Pride community wanted, and needed, now as much as ever!
In June of 1969, the Stonewall uprising was a response to the police raids and other state violence that have kept minoritized groups of people down throughout modern history. It was a series of events calling for liberation and autonomy not just for gay, bisexual, and transgender people but also for Black people and people of color, poor people, incarcerated people, disabled people and anyone not part of mainstream society.
Since that time, society’s response to this movement was to funnel it away from liberation and toward acceptance and inclusion. The idea seems to be that if oppressed people become part of the oppressor class, then our deeper struggle can be hidden away and we will think it is over. Throughout June each year, we hold up members of our community who have become individually successful in business or government or other parts of the dominant system. However, police and state violence are still serious threats, and only getting worse. Poverty, racism, ableism, isolation and loneliness, and other crises continue to impact us deeply. It is vital that we return to our community roots of caring for and protecting each other while dismantling the systems that harm.
The community work known as “mutual aid” has always been a response to oppression that centers around impacted people helping each other directly instead of waiting for the government or other power structures to recognize and respond to our needs. It is an act of liberation and of love for each other.
Mutual Morris is a community group that started in February of 2020 to help provide mutual aid to any people who would be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, and it was founded by members of the LGBTQ+ community who understood the need for direct community work without qualifications or bureaucracy. We have helped over 2,000 families across Morris County by providing deliveries of free groceries, toiletries, diapers, and camaraderie, and we’re still growing. Mutual aid consists of emergency relief but also community relationship-building and ongoing political education to understand and alleviate the root causes of poverty and inequality.
We continue this work with a series of Pride events being planned for the month of June, including online film screenings and discussions and a hybrid in-person and virtual event that will include networking, learning opportunities, an open mic for you to share poetry, songs, stories, or other content, a youth group discussion, and much more.
Mutual Morris co-founder Theresa Markila said, “We are grateful for all the celebrations held in towns around us, and look forward to sharing the joy and love. But we never forget the work that still needs to be done, and so we invite you to join us in building community and keeping each other safe while struggling for our collective liberation.”
Mutual Morris co-founder Renee Shalhoub believes, “Pride means resistance. Resistance to capitalism, racism, and oppression of any kind.”
We welcome volunteers who would like to help plan or support any of these grassroots events, and also to continue as part of an ongoing working group throughout the year. Let’s build our relationships with each other while building the liberated community that we need.
“We shouldn’t settle for being tolerated or accepted within a culture that has given itself the power to decide who are the acceptable and tolerated people,” said Markila.
Shalhoub added, “I want a world that gives everyone what they need in a healthy and supportive community. We can only do that when we truly love everyone and everything!”
Always remember that you are loved and you are not alone. We are the friends you have not made yet.
Learn more about all our events by following us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram @MutualMorris or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Read more testimonies on why a radical pride event is crucial to the Mutual Morris community