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Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane Harvey

Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane Harvey

LGBT Houston Shines Following Hurricane Harvey: Looking At The True Acts Of Kindness From The Houston LGBTQ+ Community After One Of The Worst Hurricanes In American History


A Special Two Part Series


(HOUSTON) — Standing outside Houston’s LGBTQ community center, The Montrose Center, in the early afternoon of Thursday, August 24th, you could see Hurricane Harvey was approaching Houston. The sky was dark, and the winds had arrived. The rainfall would come only hours later and would last for several days without relent until Wednesday, August 30, 2017.

During and in the wake of the storm an innumerable amount of Houstonians lost their homes, vehicles, pets, possessions, while some even less fortunate lost their lives and those close to them. Our great city was devastated!

The attention of the entire nation turned to Texas. With that attention, came the influx of aid from all over. Louisiana’s Cajun Navy responded to need, shuttling down boats and volunteers to rescue people from the deadly flooding. According to the National Weather Service, areas of Houston received over 50” of rain.

“I wanted to feel like I could do something. We all felt powerless. We can’t do anything to stop a hurricane, but we can do something afterward.”– Michael Glazner

The American Red Cross set up the state’s largest shelter-in-place at Houston’s downtown George R. Brown convention center. Initially housing 10,000 evacuees, other facilities were opened including NRG Arena and the Toyota Center.

Hurricane Harvey’s devastation became infamous with celebrities such as Kevin Hart, Sandra Bullock, Chelsea Handler, and Ellen DeGeneres contributing large sums of money to relief efforts. Cristela Alonzo, comedian, and actress from Texas and an adamant LGBTQ+ ally went so far as to research shelter locations needing supplies and volunteers.

ABTHarvey-223x300 Houston LGBTQ Community Steps Up Following Hurricane HarveyAs an estimated 32,000 people were displaced from their homes in Harris County, Houston’s truest acts of heroism from local citizens began to shine. NRG, George R. Brown, Houston Food Bank, Pets Alive, to BARC and Gallery Furniture and many other facilities set up as shelters were inundated with volunteers.

As #HurricaneHarvey pounded Houston with rain, members of Houston’s LGBT pride organization, Pride Houston, Inc., went into action collecting contributions and left over supplies (from Houston’s June Pride Celebration) for delivery to the George R. Brown Convention Center for people in need. Items like bottled water, clothing were donated.

In the days since the storm social media has been overwhelmed with photos and posts from Houston’s LGBTQ+ community. Images of volunteers helping one another, and posts details someone’s random acts of kindness. There are so many.

“It seems like our community has either had to step up for themselves for so many years or by extension have gotten used to stepping up for other people and helping out,” former ‘Friends of Pride’ committee co-chair Michael Glazner said to About Magazine.

“I’m impressed, honored, and privileged to be a part of this community, ”  Glazner said. Glazner was one of many Pride Houston, Inc. volunteers that assisted during Hurricane Harvey.

About Magazine Announces New Chief Editor

LGBT News Platform About Magazine Names Anthony Ramirez As Editor In Cheif

LGBT News Platform About Magazine Names Anthony Ramirez As Editor In Chief

(HOUSTON) — About Magazine + About News today announced that Anthony Ramirez has been appointed editor-in-chief of the About News platform. Ramirez succeeds Cade Michals, executive publisher, and founder since 2008, who is stepping aside for Ramirez to take lead. Michals will step back from his post as executive publisher of the LGBT news platform on November 7.

Michals will continue to play a pivotal role behind the scenes with the organization, and its multiple affiliates, but will no longer make editorial, or day-to-day management decisions. Michals, also the founder and director of the LGBT award show in Houston, The F.A.C.E. Awards, has been transitioning the award show to a non-profit over the past few months allowing the awards show to continue.

Ramirez is no stranger to writing. He is credited with three published novels (The Write Thing, Witches of the Deep South, and Where He Lay Down). Credits also include published work with the Advertising Specialty Institute, and a nationally published column ‘Less Than Butterflies,’ that Ramirez has transitioned to the About News platform.

