portland independent media center  
images audio video
newswire article reporting global

economic justice | human & civil rights

DIALOGUE REQUESTED, caretakers' rights legal case

I am fighting for caretakers' rights. Everyone should pay attention to this, because, for example, Rosa Parks very well may not have stood up for her rights if she did not have her husband to take care of their kids while she got arrested and went to jail. Caretaking is not legally recognized in the US, and so we are made to do it for free, basically. Furthermore, while we are raising the next generation, men are free to put in longer hours in the non-caretaking world, thus enabling them to structure things in that world to their advantage. So, women are damned if we do, damned if we don't, and the whole dynamic runs off of the fact that if there are to be children and a future, caretaking will be used as a tool to deny basic equality and freedom.
I have to get off of this computer in seven minutes, so I am just putting in an exerpt from a letter I sent to a caretaker's rights organization today. It summarizes things pretty well, but by no means is all of the story. I would like comments and dialogue on this, please. This is happening in Portland, Oregon:

"I just went to court today for the local housing (breech of contract) matter, brought up valid legal points, was ignored, and "lost."
The bad thing about it is, like I told judge Ryan, that to throw me onto the streets was to seal this case both in terms of my ability to appeal the housing matter, as well as the substantive constitutional matters. He knew that throwing me on the street--like I told him about, proven by my own past experience--would mean that I could not advocate for myself and my daughter.
I felt this was so unspeakably wrong, that I used the 10th Amendment. I used it later today in another judges chambers (the presiding judge Koch). As has been said about the underreported upon 10th Amendment, "all is retained which is not surrendered." I told him that that Amendment was OURS, not his, and it is our protection against tyranny in the government, because the government is not God, and their word is not final as he was trying to make it seem. I told him that The People have the power to change or abolish ANY form of government that is destructive to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness--including county courthouse rules that prevent me from seeking redress.
He just said he would not comply. If I told him I would not leave until he complied, he would have just called in security. In the past, women and men have been jailed and killed for their political views, especially if someone was outspoken. But family law and the prospect of being thrown on the streets with children is so oppressive of women that we don't need to be jailed or killed to be controlled. Hell, family law works so well that we cannot even enlighten our sisters that we have hell to pay if we just put our children over "the law." When I asked judge Ryan, who handled the breech of contract matter, how could he possibly think that I could handle all these cases (potentially four cases); caretake; deal with the onslaught of troubles I was facing as a result of my time taken away from caretaking, AND which I tried to prevent in the beginning with a restraining order (but was ignored); deal with my mother who has less than 4 months to live and whom I am giving a kidney to; and keep this case alive by making it public--he told me he was "sorry for my personal troubles."
I then saw a nice lawyer who I knew in the courthouse (he won't take my case though), and he said that the legal system is designed to "bury" people. But to bury mothers--what gives--we are the ones who contribute "contributors" to society (in that sense, we are the essence of the law)--and a "crime" is an act against society.......therefore, isn't harming a mother's ability to caretake a "crime" against society and nature?!?!?!?!?
I could get into more of the technical details of the course of events, but I won't unless you or someone else asks for it.
Anyway, I am disgusted. I have been fighting this for seven years, and if me and my daughter are not out of our place by the 11th, it will ruin our credit, making it even harder to find a place to live. We already live at half of the poverty rate, which is flat-out violent, and I can almost guarantee that every place we could live would involve some kind of under the radar domestic violence, and/or extreme living difficulty. How can caretaking be so "dangerous" that I would have to be treated like this?"
Can you offer more details? 05.Jun.2006 22:42

Racheal

It is difficult to understand what it is that you want dialogue on. Did you get evicted for a housing breech of contract? Was the contract violated under housing law? What is the nature of the violation? What is it that has been claimed as the violation? Is your housing state subsidized? What is it exactly that you have been fighting for seven years?

Look forward to hearing from you. Hope you find some answers here.

Hi Rachael 06.Jun.2006 18:21

Yvette

I just want dialogue and comments, whatever. Mother's rights is an emerging issue, partly because mothers were "forgotten" by the 60's feminists. We realize that we are treated like a giant cost absorbing sponge to put it conservatively, and we are starting to speak out. I just want people to be thinking about this and talking about it, and commenting to get something going on it.
I did not get evicted for a breech of contract (at least I don't think so).
What I've been fighting for seven years is family "law." Family law corporatizes the American family, which is profitable for men, and women and children pay dearly. That's just the tip of the iceburg, in the area of legal practice (family law) that lawyers call "the armpit," and which I have seen in at least one reference, as the single branch of law that has no roots or branchlets--it is basically "separate" from the law. It is an area of law that actually hands over developmentally disabled children to their rapist-fathers, just because the mom was being a good mom and reported it to the family court. The judges will do this just because the mom speaks out, despite pediatric and child-psychologist testimony!!!!! Family law does not recognize a mother's authority as the one who is responsible for the child. If the caretaker is not recognized, anything can happen to the child.
Family law says that me and my daugher are worth half of the poverty rate, and since I advocate for our rights instead of being another cog in the machine, I do it without pay. Poverty changes a person's behavior, and I did went into a verbal rent-to-own agreement with friends, because if I insisted on a written contract, they could have just bullied me by changing the terms or denying it, and then I would not have any choices in where else to live. I had to take this rent-to-own deal and get independence if I was ever going to be able to get my advocacy off the ground.
When my friends breeched their contract with me in April, I then filed suit with the feds, based on the legal non-personhood of mothers...then I tried to file the breech of contract suit with the county courthouse, but the judge gave me the runaround and wouldn't let me file anything...then my friends sued me (the judge determined that their invalid evidence was valid, and inferred that my evidence was a lie, and he ignored the fact that putting me on the streets would not allow me to seek redress in this local matter as well as the federal matter)...so now, because of the way the county courthouse has handled this case, I have grounds to sue them (or the state, or whatever) as well. That puts the lawsuit count to four.
I guess you could say that, by continuing to live in my house and fighting for it, I "violated" the month to month rental agreement that my friends bullied me into signing. I don't consider that a violation of anything though, because the law didn't protect me from them enough that I could have had a fair contract, so I don't consider it a real contract. But they used it....
Does that help? Thanks for reading my article and asking questions.--