The Movement for Black Lives Puts Black Queer and Trans People First

On Monday, the Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations representing Black lives around the country, released their platform containing a thorough list of demands and collective vision for Black liberation. “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom and Justice,” is organized into six top policy demands that include: ending the war on Black people, reparations, divesting and investing, economic justice, community control and political power. Demos Action and Mijente translated the coalition’s platform into a Spanish version, which you can read here.

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The organizations involved are rooted in Black communities but recognize they share struggles with all oppressed people so their platform is written with an intersectional approach and acknowledges they must center the most marginalized folks in their platform, especially black queer, trans and gender nonconforming people. Dedicated LGBT organizations like Southerners on New Ground and FIERCE are part of the coalition or endorsed the platform. From the platform:

We believe in elevating the experiences and leadership of the most marginalized Black people, including but not limited to those who are women, queer, trans, femmes, gender nonconforming, Muslim, formerly and currently incarcerated, cash poor and working class, differently-abled, undocumented, and immigrant. We are intentional about amplifying the particular experience of state and gendered violence that Black queer, trans, gender nonconforming, women and intersex people face. There can be no liberation for all Black people if we do not center and fight for those who have been marginalized. It is our hope that by working together to create and amplify a shared agenda, we can continue to move towards a world in which the full humanity and dignity of all people is recognized.

Each policy demand is extensive — backed by research and containing targeted actions at the federal, state and local levels, links to resources and model legislation where it exists, and a list of organizations already working toward these goals. Here’s a short look at what those policy demands contain:

End The War on Black People: We demand an end to the named and unnamed wars on Black people — including the criminalization, incarceration and killing of our people.

Reparations: We demand reparations for harms inflicted on Black people: from colonialism to slavery through food and housing redlining, mass incarceration and surveillance.

Invest-Divest: We demand investments in the education, health and safety of Black people, instead of investments in the criminalizing, caging, and harming of Black people.

Economic Justice: We demand economic justice for all and a reconstruction of the economy to ensure Black communities have collective ownership, not merely access.

Common Control: We demand a world where those most impacted in our communities control the laws, institutions and policies that are meant to serve us.

Political Power: We demand independent Black political power and Black self-determination in all areas of society.

Non-Black people should all take some time to dive deep into this platform and find ways we can support it and take the action steps to put it into effect in anyway we can contribute. One way to do that is to check out the “Take Action” section. The Movement for Black Lives teamed up with ColorofChange to dedicate an online platform that allows you to create a local campaign or to find campaigns in your area. 

We know that change at a national level is not possible unless we build power locally. We also know that petitions, online organizing, social media and anything digital can only create long-term systemic change when it is used to support and uplift existing work on the frontlines. That is why we have partnered with the Movement for Black Lives to create a digital space to launch campaigns, share strategies, build relationships, and the trans-local power needed to advance new transformative policy.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and former Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her queer Latina heart. Yvonne was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter. Read more of her work at yvonnesmarquez.com.

Yvonne has written 205 articles for us.

8 Comments

  1. Black Lives Matter is pretty much the best group in the country right now. We should all be focused on the most marginalized and vulnerable in society first. We all know a society may be judged on how it treats those who meet that criteria.

    Anyone running for office who supports BLM will get my vote.

  2. I support blm. Just wondering why they only said “queer” not lgbt and why “femmes” but not studs or butches. Anyhoo actions are more important than words. They have my support.

    • My understanding when people say stuff like that is that they consider studs and butches to be included under “gender non-conforming” (which they included explicitly) but femmes aren’t necessarily gender non-conforming. I could be wrong though!

  3. i love this!! i recently saw the website and was super into it. I’m wondering if anyone knows if this is a separate organization from Black Lives Matter? Or is it like a coalition of organizations that are a part of the Movement for Black Lives, which maybe includes BLM. Excited to see what sort of action this will incite!!

    • “a coalition of more than 50 organizations representing Black lives around the country”

      I’m assuming it’s a coalition because that’s what Yvonne wrote! But I was also assuming BLM was a major part of it, which I probably shouldn’t have. It’s just a similar, and awesome platform.

  4. Having communicated with “those in charge” who say “they’re not in charge” and having documented a complete set of facts about the Black Lives Matter movement, I have much say.

    The BLM founders recently wrote that they didn’t want our group in Pittsburgh to be a part of their network because our focus is “ENDING GUN VIOLENCE IN PITTSBURGH!”

    The BLM Founder explained: “their focus is centered on the leadership and experiences of black, queer and transgender women and gender non-conforming people.” Is their efforts really a “fight for gay and transgender rights.”

    Thereafter, they staged BLM events in Pittsburgh with “a majority white, gay and lesbians group that joined together with local political sellouts.” It was clearly an effort to upstage what we have been doing for more than two (2) years.

    Nonetheless, this new “AGENDA” appears to be exactly the ideological errors critics identify as proof that the “moral crusade” lacks the ability and competency to lift things to the next level.

    IT IS WHAT IT IS BECAUSE THE NATIONAL MEDIA HAS CATAPULTED UPWARD A FEW POLITICAL INSIDERS AS BLM LEADERS.

    To be taken seriously by policymakers the new “AGENDA” should have been more focused and less “wild-eyed.”

    They are demanding everything but the basic fundamentals necessary to address impoverish black neighborhoods and the black boys and girls struggling to survive (epidemic gun violence, excessively high unemployment, low skill levels, abject poverty, and the like).

    For some reason the media and political establishment allows just the uninformed and most belligerent to do the talking for the BLM movement.

    Again, these BLM leaders who say they are not BLM leaders, are benefiting financially by taking advantage of our local BLM issues. They show up at the local demonstration with no plan, no vision, no centralized platform and could care less about local black lives.

    However, as the “BLM network” recognized by the national media they are given financial support to promote “the leadership and experiences of black, queer and transgender women and gender non-conforming people,” and not the issues important to local BLM groups.

    Todd Elliott Koger
    (Local Organizer of BLM Activity in Pittsburgh for more than two years)
    Blacklifematterpghorg
    P.O. BOX 8149
    Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15217

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