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.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

THE LIBRA PARTY... A Multi-Tiered Benefit for the Michael Sandy Foundation

The Michael Sandy Foundation presents A Multi-Tiered Benefit to
Celebrate Libras and the Life of Michael J. Sandy which will take
place on Saturday October 11th 2008 at 5pm. This event will be held
at 128 Meserole St. Brooklyn, NY 11206. We are presenting this event
to heighten the awareness of hate crimes and to raise money to benefit
hate crime victims and their families. This three tiered event will
include a silent auction (5pm-7pm), a pumpkin carving contest with
celebrity judges (7pm-9pm, $25 to enter), and a dance party with your
favorite DJs (9pm-midnight). A cash bar will be available featuring a
special pumpkin martini.

This event was created to celebrate all Libra birthdays including that
of Michael J. Sandy. On October 13th 2006 Michael's life ended after
being struck by a car on the belt parkway. He was lured to this
remote location through the Internet by a group of four adolescent men
with the intention rob him. Scared, Sandy fled the scene only to run
into oncoming traffic being struck by a vehicle which caused his
death. All four perpetrators were found guilty of hate crimes and are
now serving prison terms.

All proceeds will benefit the Michael Sandy Foundation 501(c3)
committed to creating awareness of hate crimes in under served
communities and providing financial and emotional support to victims
of hate crimes and their families. If you would like to submit
artwork or a service for the silent auction please contact TONY at
TRBRUCE@GMAIL.COM with the following details: Your Name, Gallery or
Studio Affiliation, Phone Number, Email Address and a description of
art with image if possible. Checks or cash will be accepted payment
for all items won at auction.

If you are unable to attend donations can still be made via paypal at



Friday, October 03, 2008

Standing up to anti-gay attacks in D.C.

Source: SocialistWorker.org
By: Derron Thweatt

WASHINGTON--More than 100 people packed the Metropolitan Community Church in the Northwest section of the city September 28 to remember Tony Randolph Hunter, a Black gay man who was severely beaten and robbed by four unidentified assailants on September 7. He died from his injuries 11 days later.

In the last several months, hate crimes based on sexuality have increased. But people in the region are starting to organize to fight back against homophobia.

Hunter had just left the annual Black Family Reunion celebration on the National Mall and was on his way to Be Bar, a local LGBT lounge, when he was beaten only a block away from the club. According to a city council member, on the night of the assault, police were just down the street.

At the memorial, Hunter's friends spoke about the grief they face because of his passing and of their fear of being LGBT in the city, but they also talked about the need to challenge homophobia in society. After the memorial at the church, the crowd took over the streets and held a candlelight march, passing the lounge to the site where Hunter was beaten.

Unfortunately, this deadly assault isn't unique. According to the Washington news magazine Metro Weekly, on August 9, Michael Roike and Stevon-Christophe Burrell were beaten in front of Playbill Cafe in Logan neighborhood while standing up to a group of men calling them homophobic slurs.

In July, five unidentified males beat Todd Metrokin and a friend in the Adams Morgan neighborhood, again after making "homophobic remarks about their appearance," reported the Washington Blade.

At Hunter's memorial, Metrokin spoke about his injuries, including a boot print across his face, swollen eyes and stitches that ran across his ear. According to the Washington City Paper, his friend had a broken rib cage and broken finger from the attack, and his partner suffered injuries in the attack as well.

Before this incident, another man, Nathaniel Salerno was attacked on a Metro train last December.

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IN THE face of this violence, people within the LGBT community and their allies are fighting back.

On September 8, the day after Hunter was assaulted, a group of people met to restart the D.C.-based grassroots organization Gays and Lesbians Opposing Violence (GLOV). The group was originally started in the 1990s to combat antigay violence, and dissolved some years later after people thought the organization had achieved its goals.

One issue that has arisen in the last several weeks is race--most, though not all, of the antigay attacks have targeted white gay men, and the alleged perpetrators are mostly Black males, according to the victims. On Internet message boards, comments have ranged from people seeking unity to outright racism.

Those organizing to stand up to the attacks have emphasized the need for people to work in unity, because we can't rely on the police or city council to do much to help end anti-gay violence. Without pressure, they end up doing nothing.

In order to really fight back against homophobia and anti-gay violence, we are going to have to work together-- gay and straight, Black and white--whether the police act, or not. Together, we'll be stronger to fight for a world where homophobia isn't tolerated by any human being.