Schawne Parker

Schawne Parker pic 2

January 7, 1967 – June 26, 2004

Schawne Anthony Parker grew up in Detroit, graduated from Chadsey High School in 1985, and attended General Motors Institute before completing his B.S. in chemistry at Michigan State University.  He served as first president of Men of Color Motivational Group and was later executive director of the HIV/AIDS agency Center Health Outreach Workers.  Parker was survived by his longtime partner Marius Padieu.

Between The Lines, July 8, 2004

Veronica Mitchell

Veronica Mitchell pic

January 9, 1956 – March 1, 2003

Detroit native Veronica Perryman Mitchell attended Mumford High School.  In a 1995 Detroit Free Press feature, she revealed how HIV helped her turn from a life of addiction.  Among her achievements, Mitchell served as AIDS ombudsperson for the City of Detroit, began a women with AIDS support group in C-HAG, and sat on the board of Men of Color.  She died from AIDS-related complications at age 47.

Detroit Free Press, March 6, 2003

Between The Lines, March 13, 2003

James Drain

James Drain pic

December 2, 1965 – May 17, 1994

Born in Detroit, James Douglas Drain served in the U.S. Army from 1984 to 1986 and was active in the organization Men of Color.  He later worked as office manager for Affirmations Community Center.  He died from AIDS-related complications at age 28.

Affirmations newsletter, July 1994

Leon Smith

Leon Smith pic

August 7, 1952 – January 12, 2012

Detroiter Leon Smith attended Murray-Smith High School and became active in the local LGBT community in the 1980s.  He helped launch the Men of Color Motivational Group, was one of the original organizers of the Hotter Than July pride celebration, and took part in a support group for HIV+ men sponsored by what was then known as Kick!.

Between The Lines, January 26, 2012

Edward Johnson

Edward Johnson pic

April 20, 1976 – April 8, 2013

Detroit native Edward Johnson studied dance at Oakland University, Marygrove College, and Wayne State University.  His LGBTQ activism included work with the Horizons Project and Men of Color.  Johnson also won a number of Detroit area female impersonation titles performing as Tokyo Reign.

Between The Lines, April 18, 2013