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Multicultural Roots Project

The Multicultural Roots Project was created to increase visibility for Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) in Sonoma County, with a particular focus on Santa Rosa; and to recognize, through historical stories from BIPOC, contributions and impacts that have shaped Santa Rosa and Sonoma County. Working with local historians and community partners, Community Engagement staff gather stories and facts about local BIPOC leaders, as well as historical events and places that have shaped Santa Rosa and Sonoma County into what it is today. Each month, we will share five of these stories with the public through multiple communication channels, including the City’s website, social media and this newsletter.

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Jun 07

Taking Pride in Oneself: The Origins of Pride Month

Posted on June 7, 2022 at 3:13 PM by Danielle Garduno

Web_Pridemonth

“No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.”  — Marsha P. Johnson

Happy Pride Month from the Multicultural Roots Project Team! June is an entire month dedicated to the celebration of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer (LGBTQ+) community and all the ways in which they have shown resiliency and pride in themselves and the community, and to recognize the ways in which they have positively shaped our society. 

History of LGBTQ+ Pride Month

The history of Pride Month stems from the historical Stonewall Uprising, a key event in LGBTQ+ history in the United States. On June 28, 1969, the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York, one of the most popular gay bars at the time, was raided by police. Homosexuality was considered a criminal offense in the state until 1980, so many gay bars were raided during this time. “At the time, people that cops perceived as men could be legally arrested for doing drag, and people that cops perceived as women could also be arrested if they were found wearing less than three pieces of "feminine clothing." 

Although this was not the first time Stonewall Inn had been raided, the following six-day-long rebellion that ensued between LGBTQ+ activists and police was revolutionary for the community. The Stonewall Uprising fundamentally changed the public discourse surrounding the LGBTQ+ community in the US. The uprising was a public display of resistance to police harassment, violence, and persecution of the LGBTQ+ community. The Stonewall Uprising is recognized as the catalyst for the modern-day LBGTQ+ liberation movement and marked the beginning of the demand to end discriminatory laws and practices against LGBTQ+ individuals. 

The first-ever Pride march, then called the Christopher Street Liberation Day March, was held on the one-year anniversary of the Stonewall uprising in New York. Before the month-long celebration of Pride began, the last Sunday in June was celebrated as Gay Pride Day. The one-day celebration evolved into week-long events, and then came to be the color-filled commemorative month we know and love today. 

Intersectional Pride

What does intersectional pride mean? Intersectionality is a sociological theory coined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, who explains the theory as “a lens… for seeing the way in which various forms of inequality often operate together and exacerbate each other.” Identities such as gender, race, class, sexual orientation, and physical ability, are all ways in which we can have the privilege or be oppressed, and they all intersect and add to the various levels of oppression or privilege one experiences. For Pride to be intersectional, it must be inclusive and highlight the additional struggles and oppression marginalized LGBTQ+ individuals. face. As transgender activist, the iconic Marsha P. Johnson once said, “No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us.” 

Going back to the history of Pride, it is important to remember who stepped up and started the modern movement we see today. Going back to the Stonewall uprising, it was Marsha P. Johnson, a Black transgender woman, who arguably started the revolutionary event by throwing the first brick. Carolyn Wysinger, the Board President of San Francisco Pride says, “One thing that we’re going to be focusing on in this year’s Pride is really making sure that people understand that Pride’s original intent was to defend Black bodies.” Johnson wasn’t only being targeted or in danger due to being trans, but also because she was Black. This is why understanding intersectionality is so important. 

Why it’s important

LGBTQ+ Pride month is more than just a time of celebration, but also a time for education and empowerment, and most of all, having PRIDE in who you are! This is one of the most fundamental aspects of the month: instead of feeling shame, take pride in yourself and all you are. From Pride parades to political protests, and projects such as the It Gets Better Project, there are many opportunities for people to learn, engage, and connect, whether you are a part of the LGBTQ+ community or an ally. All of these events are created in hopes of fostering greater acceptance, acknowledgment, and support for the LGTBQ+ community and all they do.

How you can Celebrate:

Here are just a few ways that you can celebrate and honor the LGBTQ+ community this month:

  • Explore the history of the LGBTQ+ community’s strife and fight for rights; 
  • Be aware of issues the community faces today;
  • Support LGBTQ+ owned businesses;
  • Attend a Pride event;
  • Educate yourself on what it means to be an ally in action;
  • Listen to the community: read their books, listen to their podcasts, talk to someone who is a part of the community and be open

In celebration of LGBTQ+ History Month, the Multicultural Roots Project had the opportunity to interview and highlight the amazing Dr. Daniela (Danny) Dominguez, who is a Latinx queer educator at San Francisco State University and the CEO of the nonprofit On the Margins. Be sure to look out for her story later this Pride month!

To learn more about this story visit the links below: 

https://www.loc.gov/lgbt-pride-month/about/ 

https://guides.loc.gov/lgbtq-studies/stonewall-era 

https://www.bustle.com/life/pride-month-origins-history 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2021/06/11/pride-month-2021-celebration/ 

https://westportlibrary.libguides.com/IntersectionalPride

https://www.charteredaccountants.ie/Accountancy-Ireland/Articles2/Leadership/Latest-News/Article-item/the-meaning-behind-intersectional-pride 

This story was researched and written by Madelynn Cox, Community Engagement AmeriCorps VISTA.