Black Gays and Church Leaders Unite To End Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

July 27, 2005

CONTACT: Kenyon Farrow, New York State Black Gay Network, 212.828.9393, ext 138

What: REVIVAL!: Victory Over Spiritual Violence Through Grace
When: Sunday, July 31, 2005 – 4:00pm-7:00pm
Where: Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive (bet 120th & 122nd Sts), Harlem, NY 10027
Who: Guest Speakers include: Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Fields; Bill Perkins, NYC Council Member; Arun Gandhi, M.K. Gandhi Institute for Nonviolence; Krishna Stone, GMHC; Robert Miller, SUNY Albany; Reverend Valerie Holly, Unity Fellowship Church; Bishop Carlton Pearson, Higher Dimensions Family Church; Reverend Cari Jackson, The Center of Spiritual Light; Elder Joseph Tolton, Christ Conscious Ministries; and Reverend Sylvia Rhue, National Black Justice Coalition. Music by Lavender Light Choir and Da’rrell Belton.
Why: To challenge Black ministers to end homophobic rhetoric and join the fight to end violence.

New York, NY – After four murders of Black gay men and the attack on Dwan Prince which left him in a coma, Black gay community leaders hold a REVIVAL! to denounce homophobia from Black ministers, and challenge them to become more proactive in ending violence against Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender people in the Black community.

“The Black gay community is in a state of emergency. We need our ministers to stand with us to end the violence,” says Tokes Osubu, Executive Director of Gay Men of African Descent, one of the event’s sponsors. “Ministers should know that when they preach hate against gays on Sunday, someone will be bashed or murdered on Monday.”

A recent report issued by The Anti-Violence Project shows that violent attacks against the LGBT community increased 25% over the last two years. This year, four gruesome murders of members of Black gay men have occurred including Rashawn Brazell, Marvin Paige, Kenmoore Thomas, and Jamal James.

“Historically, the deciding factor in social justice movements is the spiritual energy that fuels them,” says Elder Joseph W. Tolton of Christian Conscious Ministries, and the event’s keynote speaker. “This revival meeting which is stirring in the hearts of our lay people is a decisive indicator that the civil rights struggle for gays and lesbians is evolving into a movement rooted in Christian principles that will guide us toward the realization of Dr. King’s Beloved Community.”

REVIVAL! is the first event in a campaign targeted to end violence against gays in the Black Community.
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Reverend Willie Wilson’s Foolishness

You know, I have about had it with this homophobic foolishness from Black Clergy. I know it ain’t all of y’all, but it’s too damn many to be sure. So, I wrote this piece in response to all that madness published by Black AIDS Institute, initially titled “Fighting to Be Free.” So, here it is…Full Story

Too Much In One Week

I have been working with my organization to produce an event here in NYC to challenge Black ministers to end their homophobia, cuz we’ve had four Black Gay men die very violently here in NYC and we’ve had very little support from the Black community, let alone the ministers who run and jump in front of cameras whenever a “race” hate crime happens, but won’t keep their straight brothas in the neighborhood from brutalizing Black women and Black queer folks. Does anyone even know that a Black woman was found in trash bags in the Bronx a few weeks after Rashawn Brazell was found? After the story was sandwiched in between a celebrity divorce and the weather, I never heard another word about it. Not that we know that her murderer was a Black man, but why has her name also vanished?

Yesterday I also read a story about a man who had beaten his 3 year old son repeatedly until he died because he was afraid his son wasn’t tough enough, and would grow up a sissy.

Today, I get an email from Merv telling me that
Two teenage gay men were executed in Iran for being gay.

Lastly, NYC is going to begin random searches at subway stations.

But I gotta go. It’s 5 o’clock and I have to prepare for meeting that in this moment, I could give a damn about.

The State of Black-Asian Relations: Aug 2 in Philly

The State of Black-Asian Relations

Interrogating Black-Asian Coalition

Fifty Years After Bandung

In April of 1955, 29 African and Asian nations came together in Bandung, Indonesia for the Asian-African Conference to promote economic and cultural cooperation and oppose colonialism. More popularly referred to as “Bandung,” this gathering was historic because it brought together newly independent colored nations and posed a challenge to western and white dominance. It is believed that the notion of the “third world” emerged from Bandung to demonstrate a rejection of both the west and ideologies associated with it. Bandung has been celebrated and referenced by many activists and intellectuals including W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Richard Wright, Malcolm X, Yuri Kochiyama, Vijay Prashad, Robin Kelley, and Makani Themba-Nixon.

Today, calls for coalition between Blacks and Asian American are common and therefore rarely interrogated. But since Bandung, the world has changed somewhat, with the Asian population in the US growing rapidly through immigration. Today, Asian Americans have more wealth and education than Blacks and are also less residentially segregated. Since the 1992 LA Riot, the call to “go beyond Black and white” has gained more political momentum among both the left and right. Blacks have been charged with anti-Asian racism, including the murders of Chinese food delivery workers, Shaq versus Yao and the Hot 97 “Tsunami Song.” Today we also have Asian Americans opposing affirmative action, generating wealth from owning businesses in Black neighborhoods, creating the board game “Ghettopoly” and using Black cultural and political expressions to critique African Americans.

