25 years ago I chained myself across Fifth Avenue in New York City with a dozen other activists blocking then mayor Rudy Guiliani from joining the annual Pride Parade. We were protesting his stated mission to ‘clean up NYC’ or, to use modern day parlance, to ‘make America great again’. We were clever in our antics, jumping the barricades while hiding heavy chains with padlocks and posters under our clothes. The media photos showed us momentarily blocking Guiliani with our messages denouncing his criminalization of communities of color, LGBTQ+ people, unsheltered folks, and others. It felt like a symbolic moment and I was left with hope.
Yet here we are today with book bans, legal shenanigans, and almost daily new erosions on human rights including protests at children’s book readings that feature one of our culture’s greatest symbols of self-expression and empowerment–drag queens.
This weekend Black Bird is hosting Drag Queen Story Hour, a nationally beloved book-centered event for children modeling strength in diversity, self-love, and creative expression. Hosting this event feels for me as much an act of resistance as that morning on Fifth Ave...and so much more. Celebrating self-expression for children - and ourselves! - while having fun, acting silly, and being fabulous is a much needed reminder that there is joy in humanity.
I invite you all - young and old - to join us this Saturday at 11am for this very special event.