After a robust pride season and COVID restrictions lifted for gatherings in New York City, we hope you are re-emerging into public life in safety, good health, and spirits raised by sunlight and safe gathering. It is a hopeful time in comparison to August of 2020, and we are moving forward optimistically and with caution about the future of convening our communities. There is still work to do in the wake of a revolutionary year that normalized phrases like abolition, racial justice, white supremacy, and anti-Blackness into the popular dialogue and conversation around achieving a world that does not permit the murder and neglect of QTBIPOC bodies by forces of the state.
One of the great challenges of this moment is to be able to hold the simultaneous reality of being an intersectional identity, and also being able to impactfully coordinate efforts across movements to dismantle the white supremacist hetero-patriarchal structures that are upheld by the state. In periods of healing and reflection after a prolonged crisis, it’s a relief to know that we are not alone, and this isn’t the first time our movements have needed a reflective pause after a raging storm.
In Audre Lorde’s essay, Learning from the 60s, she shares some insight with readers about lessons learned from movement-building in that time, which are more relevant than ever at this moment:
“You do not have to be me in order for us to fight alongside each other. I do not have to be you to recognize that our wars are the same. What we must do is commit ourselves to some future that can include each other, and to work toward that future with a particular strength of our individual identities. And in order to do this, we must allow each other our differences at the same time as we recognize our sameness.
If our history has taught us anything, it is that action for change directed only against the external conditions of our oppressions is not enough. In order to be whole, we must recognize the despair oppression plants within each of us-- that thin persistent voice that says our efforts are useless, it will never change, so why bother, accept it. And we must find that inserted piece of self destruction that lives in flourishes like a poison inside of us, unexamined until it makes us turn upon ourselves and each other. But we can put our finger down upon that loathing very deep within each one of us and see who it encourages us to despise, and we can lessen its potency by the knowledge of our real connectedness, arcing across our differences.
Hopefully, we can learn from the 60s that we cannot afford to do our enemies’ work by destroying each other.”
Moving forward with this key idea in our namesake’s library of legacies, we will be focused on safe healing and planning our year in programming with the understanding that our rituals of gathering in public will return, and that being present with each other in the aftermath of an extended public trauma may be a source of repair. The next stages of our healing will take work that addresses trauma without replicating the oppressive tools of the state.
Our organization’s new fiscal year has begun; our work planning process is taking shape as a calendar of offerings that honors the legacy of the organization and integrates our own values around what sustainable movement-building looks like during a global pandemic.
For folks who are interested in plugging into our work, showing up for our upcoming events is the simplest way to get involved. BedStuy Pride: Virtual Vibes and Vendors edition will be held on Zoom, and folks can register here. Please sign up and share widely!