Students Host First Queer Solidarity Brunch at Morehouse College

Students Host First Queer Solidarity Brunch at Morehouse College

MC Safe Space Welcomes the Freshmen Class with Brunch
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On August 20, 2016 in the African American Hall of Fame, Morehouse College Safe Space organized and made history with the very first Queer Solidarity Brunch and the launch of ADODI Scholarship at Morehouse College. As the only gender/sexuality diverse collective at Morehouse, MC Safe Space executive board wanted to ensure that their brothers, 'bristas,' and sisters were affirmed and represented holistically in a safe space that proactively welcomed their individuality and identity.

Students from the Atlanta University Center, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, and other Atlanta colleges were all in attendance. For many years, Queer, Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Gender nonconforming and Transgender students of color have been pushed to the margins when entering and returning to their respective institutions of higher learning, many of these negative factors have historically tried to erase and marginalize LGBTQ students of color.

The Queer Solidarity Brunch and the launch of the ADODI Scholarship were a seminal clap-back to the heteropatriarchy that has been at work. The President of the organization, Ramon Johnson describes the brunch as "serving as a statement of solidarity from the Safe Space Executive Board and General Body Members to the incoming First year Class of 2020." MC Safe Space's Adodi Scholarship fund is aimed at supporting and amplifying the radical scholarship of college students in the Atlanta area who identify as queer, bisexual, transgender, gay, Lesbian and gender non-conforming.

In addition to Safe Space members and the incoming Freshmen class, a wealth of community sponsors for the event were also in attendance at the brunch, noting The Gentlemen's Foundation as a platinum sponsor for the Adodi Scholarship. The additional sponsorships from community partners such as NAESM (Gold Sponsor), AID Atlanta (Bronze Sponsor), The Counter Narrative Project (Silver Sponsor), and Lambda Legal (Bronze Sponsor), all who helped foster an environment that promoted access to education and community resources for LGBTQ college students and youth in the Atlanta area.

In a riveting opening statement by Morehouse Safe Space's President Ramon Johnson, who delivered a thorough reflection on the founding and mission of Safe Space, noting an administration in the sesquicentennial year of Morehouse College's founding. Johnson delivers the inspiration of the Queer Solidarity Brunch, reaffirming the groundwork that Safe Space has continued to lead in liberating identity.

“When you show up in a space that was historically built to affirm your blackness but fails to affirm your other identities, you must make space. In many cases, historically black institutions struggle to grapple with queerness. It's as if our historically black institutions have forgotten how “queer" it was and still is for us black folks to obtain an education in a white supremacist and heteropatriarchal society.

Making space for queer identities to flourish on these sacred campuses has been a slow and tough process. There are many narratives both told and untold regarding the traumas experienced by queer folks in educational institutions. Unfortunately, there are not enough images and narratives detailing the resistance to the dominant culture and institutional accountability that queer students and activists have done. Narratives that show the resilience queer people of color possess on these campuses. We have always existed on these campuses.

Dominant culture has tried to erase our work and our stories but we must leading this movement. I want to see more images of care free queer and trans people of color making strides to build resource centers, improving campus policies, and making curriculums more progressive. We must answer the call of our beloved ancestors : Keiron Williams, Essex Hemphill, and Marlon Riggs by picking up their tools to dismantle the walls that continue to divide and oppress us.

It is also important for administration and employees of the college to be about the business of doing this work. Queer student activists are students first and we must maintain a balance. Too often, we get so involved in campus affairs that we end up doing the work administration, faculty, and staff are supposed to be doing. Sometimes members of administration turn around and try to take credit for the fruits of our labor… our FREE labor.

Before embarking on my journey at Morehouse, I never thought I would be doing the work I do now. I never thought I would be in a place of self-love and acceptance of who I am. Safe Space helped me get to that place of healing and has helped many of us current students and alumni since its inception. Learning to love yourself while dominant culture tells you otherwise is hard work but it is necessary. Loving the body, you have, and owning all of your identities is resistance. Resistance helps to unlearn the ways in which we are taught to be afraid of each other, not trust each other, to be ashamed of our desires, and to dislike ourselves.

