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BreakOUT! Attends, Presents at 26th Annual Creating Change Conference in Houston, TX

on Fri, 02/07/2014 - 17:49

Above: photo by Miriam Mimi Madrid Puga (MMMP)

Reflections on Our First Creating Change Conference

By Milan and BreakOUT!
On Wednesday, January 29, 2014, four BreakOUT! staff took an amazing road trip to Houston, Texas for the 26th Annual Creating Change LGBT Conference.  Over 4,000 people attended this year.
Our road trip was rocky in the beginning- three of us were supposed to be flying out that morning but due to the cold weather, our flights were all either delayed or cancelled so we jumped in the car instead to take the road trip to Texas.  Once we got in the car though, we realized that they had declared a state of emergency and I-10 was closed down until right outside the Texas border!

Human Rights Watch Releases Report Echoing BreakOUT! Member Stories

on Wed, 12/11/2013 - 14:44

"Police went through my purse and called me a 'thing' and asked what I needed all those condoms for..."

-transgender woman in New Orleans, excerpted from "In Harm's Way"

Report Further Proves Need for Policing Reforms, Tackles Other Major Public Health Crises

On Wednesday, the international organization, Human Rights Watch, will release a 57-page report, “In Harm’s Way: State Response to Sex Workers, Drug Users, and HIV in New Orleans.”  According to Human Rights Watch, the report "documents government violations of the right to health and other abuses of at-risk populations in New Orleans."
"The Human Rights Watch report just further proves that New Orleans continues to have a problem with discriminatory policing practices and further validates the stories we continue to hear

BreakOUT! Responds to HRC’s 2013 Municipal Equality Index

on Wed, 11/27/2013 - 15:31

Making the Grade: Equality for Who?

by Derwin Wilright, Jr.

For LGBTQ youth of color in New Orleans, it seems that we might have missed a community memo.  Big Gay Inc. came to town and we didn’t receive an invite to the party.

Every year, the Human Rights Campaign releases their Municipal Equality Index, an assessment of LGBTQ-inclusivity at the city-wide level through evaluation of several factors, from relationship recognition to law enforcement.  Just recently marked the release of the 2013 Municipal Equality Index.

While the report acknowledges that “The MEI specifically rates cities on their laws and policies” and that  “it is not a measure of an LGBT person’s lived experience in that city,” BreakOUT! was still surprised to see that New Orleans was given a score of 91% - due in

BreakOUT! Launches Know Your Rights Strategy in Response to Policy 402

on Wed, 09/25/2013 - 16:46

BreakOUT! knows it is up to us to hold the NOPD accountable and keep our communities safe.

That's why we launched a new Know Your Rights strategy in response to the New Orleans Police Department's Policy 402 with ideas gathered from youth members and our summer travels!

While we continue to engage with the Department of Justice as they implement the federal Consent Decree, provide recommendations for an even stronger policy with true community engagement, and conduct community-based research to position ourselves as experts over our own lives, we are also educating our communities on their rights with law enforcement.

BreakOUT! recently partnered with photographer Rush Jagoe to do a Know Your Rights photoshoot (thanks to our friends at Propeller) and created our new Instagram

BreakOUT! Contributes to Report on Police Profiling to UN Human Rights Committee

on Tue, 09/17/2013 - 16:52

From the Rights Working Group:

The Rights Working Group has submitted a shadow report, "The Persistence of Discriminatory Profiling Based on Race, Ethnicity, Religion, National Origin, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation in the United States," to the United Nations' Human Rights Committee in Geneva, Switzerland.

This report was created through the collaboration of many member groups, including BreakOUT!, The Beloved Community Center, The Black Alliance for Just Immigration, The Creating Law Enforcement Accountability & Responsibility Project at the City of New York School of Law, The Center for Constitutional Rights, The Center for Intercultural Organizing, The Minority Executive Directors Coalition, The Muslim American Society Immigrant Justice Center, OneAmerica, The Providence

BreakOUT!, Women With a Vision Respond to Times-Picayune's "Uneasy Street"

on Sun, 08/11/2013 - 21:43


Wesley Ware, BreakOUT! 504.473.2651
Deon Haywood, Women With a Vision 504.301.0428

The Times-Picayune/’s six articles and one video (and counting) about Tulane Avenue, dubbed “Uneasy Street,” are an unfortunate example of glorified and sensationalized media reporting that leads to increased criminalization of marginalized communities, rather than solutions.

As staff of Women With a Vision and BreakOUT!, two organizations that work to promote safer, healthier communities in New Orleans for women and LGBTQ communities, including youth and transgender women, we hope that the Times-Picayune will consider releasing another video with a more humane approach to people involved in (or assumed to be involved in) street economies along Tulane Avenue.

The video we

New Orleans Police Department Issues LGBTQ Policy on Anniversary of Historic Stonewall Riots Against Police Brutality

on Sat, 06/29/2013 - 03:34



After organizing for over two years, BreakOUT! members enjoyed a victory today in the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) with the issuing of Policy 402, dealing with the treatment of members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/ questioning (LGBTQ) community.

The policy includes protocols for stopping and searching transgender individuals and mandates that officers be trained on issues pertaining to the LGBTQ community.  Most importantly, the policy specifically mandates that, Officers shall not use an individual's actual or perceived gender identity, or sexual orientation as reasonable suspicion or probable cause that an individual is or has engaged in any crime.  (NOPD Policy 402.4)

Members and organizers of BreakOUT! were disappointed in

NOPD Locks Door on BreakOUT! and Community

on Thu, 05/09/2013 - 19:54

Organizations Prevented from Engagement on Policing Reforms

Community members representing at least 18 different organizations attempted to bring a public statement to Police Superintendent Ronal Serpas this morning at New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) Headquarters.

The community members, which included representatives from BreakOUT!, the Congress of Day Laborers, STAND with Dignity, Safe Streets Strong Communities, Voice of the Ex-Offender, and others were denied entry into the public building.  The ACLU and the National Lawyer’s Guild provided legal observers for the delegation.

The delivery followed a rally of over 75 people, including undocumented Latino workers, Black young mothers, Black gay and lesbian youth, transgender women, Vietnamese-American students, and many others,

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STOP the Frisk, May 9th!

on Sun, 05/05/2013 - 18:26

Do NOPD officers stop you for no reason?  Do you think it had a lot to do with the color of your skin, what you were wearing, or where you were?

If this applies to you or someone you know then join us on Thursday May 9, 2013 for STOP THE FRISK: Rally Against Racial & Gender Profiling!

We will be delivering our Public Statement, signed by over 15 local organizations, to Chief Serpas to call for a public meeting about draft policies to end racial & gender profiling.

We are calling on policed people of all ages in New Orleans who are Black, Brown, LGBTQ, and Undocumented to the frontlines as we peacefully demand change to the policies and NOPD practices that push our people into prison and out of our communities.

We will convene at NOPD Headquarters, 715 S. Broad St. at 10:30am sharp.

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