Sister Spirit - corrections and needs (LONG)
Tue, 21 Dec 1993 00:34:44 -0400 (EDT)
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Please, the hostility for Camp Sister Spirit is growing and
the dangers are real ... don't take the following as anything
but straightening out a few quotes. The situation remains critical,
dangerous, and totally wrong for the United States. The
Mississippi religious supremacist would force their views on
As an ex newspaper reporter who did a of investigative
work, I hang my head low... I didn't triple check some sources
and the story on Sister Spirit camp came out a bit off center from
what went on ...
(I had depended on several women who were friends of the
Hensons and allegedly were privy to what was going on; they
said they were "quoting" telephone calls ... oh, well ... BUT, and I
can't emphasize this too much, the situation at Sister Spirit camp
is critical - THE DANGER IS REAL.)
I spoke directly with Wanda tonight (Monday 12-20-93) and
this is what she said:
The food bank, clothes closet and women's advocacy has not
being done directly at Camp Sister Spirit in Ovett, Ms., but at the
original location of Sister Spirit in Gulfport, Ms., but they have
been getting women
calling them for help at Camp Sister Spirit - especially since they
have been getting publicity. "We can advocate and help
them by listening and referring," Wanda said. "One woman called
from Memphis seeking help."
The Hensons see Camp Sister Spirit primarily as a feminist
education retreat center where women can learn, have workshops
and seminars, hold meetings, etc. They will be dealing primarily
with poor or working class women, and therefor the money base is
thin. Wanda said there are no women's studies programs at
Mississippi colleges and universities.
In practical terms, there are actually TWO Sister Spirits -
the original (and still operating) in Gulfport, Ms., which has the
advocacy programs, food bank, clothes closet, etc. and Camp Sister
Spirit which is the 120-acre recently purchased farm in Ovett, Ms.
The Camp Sister Spirit is the one under attack - and the attacks
Okay, next the dog. It was a female dog, but not their
personal pet. My source had said there was a mob - the "mob"
scene was a misplaced retelling of the meeting of some 250 people
who had gathered December 6 to organize against Sister Spirit.
The Ovett residents and the ministers' remarks about the lesbians
and the dangers that they perceived were correctly quoted:
"These people can pick up our little girls and take them to this
place and do whatever they want to do."
Some of the residents led by several fundamental type
ministers are pledged to driving the women from the land.
AND YES, men have been getting onto the property - there
is about 1/2 mile of the property that in unfenced and the solid,
tin fencing will cost about $2500. There ARE shots in the night.
The Hensons have appealed to the local authorities who have
stated, contrary to their oaths of office, to stand with the
religious supremacists ministers, and are considering the moral
issues above the women's legal rights.
The Hensons have invited representatives from the Justice
Department (FBI, etc.) to go down and monitor the situation and
see that no one is exaggerating. They have been told the FBI is
looking into it but have seen no one who identified themselves as
from the government. The County supervisors have said they will
stand with the moral issue.
"The hostility is growing," Wanda said.
She also said that their interview on the Oprah show didn't
click - that they really didn't get a chance to tell their story. It
will be aired Tuesday, December 21.
They will, however, be studied by the 20/20 TV show crew
from January 2 through the 5th - and the next Jones County
(Ovett, Ms) anti-Camp Sister Spirit meeting is scheduled for
Wanda said their attorney is seeking legal means to defuse
the situation and that about five different people will probably be
The following is an exact quote: Camp Sister Spirit is a
feminist education retreat in rural Ovett, Mississippi. Founded by
Sister Spirit, Inc., Sister Spirit is a community based, IRS
recognized 501(c) (3) organization committed to providing people
counseling, information, education, referral, advocacy and meeting
space to address social issues."
In answer to some questions, they have a 486 IBM
computer - obtained before the attacks - and they will be
installing an exterior modem. I'll be talking them through how to
Contributions are tax deductible.
Brenda and Wanda Henson, Sister Spirit Inc., 1806 Curcor
Drive, Gulfport, Ms., 39507, telephone 601-344-1411, or Camp Sister
Spirit, PO Box 12, Ovett, Ms 39464.
They need money, chain saws (to cut trees around the
property boundaries), generators, CB radio, hand tools,
toiletries/hygiene items, canned food, kitchen equipment for large
groups, and a security light system.
Women are coming to the land to help protect and some of
them don't have the financial means to support themselves. Wanda
said she welcomed everyone but they have to have the financial
means to support themselves while they are there. "We just don't
have the money."
The Newsweek article about the Hensons was headlined:
MISSISSIPPI BURNING. Perhaps y'll should rent the movie and see
that nightmare of intolerance all over again and remember, rural
Mississippi is a world unto itself.
Don't, please, let any of these corrections take away the
horror, the danger, and the potential for terrible tragedy that the
misguided folks of Jones County, Mississippi are instigating by
placing their personal religious beliefs above the law.
This is a civil rights issues. This is a constitutional
-- irenestuber @