Brandon White, the gay man viciously attacked and had the video of his assault uploaded to a hip hop website, is now speaking out against violence against LGBT people as part of a new campaign called “Speak Out with Brandon.”
“I recently experienced a violent crime against me because I am gay. And I too was afraid to speak out. You are not alone,” White, 20, says at the start of the video.
“If you’ve been the victim of a violent crime, speak out … encourage people to speak out about violent crimes against the LGBT community,” White says in the 1:45 video posted to YouTube on Feb. 28.
Wearing a white shirt and tie, White is being filmed in the office of the HIV Intervention Project; the project’s executive director is activist Greg Smith. Smith has been White’s primary source of support after the attack, including participating in a community discussion about how to react to the crime and organizing the press conference White had a few days after his Feb. 4 attack.
In an interview last month, White spoke about trying to make his life better after the brutal beating.
“Instead of letting this hold me back and bring me down ― how can it help prosper me, how can it help me make myself better, make my life better. Those are the steps now going forward in my life instead of sitting around,” he said.
The mission of the “Speak Out With Brandon White Anti-Violence Campaign” is “to bring awareness to, and encourage people to speak out against physical, verbal, and emotional violence,” according to the group’s website. As of now there is no staff or organizations listed as participating with the new group.
“The Speak Out With Brandon Anti-Violence Campaign would like to get people of all races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, and social economic backgrounds, including celebrities and politicians, to upload videos of themselves speaking out about their personal violent attack experiences, and encouraging others to speak out against violence,” the group further states on the website.
White says in the video that he hopes by him speaking out others who are victims will also speak out. He also encourages people to post their own videos to YouTube talking about their experience with violence.
“People were shocked because what happened to me. We need to let them know this is happening every day and has been happening We’ve remained silent for too long,” he says. “Together we can make a difference.”
The campaign also has a Twitter account and tweets are sent to various celebrities including Paula Abdul, President Barack Obama, Gavin Newsome and Sen. John McCain asking, “Hi I’m Brandon White. Please join our ‘SpeakOutWithBrandon’ Video Campaign. Post your YouTube video today. Be A Voice!”
The website for the campaign, registered to Greg Smith, says the group can offer education and training on hate violence, bullying, intimate partner violence and will also include information on working with lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer communities.
Services provided, according to the website, include supporting victim of sexual assault and domestic violence and also support groups and community organizing to address violence.
Speak Out With Brandon also plans to address police misconduct and represent those who say they are victims of police misconduct, including “people of color, transgender people, youth and sex workers.”
A program called the “Klub Life” seeks to focus on “bringing proactive violence prevention and education to LGBT/SGL (same gender loving) nightlife areas. The ‘K’ is translated as ‘knowledge.’
“In the LBGT/SGL the club life is ever evolving and is not always the traditional bar scene. In the ‘Klub’ Life we outreach where our community socializes, parties, network, empowers, and congregates (i.e. spade parties, house parties, online social networks),” according to the website.
Also, a store is included as part of the website and people can purchase coffee mugs ($7 plus $4 shipping), ball caps ($7 plus $6 shipping) and hoodies ($25 plus $10 shipping). All have the label “Speak Out With Brandon” emblazoned on them.
[UPDATE: Greg Smith said this afternoon the Speak Out Brandon campaign is not officially off the ground and its infrastructure is being put in place. An official announcement of the launch should come in the near future.
Watch the video of Brandon White speaking out for his new campaign