We, the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, support the rebellions happening across the country and we are here to uplift our Black, Afro-Latinx, and Afro-Indigenous siblings.
As the rebellions take place across the U.S. right now, we need to note that some of the most violent acts by police happen right here in the Midwest. We have some of the worst places to live for Black people, especially Black Queer and Trans people. As a majority white queer organization we have a responsibility to hold ourselves and our community accountable.
This is not an ISOLATED incident and it never has been. The historical role of police in America is and always has been to oppress Black bodies. Slave catchers are police, KKK are police, your racist uncles are police, your liberal sisters are police. They may have the best of intentions, but we have seen time and time again that police are not held accountable and steal billions of dollars away from communities in the name of “safety." That money could be put into education, housing, confronting food deserts, but instead it is put toward “fancy police academies” and expanding jails to house more Black, Brown, and Indigenous people.
June is Pride Month. As companies don their rainbow shirts, sandals, bags, and other merchandise asking for your dollar, remember that we wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Black and Latina Queer and Trans Women. Yes we live in a region often ignored for our anti-oppression movement work, but history is vital in our Midwest Queer and Trans communities—no one can tell our stories and our history except for us! Know your history and how this movement started well before Stonewall and is still ongoing today. Never forget what our ancestors did by putting themselves on the frontlines for something to which they said “enough is enough.” Black folks are doing the same thing right now and most of those on the frontlines are Black Queer, and Trans Women!
As you think about whatever celebration you are going to do indoors, use the money you would have spent on a t-shirt or another rainbow tote bag you will never use and donate to Black, Brown, and Indigenous Queer and Trans organizations instead. We especially want to uplift and highlight the story of Tony McDade, a Black Trans man who was killed on May 27 by police in Tallahassee, Florida.
Accountability doesn’t work without action. Check out the links below for various jail funds, Black Trans led organizations, and how you can get involved if you can’t be on the frontlines.
This statement was written by TK Morton, Director of Equity and Access for the Midwest Institute for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, A Black Trans person who is exhausted, but is always willing to fight.
MPD 150: Working Toward a Police Free Minneapolis (Minneapolis, MN)
Black Visions Collective (Minneapolis, MN)
Brave Space Alliance (Chicago, IL)
Ruth Ellis Center (Detroit, MI)