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.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Justice Dept. Makes Surprise Intervention in Gay Bullying Case

A 15-year-old gay Mohawk, NY high school student and his father, along
with the New York Civil Liberties Union, have sued the teen's high school after it refused to address repeated harassment and bullying from classmates. In what is described as "a novel interpretation of the Title IX statute, which prohibits discrimination against students on the basis of gender", NPR reports the Obama Administration has made a surprise intervention:

Long before Jacob [Sullivan] came out of the closet at age 14, he was harassed for being effeminate. According to court papers, kids threw food at him and told him to get a sex change. One student pulled out a knife and threatened to string Jacob up the flagpole. A teacher allegedly told Jacob to "hate himself every day until he changed." Over two years, Sullivan went to his son's school three or four times a week to talk with the principal. According to court papers, officials did nothing. The harassment became so bad that Jacob changed school districts. With the help of the New York Civil Liberties Union, Sullivan eventually sued ...

Now the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division has asked a judge for permission to intervene on Jacob's behalf. "We haven't seen this kind of involvement in quite some time," says Hayley Gorenberg of Lambda Legal, a national gay rights legal organization. "It's a long time coming, and we really need it." Republicans who worked in the Civil Rights Division under previous administrations agree that this is a case conservatives generally would not make.

The Justice Department's argument hinges on a broad reading of the law known as Title IX. Title IX is typically used to protect students from gender discrimination, but in this case, Obama administration lawyers argue that the law also covers discrimination based on gender stereotypes — that is to say, boys who are beaten up for being effeminate.

This is apparently the first time in almost a decade that Justice has intervened in a gay rights lawsuit..

LGBT youth advocates are hopeful the DoJ intervention will clarify some of Title IX's more vague areas on gender expression and sexual orientation.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Update on the murder of Marlon Woods

Terrance Osley, 20, and Norman Corggens, 20, were charged with involuntary manslaughter for the murder of Marlon Woods, 32, of Toledo, Maryland. Marlon Woods suffered severe head injuries that induced him into a coma and was taken off life support and later died. The conviction would carry up to ten years in prison if found guilty.

The Toledo Police Department dismissed the possiblity of the murder being a hate crime, but acknowledged that it was related to a fight inside a gay bar in which Woods tried to protect a young woman.

Woods is survived by his husband of ten years.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Update on murder of Puerto Rican teen

Judge Miriam Camila ruled against confessed murderer Juan Martinez of Puerto Rico, citing that he is competent for trial after psychologist Rafael Cabrera reported his analysis of Martinez. He will be prosecuted under Puerto Rico’s hate crimes laws. Martinez admitted to the murder of Puerto Rican drag queen Jorge Steven Lopez Mercado, 19, on November 13 and blamed it on a "gay panic."

Currently the Puerto Rican gay community has been mobilizing for a response from Puerto Rican governor Luic Fortuno who has remained mummed by the crime. The mobilization has reached to New York City where Christine Quinn, the Speaker of the City Council, blasted the governor for his silence.

Several lawmakers will convene in the next several days in Puerto Rico to address the murder of Mercado and urge the governor to break his silence.

Another Murder of Black gay man in D.C.

Last week we posted a missing notice about Anthony Perkins, 29, a Black gay man who was found shot to death in his car. This week the murder of another Black gay man brings yet another shocking pulse through the Black gay community of D.C. The body of Gordon Rivers, 47, was found on January 10th on the side of a rode with bullet wounds pierced through his body. The Metropolitan Police Department says there is no indication of a hate crime.

As with the case of Perkins, no leads have been identified. Though there is rumored to be a thug on a spree of robberies in the D.C. community who is alleged to be connected to the murder of Perkins.

For more information on the murders of Anthony Perkins and Gordon Rivers or to report any information click here.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Help Solve A Murder

From: Metropolitan Police Department

On Sunday, December 27, 2009, at approximately 5:13am, Anthony James Perkins was found shot and killed inside his vehicle on the 2900 block of 4th Street, SE. The Metropolitan Police Department seeks the public assistance in gathering information regarding the incident.


Sunday, January 10, 2010

Chicago Man Beaten

The year has just begun and already we can feel the pulse of homophobia. Three men attacked Dan Hauff, 33, while yelling anti-gay slurs when he tried to defuse an argument with two men on the train.

From Chicago Breaking News:

“Victim Daniel Hauff, 33, said he tried to quell an argument between two men on the northbound train when one of those men -- joined by two other male riders -- began yelling gay slurs and other taunts at him.

Hauff said he pressed the emergency intercom and the train operator came by, but then left and the train started moving again. After the operator left the "L" car, the three men punched his face and pummeled his body somewhere between the Wilson and Argyle stops, Hauff told Chicago Breaking News.”

Hauff tells the Chicago Breaking News that his "face, chest, back, knee and foot were in pain and he was seeing double on the left side.”

The suspects were released on bail and will be charged with misdemeanor battery.