Bringing Justice Home: A March for Rashawn
Three years after the brutal murder of her son, Desire Brazell literally sees him everywhere. Much of the city is covered in posters offering a $12,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of Rashawn’s killer; the Nostrand Avenue subway station where his dismembered remains were discovered in February 2005, the streets of Greenwich Village where he enjoyed nights out with friends and even on several Jersey-bound PATH trains. Everywhere but in the bustling Bushwick neighborhood that he called home.
With each day that witnesses and would-be informants remain silent about the crime, the callous murderer that killed her 19-year old son gains a little more time to elude justice. So, after three years without a single suspect in custody, Desire believes that the time has come for the Bushwick community that embraced and nurtured Rashawn to aid in tracking down his killer. On Saturday, August 30th, Desire will be directing an hour-long flyering session geared toward soliciting tips from neighbors and commuters who might have information about what happened on Valentine’s day of 2005 when her son left their Gates Avenue apartment, never to be seen again. Her message is a simple one: if you want justice, you have to start at home.
And Desire will not be alone. After posting reward flyers throughout the area where Rashawn was raised, Desire will lead NYPD officers, elected officials, activists and concerned community members in a march to the subway stop where her son’s severed body parts were found to proclaim that no parent should ever lose their child to homophobic violence or intolerance of any kind. Also joining her will be the parents and families of gay and lesbian people of color from New York and New Jersey who have been jailed, assaulted, killed or treated unjustly because of their identities.
Desire is supported by the Rashawn Brazell Memorial Fund, which honors the teen’s legacy by granting $1500 scholarships annually to college-bound NYC students committed to the fight against racism, sexism and homophobia. Invited guests include NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn, Councilwoman Letitia James, Kimma Dandridge (mother of the New Jersey Four’s Terrain Dandridge), Denise and Ezekiel Sandy (parents of the late Michael Sandy) and LaTona Gunn (mother of the late Sakia Gunn).