by Mia McKenzie
Two days ago, the Supreme Court repealed the segment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that functioned to guarantee that communities of color have equal access to voting rights as white communities. On the same day, the court dealt a blow to the 1978 Indian Child Welfare Act, a federal law intended to keep Native American
children from being taken from their homes and typically adopted or fostered by
non-Native American parents. Yesterday, that same Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and Proposition 8, clearing the way for LGBT couples to access marriage rights. It’s possible that there has never been a week in the Supreme Court that so blatantly demonstrates which groups are a priority and which aren’t when considering the lives and liberties of US citizens.
But that’s not what this piece is about. There will (and should) be plenty of articles written today and in the coming days that highlight that reality. Check out the perspectives of the good folks at Colorlines, Crunk Feminist Collective, Racialicious, etc. now and in the coming days. I know I will be.
What this article is about is one thing: action.
This is a call to all the people who assured me and so many other people of color and queer people of color that even though they are happy about the repeal of DOMA, they are still very upset about the blow to the VRA. This is a call to all the race and/or class privileged folks who insist that it doesn’t have to be an either/or, that they can rejoice in the new rights of LGBT people while at the same time raging over the further disenfranchisement of folks of color and poor folks, many of whom are LGBT. This is a call to all y’all.
This is a call for those of you who have said that gay is the new black. That gays not being able to get legally married was like black folks having to sit at the back of the bus. That the Marriage Rights Movement was the same as the Civil Rights Movement and why didn’t black people see that?
This is a call to all of you who told undocumented queers and trans* activists not to talk about immigration status or wave trans pride flags because it wouldn’t look good for your mainstream movement. This is a call to all of you who told all of us to wait. And wait. Until you got yours.
Well, now you have it.
It’s Pride month. This coming weekend, San Francisco Pride will happen and other Prides will happen in New York, Seattle, Minneapolis, and in cities around the world. This is a great opportunity for all the people who have promised all these years that once gay marriage got its due they would then be able to focus on other issues that affect the more vulnerable citizens in our communities. This is your chance to MAKE GOOD.
Pride parades this weekend will be more heavily attended by the press than perhaps any in history. What will you do with the world watching? Will you cry tears of joy and laughter over the repeal of DOMA and never utter a word about the smashing of the Voting Rights Act? Or will you do what you have said you would do? Will you make room in your agenda for the rest of us? Those of us who are queer and black, trans* and Chicano, intersex and South Asian, and Two-Spirit? Will you speak up for us, while the cameras roll? Will you speak up for all the people in this country whose rights are being taken away while yours are being increased? Or will you be silent?
It is not enough to acknowledge your privilege. Acknowledging it will never make it better, will never, ever change anything. At some point, you must act against it. This is that point.
So, come on. Whatchu waiting for?
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Mia McKenzie is an award-winning writer and the creator of Black Girl Dangerous.
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