DSC_0059-1024x686 About Magazine Announces New Chief Editor
Anthony Ramirez named new editor in chief of About Magazine

Anthony has served as the editor of fiction and the director of social media and marketing for ELJ Publications. Last year he hosted the event Yas Queen: Out of the Margins (a reading of LGBTQ, POC, and women writers) at the American Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Washington D.C. He recently completed coursework for his Bachelor of the Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

Beyond writing and journalism, Ramirez is also a performer of the stage and screen. He is the host and executive producer of the web show ‘Wineding Down with Anthony.’ Ramirez currently produces and stars in the forthcoming sitcom ‘The Anthony Project.’

He also sings annually in the Kingwood Kabaret scholarship fundraising event for Lone Star College. Additionally, Ramirez serves as the volunteer committee chair for Pride Houston, Inc. His most recent novel, Where He Lay Down, was considered for an honor by the American Library Association’s ‘Over the Rainbow’ committee.

Starting with About News in June, Ramirez was an investigative reporter. With this transition, Ramirez plans to expand the brand into a multimedia platform that will include a boost in op-ed pieces, featuring short fiction and poetry from LGBTQ writers around the state. Also including video content, and spotlights on Texas-based LGBTQ civilians who impact the community in a positive way.

As a means of achieving these goals, Ramirez states he is actively seeking writers, videographers, editors, and SEO-literate people within the community to take the brand to a new level.

You can follow Ramirez on Twitter @MAnthony Ramirez or on Facebook at facebook.com/AnthonyRamirezAuthor

Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston Sheriff

(Photo: About News) Family and Legal Team of Jesse Jacobs
(Photo: About News) Family and Legal Team of Jesse Jacobs

 

Family Files Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston Sheriff

The Family Of Jesse Jacobs, A Gay Man That Died In Custody Of The Galveston County Jail Have Filed A Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Against Galveston’s Henry Trochesset And Officials For His Death!


 

(Galveston, Texas) 03/14/16 – On the steps of the United States Federal Court House in Houston; family, friends, and the legal team for Jesse Jacobs announced their filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against Galveston Sheriff Henry Trochesset and officials after one year of ‘run arounds, no answers, and lack of transparency from officials’.

In the middle of some of the biggest media outlets in the country, lead attorneys U.A. Lewis and Debra V. Jennings outlined details in the federal complaint filed on the one-year anniversary of their client’s death.

The federal complaint accuses the Galveston County Sheriff of having blood on his hands in the death of Jacobs, accusing the Sheriff, his medical staff, and jailers of violating Jacob’s 8th and 14th amendment rights.

“The Galveston Sheriff executed our son.” The father of Jacobs stated to members of the media. “Today is the next step in finding answers.”

According to the complaint, Jacobs started having seizures after four days of incarceration as a direct result of lack of prescribed medication.

Disturbing details in the complaint outline how jail officials placed Jacobs in solitary confinement after he started to show signs of ‘withdrawals’ instead of transporting him to UTMB (University of Texas Medical Branch). The jail did not have a medical unit, as required by federal law.

In the solitary cell that had no water, sink, shower or toilet, Jacobs was found unresponsive, with his matress covered in fecal matter.

“This is one of the worst cases of medical indifference to human life I have ever seen,” said Houston civil rights attorney, Randall Kallinen, “This goes on far more often than the public realizes.”

Jacobs was sentenced to 30 days (would have served only 15) for a DWI in Galveston County in 2015. The family claims the jail staff was provided with a prescription Jacobs needed, and had been prescribed for more than 10 years.

The complaint alleges that’s because the jail officials refused to provide prescribed medications that were imperative for Jacobs, he died.

One of the medical doctors mentioned and asked to provide health care to Jacobs while incarcerated appeared before the Texas Medical Board last week in Austin, Texas ‘steaming’ from a complaint filed by the Jacobs family. Another doctor, Dr. Teresa Becker, has a hearing set for April.

The Galveston County Medical Examiner determined Jesse’s cause of death to be “abrupt discontinuation of long term medication.” Jacobs died one year ago today at the University of Texas Galveston after being transported from the Galveston County Jail.

The family is seeking twenty-five million dollars in the lawsuit.

ACLU Calls For Transparency In Death of Jesse Jacobs in Galveston Jail

Jesse Jacobs died in custody of the Galveston County Sheriff.
Jesse Jacobs died in custody of the Galveston County Sheriff.

