Keeping Families Together
The Asian And Pacific Islander Family Pride Blog
December 2, 2011
Framing The Future In Minneapolis
By BELINDA AND JOHN DRONKERS-LAURETA
We Are In Minneapolis
We’re here attending the BOLD Gathering. BOLD is an acronym derived from Queer & Trans People of Color Building Our Liberation and Self Determination. It is part of the Racial Equity Initiative, an initiative of the Funders for Gay and Lesbian Issues (FGLI). Maybe Minneapolis was chosen as the venue because this city has the largest per capita concentration of LGBT people in the country, a statistic that surprised us.
The organizers say that this is the first time for a gathering of LGBT people of color organizations from all over the country. Some 70 organizations are on the roster of participating organizations and we estimate about 225 people in attendance. All participating organizations are recipients of infrastructure building grants issued by one of the eight foundations that make up the FGLI. It feels good being with African Americans, First Nation people, Latinos, and APIs all here to talk over ideas.
The national agenda for LGBT issues is set primarily by mainstream organizations. That agenda is focused on narrowly defined legislative issues. What happens to communities of color when those legislative campaigns are “won?” They are promptly left behind in terms of attention and funding. But “it is LGBT people of color organizations, collectives, and community groups that have been working on a wide range of intersecting issues that form the basis for the current, and next generation, of movement building (from Racial Equality Initiative (REI) Gathering Narrative).” People who advise the FGLI on funding have suggested a need to create a strong national network of LGBT people of color organizations to build up our collective political power and share ideas and programs.
BOLD is an attempt to formulate a strategic expression of how people of color organizations have changed society already and how to become a stronger voice for future changes.
What Comes After BOLD?
We joined the Gathering to learn about what other people of color organizations are doing and how they are doing it; to find out how to improve what we do now, and if there are new initiatives we should undertake to be more effective. No doubt, that in future blogs we will share what we learned, but for now there are many notes we have to digest. We also renewed existing relationships and discovered new ones with whom we will work in the future. We long ago discovered that as a small, all-volunteer organization we must collaborate with others to get the work done and if we can expand our network successfully, we will be able to do more with what we have.
A BOLD Teaser
At the Gathering a bold statement was made: “The fight for equality is over. We have won.” We are sure that this comes as a surprise to those working hard to achieve equality, but there it is. And then the question, what comes after equality? The answer offered by one speaker: liberation. Liberation is a concept of our society where people are liberated and allowed to be whole, where everyone is free to be who they are. What would that look like? A set of societal norms where sexuality, gender identification are only a part of a whole person; there is much more to him or her.
We are exited to be part of a collective that is grappling with new ideas, new concepts, and a new definition of America’s promise and how to make that real. For now, thank you to the funders, the amazing planning committee, and the helpful hotel staff that kept food and refreshments coming.
Belinda and John Dronkers-Laureta are board members of Asian & Pacific Islander Family Pride www.apifamilypride.org