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To: “Julienne Goins”
Subject: Re: i need your help.
Content-Type: multipart/mixed; boundary=—–=_Next_Item:A3CB49KFSA19
Date: Sat, 22 Nov 1997 12:22:00
I really feel for you in this nonsense. This makes me realise how lucky I am in my work environment not to have to go through what you are going through, considering that I work in a necessarily hierarchical and unfortunately patriarchal organisation, that also includes an overabundance of dim lights.
Obviously it would be dangerous for me to recommend a strategy for you as I am firstly not totally versed in civil law, neither in my home province or your state, nor do I know the whole situation, and nor I do pay the price for your behaviour. However, it is overwhelmingly really appearant [sic] that you are dealing with harassment, plain and simple. However that is not in dispute, so I won’t dwell on it too much.
I am beginning to get the feeling this Lewis person is trying to cut the discussion off by not allowing comparisons between the evils that have been done to americans of African ancestry, by americans of northern European ancestry, then he already knows that he is in a losing position. Although the injustices are not comparable in scale, the effect on the individual in the area of work are. There is this sweet little old lady who now lives in north-central Detroit, who got so fed up with the indignties [sic] she had to face in the fifties in the south just doing something as mundane as getting from one part of a city to another she just ignored the law by refusing to give up her seat to a white man. She didn’t set out to be a heroine, she doesn’t understand why so many cities have named major roads after her, she just didn’t want deal with the indignties [sic] of being considered less than a person. That’s all you’re asking for yourself, you don’t want to make a big issue of it, all you want is fairness.
I’d love to write my major essay in women’s history about her, but alas I can’t because my course is a European history course….
So basically I feel that a verbal confrentation [sic] is going to be useless in your situation. I don’t know what civil disobedience would be in a private work setting, but it may be your only way of winning, though I know you don’t want to win, you just want some dignity. And if you don’t know who I’m thinking of, then maybe it’s not a good idea to allude to Rosa Parks…:)
> I cut him off, saying, “And yes, I know about hate crimes, being stalked, intolerance, prejudice and phobia all too well. Moreover, I’m *not* making this an issue of race. Don’t start.”
>Once I realised that the confrontation was degenerating to his semantics and his refusal to listen to my concerns, I looked at him, and I said, “I really wish you had not said what you have in here today.” I stood up
and excused myself, leaving the other three behind in his office.
>I’m at impasse. I am a little scared right now, but I feel I know what needs to be done_which explains my fear completely. I chance losing my job, which, it itself, is not a big deal in the long run, but I risk to sacrifice my financial security in the short term. I have gone through the periods of not having money to eat or pay the bills, and I do not wish to regress to that. I am fortunately looking outside for alternate offers, and the good news is there are interviews I will be attending next week with prospective employers. Regardless, if I do step into a women’s washroom (this is beginning to sound ridiculous), Lewis may attempt to fire me, which might be what has to be done before I can talk to legal experts in civil matters. I would presume that contacting the American Civil Liberties Union would be a prudent step, but I understand that they are not a legal consulting firm. I guess my question to you all is this: what would you do in this situation? Would you call an attourney? [sic] Would you take the matter to suit? Would you know people already versed in civil rights matters that you could reach? Have the way I handled the issue, based on your understanding of the matter, been unprofessional or not the best way in dealing with it?
>In the next couple of days, I will be taking very ginger steps towards coming to a final decision. If I do accept an offer with another organisation, should I sod Lewis’s ruling and use the washrooms anyway, chancing to being caught? If so, and if he were to fire me, then would that be grounds for discrimination?
Jennifer Davis Women’s Studies/ Poli Sci III
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