Friday, June 12, 2020

Wisdom from Bayard Rustin, a Black Gay Hero of the Civil Rights Movement

Most people don't know about Bayard Rustin, the Black Gay man who taught Martin Luther King, Jr. the tactics of nonviolent protest and organized the famous 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King gave his amazing "I Have a Dream" speech.

Bayard Rustin at a 1963 news briefing on the Civil Rights March on Washington in the Statler Hotel. Public Domain.

In 1987, Bayard wrote,

"History demonstrates that no group is ultimately safe from prejudice, bigotry, and harassment so long as any group is subject to special negative treatment."

A year earlier, when he was asked if he had any advice for other Black Gay activists who maybe hoped to follow in his footsteps, Bayard said:

"I think the most important thing I have to say is that they should try to build coalitions of people for the elimination of all injustice. Because if we want to do away with the injustice to gays it will not be done because we get rid of the injustice to gays. It will be done because we are forwarding the effort for the elimination of injustice to all. And we will win the rights for gays, or blacks, or Hispanics, or women within the context of whether we are fighting for all."
Bayard inspires me, and I hope you as well.

We must stand up, each of us as best we can, for all of us. #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackTransLivesMatter

The light in me recognizes and celebrates the light in you,

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