Thus, fifty years later, we seek to explore the possibilities and reality of Black-Asian relations in the US. Join us in Philly as Black and Asian American activists come together to discuss tensions between Blacks and Asians, what we see as the roots of conflicts, how this informs our activist projects, and whether coalition is viable between our communities. Panelists will draw from their activist experiences, which includes international solidarity work, educational justice, immigrant rights organizing, non-profit funding analysis, anti-gentrification projects, queer justice, and anti-police violence work. We hope you join us as we convene a panel and community dialogue that honestly explores the state of Black-Asian relations today and whether solidarity is really possible.

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Sponsored by the Third World Coalition of the American Friends Service Committee

Tuesday, August 2 from 6:30pm-9:30pm

AFSC Friends Center, 1515 Cherry Street/Philadelphia (Rufus Jones Room)

Free and open to the public

*Panelists will be bringing material to distribute and sell.

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Panelists

Rodney Camarce

Nijmie Dzurinko

Nijmie Dzurinko is a political activist, poet, popular educator and organizer. She has worked with the Philadelphia Student Union, and is a founding member of the International Women’s Peace Service. She is interested in the neo-colonial situation in which people of color and poor and working class people find ourselves in at the present time – specifically in how to negotiate this time, the possibilities for educating ourselves, and seizing opportunities for change.

Kenyon Farrow

Kenyon Farrow is a writer and organizer living in Brooklyn, NY. He is a member of the national organizing body of Critical Resistance —a national organization dedicated to finding alternatives to incarceration. Kenyon has written several articles and essays, including “Is Gay Marriage Anti-Black?” and “We Real Cool?: On Hip-Hop, Asian-Americans, Black Folks, and Appropriation.” Kenyon has appeared on radio, TV, in print, has given many public lectures and served on many panels dealing with race and prison issues, and race and queer issues as well. He has an essay in the upcoming anthology of Black Gay male writing, “Think Again 2”, and finished his first book project entitled “Letters from Young Activists” co-edited with Dan Berger and Chesa Boudin, due out in fall 2005 with Nation Books.

Helen Gym

Helen Gym has worked with Asian Americans United since 1994 and is on the founding board of the Folk Arts and Cultural Treasures Charter School, a school focused on the needs of immigrant children and families. With a background in second language acquisition, she currently consults on curriculum issues in Asian American studies, immigrant children, and multicultural education. In 2001-2, she was a key organizer and media strategist of a coalition that successfully limited the privatization of public schools in Philadelphia. She was also an organizer and media strategist for two broad-based coalitions to oppose a baseball stadium in Chinatown. Ms. Gym is a former public school teacher and is on the board of the Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Asian Americans United. She is a Philadelphia public school parent.

Tiffany King

Tiffany King is a community organizer and educator working and living in Wilmington, DE where she grew up. She is a co-founder of Resistahs, a community education collective focusing on transformative education for black women. Members of the collective are co-creating community education programs with black women in high schools, GED classes, Delaware Technical Community College, and members of tenant’s councils in public and subsidized housing in the State. Tiffany is also a substitute teacher with the Vocational and Technical School District in Wilmington, DE and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors for the Community Economic Development Association of Delaware. From 1998 through 2003, Tiffany worked with a number of groups in Philadelphia including the Paul Robeson House, the Black Radical Congress, the Philadelphia Unemployment Project, and the Center for Responsible Funding.

Tamara Nopper

Tamara K. Nopper is a writer, educator and activist whose work explores white supremacy/nationalism, Asian American-Black relations, globalization, immigration, citizenship, and nation. She currently volunteers with the Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, an anti-war and counter-military recruitment organization.

Ewuare Osayande

Ewuare Osayande is a political activist, poet and author of several books including “Black Anti-Ballistic Missives: Resisting War/Resisting Racism.” He is co-founder of POWER (People Organized Working to Eradicate Racism) and creator of ONUS: Redefining Black Manhood. Forthcoming books include a collection of essays entitled “Misogyny and the Emcee: Exposing the Exploitation of Black Women in Hip Hop” and a book of poems entitled “Blood Luxury” which will be published by Africa World Press.

Moderated by Darryl Jordan, Director of the Third World Coalition of AFSC

If you have any questions, please contact Tamara K. Nopper at tnopper@yahoo.com

NYPD arrest 181 Black Men in Queens

A New York police officer was shot in the leg with his own gun while trying to arrest a man allegedly smoking marijuana. During the following three days, police mounted a massive dragnet in the community, arresting a total of 181 black men in Queens. Read Full Story