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The Village News
Our Commitment to Racial Justice
June 1, 2020
CW: Racism, Police Violence, Murder, Homophobia, Transphobia, Discrimination
The LGBTQ+ community knows what it is like to feel targeted and vulnerable, to feel stereotyped and discriminated against for who we are, and to have to stand up against some of those with a tremendous amount of power and privilege. We have asked, begged, and screamed for our rights, and also our human dignity. We have been ignored, and seen. And ignored, and heard. We have had to do *whatever it takes* to get our oppressors to see us as people, of value, and deserving of respect and equality. While we have made tremendous progress, we have so much more work to do as a culture, country, and community.
The LGBTQ+ community has also been affected by systemic racism. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are diverse – racially, economically, geographically, spiritually, and with regards to ability, age, and any/all other factors of identity. Some members of our community are Black and they and could be any other identity as well, on top of being Black & LGBTQ+. The greater number of marginalized identities one holds, the greater the risk of experiencing high rates of adversity throughout the lifespan, including health disparities such as: shorter lifespan, having a chronic illness, mental health problems, being a cigarette smoker, contracting HIV, or being victimized, assaulted or killed.
The LGBTQ+ community also has a problem: racism. For Black people, this is not news -- it has always been known and it has caused tremendous harm. Black people are often treated very differently than white people, and the harmful impact might even be amplified when taking place within queer spaces. In what should be a “safe space,” Black people often experience microaggressions, discrimination, or are even assaulted because of their race. While we should be an accepting, loving and inclusive community, because of an ability to empathize with being discriminated against due to a marginalized identity, we often fail to live within these values.
We should regard our diversity as our greatest gift, and as a symbol of our strength and power. We should empathize who anyone who has been treated differently because of who they are, and who has reacting by doing whatever it takes to be respected as a human being with rights, because we, individually and collectively, have had to stand up and fight back. The queer community should be an ally in the fight against racism; its members should do the work, actively, to support racial justice and equality. Especially white people, this is a call to action.
Do. The. Work.
It is on us to learn about racism and white privilege, to educate other white people, and to challenge racist people and systems.
If you’re note quite sure where to start, but you are open to starting somewhere, please consider any of the ten below courses of action:
Read and consider Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (https://www.racialequitytools.org/resourcefiles/mcintosh.pdf).
Buy a book about racism by a Black author from a Black-owned Bookstore (https://lithub.com/you-can-order-today-from-these-black-owned-independent-bookstores/). If you’d like a recommendation, consider this list: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/05/29/books/review/antiracist-reading-list-ibram-x-kendi.html.
Attend a march or peaceful protest organized by your local #BlackLivesMatter chapter (https://blacklivesmatter.com/).
Donate money to an organization working toward racial justice, such as the American Civil Liberties Union (www.aclu.org), the NAACP (www.naacp.org), or one of these Black-Led Organizations: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/black-led-organizations.html.
Interrupt racism that occurs in the form of microaggressions, discriminatory practices or policies, or in any other overt or covert way. Speak up. Yell louder if you have to, in order to be heard. It will not always feel good, and you might be & feel alone in standing up for what is right. Recognize that this feeling is a symptom of white privilege. Do it with even more resolve because of this recognition.
Contact legislators to let them know what is important to you: divesting from police and investing in Black communities, implementing trauma-informed policies and programs in the criminal justice system, or providing free COVID-19 testing sites (the virus disproportionately affects Black people). These are just as a few examples of what you might want to contact your legislator(s) about. If you are not sure how to do this, or what to say when you contact them? Here is a starting place: https://www.nationalpriorities.org/take-action/contact-your-representative/
Vote according to your values, and look beyond the posted platform. Review previous voting records, and what the candidate has shown up for, or not. There are voting guides put out by organizations such as the ACLU, so you can compare your values to the candidates’.
Give money directly to Black people: support fundraising campaigns, donate to bail relief funds, and spend your money at Black-owned businesses.
Find out how your local school is teaching about slavery, racism, and the Civil Rights era. Advocate to the school board and administrators to make the curriculum more accurate and appropriate. While you’re at it, notice how many Black people work at the school and push for better representation as needed.
Join your local chapter of Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ): https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/surj-network.html
If you want more to do, consider taking action based on this extensive list of 75 (!) things you can do to fight racism: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234.
Today, we say ENOUGH. Today, we commit to taking action, and to act as an ally by doing the work. We stand (figurately and literally) with our Black siblings against police brutality, and all other forms of racial violence and discrimination. Today we say “BlackLivesMatter and we commit ourselves to living that value.
Sign Up For The Village Newsletter
April 23, 2020
We created a newsletter so we could stay in touch better with people in our village. Please consider checking out what we have been up to lately and signing up for the newsletter here: https://mailchi.mp/44827722f80c/join-the-village
Village Youth Leadership Team Applications Open Until MARCH 1, 2020
February 21, 2020
APPLICATIONS CLOSED FOR 2020. Please check back for 2021 programming.
If you know of an LGBTQ+/adjacent/allied youth between 13-25 years old, who is interested in counseling, education, social justice, health/wellness topics, while earning a stipend and building leadership skills, please remind them to consider applying for out 2020 Village Youth Leadership Team. The application can be found under that tab on this site, and we will be accepting them until MARCH 1, 2020. Thank you for helping us spread the word and provide supportive, fun spaces that empower LGBTQ+ people of all ages, but especially youth.
The Village Task Force Sets Village Values
February 6, 2020
Thank you to the members of The Village Task Force, who came together today to provide input and feedback to shape our community's agreed-upon values. With much excitement, here they are:
The Village Values:
Health & Wellness
Promoting personal growth
Reducing mental and physical LGBTQ+ health disparities; improving community wellness
Uplifting our most vulnerable community members
The Village Builds Community and Momentum for 2020
November 7, 2019
The Village is picking up speed, and excited to grow in 2020. We look to further develop our partnership with the Central YMCA, as well as continuing to build more relationships with individuals and organizations who would like to be involved.
The Village will continue to have monthly gatherings, and we will be expanding to offer:
-Peer Counseling/Peer Education Programs (Check out our Youth Leadership Program, and please let LGBT+ and allied youth 13-25 years old know we are accepting applications until 3/1/2020!)
-Development of anti-homophobia and anti-transphobia curricula, including offering presentations, workshops, panels, etc. on LGBT+ issues
-Social Justice/Legislative/Political Opportunities for Engagement
-Community Empowerment Events, such as: Zine Night, Documentary & Discussion Gathering, Open Mic Night, etc.
If you are interested in volunteering with the Village Task Force to help us plan events, build community, share resources, and have a good time doing important work, please email us!
LGBT+ Programs and Services
The Village has something for everyone. We host fun community events, provide education, share lived experiences, collaborate with other community agencies, offer referrals for local LGBT+ resources or basic needs, and even more to increase safety, health, and connection.