Recognizing how mainstream LGBT and racial justice movements have often ignored the issues that young Black LGBT people face, BYP100 seeks with this video, and future mobilization efforts, to broaden the narrative of what’s at stake for Black people in the LGBT rights movement. At the same time we want to push the mainstream civil rights community to expand its analysis of how issues such as violence, homelessness and health care impact young Black LGBT people,” saidCharlene Carruthers, national director of BYP100.
Communities of color and LGBT communities are NOT mutually exclusive Prof. Elizabeth Todd-Breland states in the video, “LGBT people are in communities of color.” In fact, LGBT folks have historically been on the front lines of many struggles within communities of color, despite a history of being silenced. That legacy of participation continues today, as seen in the recent protests of police violence held across the nation. The struggle of the LGBT community, like the struggles of all marginalized communities of color, is a fight for human rights, an assertion of voice and a declaration that all lives matter.
Over the past several months the stories of police violence have moved to the forefront of many minds, but we still have work to do. BYP100 is outraged at the lack of indictments in Ferguson, Staten Island and around the country, of police officers whose violent actions resulted in tragic fatalities. Every 28 hours a Black person is killed by a police officer, security officer or self appointed vigilante. This cannot stand and we have not stood by quietly. To expand the story of police violence and create transformative change, BYP100 has led local direct actions to advance our police accountability campaigns in cities including Chicago, New Orleans and Washington, DC. The Agenda to Keep Us Safe serves as a manual for BYP100 and allied groups seeking to end the criminalization of Black youth.
Johnae Strong, BYP100, Chicago chapter leader, explains, “It is not one struggle, one fight. We are fighting for the right of a full life. And sexuality, how we practice and present ourselves, is definitely a part of that.”
The most pressing issues facing Black LGBT folks are not a focus of mainstream LGBT or Black organizing. Issues of safety and criminalization are making headlines but homelessness, and denial of access to adequate housing, education, healthcare, and employment are equally important for Black LGBT individuals and must be addressed by both Black and LGBT social justice organizations.
BYP100 members are committed to working in a space that is building a Black queer and Black feminist politic. Charlene Carruthers, continued: “For us there is no way for Black people to be free in this country or in this world, without also the liberation of our LGBT brothers and sisters throughout the movement.”