Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was a major force in getting The Civil Rights Act of 1964 signed by President Lyndon Johnson. 56 years later the LGBTQ community is now protected against employer, and workplace discrimination by the highest court in the land, The United States Supreme Court. This is a landmark victory that allows over 8 million workers who walk in their own sexual orientation and who identify as transgender to work under the protection of federal law. Perhaps this will open more doors in protecting the young lives and granting more than a high mortality rate, and barely making it fiscal survival to its unsung heroes, Black transgender women.
Pride month is celebrated for the entire month of June in remembrance of the Stonewall uprising. It began on June 28, 1969, at the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village, in New York City. Owned by the Mafia, it was one of the few bars and establishments that would even serve the then subcultures of lesbians and gay men. The riot was in response to routine violent raids. The patrons and neighborhood regulars stood fast against law enforcement violence and it boiled over into a breaking point for LGBTQ liberation, and assimilation. We lift up five women who continue to break barriers and who have shown that fighting to forge a place for themselves and marginalized people was just the beginning.
A pivotal figure in the Stonewall Riots that tipped the LGBTQ activism movement, Major Griffin Gracy has stood at the forefront against police brutality and against the business of mass incarceration. Her tour de force is offering healing to transgender women of color through the House of GG. It’s a support network for transgender women to recover from living life in a world of unacceptance.
The Eternal Activist + Educator
We recently witnessed her Red Table Talk with Jada Pinkett Smith, and fellow activist Tamika Mallory. This iconic civil rights activist has been a soft voice who walks with a big stick. She knew well one of the victims (and their family), and witnessed the limbed-strewn aftermath of the family of one of the four Black girls whose body was blown apart in the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing in Birmingham, Alabama. The men in her family were of those who guarded the neighborhood from enduring more hate crimes. Her afro just as famous as her holding up the Black Power fist, she is known for her involvement with the Black Panther Party, a prison abolitionist, she was against sending young men to Vietnam. Author of over 10 books covering class, feminism, and the U.S. prison system, Davis is professor emerita at the University of California, Santa Cruz.
Daughter of parents who were born in the segregated south. Witnessing her father Elijah’s yearlong coma and hearing loss, the 56th mayor of Chicago was impacted throughout her childhood seeing socio-economic, job, and health disparities. Strongly encouraged by her mom, and sharecropper dad, she worked her way through college, earned a full ride to the University of Chicago Law School. In defense of clients, she served as a senior equity partner in the Litigation and Conflict Resolution Group at Mayer Brown LLP. Of her long list of public service work, she chaired the Police Accountability Task Force, was president of the Chicago Police Board, and in less than a year, she streamlined the city’s minority woman-owned business certification and compliance programs transforming the city’s then $2 billion annual procurement processes.
No Limits Lena
Screenwriter, producer, actor known for starring in Netflix’s dramedy Master of None from 2015-2017, and the first Black woman to win the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series. As she recently tweeted, she “stays reppin’ by making shows that speak to the “black experience with policing in America.” And shows it as she produces projects that speak to these lived out truths. In 2019 she made Queen and Slim, The Chi is running strong, and she collaborated with Halle Berry on the remake of the cult classic, Boomerang.
A Voice in Spite of High Stakes
Four-time WNBA Champion, Louisiana native Seimone Augustus was the 2006 draft first-round, number one overall pick. In 2020 she joined the Los Angeles Sparks. A seven-time all-star she earned MVP honors while leading the 2011 Lynxes to the championship. A three-time Olympic Gold Medalist, and a two-time World Champion, she was married to her partner LaTaya Varner in Hawaii, in 2015.