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.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Black Gay Activists Fear Violence Pattern

Black Gay Activists Fear Violence Pattern
by Amy Wooten
Source: Windy City Times

Local Black LGBT activists are concerned about the recent murders of two openly gay Black men on the South Side, and in light of the passing of the anniversary of last year's New Year's Eve South Side shooting, they are calling for the city to step up on combating what they fear is a pattern of violence against the community.

“We are calling on the police department to let the community know what's going on,” said the Coalition for Justice and Respect's Mark Loveless. He and others feel that the city and police haven't adequately responded to the killings.

Critical Caucus—a coalition of LGBT organizations such as the Coalition for Justice and Respect—as well as event planners and businesses, held a press conference at City Hall Dec. 27 to issue a community alert in response to the news of the murder of an openly gay choir director as well as the mid-November killing of a Black gay man. Loveless feels that the killings show a continued pattern of violence against Black gay men on the city's South Side.

Since the press conference, the Chicago Police Department has contacted Critical Caucus and requested a meeting. Loveless said that the meeting will take place early January.

“We are here because we are scared,” Loveless said. Black gay activists are calling on the Chicago Police Department to provide the community with more information. They also want city officials to help stop what they consider a pattern of violence, although police have no information linking the cases, which are still under investigation. Police also have no information as to whether or not the killings were motivated by hate.

On Nov. 17, 24-year-old Larry Bland was shot to death in his Englewood home. His family has voiced concern that he was possibly targeted because he was openly gay. Donald Young, 47, was found shot to death in his South Side apartment Dec. 23, and several items from his home were stolen. He was the choir director for Trinity United Church of Christ, which recently confirmed his sexual orientation to a local news station.


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