Often, in racial narratives and black liberation movements, additionally marginalized identities are not included in the fight for justice. In May and June of this year, following the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and James Sccurlock, many news outlets and racial protests lacked coverage on the killing of Tony McDade, a black trans man. We recognize that in this fight for justice, equality and equal treatment we must also honor the intersecting identities of our community members and uplift their voices in support. We must be vigilant in our fight against the overwhelming number of attacks on black and brown queer, trans and non-binary bodies to affect change for all of us, not just some of us.
The Black Lives Matter movement was started by three powerful women, two of whom identify as queer. Black Lives Matter has been clear from the beginning about their affirmation of the lives of Black queer and trans folks, so it was important to us that we partner with the Greenville chapter of Black Lives Matter.
Mark and I were inspired by the murals painted in the streets, specifically a mural painted in Los Angeles that read “ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER” and incorporated the rainbow, trans and non-binary flag colors, as well as the traditional gold used by BLM. We modeled our art installation after this mural and were honored by the submissions from our artists, Tiana Robinson, Breana Miller and Wesley Hollingsworth. Their work gives a voice to some of ECU’s black, queer students in a way that we hope inspires connection and reflection.
The Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center is a resource, referral, education and social center for all. The main focus of our advocacy is LGBTQ identities, and that includes LGBTQ students who sit at the intersection of other identities.
-Jessica Melowski, M.S., LMFT, Assistant Director for the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center
-Mark Rasdorf, M.A., NCC, Senior Associate Director for the Dr. Jesse R. Peel LGBTQ Center