“Donald walked the walk long after others had strolled on by the worthy causes and fights worth having to live more conventional and self-focused lives… The East Village is now absent its original mayor, and his memory will be a blessing to us all.”
- Jennifer Steinhauer, Reporter, The New York Times
The Donald Suggs Jr. Street Naming Project is a project to co-name a corner of East 6th Street, between Avenue A & B, in Manhattan’s East Village, "Donald Suggs Jr. Way," in honor of the life and work of Donald Suggs Jr. (1961 - 2012) a brilliant community leader, media activist, writer, and long-standing East Village resident. Please click here to donate.
Before joining Grassroots Leadership as a media consultant, Donald was a senior editor at The Village Voice, a former associate director of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), and a program director at Harlem United Community AIDS Center.
His work as an organizer included an early campaign against homophobia in the music industry that was the basis for the British Broadcasting Company film by Isaac Julien, A Darker Shade of Black.
Through numerous appearances on The Ricki Lake Show, he became nationally known for his witty commentary as a relationship expert and for his scathing critiques and rigorous insight into modern white backlash against people of color and LGBTQ communities’ decades before “Alt-Right” rebranding and Trumpism.
He penned the first major article about the transgender Harlem Ballroom Scene in New York for The Village Voice and his writings from The Advocate to The New York Times and his activism, which began as a pro-feminist undergraduate at Yale University, led to ground breaking discourse on black LGBTQ people around the world.
Donald was former board chairman for the public access cable network Manhattan Neighborhood Network (MNN). In 2001, he founded People Using Media to do Prevention, or the PUMP project, which taught young people from neighborhoods decimated by HIV how to produce HIV prevention videos to combat the spread of HIV within their communities. These young people went on to co-produce with Better World Advertising and Salt and Pepper Media HIV prevention videos for Harlemites airing on BET, LOGO, MTV, NY1 and VHI. Donald’s bi-lingual HIV prevention work extended to Central and South America and included Latino and African immigrant communities in the U.S. His work continues to be cited for changing the landscape of American HIV messaging campaigns.
The infectious spirit and belly laugh of Donald Suggs Jr. is sorely missed by his Grassroots Leadership family and many across the country, especially in the East Village, where he had lived for more than 20 years. Co-naming a corner of East 6th Street (between Avenue A & B) “Donald Suggs Jr. Way” is a celebration of the progressive ideals, open mindedness and artistic life of the East Village, which Donald stood for, embodied and loved. It is a tribute to Donald’s work as a social justice warrior.
Please make a tax-deductible contribution here for the Donald Suggs Jr. Street-Naming Project. Thank you very much for any sized contribution!
All but 10% of moneys go towards a stipend for the Donald Suggs Jr. Street Naming Project Coordinator; 5% cover Grassroots Leadership administrative costs as fiscal sponsor, and 5% cover operational expenses for the Donald Suggs Jr. Street Naming Project. The Coordinator is managing and expediting the steps required for the street naming nomination to be completed by January 2019. Our goal is to raise $6,000 total, with any funds beyond $6,000 going to Grassroots Leadership’s programs, in honor of Donald Suggs Jr., who advocated strongly, personally and professionally, for Grassroots Leadership and its mission. Thank you again for your contribution.