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.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Coalition Demands Action, Accountability

Source: Windy City Times
by Amy Wooten

In hopes of placing pressure on the City to respond to a recent attack, the Coalition for Justice and Respect held a press conference in City Hall June 1, calling for further investigation of a hate crime committed against a Black gay youth, as well as a City Council hearing regarding violence against the Black LGBT community.

According to Coalition for Justice and Respect’s Marc Loveless, an 18-year-old Black gay youth was attacked in Hyde Park over two weeks ago. The victim called the police, who took a report of the incident. Later that day, the victim spotted the attacker and called the police again. According to Loveless, the attacker bragged to police that he had “beat up a faggot boy.” Allegedly, when a supervisory officer was called to the scene, the officer blamed the victim for getting attacked, saying, “You know the way you are is why you were hit.” The officer then allegedly said he would not deal with the situation and drove off. The attacker was released.

The Coalition for Justice and Respect also demands that the supervising officer be reprimanded for what they call inappropriate behavior.

“We want him identified,” Loveless said. “We want it made public, and we want him reprimanded.”

The group was formed after a Dec. 31, 2006, shooting on Chicago’s South Side, where two masked individuals opened fire in a house commonly known as “Gay House.” Loveless is outraged that the City showed response following the shooting, yet is taking so long to respond to an attack of a Black gay youth.

“Black lesbians and gays throughout the city have human rights, civil rights and a right not to be a victim to crime,” he continued.

Alongside Loveless was Bob Schwartz of Gay Liberation Network (GLN). The organization also endorses that the supervisory officer be reprimanded and a City Council hearing take place.

“This officer committed the offense of blaming the victim,” Schwartz said. “It is wrong to blame the victim, and thereby justify this violence.”

“For us to be here in 2007 and to be talking about this means something drastic needs to happen,” Loveless told the media. “Where does it stop? Do we wait until someone is actually killed?”

According to Loveless, and confirmed by Bill Greaves, City of Chicago’s liaison to the LGBT community, police are willing to sit down and talk about the issue. Greaves added that the Chicago Police Department is “very distressed” about the issue, and has made every attempt to reach the victim, without success. The police have also, according to Greaves, launched an internal investigation, and have reached out to the victim’s mother and community-based organization Working for Togetherness, in an effort to reach the victim.

“No one should be harassed in the City of Chicago,” Greaves said. “But we need the help of everyone.”


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