Centering Racial Justice in LGBTQ Equality
Since the Stonewall Riots, LGBTQ people of color have played leadership roles in the fight for LGBTQ equality, yet few LGBTQ-focused organizations centered the leadership of queer and transgender people of color. Basic Rights learned that by not having an authentic racial justice program, our opposition could divide LGBTQ communities and communities of color, further marginalizing those most impacted by racism and homophobia–LGBTQ people of color.
- In 2007, Basic Rights decided to tackle this issue head on by centering racial justice as a core program within the organization.
- In 2008 & 2014, Basic Rights took a public stance and played a behind-the-scenes role in mobilizing Oregonians to defeat anti-immigrant ballot measures.
- In 2010, Basic Rights launched Our Families, a leadership development program by and for LGBTQ and allied people of color. Our Families launched an eponymous public education campaign, including four videos featuring LGBT families of color, which have since received more than 25,000 views.
- In 2010, Basic Rights Oregon and Western States Center released the first edition of Standing Together: An Anti-Racist Organizational Development Toolkit for LGBT Equality Groups and Activists.
- In 2013, Our Families focused on building support for LGBTQ families of color through public forums and securing endorsements for the freedom to marry from more than 140 straight leaders of color.
- In 2015, the second edition of Coming Out for Racial Justice is released.
- In 2015, Basic Rights Oregon mobilized supporters to help coalition partners pass legislation to removes barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated people and to end profiling in Oregon–issues that disproportionately affect Queer and Transgender people of color.
Basic Rights Oregon’s Racial Justice and Alliance Building program has three main goals:
- Centralize the experiences and leadership of LGBTQ people of color.
- Take action as an organizational ally to do racial justice work.
- Educate Basic Rights Oregon’s base on the intersection(s) of LGBTQ equality and racial justice issues.
Our Families, Basic Rights Oregon’s LGBTQ people of color leadership development program is a 16 month program that addresses the personal, cultural, civic and professional needs of emerging Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer leaders in Oregon. Through Our Families, Basic Rights Oregon works to centralize the leadership of LGBTQ people of color and build empowered leaders who hold a lifelong commitment to fighting for racial justice and creating lasting change in the LGBTQ community. Our organizational ally work builds on the strong partnerships with organizations of color throughout the state. We work in coalition with many groups, including PFLAG Portland Black Chapter, Causa Oregon, Western States Center, Indigenous Ways of Knowing, the Urban League of Portland, Asian Pacific American Network of Oregon, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Partnership for Safety and Justice, and more.
- Invaluable experience playing key roles in an innovative LGBTQ and gender justice education campaign by and for people of color
- Real life skills, analysis and experience that will position them to move into leadership roles in campaign, community organizing and movement work
- In-depth and ongoing trainings and continued leadership development opportunities
- A lasting network of colleagues, activists and community leaders
- Mentorship from community leaders and professionals