Today marks a painful anniversary – a year since George Floyd was taken from his daughter and his community. A year since George Floyd last called out for his mama. A year since the Minneapolis Police Department first reported, “Man Dies After Medical Incident During Policy Interaction.” A year since a child, 17-year-old Darnella Frazier, recorded the incident – and a year that she has described being haunted and experiencing anxiety about what she witnessed.
And without that witnessing, the official police report may have been the last word on this case. Instead, Darnella’s video ignited an awakening, months of protests, and renewed calls to do the work of dismantling white supremacy – within ourselves and within our institutions.
Today is an opportunity for us to honor George Floyd and reflect on where we’ve come over the past year. George Floyd should still be alive today. The pain that his daughter, friends, family, and community feels is more than anyone should have to bear.
So what work are we doing to ensure that no more Black and Brown people are lost to state violence? And for me that question sparks other questions as well.
- How do we address racism and anti-Blackness within LGBTQ communities?
- How do we support the leadership of LGBTQ people of color – especially Black queer and trans people?
- How do we transform our spaces, hand over power, and imagine a more just and equitable world for all LGBTQ people?
- How do we build support for and invest in services for our communities – such as mental health services, support groups, economic opportunities, and housing – so that we can end our reliance on police intervention?
- How do we eliminate violence in our communities and create paths to real accountability when harm occurs?
- How do we support survivors of trauma?
I have way more questions than I do answers. I’m listening, learning, and challenging myself to not back away from hard questions or conversations. And I know that questions and learning without action are not enough. I am also proud of the work that we’re doing to strengthen social supports for our communities. By investing in community-led mental health programs, trauma services, social supports, mentorship, policy change and more, we’re helping to build a more just and loving future.
I want the Network to be a place that reflects the world as we wish it was, and doesn’t recreate the systems of oppression that are so common within our institutions. A place that values the expertise, lived experiences, and wisdom of Black, Indigenous, Latinx, Asian, and Pacific Islander people. A place where we understand that people and communities know what is best for them, and are empowered to enact change in their communities.
Along with being a reflection, I want this post to be an invitation to anyone reading. If you have a program or campaign that you would like to partner on, or that we can help uplift, please reach out. If we are falling short of these ideals, please hold us accountable. There is no liberation for LGBTQ people without liberation for BIPOC people.
Director, California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network