By Sophia Newman, LGBT+ Society BAME Officer
As LGBTQ+ Pride month arrives, it is important to remember how we got here. It was through the serious dedication and the constant fight of activists over the years. Things still aren’t perfect (especially around the world) but we have made considerable progress. In addition to prominent civil rights activists, I want to highlight and remind us of the black LGBT+ activists who have fought, and continue to fight, for basic human rights. The protests that are happening in America are the result of a long, painful list of injustices; such as black people being killed by police.
I am writing this article to show the LGBT+ Society’s allyship to the Black Lives Matter (#BLM) Movement and to show our unwavering support to black people across campus. We ask all other societies at the University of Surrey to show their support also. Below will be causes to donate to and action steps to support this movement. We are all human. We all deserve peace, love and happiness.
Activists To Remember: Martin Luther King Jr
We have all heard the ‘I Have A Dream Speech’, we all know who Martin Luther King Jr is. It is important to remember his activism and leadership. He was very clear that violence was not the answer. MLK famously understood that hate encourages hate and violence encourages more violence. He was an avid peaceful protestor, using pacifist actions to make a point. His activism paved the way for the ‘Montgomery Bus Boycott’ in 1965 soon after Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat. Sadly, Martin Luther King Jr was assassinated when he was just 39 years old yet his legacy continues to make profound effects.
Activists To Remember: Marsha P. Johnson
You may or may not have heard of Marsha, but she was a prominent black and transgender activist in times where being either was extremely dangerous. Born in 1945, she fought for LGBT rights her entire life along with her friend, Sylvia Rivera, who was a latina transgender activist. Marsha was proactive in the Stonewall uprising and the Gay Liberation Movement groups that were essentially the beginning of LGBT Pride. These parades were created to counter the social shame placed upon LGBT people.
Activists To Support: Munroe Bergdorf
Munroe Bergdorf is a British model and activist who has consistently spoken out against racism. As a black transgender model, she frequently speaks on the mistreatment she and others receive. In 2017, she was fired from a L’Oreal Paris diversity campaign for voicing her opinion on racism and very recently mentioned the double standards that continue to happen. Bergdorf has made multiple appearances on This Morning and Good Morning Britain to defend those with a smaller voice and she proceeds to fight for equality using her social media platform.
Activists To Support: Patrisse Cullors
Ever wondered who started the Black Lives Matter movement? Patrisse Cullors was one of the three women who began the campaign in 2013. Like Shaun King she is on Instagram and Twitter promoting the cause (links below). She identifies as a queer activist along with her partner who is gender non-conforming. Cullors was forced to leave home when she was 16 after coming out to her parents which highlights another large issue in the black community regarding LGBT acceptance. She, along with many activists, have been outspoken on the injustice that has happened to George Floyd and many other African Americans. I encourage you to check her out on Twitter or Instagram and to support her activism in ways you can.
One Of My Personal Favourites: Jane Elliott
There is a video of her teaching a class that is circulating Instagram right now and what she says still rings true. Although not a person of colour, Elliott has dedicated her life to anti-racism and black activism. She spent most of her years as a diversity educator and continues to do so today. Elliott was around when Martin Luther King was assassinated and since then has been proactive in trying to support the cause with her privilege.
I would like to thank every non-black person who has supported us or recently spoken out against what has been happening. Not only does it help, it shows us that we’re not alone in this fight against racism. We’re at a time now where we all have some sort of voice (no matter how small) because of social media. We can all support each other through our struggles. As the LGBT+ society, we support people of all ethnicities, orientations and genders. So we align ourselves with all ethnicities, orientations and genders. For minority people across campus: stay safe and stay proud.
How To Help or Who To Support
Munroe Bergdorf Instagram: @munroebergdorf
Patrisse Cullors Instagram: @osopepatrisse
Black Lives Matter Instagram: @blklivesmatter ® Black Lives Matter Website: www.blacklivesmatter.com ® Most Petitions & Funds: https://blacklivesmatters.carrd.co/#
Black Visions Collective: @blackvisionscollective
Jacqui Lewis: @revjacquilewis
I will be updating think link every time I find newer information: https://linktr.ee/sophianewman
Feel free to research any more yourself to help! A lot of celebrities are currently posting links to donate.
Rest In Power
George Floyd (25th May 2020)
Breonna Taylor (13th March 2020)
Ahmaud Arbrey (23rd Feb 2020)
And the hundreds more who have been murdered unjustly
This statement has been published in Incite and The Stag.