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Queerness in the Black Lives Matter Movement

Equity in the Arts
Without trans women there would be no LGBTQ movement. Let's just be clear. They were on the front lines... I am because of them."
— Ms. Elle Michelle Washington

On March 4, 2018, The Lark hosted a panel discussion following a BareBones® performance of Donja R. Love's In the Middle. The play, which follows a mother dealing with the aftermath of her son being killed by police, inspired the conversation the panelists embarked on, about centering Queerness in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Moderator (and one of The Lark's 2018 Van Lier New Voices Fellows) Erika Dickerson-Despenza steered the discussion to focus on radical softness, a term coined by Lora Mathis and defined as "the idea that unapologetically sharing your emotions is a political move, and a way to combat the societal idea that feelings are a sign of weakness".

Panelists Ms. Elle Michelle Washington, Kei Williams, and Hari Ziyad each in turn described the ways they practice radical softness in their work, their art and their activism, and why it is essential to make room in community organizing spaces for all individuals to be able to show up as their whole selves.

Check out the video above for their full conversation!