We've been asked many times in the past couple of weeks some version of "But, what are you doing for Pride!?" Our answer is: everything you see below and more!
We're supporting our community directly with mutual aid funds, we're acting in solidarity and as a part of the Movement for Black Lives, we're collecting and sharing stories & recipes of our Rural LGBTQ+ Food Traditions, we're celebrating long-fought struggles at the Supreme Court, we are continuing the fight for racial justice locally with our friends at The Root Social Justice Center and Lost River Racial Justice, we are continuing the fight for rural LGBTQ+ health justice, and we are finding new ways of being together amidst an on-going pandemic while continuing to keep public and community health at the forefront of our minds.
As I'm sure many of you have imagined, we have decided to forego this year's Pride Family Cookout. It's a gathering we've done for each of the past 5 years and it is a loss to not come together at this time. In place of this year's Cookout, we invite you to participate in a collectively created zine sharing our Rural LGBTQ+ Food Traditions. Contribute here (http://bit.ly/rurallgbtqfood). We're feeding ourselves while feeding our movement! And we want to hear from folks about all the many ways you've done and are doing that.
So, for those of you wondering what we're doing for Pride, Pride is all around us. Jump in here with us and let's keep things moving. <3
Black communities across the country, and globe, are in mourning and in uprising. We are horrified, enraged, in mourning, and sadly not surprised, by the recent brutal murders of Tony McDade, Nina Pop, Sean Reed, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We say their names and the names of the countless others Black lives who have been murdered due to police and white supremacist violence. The depths of violence from white supremacy runs deep. It runs deep in rural spaces. It runs deep in rural, so-called, Vermont and Northern New England where many white folks don’t have an understanding of the racist, intentional, State-based ways whiteness dominates/ed communities in these places. It runs deep everywhere. The struggle towards dismantling white supremacy will lead towards collective liberation, towards economic, social, and political equity.
Out in the Open stands in solidarity with all those rising up and organizing for Black lives, self-determination, and liberation. We support and and stand in solidarity with all the ways Black community members mourn and protest. We stand with those on and off the streets organizing for Black lives. We stand with Black communities working to heal and build joy. We stand with Black communities in rage and mourning.
We know that rural queer and trans people have a critical role to play in the struggle. We believe that by virtue of our LGBTQ+ identities, we are obligated to stand with each other in all of our struggles against all forms of oppression and for liberation for all of us. We collectively stand on the shoulders of Black & brown trans women, gender non-conforming folks, and cis LGBQ people, like Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Miss Major, José Sarria, Stormé DeLarverie, and many others, who ignited a movement for LGBTQ justice and liberation in the United States, well before and at Stonewall. And in our present moment we must fight for racial justice, as a foundational part of our LGBTQ+ movement, not as separately from it.
We know solidarity is an action word. We move, we stand, we build, we grow in solidarity. We commit to the long haul work of anti-racist organizing in rural communities.
Resistance and uprising in cities and rural spaces may look different. This we know. Showing up for rural Black community members means not erasing rural Black identities and experiences. It means learning what works in all of our rural contexts in terms of organizing strategies, trying some things out, possibly failing and trying again. It means moving money, power, and resources into the hands of Black folks. And means standing up for racial justice even if it’s just you, on your own, on your dirt road. We’re here to support and do all of that. Whether rurally or not: It means actively standing up and intervening in situations of covert and overt racism in all of our communities.
Here are some resources for acting in solidarity for racial justice here locally:
Ways to support uprising across the country:
Resources supporting healing for Black queer and trans folks:
To our rural Black queer community - we love you. We see you.