Justice for Jonty Amplified at 2023 West Indian Day Parade

Justice for Jonty Amplified at 2023 West Indian Day Parade
Photos courtesy: Caribbean Equality Project

 

Brooklyn, NYC: On Monday, September 4, 2023, Caribbean Equality Project led a historic Queer Caribbean Liberation Collective contingent that participated in the 2023 West Indian Day Parade. Together with partners, activists, and community members, over 150 marchers amplified Caribbean LGBTQ+ representation while celebrating Caribbean culture, to demand action, accountability, and Justice for Josiah “Jonty” Robinson. An estimated 2.1 million in-person spectators and Eyewitness News ABC7 NY and PIX 11 viewers witnessed the collective’s bravery and call for #JusticeForJonty.

“Queer Caribbean Lives Matter! We have always existed. Today, Caribbean LGBTQ+ visibility is an act of defiance in a predominantly heteronormative parade and a resistance to harmful post-colonial laws that continues to threaten our lives. The West Indian Day Parade is for Caribbean people, by Caribbean people, and that includes Caribbean LGBTQ+ joy and resilience. Our community deserves the right to exist and thrive without the fear of violence in their home country and throughout the Caribbean diaspora,” said Mohamed Q. Amin, Founder and Executive Director of the Caribbean Equality Project, who organized the collective and led a powerful chant in front of the parade’s judges, calling for Justice for Josiah Robinson.

On June 18, 2023, the body of 24-year-old Josiah Robinson was found on Morne Rouge Beach, a picturesque community space for locals and tourists in St George’s, the capital of Grenada. Robinson’s death was ruled a murder following a second autopsy.

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Robinson, who performed under the moniker “Jonty Dream,” was a talented Grenadian singer, creative, and beloved son, whose music was a love letter to his country. On July 10, 2022, he wrote on Instagram, “Dear Grenada, I am excited to announce my official induction into the Grenada History books as the first openly gay male Artist to have completed a full album.”

The death of Robinson sent shockwaves throughout Grenada and the LGBTQ+ community in the Eastern Caribbean, a reminder of the daily struggles for safety and economic stability of openly queer residents, while illuminating the ongoing post-colonial tensions in the region. Our Caribbean regional community partners at GrenCHAP and the Eastern Caribbean Alliance for Diversity and Equality (ECADE) have been coordinating actions to raise local and international awareness of Robinson’s death and support his family, while continuing to add pressure on local authorities to conduct a thorough investigation.

On Wednesday, July 26, Jonty’s friend, Dr. Yvette Noel-Schure, and American actor and director Tyler Perry announced a $100K Reward for any information related to the act of violence that took Robinson’s life at his favorite place in Grenada- the beach. Sadly, more than two months after Robinson’s death, there appears to be little progress on the case. The few updates authorities have made available to the public and the family have revealed little urgency in seeking a perpetrator or motive for his murder.

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The Caribbean Equality Project calls on the Honorable Dickon Mitchell, the Prime Minister of Grenada, and the Royal Grenada Police Force to demonstrate that all Grenadian lives are valued and protected by allocating all the necessary resources to thoroughly investigate the murder of Josiah Robinson. His family, loved ones, and the LGBTQ+ community deserve transparency. The Government of Grenada and its Law Enforcement are failing Robinson, his mother, Lyndra, his brother, and all who deeply loved Jonty- all grieving in solidarity and separately seeking answers.

Far too often, Caribbean LGBTQ+ people in the region who are survivors of hate crimes are revictimized by local law enforcement officers, who typically will not investigate due to anti-LGBQ+ sentiment and transphobia. Police extortion of LGBTQ+ individuals is common, and the police are known to encourage violence against LGBTQ+ people, including urging inmates to rape LGBTQ+ individuals in custody. Despite incredible progress in the Caribbean, societal discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals remains widespread, forcing community members into isolation, homelessness, family separation, and displacement, including dangerous migration journeys for survival.

The multi-decade-old West Indian Day Parade is the largest convening of Caribbean people and celebration of Caribbean culture in New York City. Since 2015, Caribbean Equality Project has participated in the parade to continue advocating for Caribbean LGBTQ+ immigrants. This year, the organization mobilized its partners and community members to continue highlighting the intersections of harm and violence that impact Caribbean LGBTQ+ immigrants in NYC and throughout the Caribbean region.

CALL TO ACTION: Please email Mr. Edvin Martin, Commissioner of Police of the Royal Grenada Police Force based in Saint George’s, Grenada, at crd@rgpf.gd and emartin@rgpf.gd to demand action, accountability, and Justice for Josiah Robinson.

Queer Caribbean Liberation Collective Community Partners:
Caribbean Equality Project
Brooklyn Community Pride Center
CUNY LGBTQIA+ Consortium
GLITS, Inc.
Blasian March
Camba
Navigayte 2.0 Brooklyn
Queer Detainee Empowerment Project
The Heat Program
GAPIMNY: Empowering Queer & Trans Asian Pacific Islanders
The NEW Pride Agenda
Sesame Flyers International
Bloodline Dance Theatre

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