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, January 23, 2009

Depression, isolation, rejection lead many gay youths to attempt suicide

Source: Miami Herald

Above, Jojo Corvaiá and Eddy McIntyre.
Attorney Eddy McIntyre worked tirelessly for many South Florida groups and causes, including YES Institute, a nonprofit to prevent young gay people from killing themselves.

What few knew: McIntyre himself suffered for years from depression and tried to commit suicide at least once in the early 2000s. The local gay community was shocked in 2007 when he hanged himself at age 47 inside his Miami Shores garage.

His death illuminates an issue of particular concern to gays and lesbians.

More than 32,000 people kill themselves each year, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which lists suicide as a ''major health issue'' for gay men. ''Gay male adolescents are two to three times more likely than their peers to attempt suicide,'' the CDC reports on its website.

The issue will be examined 9 p.m. Saturday, when Prayers for Bobby, starring Sigourney Weaver, premieres on the Lifetime TV network. Based on a nonfiction book by the late journalist Leroy Aarons, it is about an intolerant mother whose gay teenage son kills himself. It's an everyday story, said Charles Robbins, right, executive director of the Trevor Project, a national gay suicide prevention group.

Read the full story here.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Coalition marches through South Side

By: Sam Worley
Source: Windy City Times

Marchers walked through Chicago's Chatham neighborhood. Photos by Sam Worley

On the holiday celebrating the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the Coalition for Justice and Respect ( CJR ) sponsored a march Jan. 19 along 79th Street in Chicago's Chatham neighborhood. In a rally preceding the March for Justice and Respect, now in its third year, CJR representative Mark Loveless highlighted ongoing problems faced by Black LGBT people in the realms of healthcare, employment, social services and the criminal-justice system.

He noted in particular the three-year-old shooting deaths of two Black gay men at 79th Street and Woodlawn Avenue—a development Loveless said is a hate crime that remains unsolved.

Loveless said that the passage of Proposition 8, the recent California state initiative banning same-sex marriage, served as a reminder of the importance of grassroots organizing by the LGBT community. Despite the historic election of President Barack Obama, Loveless said, “The effort of social justice is not over with the election of any official.”

Bob Schwartz, an activist with the Gay Liberation Network, echoed Loveless' remarks. “This justice will not be elected, in Washington or elsewhere,” Schwartz told the assembled crowd of about 20 people. “ [ Obama's ] election would not have been possible but for the movement that was led by [ Martin Luther ] King.” Schwartz pointed to the recent police killing of a young Black man in Oakland, as well as the ongoing struggles of Hurricane Katrina survivors, as examples of work still needed in order to reach t he goals of social justice and racial equality.

After the rally, the marchers walked east along the sidewalk of 79th Street, carrying signs that read “Proud to be black and gay,” “We will not back dow,” and “Honor my family.” Loveless and others led chants of “Equality for all!” as the group huddled close in the cold January morning air.