What You Can Do for Pride and Juneteenth

I find it more than mere coincidence that Pride and Juneteenth both occur in June. To me their overlap is a kismet reminder of the irrevocable connections of oppression. After all, Marsha P. Johnson a Black trans woman, was one of the first activists to throw a brick at Stonewall on June 28, 1969. Audre Lorde, a Black, lesbian, feminist eluded to the idea of intersectionality as early as 1973 and Professor Kimberle Crenwshaw coined the term in the late 80’s.

Intersectionality defines the increased pressure and danger people who embody multiple marginalized identities experience. To be both Black and trans, or Latinx and differently-abled, or Muslim and larger bodied is to shake the foundation of institutional White Supremacy culture simply for breathing. Pride and Juneteenth are reminders of the daily revolution stirred by existing in Black and LGBTQIA+ bodies. 

We’ve seen a lot of corporations feel the heat this year for seeking to capitalize off of both these sacred celebrations. Walmart released a “Juneteenth” ice cream which has since been pulled from shelves and production. As per usual, “rainbow capitalism” descended in June with companies from Amazon to Disney pushing Pride themed products. These seemingly harmless marketing initiatives are actually insidious because in each instance they are not backed by genuine relationships with the Black or LGBTQIA+ community. Furthermore, if anyone is going to profit off of Juneteenth or Pride it should be the Black and LGBTQIA+ communities respectively. Here’s a few lists of cannabis companies to support this June courtesy of Emerald Magazine and Candescent. (these are the most comprehensive and up-to-date lists we could find but not exhaustive).

As a white person or a white-owned business you may be wondering; what can I do to honor those living at the intersections of oppression?  I’d love to share this list, inspired by the works of Guimel Carvalho and Amy Hogarth at Wayside Youth and Family Network and Aparna Rae of Moving Beyond

  1. Sit with the pain of racism and LGBTQIA+ oppression.
  2. Study the history and work of BlPOC and LGBTQIA+ leaders.
  3. Prioritize addressing racism with the same importance you would for your own well being. 
  4. Make a list of commitments to use your power, privilege, and platforms of power to give space to Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ communities. If you’ve already made this list, take stock of what you’ve taken action on. Where is the gap in your intentions and actions? Find an accountability partner/group and make the list public of how you’ll take action. You CAN do this on social media. 
  5. Ask yourself what white privileges you can give up and then give up those privileges.
  6. Stop talking about how uncomfortable it is to talk about racism or police violence.
  7. Release the fear and guilt about your own internalized white supremacy. Comfort and truth do not coexist. 
  8. Be quiet and listen to Black and Brown LGBTQIA+ about what needs to be done.
  9. Intentionally spend time in places where you’re a minority. Ethnic grocery stores, restaurants, music venues, and intentional community space if you’re invited. 
  10. Hold other white people accountable not on social media, instead with measured voices that call folks in to look and wrestle – to change. We are interested in courageous conversations, in hearing folks out and in allowing themselves to feel terrible and to let that feeling be a crucible for change.

These types of culture overhauls and changes don’t happen in a vacuum or without support. We highly recommend doing this work in the community. On a personal level that looks like accountability partners on a company level we highly recommend working with trained antiracism/anti oppression professionals such as Cannabis Doing Good, Ecquinabis, and The Gemini Group. Also, check out this Pride read from FlowerHire. Together, we do good. 

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