Thursday is the 50th anniversary of the Martin Luther King Jr’s March on Washington and his landmark “I have a dream” speech. Yesterday, thousands of people descended to Washington to commemorate the historic event and celebrate the progress we have made toward racial equality.
Tomorrow is the 42nd annual Women’s Equality Day, a designation created by a Joint Resolution of Congress in 1971 at the behest of Congresswoman Bella Abzug of New York to commemorate the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave women the right to vote. The 19th Amendment was ratified on August 18, 1920.
GoTopless.org seeks to make a woman’s right to go topless part of the American Dream. Since 2007, when their spiritual leader Rael founded the organization, GoTopless has held an International GoTopless Day on the Sunday closest to August 26. That’s today this year. GoTopless is holding rallies in 51 cities around the world. In many of those cities, and in most states in the United States, going topless is already legal, according to the organization’s own map.
Today in New York City, where the right to go topless was degreed by a Court decision in 1996 and reaffirmed in 2007 when Phoenix Feeley won a $29,000 Judgment against the City for her wrongful 2005 arrest for going topless, Go Topless advocates are marching from Bryant Park to Times Square and back. Street vendors should stock up on sunscreen and hydrocortisone.
Here in New Jersey, Feeley’s recent efforts fell, umm, flat. She got herself arrested for going topless, twice in the same day, in Spring Lake in 2008, fought her conviction of violating Spring Lake’s anti-nudity ordinance up to the NJ Supreme Court and lost. Rather than pay her $816 fine, Feeley went to Monmouth County Jail and staged a hunger strike. A GoTopless organized protest drew two fully clothed women. Feeley was released early and healthy.
At the March on Washington celebration yesterday, women kept their tops on.
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Posted: August 25th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Equal Protection Clause, U.S. Constitution | Tags: American Dream, Anastacia Maness, Bella Abzug, Bobbi Bennett, Elizabeth Wells Hutchison, GoTopless.org, I Have a Dream, March on Washington, Martin Luther King JR, Phoenix Feeley, Sylvia Jones, Women's Equality Day | 4 Comments »
Topless advocate Phoenix Feeley was released from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution, on good time credit, this morning at 9am, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Cynthia Scott.
At no time during her incarceration was Feeley’s health in danger. Despite her hunger strike, she was constantly monitored by the jail’s medical staff. At all times her vital signs were good.
Bill Spadea’s Chasing Jersey reported last night that Feeley is willing to die in Monmouth County Jail for women’s right to go topless wherever men do.
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That was never going to happen. A source in the Sheriff’s Office told MMM that if Feeley’s health was ever endangered, a Court Order would have been sought to force feed her intravenously.
Posted: August 14th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Monmouth County Correctional Institution | Tags: Cynthia Scott, GoTopless.org, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Phoenix Feeley | 11 Comments »
Nadine Gary, President, GoTopless.org
August 12, 2013
Dear Honorable Congressman Pallone,
My name is Nadine Gary, and I’m writing to you on behalf of GoTopless (www.gotopless.org), a U.S. women’s group devoted to obtaining our constitutional right to go topless in public wherever men have that right.
During Asbury Park’s Night Out last week, you were asked by reporter Art Gallagher about GoTopless activist Phoenix Feeley, who is currently into Day 8 of the hunger strike she has begun as an inmate at the Monmouth County Jail. This brave woman has not only gone to jail, serving a 16 day sentence but stopped eating to protest discriminatory topless laws in New Jersey.
Ms. Feeley went through the N.J. court system to fight for her constitutional rights and she is now appealing her case to the U.S. Supreme Court. We hope it will rule on this important gender equality issue that until now has been neglected at the federal level.
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Posted: August 12th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Equal Protection Clause, Frank Pallone, U.S. Constitution | Tags: Frank Pallone, GoTopless.org, Nadine Gary, Phoenix Feeley | 11 Comments »
Two women, one from Mercer County and one from Ocean County, showed up at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution this morning to protest hunger striking Phoenix Feeley’s incarceration and anti-toplessness laws. They kept their tops on.
Sue Vliet, of Toms River, identified herself as an admin of One Million Vaginas, a feminist organization dedicated to empowering women to take their vagina’s back from invasive conservative politicians, was one of the two protestors. Her sign said, “STOP THE DOUBLE STANDARD. FREE OUR BREASTS.” Vliet said she was protesting the “double standard and draconian laws” that allow men that to bare their chests in public, but not women.
Judith Sherwood of Mercer County read a letter from GoTopless.org in support of Feeley. You can hear that letter by viewing the video below.
Sherwood said she wasn’t raising money to pay Feeley’s $816 fine, which would end the incarceration, as a matter of principle. Sherwood and Vliet both said they were not protesting topless and risking arrest themselves, because their protest was not about going topless.
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Posted: August 10th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, U.S. Constitution | Tags: Cynthia Scott, GoTopless.org, Judge George Pappas, Judith Sherwood, One Million Vaginas, Phoenix Feeley, Spring Lake, Susan Vliet | 7 Comments »
Somehow this event didn’t make it to Greg’s List.
GoTopless.org, the group that says laws that prohibit women from exposing their chests are discriminatory violations of the 14th Amendment, announced that they will be protesting Phoenix Feeley’s incarceration for going topless in Spring Lake in 2008 by picketing in front of the Monmouth County Correctional Institution this morning from 9am till noon.
