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Top Stories This Week in the Chronicle.
March 3, 2006

Film premiere, Tubbs Jones top Black History Month

Cleveland--Around 50 people attended the February 24 screening of Black, Gay and Proud in Cleveland, a documentary by Turiya Martin, at a Black History Month event presented by a trio of local organizations.

Shot last summer at locations around the Cleveland area, the film includes videos with several people, including BlackOut Unlimited board member Derek Barnett, Jon Everett Jr., one of the producers of the video, his partner Aaron Smith and other members of the African American LGBT community.

The film was shown at a Black History Month event hosted by the Black Gay and Proud Committee, the Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, the Cleveland LGBT Center and Case Western Reserve University, whose Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences was the location.

�We were all-inclusive, and I think that was the important part,� said Deb Sharp, another of the video�s producers and co-organizer of the event, representing the Black Gay and Proud Committee.

One of the highlights of the evening was an appearance by U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, who received a Black Gay and Proud Celebration award given her at last August�s opening celebration, which she was unable to attend.

�Some things you do just because it�s right,� said Tubbs Jones, who has consistently scored a perfect rating on the Human Rights Campaign�s congressional scorecard for her votes on LGBT-related legislation. �I just pray that each and every one of you stays the banner-keeper for all of these issues.�

Speaking out against the politically-motivated anti-gay marriage amendments, including Ohio�s, she asked, �Why let us make an issue out of people�s decision to be together when love is the biggest issue in the world today?�

�I was very pleased that Stephanie Tubbs Jones stayed for the entire debut of the documentary,� Sharp said. �I thought she would be there for ten minutes because of her busy schedule, but she thought it was important enough to stay for the whole documentary.�

�Hopefully we�ll be able to do some more events with the Stonewall Democrats because I think it�s really important to bring the community of color into the political arena,� she continued.

As to the future of the documentary, Sharp says it continues to be a work in progress, mainly because of the vast amount of raw footage available.

She believes that two or three distinct documentaries aimed at different audiences can be made out of the footage, especially by adding scenes of LGBT African American youth. Sharp expects to release the films through the Cleveland Community Media Center.

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