Let’s take a moment to remember Dwone Anderson-Young and Ahmed Said. Need a reminder?
Two years ago this week these two African-American men were enjoying a Saturday night in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. A University of Washington student, twenty-three year old Dwone had recently started a graphic design business while twenty-seven year old Ahmed worked within the Somali community on HIV and LGBTQ issues. Both men were gay.
After last call, they, along with a stranger named Ali Muhammad Brown, got into a car. Seventeen minutes later Dwone and Ahmed were both shot execution style steps from Anderson-Young’s home. In fact, Dwone’s mother, Falana Young-Wyatt, heard the gunshots that night.
Ali Muhammad Brown, a confessed terrorist who killed four men in three months, was eventually arrested in New Jersey where he was indicted on nine counts—including State-Level Terrorism. Once those trials are completed he will be extradited to King County where three charges of aggravated homicide await him.
According to court papers, Brown told investigators, “All these lives are taken every single day by America, by this government. So, a life for a life.”
In Seattle, the belief remains that Anderson-Young and Said were targeted by Ali Muhammad Brown because they were gay.
I recently asked Falana Young-Wyatt what she wanted the world to know about her son, Dwone. She said, “I want people to know the type of person he was. He had a passion for life, and… this could happen to anybody. I want people to know he didn’t deserve this. Hate crimes and domestic terrorism [are] real.”
Former co-worker and collaborator Alex Eddings, along with Pro-Motion Events and Jonathan Fox, owner of Pioneer Square’s Comedy Underground, are doing their part to keep his memory alive by promoting the established “Underwear in the Square” run to elevate awareness of hate crimes while supporting Dwone’s family.
As Eddings says, “Violence against anyone based off of religion, race or sexual orientation is wrong. So when this happened, in the city I grew up in, to someone I knew personally, indifference was not an option. This run offers an inclusive opportunity to stand up against hatred and inequality.”
The upcoming June 26th fundraiser carries significant meaning to Falana since Dwone worked with Eddings on the two prior “Underwear in the Square” events. When I asked her if she will be there she said yes, but she will not be stripping down to her skivvies. Then she added:
“Run for your gay son. Run for your gay cousin. Run because you’re gay. Run because that could have been you in that car.”
Go here to register or donate to this event.
ABOUT THE RUN
Come out and run 1.25 miles along the scenic waterfront of downtown Seattle. This is a fun run, so runners of all experience levels are more than welcome to participate. This will not be a timed event, but an excuse to put aside your inhibitions and raise money for a good cause.
ABOUT THE COSTUME CONTEST
There will be three categories:
- Best male individual costume
- Best female individual costume
- Best costume duo (2 people or more)
Contestants will be picked by event organizers judged by participant applause, and the deciding votes will be by artists performing in the concert. Prizes will be awarded for all categories. The more creative the better!
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
Following the costume contest there will be a concert with performances by Wanz (Grammy Award winning singer from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop”).
Lungs and Limbs wrote and recorded their debut EP LIFELIKE in a horse stable in the woods north of San Francisco. Northbay Bohemian (SF): “resonates with a sci-fi mystique that’s both radio-ready and atmospheric—though not necessarily our own atmosphere.” Vanyaland (Boston): “the first step in the right direction for a young, up-and-coming band. The tune is a radio-ready piece of music that would reside comfortably on the end of your summer mixtape.”
Ahmed was actually Somali American and not African-American–I guess literally he WAS african american but he was Somali born.