Jason Howard Green

Jason Howard Green

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Invisible Heroes: A Black History Month Program

The Invisible Heroes celebration will be a different type of Black History Month program in that the individuals recognized are ones we don't traditionally see in history books or at other Black History month events. Invisible Heroes will recognize several same-gender loving African-Americns for their accomplishments. For this first of its kind celebration (for Phoenix) - those individuals will include Emile Griffith, Octavia Butler, James Baldwin, Pat Parker, Bayard Rustin and Barbara Jordan.

It is unfortunate that the great works of many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) black folks went unnoticed because they were not successfully embraced by either community to which they belonged. Traditionally the black community has not accepted or embraced gay and lesbian folks. And racism within the LGBT community has seemingly produced a parallel affect by ignoring the contributions of its brown and black members.

But inspite of the odds the individuals being recognized did not allow racism or homophobia to stop their agenda. These individuals ignored the glass ceilings. These individuals kicked down closet doors. These individual pursued their dreams passionately and they deserve to be honored for making their mark in this world. All of their stories are inspirational.

This years event will honor a politician, a civil rights activist, a poet, an author and an athlete. Emile Griffith was one of the greatest boxers ever and would become a six time world champion. Octavia Butler has written countless science-fiction novels and was the first sci-fi writer to receive the McArthur Foundation Genius Grant. The contributions of James Baldwin and Bayard Rustin to the African-American civil rights movement are immeasurable (one would serve as the voice of this generation and the other would become a mentor to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr). The poetry of Pat Parker is radical, timeless, moving and motivational. And Barbara Jordan (one of the greatest orators ever) would become the first Black woman from the South elected to the U.S. Congress.

Why are these individuals invisible? Why are their stories not more commoplace? Are their achievements only significant to those other individuals that walk simultaneously between two different communities? Do you have to black AND gay to be inspired by them? These individuals should serve as heroes to all and hopefully the Invisible Heroes Celebration will shine some well deserved light on them.
The Invisible Heroes Celebration will be held at the One Voice Community Center (725 W. Indian School Road) in Phoenix, Arizona. It will be from 6:00 - 7:30 PM on Tuesday, February 1.

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