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Arkansas Non-Profit Cancels Purchase of Homeless Shelter for LGBT Youth After Threat

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Potential Neighbor Threatened to Publicly Disclose Location

Lucie’s Place, an Arkansas non-profit organization, was forced to cancel its purchase of a home in Little Rock that it had hoped would harbor homeless LGBT youth after receiving a threatening, anonymous email from a potential neighbor.

The organization, self-described as a “non-profit organization in Little Rock working with and assisting LGBT young adults experiencing homelessness in Central Arkansas,” provides LGBT youth with bus passes, cell phones, toiletries, clothes, referrals to other programs and case management.

“Individuals are able to utilize the drop-in center to work on job applications, resumes, continuing education, or as a place to hang out during the day when they have nowhere else to go,” their website reads. “For many, this center is the only physical place in town where they can go without fear of discrimination, harassment or violence.”

Lucie’s Place currently has a four-bedroom home to help LGBT youth, and had nearly completed its purchase of a second, seven-bedroom home, when they were forced to cancel the sale.

“Penelope Poppers, executive director of Lucie’s Place, said the nonprofit was midway through the sale and was prepared to close on the property as soon as it received the use permit from the city,” the Arkansas Times reported. “Poppers said the group initially received some pushback from neighbors unhappy about the idea of a homeless shelter in their neighborhood but were able to allay those concerns by explaining its nature: a small residential setting for formerly homeless young people to develop life skills and get back on their feet.”

Poppers told the outlet that pushback had come “before we had a chance to disseminate the correct information,” noting that “once we did, the tide shifted… [neighbors] understood we weren’t going to house a hundred people in this house, that there are rules and guidelines.”

Then Poppers received the following email:

I just received notification that there is some sort of halfway house or homeless shelter being proposed on Harmon [Drive], For LGBTQ persons who are at risk of being homeless. We are supposed to make clear if we oppose or support this idea.

We are completely and 100% opposed to this happening in our neighborhood! While I am completely in support of helping any who are in the situation of homelessness, and used to run a shelter myself in Houston, I am absolutely opposed to this happening in our residential neighborhood. We purchased a home in this neighborhood specifically because it was safe for our children. I do not want to live anywhere near a home like this. Since I have personal experience running a home like this, I am aware of the dangers involved, from a resident disclosing the location of the home, to a person tracking them down, to sneaking drugs in, to having a criminal background that’s undisclosed, etc. This is a terrible idea for our neighborhood! If this passes, I will make it my personal mission to get all of our neighbors involved in disclosing the location of this home to anyone that we can and fighting the forward motion of this plan. This is absolutely unacceptable for this area. I’ve talked to all the neighbors within 500 feet of our house, and every single one of them feels the same way. We will all be attending the meeting to voice our opposition, but if this goes through we will disclose the location of this home to anyone who wants to know, and will fight this every step of the way. I cannot even believe that you would be considering opening a home of this nature in a residential neighborhood, that has many many children all around it. Not to mention elderly, Christians who completely oppose that lifestyle, etc. please take this idea and plant it elsewhere. I think it’s a wonderful idea, just not in this neighborhood!

“One of the important ways in which we protect the residents is not disclosing the location of our house,” the executive director said. “We emphasized in a document [to neighbors] that the privacy of the home is very important. So by saying she would make it her personal mission to disclose the location of the home … she was threatening to take away one of the tools we have to ensure the safety and security of our residents.”

Poppers noted that Lucie’s Place intentionally makes their houses “look just like other houses in the neighborhood” to preserve their anonymity. “We don’t put up any signs or anything like that. That’s why that’s a big deal: because it just can’t be widely known where our houses are. It makes us targets for vandalism, for people driving by, or any one of a million horrible things.”

According to the Times, the group has already made an offer on another house in a different neighborhood. You can learn more about the organization, or donate to their cause, by visiting their website.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

‘Coup Memo’ Think Tank Encouraging ‘Secession-by-Sheriff’ With Latest Project: Report

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A right-wing Claremont Institute is undermining law and order and encouraging secession one county at a time.

The think tank, where coup memo author John Eastman remains a member in good standing, is weaponizing “patriotic law enforcement officers” with its new “Sheriff’s Fellowship” that ties together conservative anger over Black Lives Matter protests, COVID-19 lockdowns and Donald Trump’s election loss to bring so-called “Constitutional Sheriffs” into the mainstream, reported The Bulwark’s Charlie Sykes.

“Our nation’s conservative movement needs a countervailing network of uncorrupted law enforcement officials,” the think tank announced. [We need sheriffs] “not beholden to bureaucratic masters, and whose geographic boundaries, jurisdictional latitude, and — most important — direct connection and responsibility to citizens, places them on the frontlines of the defense of civilization.”

The plan sounds a lot like the Constitutional Sheriffs movement, which has infiltrated law enforcement agencies around the country with specious claims borrowed from the sovereign citizen movement that places the county sheriff as the “highest legitimate law enforcement” in the U.S. and claims they have authority to determine which laws are constitutional.

