to engage these kids in activities that keep them off the street. Not wait for another program to be created by the city, create engaging activities on our own! When is the last time you grabbed your ‘neighbours’ kids and went to the park? Sat and read a book with you niece? We are willing to work second jobs to afford the car, how about taking the bus and saving a child. I’m not speaking to any one person’s life, so please don’t try to make it about that… I am just saying if we all made a little sacrifice, WE could be the change needed versus waiting for a city run program to do it.” — Mikey W.

Who is our enemy?

On the issue of harbouring and supporting the “criminals” in our homes and communities: The men (yes, it’s mostly men) who do the shooting and killing and drug-dealing and terrorizing ARE our lovers, our husbands, our brothers, our sons, our FAMILY, our friends. So WHO IS OUR ENEMY? Is the enemy the people who are committing the crimes against our families and communities? Is the enemy the police who we can’t seem to trust? Do we protect ourselves against the criminals who may be our very own children? Or do we protect OUR criminals (because no doubt, they are OURS) against the police? This is a hard question that requires some REAL talks.

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