BreakOUT! was founded in 2011 by a small group of LGBTQ youth of color in response to discriminatory policing in New Orleans. BreakOUT! has since grown to a powerful youth-led, membership-based organization of queer and trans youth directly impacted by the justice system. BreakOUT! works to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth by confronting unfairness in the legal system, youth homelessness, school push-out, and other issues.
BreakOUT! aims to give voice to one of the nation’s most vulnerable and marginalized communities. Trans women of color suffer violence at one of the highest rates in the nation, yet their stories often go unreported in the media. Already this year, at least 21 trans women of color throughout the country have been murdered for expressing their true selves.
When Penny Proud, a trans New Orleanian, was murdered this year, BreakOUT! was dismayed by scant and inaccurate local media coverage. Taking matters into their own hands, BreakOUT! launched a media campaign online and with a highly visible billboard near the Orleans Parish Prison. Using the hashtags #MakePennyProud and #BlackTransLivesMatter, BreakOUT! is raising the visibility of victims of state and interpersonal violence in our community and across the nation.
BreakOUT! believes that those most directly impacted by discriminatory systems must lead the efforts to transform them. Through leadership development, a healing justice program, and youth organizing campaigns, BreakOUT! is building the power of LGBTQ youth to build a safer city for all New Orleanians.
There are only a couple more days to get your tickets before the acclaim, accolades, and auction begin, so click over to purchase them today. We are looking forward to celebrating the work of BreakOUT! and all of our awardees this Saturday. It is my hope that you will be able to share this joyful evening with us.
SarahJane E. Brady
Executive Director, Forum for Equality