BLM and LGBTQ + activists call for equality at Schenectady protest
Several dozen people wearing outfits supporting the LGBTQ + and black community gathered at Gateway Plaza to dance, hear poetry and protest for their rights.
The event, hosted by local activist group All of Us, comes as protests and rallies continue across the country to fight for equality for all. It also comes a day after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison for the murder of George Floyd and a day after Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that people will now have the possibility of choosing a neutral option on their driving license. . Saturday also marked the sixth anniversary of the Supreme Court extending the right to marry to gay and lesbian couples. The event also took place two days before the 52nd anniversary of the Stonewall Riots in New York City.
Keiyunu Etzli was sitting on the grass chatting with a friend and greeting people passing by. Etzli said he was there to support the black transgender community.
“I’m here for my black trans sisters who keep dying in the bathroom, for the black trans sex workers who don’t get out of police cars,” Etzli said.
Etzli also said that while many voices have been spoken and changes have taken place, these actions are mostly performative. Etzli said that to make real change, people need to look at how laws were created and understand that laws may no longer work and that there are ways to improve them.
“Radical reform is needed in the way laws are made,” Etzli said.
Brianne Brinker said she became transgender two years ago and has since changed licenses. But, she said Cuomo’s move is huge.
“It’s huge for non-binary people,” she said. “There are so many people who identify with themselves that way.”
She said she was at the protest as a way to continue to learn more about the impact of systemic racism on the black community and to find ways to support the black community for change.
“They should be at the table,” she said. “It’s really important that their voices are where things are going,” she said.
Brinker said the old ways of doing things were not working and new avenues needed to be explored, including reallocating resources to help communities.
During the event, speakers covered topics such as what freedom looks like through their eyes, mental health and that more work is needed.
“We always fight because there are people every day who say to me ‘why are you fighting for equality? We had a black president, ”said Mor’Glamazon, a self-proclaimed drag queen and All of Us and Community Matters activist.
One of the speakers, Mother La’Mia, spokesperson for HIV Stops With Me, also spoke to everyone about the importance of getting tested for HIV and voting.
She said there had been a 200% increase in 2020 in new HIV infections across the state.
“We all play a role when it comes to getting tested,” La’Mia said. “We want to standardize the tests.”
She said if everyone starts asking for an HIV test, health facilities will provide it on a regular basis.
She said people can also vote for candidates who are willing to allocate resources to areas like HIV testing.
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