Time is moving differently. The pandemic is asking us to reflect on our own ways of looking at the world and how these perspectives have served us or created challenges for us in the past. It's undoubtedly a growth period for Audre Lorde Project's staff, members, and board.
We are asking questions, like, how do we gather safely? How do we keep each other safe and connected in this isolating time? How can we adapt to this new landscape of movement building and political education? What are we doing to build resilience in this moment? How can this era teach us about our own roles in building movements, creating solutions, and participating safely, in resistance? Who is this crisis turning us into? How is it strengthening us? What is it showing us about ourselves as individuals and as communities who are most impacted by long-standing systems of structural oppression that become most obvious in times of crisis? These are the questions we're asking ourselves at ALP, as we turn the bend on six months of pandemic life.
I attended this weekend’s March for Black Trans Lives, a powerful space where an estimated 15,000 people showed up to support the call to end violence and harm against trans, gender non-confirming, and non-binary Black and Brown folks. It was the first time in weeks that I was honest about how I’ve been affected by the rampant murders, attacks, and police brutality on my community. A friend who I hadn’t seen in months due to the pandemic asked how I was doing and I said “terrible. Everything feels awful. But we’ll be ok.” I stopped pretending I was fine, that the trauma we face by watching the news, walking down the street, having cops occupying every (non-white) space in the city, doesn’t impact me greatly. As a Black trans masculine person, I’ve been more alert and vigilant than ever lately, worried about how cops and others will see me, especially in a mask, as a threat. Worried about being an immunocompromised person during mobilizations. Worried about my comrades and those close to me in community who remain isolated at home or behind bars. But I maintain hope. Hope that these uprisings show that our people are not willing to go back, return to a world where the few with power and money control the lives of the many without.
Compiled by our amazing Director of Dignity and Care, Simone Sobers, we offer community a list of COVID-related resources that center the needs and resilience of QTBIPOC folks in NYC.
Click "read more" to learn about the intentions of this resource.
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.
Updated on June 3, 2020
In addition to the public health crisis of COVID-19, we are now entering a massive economic crisis. 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 escalate, 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.