Sylacauga is a small town in central Alabama, nestled amid the rolling hills and forests of Talladega County. Back in the 1990s, this tight-knit community was so diminutive that it lacked fundamental establishments such as motels, restaurants, or even a solitary traffic signal. The town's limited size fostered a culture where nearly everyone was familiar with each other. Within the context of small-town Alabama, individuals within the LGBTQ+ community often chose to conceal their identities. Many found solace in relocating to the more embracing city of Birmingham. In 1999, the world would come to learn exactly why.
In the realm of human emotion, love knows no boundaries, and yet, acceptance remains a distant dream for some. In the 1990s, a gay couple sought refuge from mounting homophobia, leaving behind the confines of Colorado for the promises of Medford, Oregon. But their aspirations for a safe haven were shattered in 1995, when the couple mysteriously vanished. Fears began running rampant that they had become the victim of the very thing they were trying to escape…
There is nothing that people want more in this world than to be accepted for who they are. This is especially true for those in the LGBTQ community, who have to fight that extra bit harder for acceptance, even today in 2022. Transgender people remain the most invisible, the least understood and the most stigmatized element of the LGBTQA community, and in 2013, an attack in New York City sent shockwaves throughout the community.
Anti-transgender hatred fuels an alarming number of murders throughout the world. The Trans Murder Monitoring project was started in 2009 and systematically monitors, collects and analyses reports of homicides of transgender people throughout the world. The statistics that they post each year are extremely disturbing. In Cabool, Missouri, a 17-year-old girl who had recently come out as transgender vanished. An investigation would lead to the doorstep of people she had considered her friends.
Isaac Woodard was a highly decorated African America World War II veteran. When returning home from service, he was brutally attacked by Sheriff Lynwood Shull after a bus driver lied and claimed he was causing trouble. He had simply asked to use the restroom. The beating was so severe that it left Isaac Woodard permanently blind.
Helen Betty Osborne, a Cree Aboriginal, with hopes to become a teacher was brutally stabbed to death with a screwdriver in The Pas in 1971. The entire town knew exactly who had committed the senseless murder but due to racism, sexism and indifference in the community, they kept their mouths closed.
Jasper is a small timber town around 100 miles northeast of Houston, Texas. It’s a quaint area that holds an annual Butterfly Festival the first October every year. However, in June of 1998, Jasper was rocked by a brutal hate crime that still reverberates across the nation today.
Harry & Harreitte Moore were pioneer activists & leaders of the early civil rights movement in the United States. On Christmas night of 1961, they would become the first martyrs of the movement, followed by Harry T. Moore and Martin Luther King Jr.
In 2012, much of America was celebrating the re-election of the nation’s first African American president but just three weeks later in Jacksonville, Florida, the murder of an unarmed African American teenager was a bloody reminder of just how far we still have to go in the battle against racism.
During middle school, a lot of teenagers try to find out who they truly are. Sadly the pressures of fitting in alongside a new environment can often prove to be very difficult for some teenagers & when prejudice and bigotry go unchecked, it can sometimes lead to violence.