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I Am Black Everyday: A Reflection on Black History Month - Astraea Lesbian Foundation For Justice

I Am Black Everyday: A Reflection on Black History Month

Published on Feb 25, 2021

We’re at a crucial tipping point. LBTQI, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are fighting to survive at the hands of white supremacy. And these are the very communities securing a liberatory vision for the future. We pledge each and every day to fight and fund the movement our foremothers and forefathers began. These are our foundations, the legacy on which we build to ensure Black liberation, and indeed the liberation of all peoples and the healing of our planet.

WHERE
New York

Astraea’s blog, Collective Care Blog: Building the Power & Resilience of LBTQI Movements Now & for the Long Haulis Astraea’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. As a feminist LBTQI funder, we believe it is our responsibility to shed light on the ways our communities are particularly impacted by the crisis, share insights around the criticality of healing justice and collective care, as well as the ways in which we’re digging deep to keep shifting power to the grassroots in meaningful and sustainable ways.

Article by Sandy Nathan As Black History Month draws to a close, I have been reflecting on what it means to carry our celebrations of Blackness and Black history beyond the month of February. America has been trying since 1915 to highlight the contributions of Black folks to the history of America. I value that for sure. But there is something about all the recent sentiment about “Black history is American history” that is insufficient. For far too long America has denied the contributions, innovation and brilliance of Black America. While we have designated February—the shortest month of the year—to the recognition of Black history, upon closer examination you recognize that it is extraordinarily whitewashed. America’s idea of Black history would have us believe that Black Americans were slaves, then Rosa Parks sat down, and King had a dream—the end. Our history is so much more than what this month reduces it to each and every year. What we need isn’t siloed months that check a box, but rather true integration. During the month of February, it seems America has some form of amnesia to the experiences of Black Americans as well as the treatment of our leaders who are consistently lifted up during this period. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a common figure whose quotes and speeches fly high during this month with little conversation about just how radical of a thinker he was—so radical in fact he was on the FBI’s most watched list and lamented by the very politicians that take to social media today to feign their appreciation for his work to create Black liberation. Yet, over 50 years later the same principles Dr. King fought for still remain a dream—like a living wage, racial equity and an end to police brutality and white domestic terrorism. For over 40 years Astraea has stood in solidarity with Black movements and communities in the United States. We stand united in our grief, anger, and outrage at every instance of police brutality and of innocent Black lives lost. What became abundantly clear in 2020 is that these acts of violence against Black people are not isolated incidents but part of a much larger and coordinated strategy to enforce white supremacy at the expense of Black life. We must work to condemn the racism, discrimination, policing, transphobia, and state violence that would have Black people erased. This means not only fighting for the equity that is deserved; but lifting up the humanity of the Black community everyday, not just when it is convenient during the month of February. We can’t continue to have institutions and corporations ‘perform’ anti-Black racism by posting quotes on their social platforms for 28 days while refusing to acknowledge the ongoing structural racism the rest of the year and commit to deep acts of reparation. We’re at a crucial tipping point. LBTQI, Black, Brown, Indigenous, and immigrant communities are fighting to survive at the hands of white supremacy. And these are the very communities securing a liberatory vision for the future. As a queer feminist funder based in the United States, we owe our existence to the civil and human rights activism of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color, trans, and queer movements that have come before us. We are reminded in this month, like every month, that we are not free until Black people are free. We are not free until all of our BIPOC folks are free. At Astraea we will not silo our celebration of Blackness and the fight for liberation to one month. We pledge each and every day to fight and fund the movement our foremothers and forefathers began. These are our foundations, the legacy on which we build to ensure Black liberation, and indeed the liberation of all peoples and the healing of our planet.