"The Center on Halsted and queer direct-action organization Gender JUST are ensnared in a public debate over mediation practices at the Center after Gender JUST launched a petition urging the Center to adopt practices that the facility says it already has in place."
Read the rest of Windy City Times' coverage here.
7/8/11 | Huffington Post: Darren Hayes, 24-Year-Old Indiana Man, Charged In Boystown Stabbing; Facebook, YouTube Aided Detectives
[...] Meanwhile, Gender JUST, an LGBT organization that has condemned the racially-charged language that has emerged during discussions about Boystown violence, issued a press release Thursday decrying what they see as "increased policing and profiling, racist attacks, and harassment" since the recent attacks.
"We don't downplay this violence," Gender JUST member Joshua McCool said in the release, "but we won't allow you to use this as an excuse to profile us; we see policing and profiling as tools of violence - and you can't fight violence with violence!"
For the whole article: http://www.windycitymediagroup.com/gay/lesbian/news/ARTICLE.php?AID=32676
[...] Organizers from LGBT youth organization Gender JUST charged that response efforts around crime in Lakeview will result in increased racial profiling of youth.
"What are you taking back?" asked Joshua McCool, at a Gender JUST press conference before the event. "You own Boystown. There are no spaces for queer youth of color."
McCool argued that white Cubs fans are given leeway when drunk and out of control, but that youth of color are implicated as a whole when one youth does something wrong. He also argued that Lakeview was one of the lowest-crime areas in the city and asked why more was not being done for other communities.
Gender JUST protested a recent "positive loitering" walk organized by the same residents who organized massive turnout at the CAPS meeting. The group has since taken heat from "Take Back Boystown" activists who say that they are distracting from solutions to crime.
Gender JUST youth were not the only ones present in protest of recent conversations. Older community members as well youth who access services at Broadway Youth Center also came to speak their disapproval, many of them arguing that the conversation had become racist.
[...] Rob Sall, the activist who created the "Take Back Boystown" page and shot the video of the stabbing, said the meeting was a positive start despite frustrations. "I think that everybody in the room understands the points that Gender JUST was making," he said. "But the purpose of the CAPS meeting was to address crime, not to fix the problems of the world."
Still, official organizers of the meeting and Gender JUST seemed to miss each other on a few key issues. While many residents said they wanted more police to protect the entire community including youth, Gender JUST has historically campaigned against the police, advocating for alternative strategies to violence. Also, while a few did complain that the Center on Halsted was attracting trouble to the neighborhood, Gender JUST also doesn't support the Center because it claims that it is unwelcoming to youth.
GJ not mentioned in print, but on video. Click the link below to view the video.
Many younger LGBT of color believe they are being unfairly blamed for the problems. Some participants believe that the Center on Halsted, which serves the entire LGBT community but has special programs for youth, is attracting the wrong crowd.
But others, like [Gender JUST Member] Joshua McCool, said shifting the blame to loiterers was a veiled attempt to scapegoat young, vulnerable minorities. “The idea that race is not part of this is ridiculous,” said McCool, a member of a grassroots organization for LGBTQ youth. [...] “Because obviously it's not just about being queer, because Boystown consists of queers, white queers, white men, middle class men. So this is a race issue.”
Prior to the CAPS meeting, members of the LGBT organization Gender JUST held a press conference in front of the school to discuss their concerns about LGBT youths of color being blamed for crime in the area. [...] “Boystown has one of the lowest rates of violence in Chicago,” said Joshua McCool, of Gender JUST. “You cannot use this as a way to profile people.” [...] Many of the Gender JUST members also spoke at the CAPS meeting, expressing similar concerns.
As Gender JUST protested outside, a crowd estimated at over 500 people, ranging from neighborhood residents, business owners and patrons, LGBT gay youth and their supporters and Chicago media, packed into the auditorium of the Inter-American Elementary School, 851 W. Waveland Ave.http://chicago.gopride.com/news/article.cfm/articleid/20277049
"You cannot take these people that committed this act of violence... it was violent, but you cannot use this as a way to profile people," said Joshua McCool of Gender Just.
Outside, a group of protestors argued residents are unfairly blaming the incidents on minorities who visit from other neighborhoods. [...] "You cannot take these people that committed this act of violence -- it was violence, but you cannot use this as a way to profile people," said Joshua McCool with the group Gender Just.
Also, check out the audio for a snippet of Gender JUST members speaking.“When it’s someone of color that’s caught in the act of violence, it’s something that reflects on the entire community,” said Joshua McCool, a member of the LGBT activist group Gender JUST. The group describes itself as a grassroots organization of queer and transgender youth of color.