Since 1976, February has been designated as a time to pause and reflect on the experiences and contributions of African Americans. The story of Black History Month begins in Chicago during the summer of 1915. An alumnus of the University of Chicago with many friends in the city, Carter G. Woodson traveled from Washington, D.C. to participate in a national celebration of the fiftieth anniversary of emancipation sponsored by the state of Illinois.
This year, Unicorn Booty highlights African-American leaders of the LGBT community – which includes writers, activists, speakers, performers, thought leaders and change makers.
- Nadine Smith is the co-founder and CEO of Equality Florida, Florida’s largest organization dedicated to ending discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A former award-winning journalist turned organizer, Nadine was part of the historic oval office meeting with President Clinton—the first meeting between a sitting president and gay community leaders. After the mass murder at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Equality Florida established an online fundraiser for the victims that raised nearly $8M from over 119,000 contributors and 120 countries.
- Sharron Cooks was the only trans woman of color delegate at the Democratic National Convention, Cooks is a highly visible political force advocating for those marginalized within the LGBTQ community. Because of this, she was invited to speak by organizers at the Women’s March in Philadelphia. With her work, she hopes to inspire other trans people to join the political process. She told Pop Sugar, “It’s important because we don’t hear the voices of people like trans individuals in the community, and if legislators don’t hear their voices, we won’t have proper public accommodations or state and federal legislation that stands against trans discrimination.”
- Activist DeRay Mckesson has been a leader in the Black Lives Matter movement since its beginning. He began a speech Tuesday night by saying that people need to put aside language and instead focus on the purity of ideas like equal opportunity. “We have to think about how to keep the idea pure, even if the words change. The ideas are the things that matter,” he said. “People who generally agree with the same ideas sometimes need to sacrifice the words. When you think about the KKK gradually becoming the alt-right, you see that the ideas are still the same, even if the manifestation is different.”
- The Tony award-winning playwright and director George C. Wolfe has been a visible leader in the LGBT community for some time. In 1993 , he won a Tony award for directing the original Broadway production of Angels in America and won it again in 1996 for Bring in ‘da Noise/Bring in ‘da Funk. In 2013, he was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. Last year, he won a Native Son Award, honoring the achievements of black gay men in media, entertainment and social activism.
via Unicorn Booty