Safer at Home: Exploring the ONE Archives Collection

Week 8 (June 8, 2020)

This is a poster for the 1976 Stonewall/Pride March in Los Angeles. The Stonewall Riots, which took place in New York City in June 1969, were led by trans and queer people of color against the police. Too often trans and queer people of color have been obscured and minimized within the queer community and queer history. This poster is particularly notable because it carries a message that is just as powerful and necessary today. Written in blue ink on top of the “Stonewall” graphic is the phrase: “Full rights for gays; end racism and sexism; disunity the problem; solidarity the answer." A simple line-drawn person puts their fist in the air in a sign of solidarity and wears a pin that reads “Gay.” Handwritten details at the bottom of the poster indicate the time and location of the events. 

The experience of the pandemic has in some ways been unifying. Protests and marches are acts of solidarity. To effect change, we must come together in our fight for a just and equitable society. From its conception, Safer at Home was designed to respond to the current moment. Although the exhibition began as a way to reflect on the ordinance issued in response to the coronavirus pandemic, it equally applies to the protests in response to police brutality. They are, of course, inseparable. Here in California, Covid-19 is disproportionately affecting marginalized individuals, with disproportionate deaths among the Black, Latinx, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities. Police are disproportionately killing Black and brown and trans individuals across the country. 

Thus, I will continue to interrogate what “safer at home” means in a world shaped by structural racism, classism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia? Home might be the place where you live, or your neighborhood, city, or country. And what if nowhere is safe because these structures of oppression exist everywhere? There is power in history. Let us take energy from the past, while fighting oppressive and selective versions of LGBTQ history which fail to recognize the rich contributions of anti-racist and abolitionist activists. Let us hold organizations and individuals accountable, especially for past promises and statements of solidarity never fully realized. For true freedom or safety, all systems of oppression must be destroyed. End Racism. End Sexism. End Homophobia. End Transphobia. We are not safe until Black lives are safe. We are not free until Black lives are free. 

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