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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