Collections by Michelle Bown wsg Chicago Activist Ryan O'Donnell


Manage episode 296531508 series 1393148
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Ryan O'Donnell is an activist who cares deeply about social and environmental justice. This Chicago native attended Howard University and is an endless well of talent. His wide array of skills makes him tend to enhance anything that he is involved in as he fights for justice including organizing to help refugees and connecting with animal rights and environmental activists. O’Donnell wants to shine a light on the plight of LGBTQI+ refugees, particularly in The Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya. The Kakuma Refugee Camp has always been full of problems: dust storms, high temperatures, poisonous spiders, snakes, and scorpions, outbreaks of malaria, cholera, and other hardships especially if you are LGBTQIA. Many of these refugees fled homophobic and transphobic violence in nearby Uganda but continue to face threats and violence from locals and other refugees for the simple reason that they are LGBTQI. LGBTQI people in Africa are frequently subject to mob and state-sponsored violence and criminalization. Many are forced to become refugees, and when they flee for their lives and leave behind their homes, expecting to find safety—to get the rights that were denied in their home countries O’Donnell believes it is important to shine a light on the LGBTQI refugees in Kakuma and reminds us that “Until we are all free, none of us are free.” He works with "Team Rainbow Kakuma" a coalition of LGBTQI refugees in Kakuma, Kenya. They face constant anti-LGBTQI persecution and violence that UNHCR allows. The Coalition uses democratic principles to organize a network of LGBTQI refugees throughout all of Kakuma to support each other.

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