Reflections on Pride Month and Juneteenth
The month of June is traditionally one of celebration and reflection. Pride Month serves to both celebrate our LGBTQ+ neighbors and friends and to commemorate the Stonewall Riots of 1969. Juneteenth commemorates the day – June 19th, 1865 – when news of the Emancipation Proclamation arrived in Texas and enslaved people were declared free, over two years after Abraham Lincoln had signed it. While the LGBTQ+ community and Black community have progress and milestones to celebrate throughout June, the mood in the air is a somber one.
Current events, like the recent mass shooting in New York in which a white supremacist shot and killed Margus Morrison, Andre Mackniel, Aaron Salter, Geraldine Talley, Celestine Chaney, Heyward Patterson, Katherine Massey, Pearl Young and Ruth Whitfield at a Buffalo grocery store on May 14, and the recent apprehension of 31 white supremacists armed with smoke grenades and riot gear for conspiring to incite a riot at Pride in the Park in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, are highly visible signs of an undercurrent that has been festering in the political right for some time.
Efforts are underway in states across our country to ban a more complete teaching of American history, one that is inclusive of times when our government and fellow Americans committed brutal acts of violence against, or denied equal rights to communities of color. Books depicting LGBTQ+ lives and experiences are being banned from public schools, universities and libraries. Conspiracy theories that falsely conclude that white people are being replaced by people of color, and that LGBTQ+ people are “grooming” children, are being fostered by white nationalists and seeping into mainstream conservative circles. Parents of Trans youth are
being prosecuted for helping their children to survive and thrive. The thread tying language meant to dehumanize
people of color and LGBTQ+ people directly to acts of violence is in plain sight. So what do we do?
We must speak out, we must engage, we must organize, and we must vote.
We all must stand up as allies to marginalized communities and push back against hateful rhetoric. Call out politicians and
leaders when they repeat damaging and dehumanizing language/labels from white supremacist circles. Report instances of racial discrimination, bias attacks and threats to law enforcement and to the Oregon Department of Justice Bias Response Hotline. Do not support, promote or vote for candidates who stoke these conspiracies, no matter how much they promise to ‘reduce your taxes’. DO vote for candidates who call out these dangerous trends. Show up and support Pride Events and Juneteenth events in your area.
It's time to step up and protect our democracy.
Linn County Democrats Chair
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