Category Archives: Crime & Abuse

GRIOT Supports QEJ Vigil for Elder Yvonne McNeal

On October 2nd, Yvonne McNeal, 57, a POC elder, community member and resident at the New Providence Women’s Shelter in midtown Manhattan was [allegedly]  murdered by NYPD outside of her shelter.  A regular at Queers for Economic Justice events and support groups, Yvonne was an elder and a kind, reserved member of our community.  She walked with a cane and marched with us at Pride this past June.  Yvonne was also a reliable source for other LGBT people at New Providence.  NYPD [allegedly] shot Yvonne five times.

In response to this violence, QEJ is partnering with New Providence to hold a vigil and silent march in Yvonne’s honor outside of the shelter. The vigil will be on Friday, November 18 from 5 – 7 pm at New Providence Women’s Shelter, 225 East 45th Street.

You can lend support by: Attending on behalf of your organization or yourself.  Volunteering to prepare dinner for people attending the vigil by going to QEJ’s office on Nov. 18th at 2pm.  Just call 212.564.3608 or email carlos1@q4cj.org or jay@q4ej.org.

Thanks for your support especially in these times of violence.  QEJ is very shocked and saddened by this brutal act, we are not silenced–we will continue to organize around low-income, working class queer issues in New York, and will not be stopped by police brutality.  Your love is what inspires us; your support is what empowers us.

Amber Holibaugh, Interim Exec. Dir

Queers for Economic Justice

WHY THE NATIONAL CONVENING ON POC LGBT AGING IS NEEDED

Just a few days ago I received an email that a 57-year-old black lesbian member who was living in the New York City shelter system had been gunned down outside of the shelter.  Amber Hollibaugh, Executive Director, Queers for Economic Justice said, “Yvonne’s killing on Sunday underscores the reality that the police cannot be relied on to respond compassionately to low-income LGBTQ people when it concerns issues of safety in our communities.  At QEJ, we are asking again, how many potentially dangerous situations every year have to end up in a police shooting?  It cannot be accepted that calling the police can be deadly for low-income LGBTQ New Yorkers”.

Most of us have vibrant memories of the battles that have gone before: civil rights, marriage equality in California and New York, and the continuing immigrants rights struggle.  We also do not forget the examples of fierce warriors like Audre Lorde, who said, “If I did not define myself for myself, I would be crushed into other people’s fantasies for me and be eaten alive.”

In addition to ongoing marginalization the current economic climate threatens housing, food security and health care among the aging. These forces are all the more challenging in light of  continued marginalization and lack of integration of people of color and more so, LGBT elders of color into this dialogue.

As “baby boomers” age there is need to look at the rights and well-being of the aging.

There are those who stood up and fought on all these fronts that are continually being left out of the conversation.

Kyaien O. Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH, Univ. of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Dept. of Psychiatry and Daphne Collier.

Freddie Don Little, MPH, Sharon M. Day, E.D., Indigenous Peoples Task Force and Dion Wong, Gay Asian Pacific Alliance.

People like Regina V. Shavers, Robert Spellman, Ira Jeffries, the founders of GRIOT, saw the need for us to have the space to speak for ourselves.

Rev. Janyce L. Jackson, Liberation in Truth Unity Fellowship Church, Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle and Don Kao, Dir. Project Reach.

They would be pleased at the amassed potential of this community of organizational leaders and elders coming together to cooperatively continue the battle we have been waging individually and in small segmented groups, in Aging. It’s time for us to  reassess how we can work differently to get our voices and our lives into this conversation. This convening offers us an opportunity to gather as a community of POC/ LGBT elders and organizational leaders who must frame the policy on Aging.  Our work experience in addressing the disparities in health care, housing, immigration, social security are needed in a truly collective effort that enhances the quality of our elder’s lives. This network must build a united voice of POC organizational leaders and elders, and must reframe language so it inclusively meets the needs of the POC /LGBT communities.  It would not be clichéd to say at this time, “Si, se puede!”

Article by Glen Francis, E.D., GRIOT Circle, also published in HUFFINGTON POST.