This post was written by Heidy George, Program Associate for Student Diversity and Inclusion.
“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”
-Marsha P. Johnson
June is PRIDE season. A month where we celebrate all things gay with loud parades, gender bending drag shows, thumping music, rainbows, and glitter. So much glitter. This year is particularly special, as it is the 50th anniversary of the very first PRIDE parade held in the 51 blocks of Central Park in New York. This milestone made me reflect on how our community has gotten here. New York, however, as well as many other cities look different this year...
It is PRIDE season, where amidst the celebration - most non-Black, mostly cis, LGBTQ+ folk forget that Black and Brown trans and queer people carved this month out with their bodies. Black and Brown trans women (especially) led the struggle and the riots that started the revolution which gave us the rights we enjoy today. These riots, coupled with those bloodied and bruised bodies, were the catalysts for what we now know as PRIDE.
It is PRIDE season, during an utterly unforgiving global pandemic. And if I didn’t understand how systemic racism actually works, I would certainly call Corona a racist.
It is PRIDE season, as our world protests white supremacist and government sanctioned police violence that forced countless Black, Indigenous and Brown families to bury their children.
It is PRIDE season, but right now, I can’t celebrate.
It is PRIDE season, and I honestly don’t know how any of my Black siblings still have any fight left in them.
It is PRIDE season, yet Nina Pop, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sandra Bland, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Korryn Gains, Atatiana Jefferson, Tony McDade, Ahmaud Arbery, Trayvon Martin, Aiyana Jones, Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Philando Castile, Walter Scott and countless others are no longer with us.
So I ask, how many names do we have to see before we do something?
We need to do better.
If you ain’t Black, YOU need to do better. Full stop.
If you ain’t Black but you’re LGBTQ+, YOU need to do better. You don’t get a pass for being LGBTQ+. Period.
So, what are you going to do?
Are you going to prioritize Black and Brown voices?
Are you going to take the time to learn Black Africana history and Black Africana contributions?
Are you going to celebrate instead of appropriate Black culture?
Are you going to listen?
Are you going to donate?
Are you going to protest?
Are you going to organize?
What are YOU going to do?
Happy PRIDE everyone.