A Convening of Southern Queer Leadership

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We’re gearing up for Out South at the historic Penn Center on Saint Helena island in South Carolina, one of the oldest and most sacred sites of resistance and sanctuary for Blacks. We hold deeply the significance of the ground beneath our feet in the aftermath of decisions of a system that is doing little to hide its irreverence for Black people, for Mike Brown, for Renisha McBride, for Eric Garner, for Sage Smith, for Monica Jones, for Islan Nettles…

As the trans and gender non-conforming pre-convening begins this morning, and as we convene more Southern LGBTQ leaders over the next few days to talk about the work we are doing in our communities, we hold deeply the great honor and legacy of survival and work towards liberation of our ancestors and the call to us as organizers and leaders to fight for our collective futures. We take this moment and this weekend to breathe when the whole world is trying to choke us out, to remember our duty to fight, and to stand together in the vision of the thousands of you across the country that are demanding more for our people.

AL Teen Chokes to Death, Suffers Cardiac Arrest at Hands of Police

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A Huntsville teen who died after being arrested by Huntsville police in a drug sting suffered broken ribs, had a flashlight shoved in his mouth and suffered cardiac arrest while officers sat on him, a federal lawsuit alleges.

The 17-year-old choked, began vomiting and lost consciousness while handcuffed but officers refused to render aid, according to the lawsuit filed by Nancy Smith, the teen’s mother. Police told paramedics they thought the teen had overdosed, but the lawsuit said no signs of an overdose have been found.

The officers, who had sent an informer to buy drugs from the teen, held the teen down and inserted two pens and the butt of a flashlight into his mouth searching for contraband. They didn’t find any. The boy could not breathe and had turned blue by the time paramedics arrived, according to the complaint.

He died on June 18, 2013, five days after being transported to Huntsville Hospital.