All Voices Matter: equality for race and sexuality

In+her+weekly+column%2C+All+Voices+Matter%2C+staff+reporter+Aviance+Pritchett+gives+her+take+on+social+and+cultural+issues.+
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All Voices Matter: equality for race and sexuality

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Prachurjya Shreya

Prachurjya Shreya

In her weekly column, All Voices Matter, staff reporter Aviance Pritchett gives her take on social and cultural issues.

Aviance Pritchett, Staff Reporter

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February, the shortest month of year, is Black History Month. It’s a month where we celebrate not only black history, but also black culture. We honor the many historical and influential black activists, leaders, inventors, educators, and more in hopes of spreading knowledge of their impact on history.

Usually when we think of Black History Month, we think of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcom X, and Rosa Parks. We seem to forget, ignore, or just don’t know about the many other black activists who were not only a part of the black community, but the LGBT community as well.

Josephine Baker, James Baldwin, Ma Rainey, Bayard Rustin, Lorraine Hansberry, and Marsha P. Johnson, just to name a few, are all black activists who contributed to the civil rights movement and the fight for racial equality.

The black community has always been tight-knit but also divided. Even during the Civil Rights Era, activists like Rustin and Baldwin, despite their massive contributions to the movement, have been distanced from everyone else due to them being gay leaders. Even Dr. King, who Baldwin was close to, saw homosexuality as a mental illness and tried to distance himself from the two men.

These people have contributed so much to black history, and because they were excluded back then, they continue to be excluded. I encourage everyone to read more than just a simple article in a magazine or news website on the top ten civil rights activists; research it yourself.

Expand your horizons, go beneath the surface level of the main faces of Black History Month. Queer, There, and Everywhere by Sarah Prager not only includes black LGBT activists, but other ethnicities as well. Use it as a start to know a little more about Black History Month and those responsible for its creation.

They don’t deserve to be ignored.

They deserved to be as praised and as celebrated as any other activists.

They’ve broken many barriers, stereotypes, and expectations; saying that a gay person can’t do this, a trans person can’t do that, or the LGBT community is too sensitive to do either is unreasonable, unfair, and stupid. They’re humans like all of us, all capable of thought and action.

If their race didn’t stop them for fighting for equality, why should their gender and sexuality be any different?