This week ended Pride Month 2020 – which, I don’t have to tell you, was one of the most unusual and extraordinary Pride months since we began celebrating, honoring, and remembering the Stonewall Riots of late June 1969.
Though we were unable to come together as a community in the same way for which we had grown accustomed – in some ways, Pride 2020 evoked the pain, solidarity, and shared experience that gave rise to the modern LGBTQ movement in the first place.
The killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and many other Black lives taken too early by police violence, our collective attention was forced to examine the deep history of structural inequalities and recognize the more than 400 years of systemic racial oppression that has brought us to this point. We were again forced to examine ourselves, our organizations, and the white supremacist culture from which many of us had been benefitting, either ignorant or turning a blind eye to the many Black, Brown and Trans members of our community that are aching to breathe free.
Just as our movement for LGBTQ equality – and the celebration of our community – doesn’t end at midnight on the night of June 30, nor can our commitment to centering, supporting and uplifting Black, Brown and Trans lives here in Missouri.
We already knew that the health and economic effects of COVID 19 were going to change the way we celebrated Pride this year. We knew that social and physical distancing would force us to reexamine what it meant to be together. We anticipated the need for online and virtual programming to reinforce the human connection we all need.
PROMO advocates for LGBTQ equality all year long through legislative action, electoral politics, grassroots organizing, and community education. To honor our history, to recognize the urgency, I commit PROMO to recognize our own role in being complicit with systemic white supremacy and identify next steps in our journey to be intentionally anti-racist. As we look to the second half of 2020, we’re committed to the following:
- Centering and uplifting Black and Brown LGBTQ voices in our advocacy and programming.
- Reexamining our legislative agenda to be more inclusive of the experience of Black and Brown members of the LGBTQ community, including Black and Brown Trans lives.
- Sharing and convening with peer equality organizations to develop an LGBTQ movement that is committed to racial equity and anti-racism.
We exist as a movement because of the power of the Trans women of color who led the way at Stonewall and before. Dismantling racism in our own LGBTQ community is the way we can best honor them and build a truly inclusive movement.
Executive Director, PROMO