GoTopless is making Feeley out to be a modern day Susan B. Anthony. Nadine Gary, a spokeswoman for the organization, said in statement on their website, “Suffragette activists, like Phoenix Feeley and other topless activists today, willingly went to jail for claiming their rights.”
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Posted: August 10th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Frank Pallone, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Tea Party, U.S. Constitution | Tags: Frank Pallone, GoTopless.org, Monmouth County Jail, Nadine Gary, Phoenix Feeley | No Comments »
Tells Judge He’s Sentencing Her To Death, Says She’s Been Naked For Four Days
photo via PhoenixFeeley.com
Fire breathing topless activist Phoenix Feeley told Spring Lake Municipal Court Judge George Pappas that he was sentencing her to death by giving her the option of serving 16 days in the Monmouth County Correctional Institution or paying a $816.oo fine for going topless in Spring Lake in 2008, according to a report on NJ.com. Pappas gave Feeley credit for the four days she’s been incarcerated since she surrendered in Spring Lake on Monday.
“I refuse to pay a fine for an act that is legal for a man but is illegal for a woman,” 33-year-old artist Phoenix Feeley told Spring Lake Municipal Court Judge George Pappas via teleconference from the Monmouth County Correctional Institution in Freehold Township on Thursday morning.
Feeley was arrested twice in the same day in 2008 while sunbathing in Spring Lake.
Authorities charged her with violating an ordinance banning public nudity. Feeley argued that going topless was not the same as going nude, and that women, like men, should be able to bare their chests in public.
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Posted: August 8th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Crime, Crime and Punishment, Monmouth County Sheriff's Office | Tags: Jill Coccaro, Judge George Pappas, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Phoenix Feeley, Spring Lake, Topless, topless bathing, Toplessness | 2 Comments »
Congressman Frank Pallone stopped at Asbury Park’s Night Out celebration this evening where Mayor Myra Campbell introduced him as a candidate for “State Senate.”
MMM caught up with Pallone for a brief moment before the formal festivities and asked him to take a question about equal rights. He said he couldn’t answer whether women should have the right go topless wherever men do because no one had ever asked him that question before.
He said he doesn’t think the New York City woman sitting in Monmouth County Jail for going topless in Spring Lake has much of a case because of laws against indecent exposure.
Posted: August 6th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Asbury Park, Frank Pallone, Senate Special Election | Tags: #NJSen, Asbury Park, Frank Pallone, Indecent exposure, Phoenix Feeley, Special Senate Primary, Spring Lake, topless in public, Toplessness, Women's right to choose to be topless | 8 Comments »
Phoenix Feeley on Coney Island NY beach where female toplessness is legal. Photo via JetsNation.
Phoenix Feeley is serving time at the Monmouth County Correctional Institution rather than pay fines for going topless in Spring Lake five years ago.
According to a statement by GoTopless.Org, Feeley is protesting her incarceration with a hunger strike. However, a Monmouth County official said Feeley ate a bologna sandwich yesterday.
Monmouth County Sheriff Shaun Golden said that Feeley, like any hunger striking inmate, in under constant watch. Golden said it is unlikely that Feeley will be assigned to a road crew.
GoTopless , whose motto is Free Your Breasts, Free Your Mind, says it will be staging protests in support of Feeley on August 25 which is International Go Topless Day.
Posted: August 6th, 2013 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: Monmouth County, Monmouth County Correctional Institution | Tags: Jill Coccaro, Monmouth County Correctional Institution, Phoenix Feeley, Sheriff Shaun Golden, Topless Sunbathing | 16 Comments »
“Restrictions on the exposure of the female breast are supported by the important governmental interest in safeguarding the public’s moral sensibilities,” the two-judge New Jersey Appeals Court panel.
A New Jersey Appeals Court ruled yesterday that women must keep their shirts on in public in order to safeguard the public’s moral sensibilites, according to The Star Ledger.
The plantiff, Phoenix Feeley, is appealing.
I must have been absent the day they taught moral sensibilities in Constitutional Law. I think the judges should have made up different reason: If we let Phoenix Feeley go topless, we’d have to let Snooki do it, and that would create all kinds of public safety issues.
New Jersey’s public employees pension system offends my moral sensibilities. Let’s take a poll. If the majority of the public agrees with me, let’s see the judges rule their own pensions unconstitutional.
Feeley, whose real name is Jill Coccaro, sued New York City in 2005 because she was arrested while topless in the Big Apple. New York’s top court had ruled years earlier that men and women have equal rights to bare their breasts. Feeley collected $29,000. In 2008 she came to Spring Lake and tried to score again.
Ms. Phoenix, as she is known professionally, is the fire eating and breathing founder of NYC ALL STAR CIRCUS & FREE IGNITION.
She commented to the Ledger:
“In America, the land of the free and where equality reins free, a woman can’t take off her shirt but a man can,” she said. “In another country, a woman can’t take a scarf off her face without getting stoned to death. What’s so different about the two?”
Stoning to death. That’s the difference.
Before appealing, Feeley should commission a poll to find if bare breast really do offend the public’s moral sensibilities. If not, challenge the appellate court’s ruling on the facts.
Posted: September 16th, 2011 | Author: Art Gallagher | Filed under: NJ Courts | Tags: Jill Coccaro, Phoenix Feeley, Topless | 6 Comments »