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City Councilmember Questions NOPD on BreakOUT! Testimony, Human Rights Watch Report

on Fri, 06/27/2014 - 04:00

 

"My concern was with regards to a young transgender college student who was harassed at night going to and from a class- not in any way involved in prostitution- but being profiled because of being transgender."  Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams

On June 25th, Chief Serpas and the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) presented budget information in front of the City Council Criminal Justice Committee and answered questions regarding NOPD spending as well as progress of policing reforms.

Recently elected Councilmember-At-Large Jason Williams, questioned Chief Serpas regarding our recent presentation in front of the City Council Community Development Committee just a few days prior:


"We very recently here at City Hall had several members of the LGBTQ community who believe that they

BreakOUT! Presents in City Council on Continued Police Harassment of Transgender Women

on Sat, 06/14/2014 - 14:49
 

A Member Blog by Co'Bella Monroe

 

On June 11, 2014, I attended the City Council meeting at City Hall with BreakOUT! to address the many problems that affect LGBTQ citizens in the criminal (in)justice system in New Orleans.  We were invited to attend by Human Rights Watch Megan McClemore, who was presenting on findings and recommendations from the report, In Harm’s Way: State Response to Sex Workers, Drug Users, and HIV in New Orleans.  Also presenting was Women With a Vision.  The Committee, the Community Development Committee, was chaired by Councilmember Cantrell and was particularly interested in the health impacts of over-policing, the use of condoms as evidence of prostitution, the criminalization of transgender women, and disproportionate rates of HIV among the Black LGBTQ

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

The Times-Picayune/nola.com’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

 

VICTORY FOR BREAKOUT!

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

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