"I've spent my time supporting my community the best ways I can given the platforms and relationships I have. I've partnered with a few local organizations to make sure black women organizers have materials like megaphones and sign making materials, and 'pro-kits' with food, water, and portable phone chargers. I set up rideshare codes to provide safe rides home from protests and jail (if applicable). I've spent time in the streets marching and exercising my freedom of speech while expressing my anger and disappointment following the senseless killing of Rayshard Brooks less than a mile away from my home. Of course, I've been more vocal than normal on my social media.
"For myself, though, I've been meeting with my therapist twice a month and actively utilizing the tools she provides in my day-to-day which help to drive meaningful communication in my life. I've also spent a lot of time buying from black owned retailers because... retail therapy. I believe it's important to remember that everyday I walk outside of my house as a black, gay woman that it is an act of protest and that's the case for any BIPOC and/or any LGBTQIA+ person as long as there are still blatant attacks on our communities, our rights, and our peace of mind on this earth. Our existence is activism. I don't think there could be a better moment for that reminder than during Pride month. Initially when news about COVID-19 began circulating and festivals announced cancellations, there was this notion that Pride had been cancelled, but the reality is that these current events are the most pure iterations of Pride: protests against systems that fail all of us when they only protect some of us; allies using their privilege to emphasize and protect black, trans, and POC voices; celebration of the heroes who've shown us how to show up; and remembrance of the individuals lost who remind us why we are still fighting.
"I love getting filthy, dancing and making out with random hotties just as much as the next girl, but we've gotta keep the momentum and spirit of Pride alive for all of our sake. There is still so much work to do and always time to dance in the street right after. It needs to be clear to allies that this is their fight just as much as it is ours. It might even be more of their fight because of their privilege and stamina. We've been at this forever– black, queer, brown, trans people. This isn't new and we are tired! My grandma often says, 'Ain't nothing changed but the date,' and it resonates with me because this s--t goes back so far for so long. And it is time for allies to boldly participate in the movement or admit that it's performative cosplay at best. It's a pleasure to march alongside you, rainbows adorned, and to yell at the establishment, but will you boycott? Will you stand up to your employers? To the militarization of the police while our schools go under-funded.
"My best friend lives in Chicago where, a couple weeks ago, the police antagonized a protest she attended. Amidst inciting chaos, officers began swinging their batons to break up the crowd. One of those officers chased my queer, black friend with his baton into a doorway where, then, a white couple stepped between them, hands locked and prepared to take on whatever was next. The cop walked away. When it comes down to your ally-ship, will you literally and metaphorically put your privileged body between that of the vulnerably disenfranchised and that of the oppressor? If not, why not?"
What Siena is listening to this Pride Month: "Mercy Mercy Me" by Marvin Gaye, "Garden" by SZA, and "Louder" by Big Freedia