June is Pride month, which at its core commemorates a movement led by trans people of color rising up against a police force that routinely and violently persecuted members of the LGBTQ community. Pride arrives in 2020 as people have once again taken to the streets in response to the ongoing, tragic killings of Black people. Just this year, we have lost George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade and many others whose stories may never be told.
For the past thirty years, Forum for Equality has strived to advance the rights of historically marginalized communities throughout Louisiana by supporting progressive legislation and helping to elect Black officials. In the past few weeks we have faced the hard truth that our organization should have been doing more in pursuit of that mission.
Forum for Equality states loudly and proudly: Black Lives Matter.
As Forum for Equality stands in support of Black lives, we also take this time to reflect. To our Black volunteers, community partners, and former and current board members, we pledge to do better by centering racial equity and justice in our fight for LGBTQ equality.
However, words without action are merely performative, and action begins with our commitment to our own internal organizational reforms to develop an explicitly racially inclusive approach to organizing on behalf of the LGBTQ community. We vow to do the hard work that contributes to creating the “just society, free from discrimination” that lies at the center of our mission, and we are collectively determined to move from intention to action.
Immediately, we commit to:
- Centering and uplifting queer Black voices in both strategic and tactical planning
- Emphasizing to our staff and board members the importance of racial equity and intersectionality
- Implementing new processes of selecting individuals for leadership positions
- Auditing our internal practices to remove barriers that limit our ability to achieve a more equitable organization
- Developing inclusive programming and policy advocacy mechanisms to ensure community voices are incorporated into our policy and electoral decision-making.
As Louisiana’s statewide LGBTQ human rights organization, we pledge to do the work of showing up, listening, learning, and using our collective resources and voices to confront racial injustice in all its forms. To attain full equality for all LGBTQ people, we must be a truly multiracial movement that embraces the fact that dismantling systemic racism is inseparable from our mission.
We want to partner with you to fundamentally transform the corrupt and broken systems that perpetuate racial injustices in our State. We want to hear your thoughts, ideas, and recommended actions in response to the current events, and welcome your help addressing our past and embracing our future. Please reach out to our Executive Director, SarahJane Guidry, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Board of Directors and Staff of Forum for Equality