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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

Federal Policy Recommendations Released for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living With HIV

on Thu, 05/15/2014 - 04:00
BreakOUT! was proud to participate in a convening last year that resulted in the publishing of a report by the Center for Gender & Sexuality Law at Columbia Law School and co-authored by the Center for American Progress, the Center for HIV Law and Policy, and Streetwise & Safe, A Roadmap for Change: Federal Policy Recommendations for Addressing the Criminalization of LGBT People and People Living with HIV.
 
The authors gathered input from more than 50 legal, advocacy and grassroots organizations working on LGBT and criminal justice policy and "provides an extensive outline of policy measures that federal agencies can adopt to address discriminatory and abusive policing practices, improve conditions for LGBT prisoners and immigrants in detention, decriminalize HIV, and prevent LGBT

BreakOUT! Director Named One of Trans 100

on Tue, 04/08/2014 - 12:49

The Trans 100, released on the International Transgender Day of Visibility, pays tribute to trans people and their positive, extraordinary advocacy in an effort to "celebrate the living."  In its second year, the list is sponsored by GLAAD, Chicago House, and This is HOW, and includes BreakOUT! Director, Wes Ware among the 100 leaders in the community.  Kye Allums, athlete and founder of Project I Am Enough, delivered the keynote address this year at the announcement in Chicago, along with actress and advocate Laverne Cox, who visited our office last month and mentioned BreakOUT! in her closing remarks!

Laverne Cox Makes Special Trip to BreakOUT! *UPDATED*

on Mon, 02/17/2014 - 22:26

Actress, producer, and transgender activist Laverne Cox made a special visit to BreakOUT! this afternoon to talk and share with members.  The trip came after members launched a social media campaign asking her to make a trip to our office before she speaks at Tulane University this evening.  Members shared stories with Laverne about living in New Orleans as young, Black transgender women and their experiences with criminalization and organizing in their communities.  We also got advice on things we can do to ensure our success and the importance of affirming self-love.  Afterward, we posed for plenty of photos and even got her to write a note to one of our incarcerated members on the inside.

After the visit, Laverne sent this tweet:

Thank you for coming to visit, Laverne!

BreakOUT! To Perform "Say My Name" in New York, Philadelphia

on Sun, 02/16/2014 - 19:36

BreakOUT! will be hitting the road again in March to perform "Say My Name, Say My Name," our theater production with Ping Chong + Company, in New York and Philadelphia.  If you remember, we used this project to kick off our Healing Justice Program back in October, when we were invited by the Arcus Foundation to develop and perform the piece for the Neighborhood Funders Group Convening in Jackson, Mississippi.

The performance, written and directed by Sara Zatz and Mieke Dee, is based on interviews, writings and conversations with the cast and members of BreakOUT!   The 45 minute theatrical performance features the true stories and life experiences of five Black transgender young women who are members of BreakOUT!  It explores the dynamics of growing up transgender against the backdrop of

START YOUR ENGINES! BreakOUT! Hosts Fantasy Drag Race Fundraiser

on Sat, 02/15/2014 - 14:46
You've heard of Fantasy Football. You've (hopefully) heard of RuPaul's Drag Race.
 
Now get ready for BreakOUT!'s RuPaul's Fantasy Drag Race Fundraiser!
The rules are simple: Each week players will pick a team of queens and earn points based on their weekly performance. BreakOUT! will track your score and update you each week as you choose your next top queens. Either watch the show each Monday beginning on February 24th to root for your favorite queen- or just keep up with your score online as we update you on your progress each week.
 
The price to play is a $25 donation to BreakOUT! and at the end of the season in May, the person with the most points will win a special prize and become...
 
BreakOUT!'s next Fantasy Drag Superstar!
 
Not sure who to pick?  Meet the queens.
 

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!

BreakOUT! & Streetwise and Safe (SAS) Launch National LGBTQ Know Your Rights Network at Creating Change Conference

on Fri, 01/31/2014 - 01:45

Streetwise and Safe (SAS) and BreakOUT!, two organizations made up predominantly of LGBTQ youth of color with experiences of policing and the criminal legal system,are launching a national Know Your Rights Network for LGBTQ youth to know and share resources for reducing the harms of interactions with the police and other law enforcement and organizing for systemic changes in policing practices.

Born out of workshops, surveys, and conversations with LGBTQ youth organizations across the country at the Allied Media Conference and at FIERCE’s Connecting Our Roots convening, the newly launched network aims to meet a need consistently identified by LGBTQ young people for media, materials, and strategies for sharing information about their rights with the police that are tailored to their

BreakOUT! Hosts Missouri GSA for Peer Exchange on LGBTQ Youth and School-to-Prison Pipeline

on Thu, 01/30/2014 - 17:04

Thanks to the GSA Network, BreakOUT! enjoyed a peer exchange with the Missouri GSA Network in January to talk about the school-to-prison pipeline and criminalization of LGBTQ youth in our communities, especially transgender youth of color.

Over 2 days, young people gathered to learn from each other, breaking down experiences being criminalized in Missouri and New Orleans, visiting juvenile court, holding storycircles, and planning for next steps over po'boys and barbecue.  We even took some time to write to BreakOUT! members currently in the prison pipeline to show them love and solidarity!

One of the Missouri GSA youth members had this to say:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BreakOUT! looks forward to continuing to build relationships with our friends in Missouri!

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

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