Rashawn & Beyond: Anti-Violence News for Queer People of Color

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund aims to establish a sustainable tribute to Rashawn that promotes critical thought about the impact of violence and intolerance, particularly upon queer communities of African descent.

Through this blog, we provide action alerts, event postings and breaking news as a means of informing these communities in ways that enable them to combat racism and homophobia.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Local Gays Protest Alleged Police Beating of Trans Suspect

Friday, December 15, 2006

NEW YORK CITY — New York Police Department representatives were silent last week in response to allegations that they beat two black men, one transsexual, in November, The Villager reported. Members of the Audre Lorde Project, a Brooklyn advocacy group for black gay youth, protested the alleged incident.

Late last month, Project members staged a demonstration in front of the sixth police precinct chanting slogans and carrying signs denouncing what they claimed was racism and brutality. They demanded that charges against Shakur Trammel, whom Project members said was transsexual and was arrested on Nov. 1 after a Halloween party, be dropped.

They also called for one officer to be dismissed in connection with the incident. Detective Mike Singer, community affairs officer for the precinct, said the department had no comment because the incident in question is being investigated by both the NYPD and Civilian Complaint Review Board. Singer did confirm that three were arrested in connection with the Nov. 1 incident.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Murders of Gender Non-Conforming Youth Documented in New Report

WASHINGTON, Dec. 14 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Over the past 10 years, more than 50 young people aged 30 and under were violently murdered by assailants who targeted them because they did not fit stereotypes for masculinity or femininity. The Gender Public Advocacy Coalition (GenderPAC) today released the groundbreaking human rights report "50 Under 30: Masculinity and the War on America's Youth" documenting this tide of murderous violence and the key demographics of its victims and their assailants.

"While many youth who don't fit gender stereotypes for masculinity or femininity face harassment or bullying, when it comes to gender-based murder the victims are specific and consistent," said Riki Wilchins, GenderPAC executive director. "They were mostly black or Latina, were biologically male and presenting with some degree of femininity, and were killed by other young males in attacks of extraordinary and often multiple acts of violence."

The report has spurred a new coalition of civil and human rights organizations including Amnesty International (USA), Global Rights, Human Rights Campaign, Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, National Organization for Women, International Lesbian and Gay Human Rights Commission, Safe Schools Coalition, National Education Association's Health Information Network and the US Human Rights Network. These organizations are joining together in educating the public and calling upon policy-makers and law enforcement officials to address the underlying cause of gender-based violence.

"Aggression and violence have become acceptable ways of policing gender performance and punishing the transgression of gender boundaries in American culture. These deaths were often the result of young men using lethal violence to enforce standards of masculinity on other young males who didn't meet cultural expectations of masculinity - especially when they were transgender or gay," said Dr. Michael Kimmel, professor of sociology at Stony Brook University.

Murders that were classified as hate crimes were solved nearly one-and-a-half times more often than those that were not; yet 72 percent of the cases in the report were not so classified, although most suffered extremely violent deaths combining stabbing, beating, strangling and shooting. 54 percent of the deaths remain unsolved, as compared with 31 percent for all homicides nationally.

The report and additional information is available online at http://www.gpac.org . A press conference will be held at 10 a.m. today at the National Press Club in the First Amendment Lounge.


Contact: Taneika Taylor, 202-716-2015 or taneika.taylor@gpac.org ; Pamela Strother, 202-486-5990 or pamela@pamelastrother.com

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Rashawn Brazell Case Resurfaces in the Media

--- TODAY ---

Tune in as
Court TV's “
Catherine Crier Live
interviews Desire Brazell
about the unsolved murder of her son, Rashawn
and the status of the investigation.

The segment will air on on today's show (5pm EST)
in connection with America’s Most Wanted
to help find Rashawn Brazell’s killer.


Fox's "America's Most Wanted"
will also re-air their segment on Rashawn's murder.
AMW received a number of helpful tips
the first 2 times they aired the segment.
Our prayer is that this week's re-broadcast
will bring forth the final tip
that the NYPD needs to find Rashawn's killer.

Desire Brazell asks
Please get the word out to everyone to watch the show.
Maybe somewhere someone will watch and finally come forward
with the lead we need to make justice happen

The show airs on FOX on Saturday, December 9th at 9pm EST.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Questions and Tears After a Killing in Queens

Published: November 26, 2006

As a girl, Priscilla Pimentel filled her family’s home with laughter in Bethlehem, Pa., with her endless jokes and witty impersonations. But as she grew older, she feared she might instead become a source of disappointment for them and made the decision to move out.

Still, when Ms. Pimentel, 24, moved to Queens four years ago and began working as a bartender, her bonds with her family remained strong. So when she did not come home for Thanksgiving on Thursday, her family became alarmed.

Still unable to reach her by telephone on Friday, members of her family drove to New York, only to confirm the worst of their fears.

The bedroom walls of her Richmond Hill apartment were streaked with blood, and they found her body in the bathtub, her hands bound behind her back, the police said. Her Jack Russell terrier, Gucci, was dead at her side, and her body was smeared with mint green paint, which she had recently used to brighten the walls of her apartment.

The police said Ms. Pimentel had been stabbed repeatedly in the arms and the left side of her chest. It did not appear that the apartment, where she lived alone, had been entered by force or that anything had been taken, they said, and it was still unclear yesterday how long her body had been there.

At their home in Pennsylvania yesterday, her stepfather, Raoul Laracuente, said Ms. Pimentel had moved away from her family to avoid hurting them because she was gay.

“I truly believe in my heart that she moved away just so she wouldn’t hurt her mother’s feelings,” said Mr. Laracuente. “This is a small town, everybody knows your business,” he said. “She said she’d go to New York so that her mother wouldn’t be hurt.”

Yesterday, her mother, Nancy, cried inconsolably at her home in Bethlehem. “She’s out of control,” said Benita Costa, 49, a neighbor who sat with the family as they mourned. “They are crying, holding one another. She was the one to bring happiness to the family.”

Mr. Laracuente said his wife had tried to persuade Ms. Pimentel to move back home.

“She was worried about her, people she hung out with, the bar scene,” he said, adding that Ms. Pimentel was born in the Bronx and that her mother had moved the family to Bethlehem to escape crime in the city.

But Ms. Pimentel, whom everyone called Peaches, seemed to be building a life in Queens. For nearly two years, she had been involved with a woman, whom she twice brought home to meet her family, though they broke up months ago.

She had an adventurous streak and went sky diving last summer, said a friend, Liz Shadeck, 34, who lived across the street. Recently, she dyed her hair a flaming red.

But until this Thanksgiving, she had returned home without fail for holidays and birthdays.

On Friday, when relatives arrived at her apartment to check on her, they found dishes unwashed by the kitchen sink, and her bed, a mattress on the floor, unmade.

A gay pride flag was spread across her bedroom floor, below the blood-streaked walls.

Kate Hammer contributed reporting.