LGBTQ youth take lack of local media coverage into own hands
In just under three months in the beginning of 2015, at least 10 transgender women were murdered in the U.S., mostly transgender women of color.  Several other gender non-conforming and queer people of color were also killed, including Jessie Hernandez, killed by the Denver police.  Shortly following, the nation saw a rash of suicides by transgender young men of color.  And just a few weeks ago, New Orleans lost another Black transgender woman to an illegal silicone injection.

According the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, transgender women of color were the majority (72%) of victims of reporting hate violence in 2013 and 7x more likely to experience police violence and physical violence from police.

Of those killed in early 2015 was Penny Proud, a 21 year old Black transgender woman in New Orleans, killed on February 10th at the corner of Ursulines Ave. and N. Claiborne Ave.

Of all the media requests BreakOUT! received following her death, only 2 were from local reporters- one of which was from the same newspaper that slandered her in the media, including misgendering her and alluding to criminal activity of which there was no evidence.  Even the LGBT newspaper in New Orleans failed to report her death.  City representatives remained silent and unaware.

BreakOUT!’s solution?

Make our own media. Develop our own message. Make it so big (over 24 feet wide, in fact), we can’t be ignored.

#MakePennyProud is the name of a media & action campaign to provide a platform for the transgender community in New Orleans to raise awareness about the violence experienced by transgender women of color and what can be done to stop it through the purchase of a billboard in a heavily used part of New Orleans, against the backdrop of Orleans Parish Prison.

The billboard will reach the approximately 400,000 people who drive down Broad Street each day.

Made possible through support from the Awesome Foundation New Orleans and the Urgent Action Fund, the billboard sits atop BreakOUT!’s office in the Art Egg Studios, near Earhart and Broad St., viewable heading southbound (downtown) on the Broad. St. overpass.

Penny, we hope you’re looking down on us with pride.