June is Pride Month. It is a month of celebration, connection, community, resiliency, and care. It’s the month that our community takes to the streets in all things rainbow to celebrate our pride for the achievements we have made and to re-energize us for the victories still to come. But at its roots, Pride Month is not just about celebration and love; Pride Month was conceived in the fight for liberation from systemic oppression that has and continues to fatally harm our community.
The ways in which Pride Month is celebrated around the world today – commercialized and rainbow-washed – has made it easy to forget why we come together in June. But, watching Black Lives Matter activists take to the Minneapolis streets and beyond has been a stark reminder of our history. Many of us celebrate Pride Month in June because queer and trans people of color started a revolution against police brutality at the Stonewall Inn on June 28th, 1969.
There is no pride in police brutality. The achievements we have gained in the past 50 years are because of our Black queer and trans community members who took to the street and demanded liberation. And, as it has been made clear by communities of color for the past half-a-century (and longer), we have a long way to go as systemic racism, transphobia, and oppression still plague our communities and country.
This Pride Month, we grieve the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, David “Yaya” McAtee, countless trans women – specifically Black trans women – and so many others who will not be forgotten here. We grieve as a community that recognizes that our oppressions – and liberations – are interconnected. And, as a majority white staff, Pride Center of Vermont is committed to stepping up and taking action against racial oppression and police brutality.
To celebrate Pride Month, the Pride Center of Vermont is continuing our fight against racial oppression. Pride Center of Vermont has joined other LGBTQ+ organizations in pledging to combat racial violence. Our team is currently taking the time to reflect on and understand the ways that we contribute to white supremacy culture. We are creating action steps on how to educate ourselves and our community, and listening to the leadership and resources created by the many great leaders fighting to end racial violence and oppression in our state (click to watch Peace & Justice Center’s panel on racial justice work in Vermont).
To Black Lives Matter activists and our QTPOC community members: thank you, we love you, we stand with you. If you are not already connected, our Thrive program offers an affinity space for QTPOC people in Vermont. If you are interested, contact either Reggie (email@example.com) or Gustavo (firstname.lastname@example.org).
To the non-Black members of our community: please consider donating to our Thrive program which aims to create social spaces for and improve the lives of Queer and Trans People of Color (QTPOC) living in Vermont (donate here).
There is no liberation for some of us until there is liberation for all of us. This Pride Month, let us honor the relentless work and fight of QTPOC activists such as Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, and Marsha P. Johnson, without whom we would not have Pride Month, by continuing our fight against police brutality, racial violence, and systemic oppression.
In Solidarity & Resistance,
Anne Moyerbrailean, SafeSpace Anti-Violence Coordinator
on behalf of the entire Pride Center of Vermont Staff & Board