CNY Pride Family,
First and foremost, thank you to everyone who has been reaching out to us regarding ways to support our Queer and Trans Siblings of Color. Although we are full of pride, now, more than ever, it is important to focus our efforts on centering events that support our black and brown friends and to follow their lead. I appreciate the multiple offers to organize events to support, but we need to ensure that we are using our energy in ways to make the biggest impact where it’s needed most, something that can only be directed from the hearts of members of our black and brown community.
I came to this organization with frustrations around the financial aspect of how our festival was run in 2018. I stood up and came to that meeting and very quickly realized how much more our community really needed. It goes without saying there have been racial inequities right here in Syracuse. CNY Pride’s festival for years was held the same day as Juneteenth, leaving the QTPOC (Queer and Trans People of Color) community with a pretty heavy decision, to choose between celebrating their race or their lgbtq+ identity. We all have the same choice I did at that meeting, to walk away thinking it’s too much work, or stand together in solidarity and demand change.
As we build with anticipation for our event, we need to be willing to have as much motivation to support the extremely difficult work to end racial injustice as we do to celebrate our pride in our LGBT identities. It is important we lift up people of color, realizing willful blindness IS racism, educate our friends and family, speak out against the injustices faced by QTPOC in our community any way we can but most importantly to follow their lead. Black Lives Matter and Black Cuse Pride are fully aware of our willingness to act at their direction, please be patient as they implement a plan to make our actions worthwhile. We need to be aware of this white supremacy that dominates and permeates our culture and better leverage our privilege by dismantling it collectively. The killing of black lives needs to stop, and the murder of trans POC needs to stop.
If you currently have plans for your own pride events, who do you know in the Queer Trans People of Color community? Ask them how you can use your platform to make a difference. Stonewall 51 years ago was an uprising led by them, and our bill is overdue on coming together to fight for the rights they provided us with today.
I encourage you to follow Black Cuse Pride & Black Lives Matter Syracuse New York for opportunities to support their efforts, you can find information on dropping off food, water, and other necessary supplies like medical kits. Additionally, donations can be made to Black Lives Matter Syracuse here.
Silence is no longer an option,
Michael J. Leonelli
President, CNY Pride