Expanding room for others helps us to achieve the collective liberation of our people. It allows us to have an affirming “safe space" for our beloved brothers, bristas, and sisters."


Alongside the Adodi Scholarship fund, Safe Space PR Manager, Kylan Kester, announced a call to fund the future initiatives of the organization, acknowledging upcoming plans for the return of Morehouse Pride Week, an event that garnered Safe Space a 2016 Georgia Voice Best of Atlanta nomination in the “LGBT Event of the Year category." Safe Space also announced a vision for Morehouse Pride Week that will take the event to an entire new level of art and activism, emphasizing the importance of additional support from the community to bring this vision to life.

At the brunch, Morehouse Safe Space also discussed their collaboration with the Bayard Rustin Scholar program in the upcoming 2016-2017 academic year. With plans to revitalize the activism and community engagement component of the program, Morehouse Safe Space announced an additional objective of developing the Bayard Rustin portrait fund at Morehouse, a fund initiated to create a portrait in honor of the late Bayard Rustin; a civil rights leader and organizer whose narrative was silenced amongst the prevalent homophobia and heteronormativity found in the spaces that MC Safe Space continues to challenge and deconstruct.

Following Morehouse Safe Space member Edrion Williams' riveting performance of “For My Own Protection" by Essex Hemphill, the audience also welcomed the keynote speaker, Toni- Michelle Williams. Toni - Michelle Williams is a phenomenal Trans-Activist of color who serves as the Leadership Development and Program Coordinator of the Solutions Not Punishment (SNAP) Coalition. In a powerful address, Williams delivered a message to the incoming class on the pertinent value of loving oneself in a world where our bodies are continuously devalued and dehumanized. Having Toni Michelle Williams serve as the first keynote speaker of Safe Space's Queer Solidarity Brunch was amazing. Too often, we as cisgender men forget to affirm and advocate for the lives and rights of various Black femmes, transwomen, and Gender non-conforming folks who experience violence everyday.

Having Toni Michelle Williams deliver the keynote address also served as a perfect segway to address the ways in which many institutions like Morehouse struggle with gender, and gender identity. In an effort to combat heteropatriarchy and mens violence against women, black femmes, queer, and transgender people of color.

Safe Space will be starting a petition and continue organizing to enhance the number of tangible resources available to LGBTQ students.

The Queer Solidarity Brunch, which was a preeminent success for Morehouse Safe Space, was only one of many events that the organization looks forward to executing for the academic year. With a number of upcoming events and community engagements, MC Safe Space looks forward to reclaiming and amplifying the narratives of Black and Queer millennials to liberate identity.

Interested in knowing what else Morehouse Safe Space has in store? Follow the organization on social media and make your interest known at the first general body meeting on September 1, 2016 at Morehouse College.

Cover Image Credit: @jayrayisthename

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To The Boy Who Will Love Me Next

If you can't understand these few things, leave before things get too involved
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To the boy that will love me next, I need you to know and understand things about me and my past. The things I have been though not only have shaped the person I’ve become, but also sometimes controls my life. In the past I’ve been used, abused, and taken for granted, and I want something real this time. The guys before you were just boys; they didn’t know how to treat me until it was too late. They didn’t understand how to love me, until I broke my own heart. Before you truly decide to love me I want you to understand these things.

When I tell you something, please listen.

I’m my own person, I want to be loved a certain way. If I ask you to come over and watch movies with me please do it, if I ask for you to leave me alone for a few hours because it’s a girl’s night please do it. I don’t just say things to hear my own voice, I say things to you because it’s important to my life and the way I want to be loved. I’m not a needy person when it comes to being loved and cared for, but I do ask for you to do the small things that I am say.

Forgive my past.

My past is not a pretty brick road, it is a highway that has a bunch of potholes and cracks in it. I have a lot of baggage, and most of it you won’t understand. But don’t let my past decided whether you want to love me or not. My past has helped form who I am today, but it does not define who I am. My past experiences might try and make an appearance every once in a while, but I will not go back to that person I once was, I will not return to all that hurt I once went though. When I say those things, I’m telling the complete and honest truth. I relive my past every day, somethings haunt me and somethings are good reminds. But for you to love me, I need you to accept my past, present and future.

I’m just another bro to the other guys.

