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Arrest Made in Ashia Davis Murder, Ortonville Reconsiders Abigail's Pride Permit

Brandi Carlile Visits Sesame Street, Prism Chorus Awarded Grant Money, Movement Music Fest Announces Lineup

Arrest Made in 2023 Highland Park Murder of Ashia Davis

An arrest has been made in the June 2023 shooting death of local trans woman Ashia Davis. On March 15, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced that 18-year-old Carlos Lamar Scotland, who was 17 when the killing occurred, has been charged with first-degree murder, felony firearm, resisting and obstructing police and carrying a concealed weapon. 

As BTL has reported, there has been very little movement in the case publicly in the months following 36-year-old Davis’ shooting death in the 16300 block of Woodward Avenue in Highland Park. Human Rights Campaign reported that Davis was at least the 12th transgender or gender non-conforming person killed in 2023. 

In a press conference, Worthy described Davis as “beloved” by her community and noted that her nickname was “Charm.” She had recently finished nursing school and was preparing for a new job at the time of her murder. Worthy also talked about the Fair Michigan Justice Project. Julisa Abad, guest contributor and Fair Michigan’s director of outreach and ddvocacy,noted in a recent BTL editorial that the group has helped police prosecute more than 41 capital cases with a 100% conviction rate. Abad described Davis as her best friend of 10 years. 

Scotland, who has been charged as an adult, faces up to life in prison if convicted. A probable cause conference is scheduled for March 26.

Fate of Gen Z-Founded Pride Fest Hangs in the Balance in Ortonville

Abigail Rowe launched the Abigail’s Pride non-profit organization in 2021 when she was 15. The group’s inaugural 2022 Pride event in Oakland County’s Ortonville was a smash. The 2023 event was even bigger, and Rowe is anticipating continued success in 2024 — that is, if the local village council reverses a recent decision to deny the group’s event permit. 

The Ortonville Village Council rejected the permit in a 5-1 vote in February, citing safety concerns and the impact of road closures on local businesses. Abigail’s Pride issued a statement expressing skepticism — after all, the event has been held successfully (and safely) for two years. 

Ortonville Village Manager Ryan Madis said the council is “eager to review” a new application and emphasized the concerns mentioned at the meeting. Ultimately, Abigail’s Pride is not willing to budge on road closures. “I can’t hold the event in good conscience without having the roads close for the safety of our vendors, volunteers and everyone attending the event,” Rowe said. 

Ensuring safety and comfort for all has always been a critical goal for Rowe’s grassroots Pride festival. In her “very conservative town,” Rowe said she was encountering bullying and harassment, as were other students. “So I just wanted to give this to them, and to me — one day where we can live freely and have joy and love.” 

Update: The Ortonville Village Council has denied a second permit application from Abigail's Pride. Read more here.

Prism Chorus Earns Grant Money

Prism Chorus, Michigan’s largest choral org for LGBTQ+ people and allies, was recently awarded two grants totaling $45,000 from The Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan and The Michigan Arts and Culture Council.  “With these grants, we’re equipped to write the next chapter of our story — one filled with harmony, growth, and boundless possibilities,” wrote Prism Chair Shane Dunbar in a media release. “These gifts signify more than just financial assistance; they symbolize a resounding endorsement of our goals to inspire, uplift and unite through music.”

Brandi Carlile on ‘Sesame Street’

Queer powerhouse singer-songwriter performed with an unlikely duet partner when she appeared on “Sesame Street” earlier this month. Carlile, with backup from Big Bird and Mr. Snuffleupagus, performed “That's Why We Love Nature,” a joyful ode to the natural diversity of our shared planet. Watch the video on YouTube at the @SesameWorkshop channel and just try not to smile. 

Full Movement Music Festival Lineup Announced

Start making your plans for the Movement Music Fest, set for Memorial Day Weekend in downtown Detroit. Event organizers have released the full lineup: 115-plus acts, six stages, five showcases and lots of impromptu pop-up sets. Headliners include electronic music innovator Richie Hawtin, German-Bosnian superstar DJ and producer Solomun and Fatboy Slim alongside  LGBTQ+ legends like DJ Minx and Honey Dijon. Visit movementfestival.com for all the details. 

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