“Think of it as militias with badges, guns, and formal law enforcement powers,” Sykes wrote. “Or, if you like, secession-by-sheriff.”

Trump and his administration encouraged the sheriffs’ movement and openly backed leading figures such as Arizona’s Joe Arpaio and Wisconsin’s David Clarke, and former attorney general Jeff Sessions praised the “Anglo-Saxon heritage” of the office — which the Claremont Institute also did in a recent fundraising letter.

“The current revolution against the American regime, involving as it does both crime and political malfeasance, requires a coordinated response from patriotic law enforcement officers,” the letter reads. “Sheriffs are appropriate for this response. Since their beginnings as ‘shire-reeves’ (‘county watchmen’) centuries ago in England, sheriffs have been intimately connected with, and answerable to, the people of their “shires” and therefore the first layer of protection, and last line of defense, for the people’s rights.”

Another Arizona sheriff, Pinal County’s Mark Lamb, has emerged as a leading figure among militia-minded right-wing sheriffs who are loyal to Trump and supportive of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“If Claremont gets its way, there will be sheriffs like Joe Arpaio, David Clarke, and Mark Lamb all across the country,” Sykes wrote. “You are not worried nearly enough about what that might mean.”

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CRIME

Josh Duggar Dealt Another Blow as Judge Refuses to Suppress Video Evidence in His Child Porn Case

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Josh Duggar was dealt yet another blow on Monday, after a judge refused his attorneys’ request to suppress video evidence in his bombshell child pornography case.

Duggar, once a darling of the religious right, an executive for an anti-LGBTQ hate group, and a “19 Kids and Counting” reality TV star, was arrested by U.S. Marshals and charged with two counts of receiving and possessing child pornography. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security was involved in the investigation.

“In Mr. Duggar’s case, he has not shown that federal agents acted with reckless disregard for proper procedure,” U.S. District Judge Timothy L. Brooks said Monday in denying attorneys’ requests, as the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reports. “And he certainly has not shown that the agents acted in bad faith. Moreover, Mr. Duggar cannot show he was prejudiced by any delay; the devices remained in law enforcement’s safe keeping throughout this time period, and the probable cause warranting the initial seizure of the devices remained viable through the date of indictment.”

In 2015 news broke that Duggar had molested four of his sisters and a babysitter when he was a teenager, according to his parents.

Just three weeks ago the judge refused nearly all of Duggar’s attorneys’ requests, including dismissal of all charges.

His attorneys have tried to get photographs that include the 33-year old Arkansas native’s hands and feet suppressed, and even tried to have the case dismissed because the head of the Department of Homeland Security at the time of the investigation under then-President Donald Trump was, according to a federal judge, “unlawfully” appointed.

Trial is scheduled to begin November 30.

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RIGHT WING EXTREMISM

Glenn Youngkin Brags About Support From Opponents of LGBTQ Equality Just Weeks Ahead of Virginia Election

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Republican Glenn Youngkin is continuing to rally anti-abortion and anti-LGBTQ extremists in his bid to become Virginia’s next governor. Most Virginians support legal equality, including marriage equality, and most Virginians believe abortion should be legal in all or most circumstances, but Youngkin continues to seek and tout endorsements from groups that oppose LGBTQ equality and want to make abortion illegal. Youngkin has told activists that he will go “on offense” against reproductive choice once elected, and he has refused to say whether he supports marriage equality.

In a press release dated Oct. 8, Youngkin boasted about endorsements from the Family Research Council’s political arm, the Virginia Society for Human Life PAC, and longtime anti-abortion and anti-equality activist Penny Nance, head of Concerned Women for America.

FRC supports “total abortion bans” that criminalize abortion at all stages. The organization has been designated an anti-LGBTQ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and has long promoted anti-Muslim bigotry. None of that kept Youngkin from agreeing to speak at FRC’s annual conference for religious-right activists earlier this month, where speakers delivered Christian nationalist and bigoted messages. Delivering his own speech, Youngkin urged the activists, “Lock arms with me!”

A Youngkin campaign press release touting the latest endorsements included a long quote from FRC’s Tony Perkins smearing the Democratic nominee as a threat to religious freedom and claiming that Youngkin “understands the values that are important to Virginians.”

Nance has devoted much of her professional life to making abortion illegal and worked tirelessly to help former President Donald Trump pack the Supreme Court and other federal courts with like-minded judges. She spearheaded a $500,000 campaign backing the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh. Nance is also a strident opponent of LGBTQ equality, even opposingreauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act because CWA claimed it would create “new protections for homosexuals.” When the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated at a gay couple’s wedding, Nance sent an email with the subject line, “Ruth Traitor Ginsburg.”

Even though Virginians soundly rejected Trump, Nance claimed that the Trump-endorsed Youngkin will “uphold the values of Virginians.”

The Virginia Society for Human Life is an affiliate of National Right to Life, which supports abortion bans, including the recent extreme Texas law that bans abortion as early as six weeks and is now being challenged in federal courts. In September, Youngkin’s campaign touted National Right to Life’s endorsement, along with that of the anti-choice Susan B. Anthony List.

 

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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