These past 36 hours, nearly everybody I speak to is in shock. We didn’t think we would be here again – our rights and safety now in a state of regression after so many years of progress. This is true not just for queer communities, but also for women, for immigrants, for people of color, for disabled people, for indigenous people, for the sick, and for all who are other. The consequences of this election will be felt for decades to come.
And, what is the lesson from this all? We must unite more and fight harder. We let our communities become fractured by petty politics. We let our community organizations be taken over by conservative corporatists. We let ourselves become complacent by the advancement of a few civil rights, while the rights of the many continued to be trampled. Too many of us have lost sight of our grassroots, rebellious history and how essential it was for gaining those few rights in the first place.
Now, we need to right our course, to unite and fight with all our strength the tide of bigotry and violence that has already begun. It’s time to put aside petty differences and petty entertainments, to turn off the screens and take to the streets. We will not be forced back into closets and shuttered bars. We will be louder and prouder than ever before.
In just over a week we will host Lavender, our queer leadership retreat. We are reformulating some of the programs to focus on what we as communities can do in response. We want you there. We need new leaders and veteran organizers; those who politicize and those who make art. Money is not an issue – we have scholarships available for all who need them. We just want you there. Our communities need us all to show up more than ever.
Lavender will be just one of many actions and programs Groundswell Institute will be taking to strengthen our communities and create a bastion for queer culture and leadership. We are committed to being in the front lines with you all in the years to come. And, whether you make it to Lavender or any of our programs, the important thing to is to make it to something. Be more engaged. Give more to your communities. Stand up taller for the oppressed, including yourself. Love each other more. We have to hold strong and hold tight for the long haul ahead. Together we can arrive more powerful than ever on the other side.
In Love and Solidarity,
Executive Director, Groundswell Institute