In addition to yesterday's fantastic decision on same-sex marriage, there is more good news coming out of Massachusetts: A new awareness campaign targeting homophobia in Boston's historic black community has been well-received.
"We Are Part of You" is a series of three related ads (previously mentioned here), each using the phrase "I Am Gay", that was originally developed for black communities in New York City. The goal of the campaign, which will run on billboards and in MBTA stations in Roxbury, Dorchester and Mattapan, is to drive home the point in Boston’s black communities that "gay men have always been and will always be a part of those communities," says Douglas Brooks, the executive director of JRI Health. Brooks took the # 22 bus up Columbus Avenue to gauge the reaction to the above billboard in Egleston Square:
"[I was] on a bus full of black people, and wondering what the reactions would be…. I saw people looking at it. I saw people reading it. You can’t help it, it draws your attention because it’s so bold. And I think more than anything the fact that there were no comments made me feel good. I thought, ‘Okay, maybe people are just sort of taking it in,’ or at least they’re not making loud homophobic remarks on the bus. But I was very proud of it, too. I hope it makes a difference.”
Another billboard, showing a black gay man with a pastor, was placed in Dorchester on Blue Hill Avenue "because of the high number of churches in the area." State Sen. Dianne Wilkerson (D-Boston), whose own church is nearby, says she "could not think of a more perfect place to make a statement to remind people that it is our reality and we have to deal with it." The location is near the church of the Rev. Eugene Rivers, one of Boston's loudest ant-gay black pastors.
Sending a Message [Bay Windows]
News: Harry, "I Am Gay" [R20]
ABC AIDS Special [Keith Boykin]
Primetime Reports Black HIV Epidemic [After Elton]
"Out of Control: AIDS in Black America" [R20]
Pier Kids [R20]
Homeless Gay Youth an "Epidemic" [R20]
GLAAD's Ad Targets Black Families [R20]
Would You Stop Loving Him? [R20]
(Virtual) Sex and the City [R20]