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, November 10, 2009

Profile: Jared Dewese

I began volunteering for the Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund in March of this year through association with Larry Lyons. I’d always admired the work Larry did with the fund and was more than pleased to become part of the efforts. I moved to New York from South Carolina five years ago, right before Rashawn’s murder. It was a case that was so real to me because I was a young gay black man, just as Rashawn was.

Throughout my life I had been taught by my parents to become involved in civic pursuits, and while I had from elementary school through college this was my first opportunity to really be a part of something that affected my demographic. Since becoming a part of RBMF, I have worked on various projects, most of the related to arts and culture and event planning which are areas that I am most interested and suited for.

Rashawn’s death made me sit up and understand the importance of visibility of the black gay man in mainstream society. So often new stories about our community is only reflected in the negative, and when that happens it makes our lives count less to the majority of people in this country. Perhaps, if black gay men were more visible in a positive manner, Rashawn’s killer would have been found by now or maybe even he would be alive. So it made me aware of the need to be accounted for and be honest about who I am to everyone. We are not just ‘down-low’ men or flamboyant hairstylist that are often portrayed in the media, and even if that is what some of us are there are many more of us who are not and we all deserve respect. It also came to me at this time that if we don’t get the simple natural respect we deserve as human beings, we must demand and command it.


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