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"Working Our Way Home:
'We are the people we've been waiting for'"

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BlackOut Unlimited

BlackOut Unlimited has been providing education, cultural and socialprogramming to the African-American Same Gender Loving (SGL) community since 1997.

Organized primarily to provide a pride celebration for the community, BlackOut quickly identified various unmet needs within the community.

Subsequently, BlackOut re-organized as a non-profit with a Board of Trustees to meet the needs of the underserved African American SGL community.

For many in our community, the inability to reconcile such issues as family relationships, employment/career, religion/spirituality, and civil rights with sexual orientation is a supreme challenge.

Our goal is to increase the level of consciousness of and about the African American SGL community. We accomplish this with such activities as:  Club 1722 Youth Project, The Brother Circle of Cleveland, ZAMI Womyn's Project, a quarterly conversation series, an entertainment series and BlackOut Weekend, which includes the Exchange Conference and is Ohio's first and largest annual event for the African- American SGL community.

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Allison Curseen
Allison Curseen is a recent Oberlin graduate from North Carolina.  At Oberlin she majored in Creative Writing and minored in History.  She is currently working in the Center for Service and Learning as their Campus and Community Collaboration Leader.

 

Credit: Ayanna U'Dongo/Phireye Media Studio
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L-R: Jeree Brown (JB RapItUp), Juba Kalamka (Pointfivefag), 25Percenter (Tim'm T. West)

 

 

 

Deep Dickollective (D/DC)

 The anti-gangster aesthetic of quasi-Nationalist "conscious" hip-hoppers and bohemian MC thrift shoppers pave a space for D/DC to articulate its word play. They represent a political lyricism that does not take itself too seriously. they are the brave mavericks of a movement that some affectionately refer to as homo-hop. They are Oxymoronic "out" black queer emcees the world says do not exist. They are the rumblings of a revolution that have for too long been silenced. Overstand? It's not that deep.

D/DC released their critically-acclaimed debut BourgieBohoPostPomoAfroHomo (Sugartruck Recordings)  in 2001, and were named  Best Hip Hop Group in the 2003 San Francisco Bay Guardian Readers Poll . D/DC’s  second full length CD  The Famous Outlaw League Of Proto-Negroes was recently  named one of the  Top Ten Gay Albums of 2004  by Out Magazine.

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Credit: David Findlay, Copyright 2004

Nalo Hopkinson
Nalo Hopkinson, originally from the Caribbean, lives in Canada.  She writes science fiction and fantasy, and is the recipient of the Gaylactic Spectrum Award (for positive portrayal of queer characters in fiction), the World Fantasy Award, and the John W. Campbell Award.

 Leslye Huff Esq.

Leslye Huff focuses on labor and employment law in general practice in the City of Beachwood, OH. Ms Huff has advocated for social justice throughout her life, working in leadership roles on boards and commissions such as the Northern Ohio Hate Crimes Work Group, the National Lesbian and Gay Law Association, and Judge Ronald B. Adrine’s Racial Fairness Project Board.  Before receiving her Juris Doctorate, Ms Huff served as law clerk at the Center for Constitutional Rights where she performed crucial research for the Mumia Abu Jamal death penalty appeal and founded the LesBiGay Law Students Association.

Ms Huff earned her law degree at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law where she received the Richard C. Schaefer Memorial Award for Outstanding Clinician in Employment Law and earned he Judge Lloyd O. Brown Fellowship.  She has presented papers on LGBT advocacy at John Marshall College of Law of Chicago, Antioch College, the University of Iowa College of Law, and Yale University School of Law. 

Since the early 1980’s, Ms Huff has pressed for a dialogue within the African-American community regarding heterosexism and speaks truth to power with a velvet glove regarding homophobia and chronic racial fear-response.  Leslye Huff champions the cause of LGBT right to marry and published an article titled “Black Ministers Declare War Against Lesbians and Gay Men” in the Call and Post and “Marital Bliss Under the Constitution: Thoughts on Opposite-Gender Marriage, the African American Community, and LesBiGay Rights.”

Ms Huff has maintained a twenty-two year committed relationship with her best friend and life-partner, Mary Ostendorf, MS.N., RN. As partners for life, they have reared two sons, Daudi Hashim Huff and Kahlil Seren Huff, and are the proud grandparents of three children.

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 Lance McCready

Professor McCready received his Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Studies with a designated emphasis in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from the University of California, Berkeley. His research and writing focuses on institutional marginalization, Black subjectivities, identity formation, urban education, masculinities, queer youth, community arts, and West African dance and culture. He is currently preparing a book-length manuscript on the ways gender and sexuality compound the marginalization of Black gay male students in an inner-city high school. In addition to being an academic, he is an accomplished dancer specializing in movement styles that fuse West African and modern dance. He feels extremely fortunate to be teaching at his alma mater with students and colleagues committed to anti-oppressive education and social justice.

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Ingrid Rivera

Ingrid Rivera exudes the conscientiousness of political activism with a mixture of soulful flavor.  She honestly and powerfully unveils issues of discrimination, sexual abuse, sex and gender- with a dash of spanglish! Ingrid Rivera is a Black Boricua, Queer, Economic and Social Justice activist/ performance artist. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, participates in poetry slams and has been featured at the Nuyorican Poets Café.  She has also shared her poetry/spoken word at Bluestockings Women’s Bookstore, Cowpasture Coffee House, DUMBA, and in other venues.  She was honored by the Astrea 2001 “Emerging Lesbian Writer’s Fund” poetry judges to receive an honorable mention.

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 Doria Roberts

A regular on the national singer/songwriter circuit, Doria Roberts creates songs that have been described as "a delicious, bohemian blend of folk, jazz and pop". Doria’s versatility as a songwriter and entertainer is never lost whether she is performing solo or with her band.As a part time activist, Doria has committed herself to inspiring compassion, social action and change through her music and various projects. She has been inspired by Nina Simone’s "Mississppi Goddamn", Odetta’s "Another Man Done Gone", Janis Ian’s "Society’s Child, Billie Holiday’s "Strange Fruit", John Lennon’s elegy "Working Class Hero", and almost everything by Ani DiFranco, and Patti Smith. The personal experience sometimes becomes political and the stage sometimes becomes a forum-a space not only to entertain, but to also inform.

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 Jason Tompkins
"Jason Tompkins is honored to be invited to Working Our Way Home as an honorary alumni guest.  As co-chair of Oberlin's groundbreaking Burnin' Closets: BlaQueer Conference in November 2001, a member of Oberlin's delegation for the historic Beyond Visibility: Queer People of Color Shattering Single Issue Politics Conference at Yale University in February 2002, and active Zami member, Jason is pleased to support and witness Oberlin's continuing legacy of affirmation, self-determination, and community-building with the convergence of this conference.  Currently finishing a self-designed major at Webster University in St. Louis, MO, "AfroFuturism in Cinema and Digital Media Production", Jason continues his passion for community organizing as a member of St. Louis Black Pride 2005, and the Youth Action Coalition, a nation-wide ad-hoc alliance of LGBT youth organizers formed from NGLTF's Creating Change Conference, November 2004."

Juba Kalamka, a Chicago native,lives in Oakland,California. Most recognized for his work as a founding member of homohop group Deep
Dickollective (D/DC)creation of the label/distro Sugartruck Recordings.
He is the director/curator of the PeaceOUT World HomoHop Festival,now
in its fifth year, and recieved a 2004 PlanetOUT/Gay.com Fabbie Award for
his contributions to queer music and activist community.

Working_Our_Way_Home@yahoo.com / 440-775-6466