Yesterday was a historic day for equality as we witnessed the inauguration of the most pro-equality President in history and the first female and first woman of color Vice President. Hours after taking the oath of office Biden signed an executive order directing federal agencies to implement the U.S. Supreme Court’s historic Bostick v. Clayton County decision. The ruling declared that anti-LGBTQ discrimination is a form of sex discrimination, thus illegal in the workplace. In the days ahead, we will witness the confirmation of several groundbreaking members of the Biden administration. Among them will be Dr. Rachel Levine who will become the Assistant Secretary of Health and the first openly transgender person confirmed by the Senate. Biden has also promised to sign the Equality Act into law during his first 100 days. This action will provide broad and sweeping protections for LGBTQ people.
This is certainly a time for celebration. My social media feed is filled with people expressing relief that the four-year assault is finally over, but it is not over for everyone and we cannot be complacent. These historic gains do not change the fact that we are a nation grappling with systemic racism. LGBTQ people of color, immigrants, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people of color, differently abled people and anyone else from a marginalized community still face disproportionate discrimination.
During Biden’s first public action as president, he made the point to recognize and call out systemic racism and inequalities. He commanded that his administration treat everyone with respect and dignity. A refreshing change of pace, but it must be more than words.
One of the many moving moments we witnessed yesterday was the poem recited by youth poet laureate, Amanda Gorman. Almost immediately inspirational memes filled my timeline quoting the final line, “For there is always light, if only we’re brave enough to see it. If only we’re brave enough to be it.”
The mission of Guilford Green Foundation & LGBTQ Center is to create unity through philanthropy and programming that advances equality and inclusion for all members of the LGBTQ community. To live our mission and realize our vision of a thriving LGBTQ community that elevates all, we must be brave enough to do the hard work to dismantle systemic racism and address inequality so that all members of the LGBTQ community thrive.
Earlier in the poem, Gorman said, “we’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace, and the norms and notions of what ‘just’ is isn’t always justice.” This is the quote I encourage us to reflect own and guide us in the coming days, weeks, and years as we continue working towards freedom and justice for all.