ACLU Calls For Transparency In Death of Jesse Jacobs in Galveston Jail

(HOUSTON, TX) —On Tuesday the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Matt Simpson, called for Sheriff Henry Trochessett, of the Galveston Sheriff’s Department to be ‘transparent’ referring to requests to release information surrounding Jesse C. Jacobs, a 32 year old mans death while in custody of the Galveston County Sheriff’s Department (G.C.S.D.)

Simpson, a policy strategist for the ACLU and advocates for civil rights and civil liberties also works with local campaigns related to criminal justice reform, such as prison and jail policy, and law enforcement information sharing.

Documents obtained by About Magazine describe the official housing assignments while Jacobs was in custody in minimal detail. Leaving more questions of what really happened behind the walls of the Galveston County Jail.

 |MARCH 6, 2015 BOOKED INTO THE JAIL AND ASSIGNED HOUSING IN GENERAL POPULATION.

|MARCH 7-9 2015- NO RECORDS OF JACOBS LOCATION

|MARCH 10, 2015- JACOBS TRANSFERRED TO MEDICAL

|MARCH 11, 2015- NO RECORDS OF JACOBS LOCATION

|MARCH 12, 2015 JACOBS TRANSFERRED TO MEDICAL THEN TO UTMB

About Magazine and KTRK-13 obtained an exclusive copy of the In-Take form.  The form describes Jacobs’s medical needs for Xanax. The intake form’s purpose is to bring awareness to information for the Sheriff’s department. Galveston Sheriffs office was aware of Jacob’s need for certain medications. Instead the Sheriff’s office opted for their own medical plan.

“Most county jails have a formulary that they use to prescribe drugs” Simpson explains. “And almost off of them do not include Xanax.” He says.

“The thought that he (Jacobs) was taken to University of Texas – Medical Branch after he was unresponsive, this absolutely should not have happened.” Simpson tells About Magazine referring to the days leading up to Jacob’s death. “He was in custody, how was it so late in the game, that he got to UTMB?” The family and supporters of Jacobs hope the answers to their concerns are in the information the Sheriff will not release implying his blanket refusal is covering something up.

Using the term ‘investigation’ as a pretext to not releasing the information is very standard Simpson explained. “It sounds like the Sheriff (Trochessett) was negligent and should be sued.”

The Galveston Co. District Attorney , Jack Roady, informed About Magazine on Monday, that the district attorney’s office is reviewing the ‘Jacobs’ case. “The Sheriff’s Office conducted its investigation then referred the matter to our office.” Roady stated. Unlike officials in the Sandra Bland case, the D.A. stated; “since it is under review, we will not be releasing any details until after a thorough investigation has been completed.”

“The Sheriff has every right to intervene when there is a medical condition, and he should have before this young man’s cardiac arrest occurred.” Simpson said referring to the seizures Jacobs was enduring.

Roselee Baily of the Texas Commission on Jail Standards (TCJS) concluded on April 17, 2015 that no violation(s) had occurred after a ‘review’ of the allegations with the jail staff. The letter does not mention any investigation had occurred. A request for a copy of that report was denied.

In a standard letter sent to the Jacobs family, the TCJS states ‘the policy of the TCJS is to ‘not question the professional opinion of medical personnel.’ It suggests speaking with the jail medical staff should they ‘feel’ the treatment was not appropriate.

About Magazine obtained Inspection Reports of the Galveston Jail, on April 21, 2015,that occurred less than one month after Jacobs’s death. The report does not indicate violations within the jail’s medical department nor a consultation with medical staff relating to the death.

The official TCJS report does cite that ‘Galveston jailers were not consistently documenting their face-to-face observations of inmates confined in special areas.’ Indicating jailers were not checking on inmates in the Medical unit as directed.

In 2014 the Texas Commission on Jail Standards received 1,694 written complaints, medical services constituted for 56% of those complaints.

“A part of this is familiar to us (ACLU) is jails often fail to identify with withdraw symptoms, and it can de deadly.” Simpson explains. “We are not talking about people on heroin; everyone knows that can be deadly to withdraw from.”