This is an in-depth version of a news item to be published on the Erasing 76 Crimes blog. This version includes:
- Information about 76 Crimes en Français;
- A description of the blog’s work in Cameroon;
- More photos (a visit with Cameroonian LGBTI rights leaders; a visit with the co-director of the film “Tchindas” about preparations for carnival in LGBTI-friendly Cape Verde; and an Erasing 76 Crimes-inspired protest in Brighton, England.
- Links to information about the photo collage above.
2018: New leadership, new focus at the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation
It’s a time for new leadership and a new focus at the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation, the LGBTI rights advocacy group that inspired the creation of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog.
Starting this month, the foundation’s concentration is on the promotion of LGBTI rights through advocacy journalism. In the past, that has been just one of many approaches that the charitable U.S. tax-exempt foundation has used in its work seeking justice, fair treatment and recognition of the human rights of LGBTI people worldwide.
The foundation, founded in 2010 by the Rev. Canon Albert Ogle, has worked for LGBTI rights in Uganda, Cameroon and Cuba; at the World Bank; and at the International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C.
The Erasing 76 Crimes blog (https://76crimes.com) was an outgrowth of the foundation’s work in assembling a team of 26 LGBTI activists from many of the world’s 76 nations with anti-LGBTI laws. Those activists attended the International AIDS Conference in Washington in 2012 to point out that HIV / AIDS cannot be defeated if LGBTI people continue to be stigmatized, treated as criminals, threatened with imprisonment and denied health care.
Starting with that original 2012 network of 26 activists, the Erasing 76 Crimes blog has reported on the battle for LGBTI rights — both successes and failures — in dozens of countries, from Belize and Jamaica through Tunisia, the Gambia, Nigeria, Cameroon, Uganda, Kenya and Egypt to Russia, Chechnya, the Middle East, India, Malaysia and Indonesia. Whenever possible, the reporting is written by or based on the work of local LGBTI rights activists.
The blog has attracted more than 2.2 million unique visitors, including 3,892 regular followers, who in total have read its articles more than 3.6 million times. The blog’s readers have come from every country in the world except North Korea.
A companion blog in French, 76 Crimes en Français (http://76crimesFR.com), launched in 2014. It has attracted 37,785 unique visitors, including 688 regular followers, who in total have read blog articles more than 60,000 times.
The Erasing 76 Crimes blog has worked with activists at the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS since 2012, starting with activist and journalist Eric Ohena Lembembe, who was murdered in 2013. In addition to ongoing coverage of the work of Camfaids, the blog recently provided the website address and online hosting service for Camfaids (http://camfaids.org).
Since 2015, the Erasing 76 Crimes blog has also partnered with the LGBTI rights website NoStringsNG (http://nostringsNG.com), published by Nigerian activist Mike Daemon.
In light of those activities, the foundation’s board last month elected the blog’s editor/publisher, Colin Stewart, as its new president and shifted its concentration to advocacy journalism.
Foundation leader Ogle said:
“The board came to a decision to focus on the amazing work of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog. Colin Stewart — a retired (white/straight) journalist — appalled at what was happening in 76 countries where it was illegal to be gay, set off on his own surprising vocational spiral seven years ago and created one of the most reliable LGBTI self-reporting platforms in the world.
Colin is deeply collaborative and helped to listen to and raise up LGBTI and straight ally voices within these countries. Through his efforts, people could speak for themselves and have a larger global audience than they ever could imagine. …
“I am delighted that … our board elected Colin Stewart to be our new president and to set the course for the next cycle in our mission and work to transform these places of extreme inhospitality and violence towards our fellow human beings. Colin Stewart has been in my life since 1997 and we share the same values and vision for our world. He took some time to reflect on the charge to which we were calling him and, thank God, he said yes.”
In recent months, Stewart and Daemon have been working on a plan for an African human rights media network that would be overseen by a board representing African advocacy groups and activist websites that contribute articles and videos to the network. That proposal has not yet been widely discussed. Instead, Daemon has been working on a pilot project to set up the software for a few websites to demonstrate how such a network would function.
Daemon this month joined the board of the St. Paul’s Foundation as part of his work on the proposed network. Other board members are Lindy Miles of San Diego, California, who continues on the board after last month’s transition, and Susan Stewart of Laguna Niguel, California, the foundation’s new secretary-treasurer.
In addition to the proposed African media network, the foundation is interested in helping to set up a Caribbean human rights media network that would be overseen by a board representing Caribbean advocacy groups and activist websites that contribute articles and videos to the network. During a reporting trip to the Intimate Conviction conference last fall in Jamaica, Colin Stewart discussed that proposed network with Caribbean activists. Many details remain to be worked out, but the overall outline of the plan was endorsed by activists from Belize, Jamaica, Canada and St. Lucia.
To receive updates about future developments, please send your name and email address to [email protected].
To volunteer to help as an editor, social media activist, or as a French-English translator for the existing blogs or, later, for an African or Caribbean human rights media network, please send your name, contact information and brief description of your background, talents and availability to [email protected].
To donate in support of the advocacy journalism of the foundation and affiliated blogs, click on this button:
For more information, write to Colin Stewart at [email protected].
Links to information about the images at the top of this article:
Amsterdam Pride Walk 2017: The Erasing 76 Crimes blog worked with Amsterdam Pride Walk to organize a “Walk of Shame,” in which marchers carried the flags of most of the countries with anti-LGBT laws. (See: “Amsterdam and this blog take aim at 73 repressive countries” of August 2017, 76crimes.com)
St. Paul’s Foundation logo: A new website for the foundation is under development. The old one is still online.
Eric Ohena Lembembe: Photo of mourners visiting the grave of Cameroonian activist-journalist Eric Ohena Lembembe. He wrote some of Erasing 76 Crimes’ best-read articles and commentaries, which continue to attract many readers. After helping to establish the Cameroonian Foundation for AIDS, he was murdered in July 2013, which many believe was because of his advocacy for LGBTI rights.
Intimate Conviction conference in Jamaica (October 2017): Photo shows Colin Stewart and Jamaican activist Khavor Demario Brown at the conference, which focused on churches’ role in the imposing anti-LGBT laws in countries that formerly were part of the British Empire.
Map of countries with anti-LGBT laws: With links to the blog’s articles about those countries.
NoStringsNG.com: The “Voice of LGBT Nigeria, NoStringsNG is a partner of the Erasing 76 Crimes blog and the St. Paul’s Foundation.