A Statement on Racism in the LGBTQ+ Community

A Statement on Racism in the LGBTQ+ Community

This past week we were all reminded why the work we do at Affinity is vital to our community.

When I explain Affinity’s purpose which is to serve the entire LGBTQ+ community by prioritizing the perspective of Black LGBTQ+ women, people ask me why? If the goal is to serve everyone, why would we prioritize the perspective of Black women? The reason we do it is because when you center the lives of people that experience oppression at multiple levels, absolutely everyone stands to benefit from that.

The events of this week remind us of the importance of doing the work this way, and why everyone serving the LGBTQ+ community must be intersectional in mission. The unfortunate reality is that oppression exists even within marginalized communities. LGBTQ+ people still experience racism, and sexism, and all of the oppression related to identity that non-LGBTQ+ people experience.

Racism is not just about language. Racism is often most damaging when it is difficult to name, but easy to recognize. It’s coded language. It’s like a dog whistle. Not everyone can hear it, but the sound is piercing for those of us that do.

And for those that aren’t sure, please consider this. Would anyone put a ban on pop music if Justin Bieber were playing during an incident? Of course not. It would be ridiculous. Then so is too is instituting a ban on rap music. Rap music does not cause violence, and the absence of it does not make us safer.

But taking a stance to not play rap music is a dog whistle, and that is violent. That is racially motivated. And we understand the intention, and the sentiment.

The movement for justice of LGBTQ+ people is not inherently anti-racist. We have to work to be anti-racist. In our movement, there has to be room for growth, and to learn from our mistakes so that we will make better decisions tomorrow than we did today. But let us remember, the price of this education isn’t free, and too often it comes at the expense and on the backs of those that already experience oppression. Racism is racism, even if the person didn’t mean to be racist and even after they learned to do better. And having space for growth doesn’t mean that we will ignore that. We can’t.

And lastly, protests and holding people and businesses accountable for their actions is a consequence, not a punishment. Protests have historical roots that help impacted communities heal and help us all exist together in this world. They make us all better, and Affinity is proud to be a partner in making our community more inclusive to everyone.

We are all better when we are all better, and I look forward to being better with all of you.

In Solidarity,

Imani Rupert-Gordon

Executive Director, Affinity Community Services

Living Room Chats at Affinity: A Podcast for Brave Conversations and Bold Voices

Living Room Chats at Affinity: A Podcast for Brave Conversations and Bold Voices

Living Room Chats is a new monthly podcast hosted by Kelly Suzanne Saulsberry. You can tune-in on Affinity’s Facebook page every third Wednesday at 7pm CT.

“Living Room Chats” will feature conversations with dynamic individuals from a variety of perspectives, backgrounds, and walks of life. Some of the topics we’ll dive into include political advocacy, culture, identity, and spirituality.

Each of us has a story. Each of us has questions we ask ourselves and others. Each of us has things we aspire to, issues and principles we are for or against, and existential questions we ponder. Each of us has identities that shape how we perceive each other and ourselves.

In this time of divisive and vitriolic rhetoric, hyper curated networks on social media, and a heightened sensitivity that makes some of us afraid to say anything, there is a real need for brave conversations and bold voices that push us beyond talking points and stereotypes, and empower us instead to think critically, feel deeply, and speak candidly about our thoughts, experiences, and lives.

This is the mission of Living Room Chats at Affinity. We are excited about bringing these conversations from our living room into yours, and hope that this podcast will inspire you to have brave and bold conversations of your own with people in your lives.

Bodhi Gives to Affinity

Bodhi Gives to Affinity

In the wake of Jussie Smollett and the events that followed Affinity has been highlighted as a resource. A trusted community partner doing the work. Bodhi Spiritual Center was one of the places that reached out and wanted to do something. They decided to give $1,000 to Affinity. We are grateful for their commitment to social justice and equity. 

Our Board President, Anna DeShawn, visited Bodhi to accept this gift and to spread the good news that is Affinity. Click the video and fast forward to 1:12:50 to hear what Anna had to say. 

Thank you from Anna DeShawn

We Want to Hear From You

We’re with Jussie

We’re with Jussie

Dear Affinity Family, 

We, at Affinity, are sending love and strength to Jussie Smollett and his family. We also send our best wishes for a full recovery. This brutal attack strikes at the very core of our fight as Black LGBTQ+people. Many of us are all too familiar with being targeted and being survivors of violence for being who we are. 

When the actions of leaders in this country are steeped in white supremacy, racism and anti-LGBTQ+ sentiments, their silence and lack of action make their priorities crystal clear. 

We are heartbroken and infuriated. For years, Affinity has served on the Hate Crimes Coalition convened by the Chicago Commission on Human Relations. Incidents like this are under reported and disproportionately affect LGBTQ+ people of color. Affinity is committed to fight for the safety, protection, and voice of our communities. 

In solidarity,
Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director
Anna DeShawn, President, Board of Directors
Aisha N. Davis, Esq., Vice President, Board of Directors
Jas Thurmond, Treasurer, Board of Directors
Jessica Peters, Secretary, Board of Directors
Jovan Watkins, Board Director

The Blackprint – A Virtual Leadership Series

The Blackprint – A Virtual Leadership Series

A Plan for Building the Leadership Capacity of Black LGBTQ+ Women Leaders

Register Today!

Black women, communities of color, LGBTQ+ individuals, and people with intersecting underrepresented identities are less likely to be in top leadership roles. This means, people that face the most discrimination are often not in positions to determine what is needed to help their communities thrive.

In this virtual leadership series, experts will share how they were able to excel in their fields, and the obstacles they had to overcome to be successful in their work. Each webinar will be live so participants will have an opportunity to ask questions on the spot.

After the webinar series, Affinity Community Services will produce a toolkit to provide resources for organizations dedicated to recruiting and retaining individuals with underrepresented identities. If you choose to share your LinkedIn profile, you will be included in a networking group that will post positions by individuals and organizations that have a commitment to inclusive hiring practices.

Featured Speakers

Charlene Carruthers
Kate Kendell
Mary Morten

The Blackprint: Building Organizing Power
Date: Thursday, July 05, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Economic Power
Date: Thursday, July 12, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Political Power
Date: Thursday, July 19, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

The Blackprint: Building Executive Power
Date: Thursday, July 26, 2018
Time: 12:00pm CST

–>Register Here <–

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