After the senseless, tragic death of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020, the Twin Cities have become a major focal point in an ever-continuing discussion on how endemic the evils of systemic racism and inequality are in our society. Floyd’s murder cast a worldwide spotlight on how the Black communities of America continue to endure serious inequities across all facets of society, and this horrific tragedy has ignited many important conversations, including what we all can do to amplify and respect the voices of the Black community moving forward.
51 years ago this month, the iconic Stonewall Riots in New York City—widely considered to be the birth of the modern day LGBTQ rights movement—were kickstarted by powerful Black and Brown voices in the form of Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, and many others, leading the charge in fighting for the rights of all queer folk, and a countless many of the Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) communities have been at the forefront of the LGBTQ community’s fight for equality for over five decades and counting.
While Pride Month is much different this year compared to others, we can still honor and commemorate the amazing LGBTQ community, and we realize that much more can to be done to support and spotlight the BIPOC voices in our community. In this issue, Lavender is proud and honored to introduce new contributors in the form of Zaylore Stout and Jamez L. Smith, and we look forward to introducing more such voices in the future. We’re also proud to feature a cover story on Benjamin Rue, the program coordinator of The Forum on Workplace Inclusion, and all of the great work that organization is doing to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
As we all work towards fostering serious, equitable change across our state and country to ensure that racist injustices do not occur again, we are eager to improve and expand our connections to the Black community and the LGBTQ community at large. We remember and honor George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Nina Pop, Ahmaud Arbery, and the countless other Black lives who have been lost to systemic racism and brutal violence. We are listening, we will grow stronger together, and we encourage positive, healing conversation as we work to further represent Minnesota’s diverse LGBTQ community, and encourage you reach out to us at [email protected] to continue this conversation.