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, August 28, 2009

Two Transgender Women Stabbed in Broad Daylight, One Dead

Source: GLAAD

by Brendan Davis

Two transgender women were stabbed in Northwest Washington D.C. on Wednesday, MyFoxDC reported. The attack occurred on the 200 block of Q Street, NW at 2:30PM and left one of the women dead and one in critical condition.

Officers found 21 year old Tyli A Nana Boo Mack and her friend in front of an apartment building after the stabbing. Mack died after being rushed to the hospital, and her friend, whose identity is being withheld by police, is still in critical condition.

The attacker has not been caught, but witnesses say that they saw a man in his 30s fleeing the scene. The Washington Post reports that police are investigating the attack as a possible hate crime based on information that they received from the victim when they arrived at the scene. The attack occurred two blocks away from the offices of Transgender Health Empowerment (THE), an organization that, according its website, hopes to “enhance the quality of life of the diverse transgender populations we serve”.

Read full story here.

Get in the Mix -- Become a RBMF Mentor!

mentor mixer copy

The Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund would like to invite you to join us at our first Mentor Mixer. For those who are just being introduced to our work, we’ll be providing a brief overview of our history and initiatives. For those who have supported our work over the past four years, we’ll be unveiling our fall fundraisers and announcing the winners of the 2009 scholarship award. Most importantly, we’ll use the evening to begin transforming talented folks like you from young professionals and agents of change into mentors for the next generation of scholars and activists.

At the event, you’ll have the opportunity to learn more about the amazing young men and women who have received the seven scholarships we’ve granted since 2006. 2007 scholarship recipient Dashana Payne and her mentor Kemi Ilesanmi will be discussing their experience with our mentoring program, and 2009 recipient Nafissatou Traore (who has not yet been paired with a mentor) will speak briefly about how she’s been inspired by Rashawn’s legacy of selfless service and academic excellence.

We do hope that you’ll join us for this exciting event. Have a drink, bring a friend and learn a little about the role YOU can play in helping us build the New York City that Rashawn wanted to see; a diverse and affirming city free of violent crime.

To RSVP, email us today by clicking here.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

25 protesters stage 'kiss-in' at Md. restaurant

By: Rebecca Armendariz

Two women who say they were subjected to discrimination at the Tastee Diner in Silver Spring, Md., returned to the restaurant Wednesday evening for a “kiss-in” style protest.

The demonstration on behalf of Aiyi'nah Ford and her partner Torian Brown, who say they were asked to leave the restaurant after embracing at the counter, filled half of the restaurant with about 25 supporters.

Ford said she arrived at the restaurant and TV crews from local media outlets were already there. She reminded the crowd of the protest guidelines and discussed the dispute.
Supporters included transgender activist Dana Beyer and The Silver Spring Penguin, a local news source.

"When we arrived, they asked us to sit in the back. [The discrimination] is blatant, and they don't even know what they're doing. It's tragic and sad," Ford told the Blade.

"Someone brought her daughter, who was school age, not even 10, and she had a sign and she was protesting. It made me feel like I made the right decision," Ford said.

Now that the protest is over, Ford will continue to pursue her complaint with the Maryland Commission on Human Relations. The commission has agreed to consider and process the inquiry to file a discrimination complaint, according to an e-mail from intake coordinator Gloria Klatt.

Read for story here.

Watch the story here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

NYPD to Reactivate LGBT Advisory Committee

Dear New Yorker,

This week I spoke with Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly about re-constituting an LGBT advisory committee to the New York City Police Department (NYPD). Commissioner Kelly agreed that this committee is of vital importance to the NYPD, the City and the continued safety of LGBT New Yorkers across the five boroughs. Commissioner Kelly directed the police officer assigned to his office as LGBT liaison to reactivate the committee.

This important step taken by the Commissioner will allow for the public safety concerns of LGBT New Yorkers to be registered fairly and thoroughly at the highest levels of the Department. The NYPD LGBT advisory committee will discuss public safety issues that affect our community throughout the city. Working with the NYPD's LGBT Community Liaison, I believe that this committee will help strengthen the working relationship between the NYPD and the LGBT community and help ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.

I encourage you to raise any concerns you may have about the safety of a particular individual or members of the LGBT community with the LGBT advisory committee or the LGBT Community Liaison.

To communicate any comments or concerns to the LGBT advisory committee, please contact the NYPD's LGBT Community Liaison Tim Duffy at (646) 610-6017 or timothy.duffy@nypd.org. You may also contact my LGBT Community Liaison, Erik Bottcher, at (212) 788-5646 or ebottcher@council.nyc.gov.

Thank you.

Christine C. Quinn
New York City Council

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hate Crime Attack Victim Dwan Prince Blames Himself, Pleads for Reduced Sentence for Gaybasher

Source: Rod 2.0

By: Rod McMullon

In a stunning development that could complicate the retrial of Steven Pomie in the 2005 assault of Dwan Prince, the gay Brooklyn man sent Pomie a letter in which he blamed himself for the vicious beating that left him partially paralyzed, Gay City News reports.

"First please allow me to deeply apology for my hated comment," Prince wrote in the July 20 letter, which Gay City News is quoting verbatim. "Please I do hope you know I am truly deeply sorry for what ever was sayed that night. I have made some big mistakes in my life and that was the stupidiest and biggest one of all."

Pomie, now 26, allegedly attacked Prince in Brooklyn’s Brownsville section after the now 31-year-old flirted with him. Pomie first beat and kicked Prince with two other men, and then made a second assault with another man, witnesses said during Pomie’s 2006 trial. When Pomie returned alone to deliver a third beating, witnesses prevented him from attacking Prince, who was lying unconscious on the sidewalk.

"I was at blame so it is my to my strongest degree that you get out as soon as possible," Prince wrote. ... "What I asked the state to do is sentence you to five years and five years parole." He also expressed the hope that they could be friends.

Pomie was convicted on charges of first-degree assault and first-degree assault as a hate crime. He was sentenced to 25 years in prison with the requirement that he serve at least 21 years before being eligible for parole. An appellate court reversed the conviction in 2008 and ordered the retrial on lesser charges of second-degree assault and second-degree assault as a hate crime.

Read full story here