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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, March 2, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 09
The importance of Black History Month
Section One
ALL STORIES
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The importance of Black History Month

by Kris Hermanns
Executive Director
Pride Foundation

https://www.pridefoundation.org/importance-of-black-history-month/2018/02/

As we have been honoring Black History Month throughout February at Pride Foundation, I have been reflecting on this moment we are in - and what 'this moment' actually signifies.

For some of us, especially those of us who are white, this moment has been an awakening to the realities of racism across the United States - a heightened awareness that white supremacist beliefs and actions are thriving, and that they permeate our structures, institutions, and interpersonal relationships.

But for many people in our community, particularly people of color, this reality has long been apparent - because it has been a part of their everyday lived experience. Not being aware of the impact of race or the consequences of racism has never been an option.

The difficult reality is that racism is deeply embedded in our institutions and culture. It impacts the lives of many Black LGBTQ people by creating barriers to opportunities and other resources that white LGBTQ people simply do not have to contend with. And this has been the case for generations.

Make no mistake, there is indeed urgency in this moment - because our present circumstances are truly unique. Throughout our struggles for justice, we have witnessed backlash following the advancements we have made, and today the pendulum is swinging away from justice, and instead toward division and hatred - toward explicit and normalized white supremacy in the current administration, across headlines, and even in our schools. White supremacy has taken on new forms and stronger holds as part of this shift, but the underlying racism is not new or unprecedented. We must recognize that this moment we are living through is part of a much bigger history of our movements and our country - and it requires action.

Pride Foundation is motivated by the fundamental belief that the humanity of every single person deserves to be recognized, protected, and valued. Since the early 1990s when Brian M. Day, a Black gay activist, established our first named scholarship fund and created the momentum for what the program is today, we have committed to focusing on the people in our communities whose lives and experiences have not been prioritized within our movement.

Addressing white supremacy and racism experienced by LGBTQ communities is a persistent and urgent issue that Pride Foundation has been working on explicitly for the past decade. The cultural and political context of this moment in the United States and across the globe has made publicly affirming and expanding our commitment to racial equity even more critical - and timely. We are committed to doing more, and doing better for every single person in our community.

Please join us in celebrating Black History Month by committing throughout the year to lift up the experiences of Black LGBTQ people. I hope you will take some time to engage with the resources below to learn more about the ways in which the movements for LGBTQ and racial justice work are fundamentally interconnected, and about the work happening on the ground locally, regionally, and nationally.

A few local and national black-led racial justice and philanthropic organizations:
o SANKOFA Collective Northwest o National Black Justice Coalition o ABFE | A Philanthropic Partnership for Black Communities Here is a list of Black-led racial justice orgs compiled by the leadership from the Movement for Black Lives [NOTE: Visit http://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/black_led_racial_justice_organizations to see the list of Black-led racial justice orgs.]

Ten timely and thought-provoking articles and resources from around the web: [NOTE: Visit https://www.pridefoundation.org/importance-of-black-history-month/2018/02/ to access the links to the following articles and resources.]

o Black LGBT Pioneers You Should Know

o Resource for parents and educators on supporting Black LGBTQ students

o 7 Racial Justice Activists Talk About the Evolution of Black History Month

o Half-Century of US Civil Rights Gains Have Stalled or Reversed, Report finds

o Q&A: Effective Philanthropy is Heart Work and Hard Work

o Token History Month explores the unique oppressions experienced by Black LGBTQ people, and the need to confront anti-Blackness in the LGBTQ movement

o Black History Month Roundtable: Imagining Our Bright, Bold Black Queer Futures explores what this month means to a roundtable of Queer and Trans Black people

o Miss Major Is A Trans Elder and Stonewall Icon... And She's Changing The World

o Queer women are shaping Chicago's Black Lives Matter Movement

o Why Race Is Dominating Discussion Among LGBT Activists

Courtesy of Pride Foundation

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