The Audre Lorde Project is so grateful for all of the support that we have received in the past week. As an organization rooted in the collective wellness and safety of LGBTSTGNC people of color, we appreciate how our community of supporters has grown to show solidarity for Black Liberation.
We attempt to always move from a place of abundance though, so we want to encourage folks to stay engaged in our work and also please be sure that you're always directing resources to Black folks in your local communities. Our staff want to uplift a few comrades in the struggle who are organizing for the safety and dignity of Black folks and could use your support.
It's with love and a sense of hope that we must regard our movements in one of the most challenging ordeals in human history. We might feel like we have no energy left after watching toxic news cycles, designed to weaken our resolve by reminding us of what we already know. We might feel inhibited by our inability to gather on the streets in resistance. We might feel daunted by the fact that there is no clear path or way forward ahead of us, according to the media that we are being fed and are acclimated to. We might not know what to do with the burden of grief, combined with the understanding that we must transform the same world that is harming us every day. The energy that is required for this project is infinite, and unknowable, until the process is complete. And we must trust each other more than ever in this moment to be on the same page about creating a better world, while that very world is keeping us from physically gathering, harming us, and taking our lives.
Hope resides in the understanding that our movements can, and have, created massive shifts in the political landscapes we live in currently. Hope resides in the fact that we are a resourceful community that will gather and resist, regardless of the white supremacist infrastructures that we have already survived. Hope resides in the fact that we know how to resource ourselves by creating our own pathways and strategies for carving out futures that shed toxicity by creating shelter and safer space, by us and for us. Today's newest challenge is not to create physical space, but to continue to gather and resource each other in emerging spaces that will escalate in their capacity to transform or destroy the systems of oppression that target our most vulnerable.
I believe that we will reach liberation in our lifetime. I believe that now more than I ever have before.
This is an extremely scary time. It is scary how Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans, and Gender Non-Conforming Black, Indigenous, People of Color community has been disproportionately affected by COVID and the fall out of the disease – the loss of income, increased poverty, criminalization of the poor and the ill, and barriers to healthcare. Many people are learning now what our communities have long known – the state does not exist to help us. Systems of power in this country are built intentionally to dispose of those who have the least.
Why do I think liberation is possible? Because of you.
More Than 110 Organizations Call On Mayor De Blasio and Speaker Johnson to Cut the NYPD’s Budget, Redirect Resources to City Agencies That Can Help Communities Hit Hardest by COVID-19
NEW YORK, NY
Today, more than 110 organizations, brought together by Communities United for Police Reform (CPR), called on New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson to cut the NYPD budget, in order to protect and redirect resources to core social service/safety net programs run by other city agencies that will be essential for communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
We hope everyone is finding safety and calm in the midst of the uncertainty of this era. It is a transformed world, and in order to prepare, we must heal the parts of ourselves where love resides, that are also sites of pain. This begins with acknowledging what we ourselves are going through, in the context of understanding our own capacities to give and receive during global trauma. We want you to be as generous with yourselves as you are being with each other, especially in times of duress.
The conditions of this pandemic force "non-essential" workers into physical isolation. It also forces some of our most vulnerable community members to work in potentially life-threatening conditions for their livelihoods. We all miss our communities. Physical distancing practices ask us to observe safe connectedness and we will find healing and community in these evolving spaces. We will continue to hold our rituals and honor our communities by adapting to these rapidly changing times.
Independently and in tandem with other groups, ALP's community support during the pandemic has looked like getting folks released from prisons and detention centers, connecting folks to resources, and working to make sure our members have food to eat and places to stay. In some cases, the work has meant accounting for our members whose lives are compromised by stigma, poverty, and systemic disparities. This is a labor of love that is on-going. Due to the high risk of so many in our membership base, we have decided to do a cyber shift for our annual Trans* Day Of Action.
In addition to the public health crisis of COVID-19, we are now entering a massive economic crisis. As of now, there are about 3 million unemployment applications that have been submitted. There are currently millions of unemployed people who are concerned about their rent. The government has signed off on a law that will send $1200 to "documented" workers that paid taxes in 2018. This is a one-time check and, at most, will delay the economic suffering for just a month - for only some people. It is clear that as this pandemic and economic crisis escalates, it will be on the backs of poor and working class people - on our backs. We understand that HOUSING, FOOD, AND SAFETY ARE HUMAN RIGHTS. And with that, we wanted to share some housing Know Your Rights, tenant organizing tips, and demands to our community. It won't solve all that we are facing, but it can provide clarity on some of the rights that we actually do have, especially during this time.
February was a month of ritual, poetry, healing, and resistance at ALP. During this month, we celebrated the birthday of our namesake, Audre Lorde. We also participated in the Day Against Hate along with Jews for Racial and Economic Justice, the NYC Anti-Violence Project, and other allies from our NYC Against Hate Coalition. We’re also using this Restoration Period to evolve how we bring campaign work into our digital spaces, beginning with our Brick by Brick Campaign. This time is teaching us, both as a staff and an organization, about what it looks like to shift the culture of our workplace and political home, while preparing it for an entirely new way of operating. We want to see leadership moving in many directions and for folks to feel a symbiosis with each other as we work for a common purpose.
As new cases of Coronavirus/COVID-19 continue to rise in NYC, ALP is thinking of our community members living with chronic health concerns and compromised immune systems; those who don’t have access to the care they need; those in cages; and those subjected to racist and xenophobic violence and discrimination.
Currently, ALP's office is temporarily closed for repairs to make it safer for all entering our space. As a precaution against COVID-19, our office will remain closed until further notice. To support our staff's capacity for community and self-care in this time of crisis, for the next two weeks, ALP operations are temporarily suspended. We are exploring the best course to hold future programming, workshops, and potentially, digital forums based on our community's needs. For now, we await further instruction from health officials.
While there is a call for more social distancing, we know that far too often many in our community already live in isolation. During this time, we want to remind everyone to continue practicing community care — check in with each other often, create pods to provide mutual support, and organize resources to share with one another. Our hope is that in the face of physical distancing, we can find an abundance of ways to stay connected to each other; that humanity and dignity continue to be uplifted in our people.
This month, we say goodbye to our former home, the historic Miss Major-Jay Toole Building which housed generations of organizers and held grassroots groups focusing on manifesting social change for our communities. Each year, fewer of us have been able to sustain there because of the escalating cost of rent and shifts in economics that impact our ability to thrive. Building strength through collaboration and ritual and honoring each other’s work is how we have been building resilience during this part of the Restoration Period.
After a challenging year, ALP has found its equilibrium. Displacement because of gentrification is a personal subject for everyone in this organization. It is an extension of colonial practices that have been traumatizing and killing our ancestors for generations. So our challenge is not a new challenge, and in fact, it strengthens our resolve to put our hearts into the work of building our communities in resistance to this force that harms our lives.
We are returning to our Brooklyn home, a sacred space that has held many generations of struggle in the work toward liberation. As we return, we are taking care to restore the space and create safety and comfort for each other in how we want to re-inhabit our own history together, in a new formation.
We are proud of all of our community members, and curious new attendees, who participated in our moving parties and created so much joy with us in a time period that was inevitably stressful. Community made it work. And the organizing of all those hands at work is something our dedicated staff was responsible for. We moved mountains. We put the movement in moving! We got it done!