Jordan Neely, entertainer and Michael Jackson impersonator, was a Black disabled man experiencing mental health struggles, homelessness, and food insecurity. On Monday, May 1st, Jordan was murdered on the NYC Subway in broad daylight with bystanders. The murderer was a white man, who as of the evening of Thursday, May 11th has been charged with manslaughter.
This act of gratuitous violence, sometimes fatal, is not isolated and reflects on the horrific normalization of targeting, policing, and assaulting of Black people rooted in anti-Blackness, ableism, and disdain for homeless individuals. In April, Ralph Yarl, a Black teenage boy from Missouri, was shot in the head for knocking on the wrong door whilst picking up his younger brother, by a white man. In another recent incident in Mira Loma, California, a white man attacked a Black teenage girl who was leaving a T.J. Maxx because he “thought she was shoplifting.”
PYD condemns these violent actions committed against Black individuals, and condemns the unnecessary and tragic murder of Jordan Neely. People experiencing homelessness are often rendered invisible, and their lives considered disposable. We refuse to render Jordan Neely invisible in the event of his death.
We know this devastation and pain impacts everyone, especially to those with a shared identity to Jordan Neely, Ralph Yarn, and other people not mentioned or named in this statement. PYD, as a platform and resource broker, strives to create a world where EVERYONE with a disability is able to lead self-determined lives with dignity, pride, and purpose without fear of harm and without the threat of policing or assault. This includes Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian/Pacific Islander, Middle Eastern, and immigrants of any ethnicity and culture. In painful times such as these, we strive to nurture and build community with those around us, to surround each other with love and care as we strive towards a more just world.
For those seeking support in these times of crisis, please review our resources below including community centers, hotlines, and Black-owned and/or centered organizations:
PYD’s Anti-Racist Toolkit
Local Community Centers
- Find your YMCA – by zip code
Homeless Shelters/Food Security
- Project Bread’s Food Source Hotline – Find a food bank near you. 1-800-645-8333. Hotline Hours Mon-Fri 8am – 7pm, Sat 10am – 2pm. Food assistance in 180 languages.
Boston Area BIPOC Youth Focused Organizations
- Roxbury YouthWorks
- Brookline Center for Community Mental Health
- Brookline Teen Center
- Brain arts org – Art program for BIPOC and other underserved youth in Dorchester
- Abilities Dance Boston
- Mission SAFE – youth leadership programs for those involved in the juvenile justice system
- Castle of our Skin
- Elevated Thought
- Jean Apollon Expressions
- Front porch collective – collective of Black community artists
- Free Soil Arts Collective
- Hyde Square Task Force
- The Loop Lab
- MY HOOD Mentoring Youth Hold Onto Obtaining Dreams Inc.
- The City School (racial and social justice focused high school)
- Youth Justice and Power Union
- Freedom House