PHOTO ESSAY: Black Drag Royalty Demands Boystown Reparations

In an effort to bring our audience an authentic look into the activism taking place “on the ground,” Rescripted will be periodically featuring protests and highlighting the unseen heroes who are bringing restorative justice to the underrepresented masses.

On June 14th, Chicago drag performer Joe Lewis, also known as “Jo Mama,” organized a queer demonstration that many would consider to be the queer march heard round the world. What began as a protest against police brutality and violence against trans individuals turned into a call for accountability and reparations for the local black drag and trans community. Amidst a crowd of upwards of 1,000 people, some of Chicago’s most prominent black drag performers called for the dismantling of white supremacy throughout the historic Boystown gayborhood. Among the notable speakers were Lucy Stoole, Miss ToTo, Lúc Ami, Tatyana Chante, Zola and Rupaul’s Drag Race competitors Dida Ritz, The Vixen and projected All Stars front runner Shea Couleé. Miss Couleé transfixed the crowd as she told local bar owners and show runners to “make room” for the black drag talents who nurture the livelihood of Boystown but are all the while pushed to the periphery of queer nightlife. Couleé’s speech along with a spoken word piece performed by local trans activist Zola garnered viral status across all social media platforms. As a result, there was a virtual town hall that brought many Boystown gatekeepers into conversation with black drag performers who came bearing grievances. Tatyana Chanté, a local activist who has also organized multiple protest in the Chicago area said that they “hope people are awake now… and committed to being anti-racist” so that “Boystown can actually be a welcoming place for more than cis-white gay men.”

Photos by Christian Bufford

PHOTO ESSAY: Scenes from Honk for Justice Chicago

In an effort to bring our audience an authentic look into the activism taking place “on the ground,” Rescripted will be periodically featuring protests and highlighting the unseen heroes who are bringing restorative justice to the underrepresented masses.

In the wake of protests happening all over the country, sparked by the national outrage over the untimely deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, local activists have been taking the revolution into their own hands. Mobilizing protests in virtually every neighborhood across the metropolitan area, many activists have spearheaded efforts that have led to an unprecedented call to action against police brutality and racial inequality. One such activist is Jocelyn Prince, who orchestrated an ongoing interactive protest called #HonkForJustice. Every day Jocelyn corrals protesters to different intersections on the North Side of Chicago where they occupy the sidewalks, wave signs, chant and get drivers to honk their car horns. According to the open Facebook invite page, Jocelyn was “sick and tired of being sick and tired.” In addition to this recent organizing effort, Jocelyn is also a frequent staffer and volunteer with the Democratic Party. She was a staff field organizer for both Obama and Hilary Clinton as well as the 2020 Kamala Harris For The People campaign.

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