In honor of Pride, the Nashville LGBT Chamber has updated its logo for the month of June, utilizing a traditional rainbow Pride flag, while also incorporating the black and brown bars of the "Philadelphia Pride flag" and the colors of the Transgender Pride flag. In this time of turmoil and upheaval, recognizing the historical and continuing role of black and POC, and transgender, leadership in the LGBTQ civil rights struggle is more important than ever. It is likewise essential to listen to and amplify their voices as they continue to struggle with oppression both in society at large and within the LGBTQ community itself.
Below is a statement from Joe Woolley, CEO of the Nashville LGBT Chamber of Commerce, honoring Pride month and explaining the significance of the organizations logo change:
Dear Nashville LGBT Chamber Family,
We celebrate the start of LGBTQ+ Pride month but our city, state, and nation are outraged by the racism we live with in our society. This same outrage was felt 51 years ago and we now celebrate it with Pride. Pride Month serves as a constant reminder of the LGBTQ+ movement’s initiative to combat discrimination and hate based on sexual orientation and gender identity, it is important that we stand in solidarity when a threat to justice is apparent.
We can celebrate but we need to remember now more than ever that we need to keep fighting. Our community understands what it means to speak out about inequality and discrimination and to deny those that would say that our lives don't matter. So now let us confront what we are seeing today.
We must acknowledge that systemic racism is pervasive in this country, especially in this city, in this state, and in the South.
We are an organization whose mission is equality, diversity, inclusion, economic prosperity, and equity, and we recognize the tremendous costs of institutional discrimination, particularly to communities of color, especially the Black community.
We know that this systemic racism plays out in the lives of non-white LGBTQ+ business owners who are denied an equal opportunity because of their race.
We know that violence and discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community continues, but even within the LGBTQ+ community, it is people of color and our trans individuals who face the greatest threats and fight hardest to continue to live. They are the most marginalized of the marginalized. We must fight the hardest for them.
We talk about allyship and how important it is to work for human rights for all, but it is essential that we understand true allyship must be vocal and visible, even when it is uncomfortable.
We should know that the first bricks at the Stonewall riots were thrown by Marsha P Johnson, a black trans person, and Sylvia Ray Rivera, a Latinx trans person. Yet many seem unaware of the multiracial history of the LGBTQ+ Pride movement. That’s why it is so important to expand the rainbow flag that symbolizes the all-encompassing nature of Pride to specifically include trans representation and black and brown people of color representation. We have to be intentional about being inclusive, everyone ants to be seen and identified, and this is an easy way.
We grieve the loss of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and the countless others who have lost their lives. We condemn the senseless killings and acts of violence that are repeatedly directed at the Black community, all communities of color, and LGBTQ+ people.
We will clean up and rebuild here in Nashville, from the demonstrations, from COVID-19, from the tornado. The Nashville LGBT Chamber has been and will continue to be a part of that rebuilding, focusing on equity for all in the processes.
We will do this with our many community partners, specifically Nashville Black Pride, Urban League of Middle Tennessee, and the Nashville Black Chamber of Commerce. We encourage you, if you have the capacity, to reach out to businesses involved with our fellow minority chambers, the Nashville Black Chamber, Nashville Hispanic Chamber, and Tennessee Latin American Chamber. We thank our friends at Nashville Black Pride for their work.
We as the LGBTQ+ community have always excelled at movement-building, and we will come together once again around this. Please contact us if there’s anything we can do to connect your business with resources. Let us know how we may do more or help you get involved in this work.
We as an organization, our board, staff, and members recognize the importance of intersectionality and economic inclusion and the power of our collective voices when we unite. You know we advocate against LGBT discrimination and commit to advocating against racism and for justice. Racism is deadly, discrimination crushes our souls, and we must find ways to stop it.
We will work to do even more in the months and years ahead, more intentionally and more committed.
We are proud. We hear you. We are with you.
Joe Woolley, Chief Executive Officer
Lauren Bland, Membership Manager
Board of Directors
Ron Snitker, President
Greg Cason, Vice President
Clayton Klutts, Treasurer
Taylor Wirth, Secretary