Elizabeth Freeman Center supports victims of systemic violence

We will continue to support Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people surviving relationship or sexual violence by providing counseling, support, advocacy, and healing.

To the editor:

As LGBTQ+ Pride Month 2020 has concluded, it has felt very different from Pride months of years past. It’s important to remember how this year’s Pride has a striking resemblance to the first “Pride,” which wasn’t a parade, or a celebration, or a party, but a riot. On June 27th 1969, police violently raided The Stonewall Inn, targeting drag queens, transgender people, and gay people, most of whom were black and brown people. What followed were protests led by Black and Brown trans people such as Marsha P. Johnson and Silvia Rivera, whose activism and action are the reason we are able to have Pride to this day.

Every day at Elizabeth Freeman Center, I and my fellow advocates work with survivors of domestic and sexual violence. It is not lost on us that our country’s structural racism and police brutality mirror the abuse our clients experience, and that on both the systemic and the individual level, this violence disproportionately targets marginalized communities.

For those of us working at Elizabeth Freeman Center’s LGBTQ Access Project (a k a Team Rainbow), which provides help and healing to LGBTQ+ survivors of violence, we see daily the impact of this violence on the lives, bodies, loves, and dreams of Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people. Team Rainbow stands with our Black and Brown community against the murder of Black and Brown people by law enforcement, and against systemic racism. We will continue to support Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people surviving relationship or sexual violence by providing counseling, support, advocacy, and healing. And we commit to broadening and deepening our anti-racist work, honoring the spirit and legacy of the first Pride.

Bailey Brissett

Pittsfield

The writer is an LGBTQ Counselor/Advocate at the Elizabeth Freeman Center. To find out more about Elizabeth Freeman Center’s LGBTQ Access Project, visit elizabethfreemancenter.org/rainbow.