This year, PFLAG Oklahoma City is proud to match up to $500 for our local Black Lives Matter organizations. This potential $1,000 donation, will impact our local community in such a great way. Our local Black Lives Matter chapter provides funds for community members who have fought for equal and equitable rights all their lives, and many other needs. The mission of Black Lives Matter Oklahoma City is to highlight racial disparities, injustices, & advocate for racial equity.
PFLAG Oklahoma City fully supports the BLM movement and is proud to make this donation. Assist us and join the fight for equitable rights for our people of color and our community members.
Why we MUST support Black Lives Matter
Marsha P. Johnson was an African-American, transgender woman from New Jersey, whose activism in the 1960's and 70's, had huge impact on the LGBTQ+ community. At this time, being gay was classified as a mental illness in the United States. Gay people were regularly threatened and beaten by police, and were shunned by many in society. Marsha was a self-declared drag queen, and said the "P" in her name stood for "Pay it no mind" - a phrase she used when people commented negatively on her appearance or life choices.
In June 1969, when Marsha was 23 years old, police raided a gay bar in New York called The Stonewall Inn. The police forced over 200 people out of the bar and onto the streets, and then used excessive violence against them. Marsha, who was living and working in New York at the time, was one of the key figures who stood up to the police during the raids. She resisted arrest, but in the following days, led a series of protests and riots demanding rights for gay people.
Much like the recent Black Lives Matter marches in the United States, news of these protests spread around the world, inspiring others to join protests and rights groups to fight for equality. A month after the protests, the first openly gay march took place in New York - a pivotal moment for the gay and trans community everywhere. Even though the Stonewall riots kick-started this wave of support for the LGBTQ+ community, there was still a lot of discrimination against them. Marsha and her friend Sylvia Rivera, who was also an activist, founded STAR - Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries - an organization to support gay and trans individuals who had been left homeless. Marsha's legacy lives on today in organizations such as the Marsha P. Johnson Institute, which protects and defends the human rights of black transgender people.
[50 years later] In 2019, the head of New York's Police Department apologized for their actions, saying, "the actions taken by the NYPD were wrong." In February 2020, the Mayor of New York renamed the East River State Park in Brooklyn, The Marsha P. Johnson State Park and announced there will be a statue created in her honor, to be unveiled in 2021. (https://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/52981395)
PFLAG Oklahoma City is OKC's local chapter of PFLAG national, the nation's largest family and ally organization. Since its founding in 1973, it has evolved to include all members of the LGBTQ+ community, families and allies.
PFLAG Oklahoma City's mission is to provide education, advocacy, and support for everyone connected to the LGBTQ+ community. Our functions include peer support for parents navigating unfamiliar terrain and LGBTQ+ people seeking their chosen family. We want everyone to have the tools and education they need to effectively advocate for themselves, or on behalf of their loved ones. PFLAG OKC is passionate about creating an inclusive community in Oklahoma City where all are truly welcome.
It would not be a stretch to say that the work of PFLAG saves lives. Human beings are social animals. We need to belong to a loving, protective community and when we don’t, we hurt in so many ways. When LGBTQ+ kids are affirmed and supported by their families they’re less likely to suffer from depression or attempt suicide. When families are supported, they’re better able to provide the emotional resources their LGBTQ children/siblings need.
In addition to organized meetings, board members often provide individual support for individuals who require more than our group discussions, or who are not always comfortable sharing in a group setting. This can take the form of informal visits, phone calls, or referrals to agencies who can provide specialized services beyond the scope of PFLAG.
PFLAG OKC's core functions include monthly support groups, advocacy for all associated with the LGBTQ+ community, hosting potlucks, speakerships, film screenings, development trainings, and more.