Monday, October 28, 2013

Victory at Last! Louisiana has Removed Hundreds of Individuals Unconstitutionally Placed on Sex Offender Registry

From our friends at Women With A Vision.

Today, all of us at WWAV celebrate a huge victory not only for those who have been criminalized through the Crime Against Nature by Solicitation statute, but for all women and LGBTQ people who have been criminalized across the globe.  The class action lawsuit we filed with the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), Andrea J. Ritchie, Esq., and the Loyola University New Orleans College of Law, Law Clinic challenging the CANS statute finally wrapped up.  Over 800 individuals with CANS convictions have officially been removed from the Louisiana sex offender registry.

When WWAV started this fight five years ago, we were told that we couldn’t win – that a small, black-led organization in the South couldn’t win a victory on this scale.  But we pressed on.  We came together, using a grassroots framework to engage community to affect change.

To quote Ms. Michelle, one of our NO Justice clients who has been on the Sex Offender Registry since 1980, ” I can taste my FREEDOM!”  All of us can.

We also know that this is but one step in realizing the healing that our community needs.  The women and LGBTQ people that WWAV supports continue to bear the scars of the war on drugs, mass incarceration, systemic poverty, HIV/AIDS and domestic violence.

So today we celebrate.  And still we rise.

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