Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-03-21
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage



Black and Pink hosts gathering of LGBTQ prison abolitionists
by Tarina Hargrays

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

On Aug. 4, Black and Pink Chicago hosted its second national gathering at Chicago's Teachers Union Center. The event brought out LGBTQ prison abolitionists from around the country to speak about their experiences and the prison system as well as raise money for the Black and Pink organization.

The event, which was free to the public, began with a celebration dinner. Attendees were able to mix and mingle, have a little fun in the photo booth, as well as visit booths to buy raffle tickets and prison abolition T-shirts. Guests who were incarcerated at any time in their lives were able to buy the merchandise and tickets for half-price.

As guests began to take their seats, emcee Sasha Taylor took the stage to greet them. Taylor, who was recently incarcerated in 2008, is a 41-year-old, transgender female from San Antonio. Since then, she has been crowned with six titles that include Miss Wild & Wicked, Miss Texas for Life and Miss Corpus Christi Latina. Aside from her numerous titles, Taylor also works at BEAT AIDS as a health intervention specialist.

After wowing the crowd with her glamorous personality and fashion sense, Taylor gave over the mic to the event's speakers. The first speaker was former political prisoner Lauren Whitehorn. Although Whitehorn could not make it due to traveling troubles, she and her partner, activist Susie Day, were able to speak to guests via Skype. The two discussed topics from falling in love in prison to finally getting out and reclaiming their lives, which received several rounds of applause from guests.

Following Whithorn and Day's speech, formerly incarcerated and transgender female Eisha Love took the stage. Love was arrested in 2012 on Chicago's West Side for defending herself against a man with whom she had gotten into a physical altercation. She was indicted on attempted first-degree murder without lawful justification with intent to kill. She then spent nearly four years in the maximum security male Division IX of the Cook County Jail. Her story, with the help of a friend, went viral in a manner Love would have never imagined. ( Editor's note: A series on Love ran in Windy City Times in 2015. )

"I still can't believe that I got this platform to speak. I'm lost for words," said Love, who went on to admit that reliving the story tends to make her emotional. She then spoke about how the overwhelming support she received while locked up is what got her a lawyer and what got her through the entire ordeal. "It made me who I am today."

The night continued with spoken-word performances from Alan Schultz and Monica Cosby, theatrical dance performances from Youth Empowerment Performance Project and several other speakers.

Activist and former political prisoner Ricardo Jimenez also made an appearance. Jimenez is known for receiving a 90-year sentence for his role in FALN, a political group that fought for complete independence for Puerto Rico. However, Jimenez was released early in 1999 after President Bill Clinton extended a clemency offer to him.

In his speech, Jimenez discussed the trials and tribulations people of color have experienced during their fight for equality, as well as coming out as a gay man while being tied to his former organization. Jimenez mentioned how hard it was for him separating his gayness from what he was fighting for, saying, "My sexuality did not define my politics; my politics was defined by the colonial situation of my country." However, he said that when he finally came out some people did not see it that way, and questioned his role as a man. In response to that, Jimenez went on to say, "it's not about tolerance; it's not about you accepting me. It's about you including me in society because I am apart of this society; I sacrificed my life for this nation."

Similar to Jimenez's speech, one of the more emotional and powerful segments of the night was one called "Prisoner Voices." This was when incarcerated Black and Pink members' voice recordings were played for guests to hear how their lives have been impacted by the support of the organization.

Tracy Johnson—mother of Michael Johnson, a gay Missouri man who was convicted of 30 years in prison for exposing a partner to HIV—spoke at the gathering on behalf of her son.

After discussing her son's upbringing, she mentioned that he was dyslexic, indicating that his reading skills were partly to blame for his mishaps. She also urged attendees to know their HIV/AIDS state laws. Johnson said that her son didn't know what he needed to about Missouri's HIV laws, adding, "If you don't know your laws, you will never know how to fight your laws."

She went on to say that, "It's not against the law to be sick" and that she looks at HIV as if it were any other life-threatening disease. She closed her remarks by saying that her son's case is "new" again due to an appeal, and could not disclose specific details. ( Editor's note: Michael's conviction was reversed last year; see )

Shortly after, Black and Pink's Outgoing National Director Jason Lydon took the stage to discuss what the organization means to him and its members. With Lydon aiming to raise funds, guests agreed to donate $6,200 to Black and Pink.

The night concluded with Black and Pink presenting its awards to organizations and individuals for their work in the LGBTQ community. Among the recipients were Su'ganni Tiuza, who received the Kuwasi Balagoon Award; Trans Pride Initiative, who received the Pay It No Mind Award; Afrika Lockett, the recipient of the Out of Control Award; Sero Project, who got the Mike Riegle Award; and Brandon Pierce, with the Exceptional Newspaper Submission Award.

For information about Black and Pink or to donate, visit .

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email

Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


Gay News

Gun-control activists meet with Pfleger 2018-03-21 - A group of gun-control activists—including outspoken Parkland, Florida, survivor Emma Gonzalez, an out bisexual—met with Chicago's Father Michael Pfleger at Saint Sabina church, ...

Gay News

NATIONAL Pre-teen suicide, drag-queen situation, Truth Awards, Stormy Daniels 2018-03-20 - A 12-year-old bisexual boy in Mississippi committed suicide after allegedly being bullied for coming out, Gay Star News reported. Andrew Leach was found ...

Gay News

WORLD Councilwoman killed, gay whistleblower, medicinal vending machine 2018-03-20 - Rio de Janeiro Councilwoman Marielle Franco was killed March 14 after attending and speaking at a Black women's empowerment event in the city, ...

Gay News

Carson Admits He's Ignoring Protections for LGBTQ People in Homeless Shelters 2018-03-20 - WASHINGTON — Today, the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) criticized Secretary Ben Carson's shameful admission that the Department of Housing and Urban ...

Gay News

Millennium Park's security plan unveiled 2018-03-19 - Coinciding with the start of the busy summer season on May 19, Millennium Park will implement a security perimeter and bag check for ...

Gay News

Ahead of Supreme case, leaders, advocates unite to affirm businesses should be open to all 2018-03-16 - Washington, D.C. — Celebrities, civil rights leaders, LGBT advocates, hundreds of businesses, faith leaders, and many others are uniting to celebrate "Open To ...

Gay News

Leaked memo shows that HUD plans to remove anti-discrimination language 2018-03-15 - Washington, DC — Just days after People For the American Way filed suit against the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the ...

Gay News

Child welfare, LGBTQ advocacy groups condemn HHS delay in collecting foster, adoption data 2018-03-15 - WASHINGTON, DC — Leaders of the Every Child Deserves a Family Campaign are condemning the Department of Health and Human Services' ( HHS ...

Gay News

GLAD, NCLR urge 8th Circuit to find Title VII prohibits sexual orientation discrimination 2018-03-15 - NCLR and GLAD file brief urging the Eighth Circuit to find sexual orientation discrimination prohibited under Title VII of the Federal Civil Rights ...

Gay News

Businesses, attorneys general, rights groups tell court discrimination is bad for business 2018-03-14 - ( St. Louis, March 14, 2018 ) — Today 47 businesses, attorneys general from 15 states and the District of Columbia, the nation's ...


Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.








About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.