Juneteenth is so important for African Americans. It wasn’t something taught to me in school. I had to do my own research to learn about this day, which is one reason I am an amateur historian. Society tells what is and isn’t important when the reality is, all of history is important.

 

Often the portion of history discussing the enslavement of my people is brushed over or covered in a basic general concept. My home state of MS did not officially abolish slavery until 2013. It reminds me daily why I must celebrate June 19th as the African American Emancipation Day, in remembrance of that day in Galveston, Texas in 1865. 

 

While, the document to end slavery was signed by Lincoln on September 22, 1862, it took the 13th amendment to officially abolish slavery. Many consider Lincoln a great man for doing this. Lincoln believed that he had no authority as President to end slavery, which was a state matter.However, Lincoln was not only President, he was Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces. As such, he could take military measures. His order carefully limited the Proclamation to those areas in insurrection, where civil government was not respected. 

As a society, this day amongst others should have been recognized as a holiday for all African Americans without using paid time off. It shouldn’t take my community members deaths, riots, and violence for world recognition or companies to finally give us this day. It is time America embraces the mistreatment of African Americans and Native Americans, the two groups who suffered the most at the hands of the ”founding fathers” by a country socially deemed- Land of the Free and home to the American Dream.  Where all those concepts are limited to the color of a person’s skin.

Stephanie Bell

Director of The Metamorphosis Project

Our team at OUTMemphis is committed to supporting our African American siblings and honoring the pieces of history that so often get erased. The recent events bringing to light the violence against communities of color are not new. As we celebrate the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, we must recognize that the work is far from over. The intersectionality of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression is a vital part of the work that we do, particularly in our fight for equitable health, wellness, and housing. We would like this Pride month to be about drawing on the legacy of the black trans women who started the riots that ignited the queer liberation movement. OUTMemphis has been rethinking the way that we celebrate Pride and we continue to invest in our social services and work on both our internal and external culture. As of June 19, 2020, OUTMemphis has named Juneteenth a paid holiday for staff members, a decision that is well overdue. We hope to continue to grow and make changes in our organization that align with our values and to use our platform to educate and lift up the voices of our black and brown community members to honor the legacy that the Stonewall Riots, paved for us all.

 

Below you will find a list of local and national resources, ways that white people can educate themselves and black-owned businesses to support. This list is just the start. It, like the work to end racism, will never be complete. 

 

DONATE TO BLACK-LED LGBTQ+ ORGANIZATIONS

Local:

  1. Love Doesn’t Hurt: Helps provide assistance to victims of Domestic & Sexual Violence in the LGBTQ+ Community to provide emergency shelter, food, clothing and relocation for those in the Shelby County area.
  2. SisterReach: ​​SisterReach is an advocate for the reproductive autonomy of women & teens of color, poor & rural women, LGBTQ+ and gender non-conforming people.
  3. Partnership to End Aids Status (P.E.A.S.): Maximize equality in trans community and assist at the community level in efforts to assess service gaps, community needs, and coordinate and plan the allocation of resources for persons infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and other STIs experiencing multiple community disparities. 
  4. My Sista’s House:   A trans lead nonprofit providing first-hand experience as well as field research to create a one-stop-shop for finding doctors, social groups, and safe spaces for the trans community. We talk to actual doctors, therapists, business owners as well as adding our own personal experiences as trans individuals. We provide emergency shelter, access to sexual health services, social services, and transgender housing in Memphis.
  5. The Unleashed Voice: #TeamTUV is comprised of a unique blend of thought leaders who in their own perspective field are leaders.  However, collectively they joined forces and created an evolution for the #IAMUnleashed Movement! Join the Movement because “We are more than a Magazine.”
  6. Tri-State Black Pride: Tri-State Black Pride’s mission showcases unity and pride by promoting equality/inclusion, human rights, education, outreach, arts, and culture of the Memphis and Mid-South’s LGBTQ community and allies. 
  7. The Paige:Serving minority youth who self identify as LGBTQ seeking assistance with self efficacy through counseling, social support, and community resourcing

National:

  1. TGI Justice Project: Transgender Gender-Variant & Intersex Justice Project is a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex people—inside and outside of prisons, jails, and detention centers—creating a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.
  2. SNaPCo: Builds power of Black trans and queer people to force systemic divestment from the prison industrial complex and invests in community support.
  3. Black AIDS Institute: Working to end the Black HIV epidemic through policy, advocacy, and high-quality direct HIV services.
  4. Trans Cultural District: The world’s first-ever legally recognized trans district, which aims to stabilize and economically empower the trans community.
  5. LGBTQ+ Freedom Fund: Posts bail for LGBTQ people held in jail or immigrant detention and raises awareness of the epidemic of LGBTQ over-incarceration.
  6. House of GG: Creating safe and transformative spaces for the community to heal, and nurturing them into tomorrow’s leaders, focusing on trans women of color in the South.
  7. Trans Justice Funding Project: Community-led funding initiative to support grassroots trans justice groups run by and for trans people.
  8. The Okra Project: Collective that seeks to address the global crisis faced by Black trans people by bringing home-cooked meals and resources to the community.
  9. Youth Breakout: Works to end the criminalization of LGBTQ youth in New Orleans to build a safer and more just community.
  10. For the Gworls: They raise money to assist with Black trans folks’ rent/affirmative surgery.
  11. Black Trans Travel Fund: The Black Trans Travel Fund is a mutual-aid project developed in order to help provide Black transgender women with the financial resources needed to be able to self-determine safer alternatives to travel, where women feel less likely to experience verbal harassment or physical harm.
  12. Marsha P. Johnson Institute: The Marsha P. Johnson Institute (MPJI) protects and defends the human rights of BLACK transgender people. We do this by organizing, advocating, creating an intentional community to heal, developing transformative leadership, and promoting our collective power.

 

 

EDUCATE YOURSELF – WATCH – READ – LISTEN – START A CONVERSATION

  • Ally dos and don’ts
  • History of colonialism
  • Watch the following documentaries:
  • Read the following books – try to purchase them from Black-owned book stores:
    • White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo
    • How to Be an Anti-Racist by Ibram X. Kendi
    • The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander
    • Divided Sisters by Midge Wilson and Kathy Russell
    • The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
    • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neal Hurston
    • They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery
    • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
    • Fatal Invention by Dorothy Roberts
    • Locking Up Our Own by James Forman
    • The Miner’s Canary by Lani Guiner and Gerald Torres
    • The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon
  • CONFRONT RACISM wherever you see it, online and with family/friends

 

HOW TO HELP WITHOUT BEING ON THE FRONTLINES

  • Donate to a BAIL FUND in your area or around the country
  • Donate MEDICAL SUPPLIES to people working as medics at the protests
  • FEED PEOPLE – buy food and water, or make food, and donate it to those who are part of or affected by the protests
  • VOLUNTEER at non-hot zone areas to supply food and water
  • PICK UP people from the hot-zone if they need it
  • Offer to WATCH KIDS if their parents are organizers and need to be on the frontline
  • DONATE directly to frontline people and organizations
  • WRITE articles and blog posts in support of the ongoing protests

Resources shared from Sacramento Pride.

 

X