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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

"Pray for the Dead, Fight Like Hell for the Living!"

on Wed, 11/20/2013 - 05:00

Quote from Mother Jones, Labor and Community Organizer
Photo by Ted Moree from 2011 BreakOUT! Memorial Vigil

BreakOUT! Commemorates 15th Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance

by BreakOUT! Member, L'lerret Jazelle Ailith

BreakOUT! was founded on the structures of community, advocacy, and action for those LGBTQ individuals residing in the greater New Orleans area who need it the most. We have an obligation to uplift those in our community that are consistently marginalized and misrepresented. With most of our members identifying under the trans* umbrella, it is necessary and pertinent that we take the time to truly give a mic and a light to these brothers and sisters during the time of TDOR. 

TDOR (Transgender Day of Remembrance) occurs annually on November 20th to memorialize those

Curtain Up!

on Wed, 10/23/2013 - 15:39

BreakOUT! Healing Justice Program Kicks Off with Ping Chong + Company Theatre Performance

BreakOUT! was recently invited by the Arcus Foundation to partner with Ping Chong + Company, an internationally acclaimed theater company from New York, to put together our own version of their “Undesirable Elements” project, an oral history theater series that uses the voices of real people to explore issues of identity and difference.

After a lot of deliberation (How do we tell our stories from a place of power?  Who gets to hear our stories?  How will we use this in our campaigns?  Who are these people from New York anyway??), members and organizers at BreakOUT! decided to take on the task.

Now, after a week of workshops, rehearsals, games, and scripting, we are happy we did!

BreakOUT! spent all

BreakOUT! Launches GED Classes with Youth Empowerment Project’s NOPLAY

on Sat, 10/19/2013 - 05:17

A groundbreaking study published in 2010 found that gay and transgender youth are up to 3 times more likely to experience harsh disciplinary treatment by school administrators- including suspension, expulsion, and school arrest.  For many transgender youth of color, this school-to-prison pipeline quickly leads them toward time behind bars.

Since our founding in 2011, BreakOUT! has worked in partnership with the Youth Empowerment Project’s Adult Basic Education (ABE) and GED program, New Orleans Providing Literacy to All Youth (NOPLAY) to provide training, technical assistance, and co-sponsored events as part of YEP’s ongoing work to be LGBTQ-affirming and welcoming of all students.

It’s also been a key strategy to stopping the rail to jail for many LGBTQ youth of color in our city.

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! Co-Sponsors Southern Harm Reduction Conference

on Thu, 09/19/2013 - 23:58

BreakOUT! is excited to co-sponsor the 2013 Southern Harm Reduction and Drug Policy Conference with local host Women With a Vision and regional host the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition in New Orleans, LA on December 12-13, 2013.  Register for the conference here!

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! Member to Serve as Healing Justice Coordinator/ Youth Organizer through Louisiana Delta Service Corps

on Mon, 09/16/2013 - 20:15

BreakOUT! is excited to announce the addition of Nate Faulk to the organization as the Healing Justice Coordinator/ Youth Organizer through Louisiana Delta Service Corps.

Nate joined BreakOUT! as a member in 2012 and has been active with the organization ever since.  A native of Louisiana, he attends the University of New Orleans where he is majoring in American Studies.  Since joining BreakOUT!, he has attended conferences with other members, including the IGNITE 2012 Queer and Trans Youth Convening, the Seeds of Fire Youth Organizing Camp at the Highlander Center, the Allied Media Conference, and the School-to-Prison Action Camp. 

Nate’s hire also marks the relaunch of our Healing Justice Program, originally started in 2011 after members attended the Allied Media Conference and were

ACTION ALERT! BreakOUT! Supports OPPRC in Capping Bed Size at Orleans Parish Prison

on Sat, 08/31/2013 - 13:48

Raising our voices (again) in support of the 1,438 cap on beds at Orleans Parish Prison!

From the Orleans Parish Prison Reform Coalition:

Recent media reports and court filings reveal that the Sheriff and Mayor are coming together to advocate that the City change or ignore the 2011 City ordinance that capped the number of beds in Orleans Parish Prison to 1,438. Hundreds of community members  packed the City Council chambers, signed petitions, and called their councilpersons in order to get the 1,438 cap included in the ordinance approving construction of a new jail building.  Now, we we need to call on you again to stand with us in making sure that our voices are not blatantly ignored.
The city does not need to incarcerate more people to properly care for the people it does

BreakOUT! Travels to 4 States in 3 Months!

on Tue, 08/13/2013 - 18:51

BreakOUT! has had a busy summer so far filled with lots of travel!  In June, BreakOUT! sent 6 members to Detroit, MI, along with our Director, for the 15th Annual Allied Media Conference.  Then, one of our Youth Organizers flew directly from Detroit, MI to Oakland, CA to begin training for her internship with the Movement Activist Apprenticeship Program (MAAP) through the Center for Third World Organizing.  In July, we sent 3 members to the Seeds of Fire Youth Organizing Camp at the Highlander Research and Education Center in the mountains of Tennessee.  And shortly afterward, our Director attended the Soros U.S. Justice Conference in Los Angeles, CA and got a chance to witness incredible organizing happening in Phoenix, AZ before returning home.