Facing Change During Pride Month
Not everything that is faced can be changed, but nothing can be changed until it is faced. – James Baldwin
At this historic moment, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Chicago will continue to face change head on and take every opportunity to denounce racism, bigotry, and prejudice and support the Black Lives Matter movement and our Black partners. Defending potential means we must openly and consistently address the systemic barriers the BIPOC children in our programs face. Racism is part of the trauma in many young lives. We must name it and act upon it every single day. We will also seek to improve on areas where we haven’t been perfect in the past, educating our volunteers with the tools they need to learn and grow and feel comfortable and not shy away from having important conversations with their mentees.
As we have these conversations, it’s important to also acknowledge that we traditionally celebrate our LGBTQIA+ Bigs, Littles, families, and supporters this month and why we do so in June. The Stonewall riots were a protest led by people of color including activist Marsha P. Johnson that sought to defend the LGBTQIA+ community from police brutality and harassment in June of 1969. Intersectionality is at the core of the Pride movement, and that’s why we’re using the most inclusive pride flag in our logo and specifically including the colors black and brown. Black Lives Matter was co-founded by 3 Black women, two of whom identify as queer activists. We cannot exclude or erase the people that helped our communities get to where they are today. Instead, as we celebrate this month, we will also educate, empower and elevate: raising the voices of partners, groups and nonprofits across Chicagoland who have been working on systemic intersectional issues such as racism, sexual harassment, and racial and sexual violence. Everyone deserves a mentor. BBBS will continue to ignite the power and promise of youth during Pride and every day.