In recognition of Black History Month, GSBA is working to amplify Black voices and histories by celebrating the undeniable impact Black LGBTQ+ activists have had on the LGBTQ+ civil rights movement, shed light on the specific intersection of Black and LGBTQ+ identities, and continue the crucial conversation about systemic racial injustice in Washington and around the globe. As a part of this work, several GSBA Scholars who identify as Black and LGBTQ+ have generously shared their stories, thoughts about intersectionality, what Black History means to them, and about what actions make for strong allyship.
Second-Year GSBA Scholar James McAndie (he/him) grew up in rural Carson, WA and attended school both there and in Vancouver, WA. He recently moved to New York City where he is majoring in math and economics as an undergraduate at Columbia University. He is pursuing a career in economics and mathematics where he hopes to establish an LGBTQ+ presence in a field lacking such diversity. Once there, he aspires to be a role model for others in the LGBTQ+ community who want to follow a similar career path who may not have a leader to see themselves in.
“My favorite part of being Black and LGBTQ+ is the opportunity to be a positive role model for various groups of young individuals. I live with the knowledge that every barrier I cross represents an achievement for the LGBTQ+ community, the Black community, and the intersection of the two. Both the Black and LGBTQ+ communities are rich in culture and are some of the most expressive and talented people I have ever met. It pains me to see these fabulous people believe that the world doesn’t support them in their endeavors and dreams. I admit, I also have moments where I think the system is rigged against me, especially with the lack of role models that I can relate to. As someone studying economics, Black and LGBTQ+ people can be hard to come by in my projected career field. For that reason, I decided to do my best to become a role model for the next generation. I will always take the time out of my day to encourage anyone with shared experiences as me to be a pioneer in their community or career field and to be an inspiration to the younger version of themselves.”
February is Black History Month, and we encourage all GSBA community members to celebrate Black lives, culture, and history not only this month - but all year long.
Community members can also take action by investing in regional organizations who work to address institutionalized racism, empower Black communities, and ensure that Black histories are never forgotten. Please consider investing and getting involved in regional Black-led organizations like POCAAN, Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle, Lavender Rights Project, Black Lives Matter Seattle - King County, NW African American Museum, NAACP Snohomish County, and NAACP Seattle King County.
You can also dine and shop intentionally by supporting the Black-owned small businesses in our community. Check out this guide by GSBA member Intentionalist of Black-owned businesses throughout the Puget Sound, including several GSBA members.
Additionally, you can diversify your intake of news and information by following GSBA member Converge Media
, a Black-led news media organization that centers and amplifies stories of Black community in the Pacific Northwest and around the country.