I broke my silence about what happened to Ashley Yates and refrianed from sharing too much of my opinion in order to make sure her story is being told. Today, I will be going deeper into what has transpired and what continues to transpire in this situation.
On Thursday, Ashley broke her silence in an email outlining the abuse that she had to endure during her relationship with Shanelle Matthews. While it was a liberating moment for her to break her long silence, the response from the Network leadership was and still is tepid. I was included in the email thread and I saw WHO got the email... I saw who responded. In this moment, people I really care about and look up to have disappointed me in their silence. Silence that gives the feeling of cover up, that gives the sense of being diminished and I refuse to sit by and be silent. So before I continue here is the original email thread:
The response from Nikita Mitchell (BLM staff) gave me a little hope just by responding...
Thank you for this letter, and for the push to be in a process of transparency and accountability.
We, BLM Global Network leadership, are taking this very seriously. Speaking for myself, as the Director of Organizing, I am committed to co-creating a process that is rooted in our guiding principles, transformative justice, and our deep commitment to our values and shared liberation.
You didn’t state it explicitly, but it sounds like a process of transformative justice is a good next step. If you agree, I think it’s best to have this process held by someone outside of us who shares can move the process forward, and generate outcomes that offer accountability and transformation. I can begin doing outreach to neutral third parties, and suggest someone this week.
Two questions: Are you open to this facilitated process? And, if so, can you get on a call with me today or tomorrow to determine next steps?
We have spoken to Shanelle, and she is committed to this process."
But what is transformative justice?
Transformative justice - Is a general philosophical strategy for responding to conflicts. It takes the principles and practices of restorative justice beyond the criminal justice system. It applies to areas such as environmental law, corporate law, labor-management relations, consumer bankruptcy and debt, and family law. Transformative justice uses a systems approach, seeking to see problems, as not only the beginning of the crime but also the causes of crime, and tries to treat an offense as a transformative relational and educational opportunity for victims, offenders and all other members of the affected community. In theory, a transformative justice model can apply even between peoples with no prior contact.
I am really confused by the silence of folks at every level of the network, especially the ones who can make a decison to REALLY deal with this situation. Most likely they are behind the email and website response , but It is just isnt enough. honestly, it never will be enough to take back the pain Ashley felt and he follow up email from Nakita (which may very well be "well meaning") sounds like they are putting the responsibility on Ashley to handle a situation....
Nikita: "Good Morning,
Ashley, I am following up on my previous email regarding our recommendation that a Transformative Justice process happens in order for the multitude of harm to be addressed and resolved. Since your last communications, we have seen your Medium post and your call for accountability. We fully support a process that brings accountability to the forefront, as well as, restoration.
Again I ask if you would be open to a TJ process, and if so I would love to get on the phone with you soon to help shape said process. We are not trying to dictate or guide it, but want to be of absolute support. Shanelle has also committed to going through a TJ process, and have taken a leave of absence from her staff position to purse this process with integrity.
Please email me or call me at [REDACTED] so that we can chat.
...that only BLM staff can rectify. Which is how to deal with Shanelle being in a leadership roll while calling out all forms of abuse and injustice. The word liability comest to mind and thats exactly what Shanelle is now. The fact is that Shanelle took it upon herself to write a response, that contained microaggressive gaslighing and tepid admission to her role in abusing Ashley:
There is little doubt that this statement was drafted after the email thread occurred and right before the official email that circulated internally, along with their subsequent pubic statement. SEE BELOW.
THE INTERNAL RESPONSE
THE PUBLIC RESPONSE
WHY THE NETWORK RESPONSE IS PROBLEMATIC