Rashawn Brazell would have turned 20 in April. Instead of a celebration, his birthday was marked with candlelight vigils and town hall meetings. By then, his February murder had faded from headlines.
But a growing number of New York-area bloggers, many of them African-American and gay, like Brazell, are keeping his memory, and the search for his killer, alive.
So begins a strong piece of enterprise journalism in this morning's Newsday. Andrew Lavallee's So He Won't Be Forgotten documents the virtual community's efforts to bring awareness to the brutal February slaying of the young Brooklyn man ... as well as keep the heat on police and prosecutors to pursue leads and collar a suspect.
As mentioned previously, my newsroom years have demonstrated that cases like these—young, black, gay, violent death, outer borough—are almost guaranteed to the obscurity of the Metro Section or overnights on NY1. Luckily that has changed because ...
Within several weeks of Brazell's killing, people began blogging about the incident. Today, there are at least 10 sites, including rashawnbrazell.com, that have discussed his murder.
Some bloggers are trying to keep the story alive, while others are trying to organize.
Lavallee mentioned a number of bloggers, sites and organizations—RashawnBrazell.com, Terrance at the Republic of T, Donald, Kenyon Farrow at GMAD, POCC and yours truly. But many more have helped in some form or fashion, via support or action. Just by reading this you are bringing awareness to the case.
The article is yet another example of Newsday's commitment to covering local news in Brooklyn and Queens. The Long Island paper is more sympathetic to minority concerns. The Times' limousine liberalism often doesn't extend beyond hiring or the Manhattan Bridge, and the Post is a virtual propoganda mill for the Archie Bunkers and closet bigots of the Tri-State. True, the Times is the paper of record and the "If It Bleeds, It Leads" Post has more investigative sources. But often Newsday usually can be counted upon for more in-depth local reporting. After all, we're looking to put a human face and extend empathy to the news.