Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio Response to Pride Protest
I am white; that in and of itself denotes a degree of privilege in our society. It is also a persistent barrier to full understanding and solidarity of those who were not born with my privilege. It is important that this be stated first before moving into the following statement.
I, along with the members of my executive committee, have spent much of the last week in observation, reflection and meditation not only about the unfortunate event which occurred during Columbus Pride but also the wide array of response from members and allies of the LGBTQ+ community. The issue of racism, especially in the LGBTQ+ community, is a momentous one and requires serious thought, mindfulness and tactical action.
Over the years, our community has been so primarily focused on the issues of marriage and workplace protection, we have insurmountably ignored the festering issue of racism in our community. And, whether you agree or disagree with the actions of the BlackPride4, their actions have ignited the issue to the level of attention not only it needs but it so desperately deserves.
In addressing the issue of discrimination against and marginalization of our QPOC community members within the larger LGBTQ+ community, We, the executive leadership, are resolved and committed to the following two actions:
First, over the coming weeks having face-to-face conversations with members of the QPOC community; to hear their stories, gain their insights and discuss how our platforms of privilege can be best used to magnify the call for justice and inclusion for the QPOC community.
Second, work with other LGBTQ+ focused and social/racial justice focused organizations to support the building of a framework to tackle racial injustice in the greater Columbus community. Working together in diversity is paramount because our organizations are not complete without all peoples within our LGBTQ+ community at the table. As we push forward this endeavor we want QPOC to not just be members of, but leaders in our LGBTQ+ institutions.
There will be those who don’t like this statement. There will be those who say that this does not go far enough or that is doesn’t “say anything.” The critics are more than entitled to do so; after all we do have – for now – freedom of speech in this great nation of ours. But we do ask those critics to be more than just that. Reach out, engage, join us as we have these conversations and build a framework for a truly inclusive community that fully lives up to the values it holds. Because, #blacklivesmatter #blacktranslivesmatter
Michael T. Liggett
Stonewall Democrats of Central Ohio