I have always hung out with boys, I don’t fit in with the girl groups. I have 10 close girlfriends, but the majority of my friends are guy, but don’t let this scare you. If I wanted to be with one of my guy friends I would already be with him, and if you haven’t noticed I don’t want them because I’m with you. I will not lose my friendships with all my guy friends to be able to stay with you. I will not cut off ties because you don’t like my guy friends. I have lost too many buddies because of my ex-boyfriends and I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again. If you don’t like how many guy friends I have you can leave now. Don’t bother trying to date me if you can accept the fact I’m just another bro.

I might be a badass, but I actually have a big heart.

To a lot of people I come off to be a very crazy and wild girl. I will agree I can be crazy and wild, but I’m more than that. I’m independent, caring, responsible, understanding, forgiving, and so such more type of woman. Many people think that I’m a badass because I don’t take any negatively from anyone. Just like we learned when we were younger, “if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.” Most people can’t do that in today’s world, so I stick up for myself and my friends. I don’t care what anyone thinks about me, or their option on how I live my life. The only thing I care about is being able to make myself happy. Even though I’m an independent woman, understand that I do have a big heart. Honesty when I truly care for someone I will do just about anything they ask, but don’t take advantage of this. Once you take advantage of this part of me, all respect will be lost for you.

I’m hard to love.

Sometimes I want to be cuddle and get attention, and sometimes I don’t want you to talk to me for a couple hours. Sometimes I want you to take me out for a nice meal, but sometimes I want a home cooked meal. Every day is different for me, sometimes I change my mind every hour. My mood swings are terrible on certain days, and on those days you should probably just ignore me. I’m not easy to love, so you’ll either be willing to find a way to love me, or you’ll walk out like so many others have.

I’m scared.

I’m scared to love someone again. I’ve been hurt, heartbroken, and beat to the ground in my past relationships. I want to believe you are different, I want to hope things will truly work out, but every relationship has always ended up the same way. I’m scared to trust someone, put my whole heart into them, just to be left and heartbroken again. I sick and tired of putting my whole body and soul into someone for them to just leave when it is convenient for them. If you want to love me, understand it won’t be easy for me to love you back.

When “I’m done.”

When I say “I’m done” I honestly don’t mean that I’m done. When I say that it means I need and want you to fight for me, show me why you want to be with me. I need you to prove that I’m worth it and there’s no one else but me. If I was truly done, I would just walk away, and not come back. So if I ever tell you, “I’m done,” tell me all the reasons why I’m truly not done.

For the boy who will love me next, the work is cut out for you, you just have to be willing to do it. I’m not like other girls, I am my own person, and I will need to be treated as such. For the boy that will love me next, don’t bother with me unless you really want to be with me. I don’t have time to waste on you if you aren’t going to try and make something out of us. To the boy who will love me next, the last thing I would like to say is good luck, I have faith in you.

Cover Image Credit: Danielle Balint

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Goodbye School, Hello Real World

I'm ready for ya!

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It's starting to hit me.

I've been in school, year after year, since kindergarten. Maybe even pre-school!

Now, I'm about to graduate with my bachelors in communication and I couldn't be more proud of myself. I'll say it. I often sugarcoat it or suppress it but d*mn it. I'm going to applaud myself. It was hard work. It took a lot of motivation, determination, (caffeine), and willpower to get to where I am today. I worked my ass off.

That being said, I can't help but think... What is life without due dates? What is life like without scrambling to turn in an assignment that's due at 11:59 PM? What is life like with actual sleep? Sleep? I don't know her.

Like I keep telling my boyfriend and my parents, I don't have it all figured out. At least not right now. But I will, and I'm in no rush to land my dream job right now. If anything, I want to take a year to myself. I want to travel. I want to sleep in if I d*mn well please! I want to read as many books as I want. I want to write till my fingers fall off (OK, maybe not that).

You get the jist.

I'm free. I can do and be whatever I want. And you know what? That's terrifying.

I'm lost. I've followed this structure for so long. Now what?

I don't have all the answers yet. But for now, at least right at this very moment, I'm so thankful to have been able to receive such an amazing education. And to be able to say I'm graduating with my bachelors in communication at 21 is an accomplishment in itself.

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