REST IN POWER, TRAYVON.

Art Wall For Trayvon and Justice at SOLESPACE in downtown Oakland.
Art Wall For Trayvon and Justice at SOLESPACE in downtown Oakland.

This is not the first time white supremacy has negatively impacted our mental health. All youth of color. Young Black people. Young women of color. Homeless youth of color. Trans*, Queer, Bisexual, Lesbian, and Gay youth of color. Immigrant youth. Differently-abled youth of color. All marginalized youth! Many of us know what it is like to grow up being perceived, assumed, and treated as inferior, unfit, invisible, abnormal, or illegal as children, as teenagers, as young adults.

Do not give white supremacists the pleasure of having us fighting each other. Allow yourself to be angry, but do not channel that anger onto stalking, harassing, bullying, hitting, or murdering other youth of color. Take Zimmerman’s verdict as a reminder to urge us to continue positively impacting the health and wellness of our youth, families, and communities of color. Focus on healing justice, not on perpetuating a vicious cycle of broken hearts and depressed parents.

Image by SANTIAGO MAZATL. Design by DIGNIDAD REBELDE.
Image by SANTIAGO MAZATL. Design by DIGNIDAD REBELDE.

There are many ways for us to continue being active and alive, strengthening and inspiring healthier, kinder, and safer communities rather than going from victims to predators. Let’s continue producing honest conversations with our neighbors about the impact of white supremacy in our lives. Educate and empower people to express their internalized issues, to embrace healing circles with youth from all walks of life. Discuss privileges, but don’t undermine intersecting identities neither shame those in the process of dismantling their assumptions, nor destroy common shared values. Break the silence about white desires at home, at church, at your fraternity/sorority house, on your syllabus, among panelists during panel discussions, behind funded research teams and non-profits, during HR interviews, on your Army billboards and recruitment tabling hours, at your job fair… What kind of white are you? What kind of white do you want to stay? What kind of hetero and LGBTQ whitening practices does your “human rights” campaign, community based organization, law firm, leadership lab team, GSA club, Political Science club, Bible club, telenovela channel, or favorite antro perform?

People of color’s lives, bodies, and voices matter!

What happened to Trayvon is unacceptable and will not be forgotten. Today more than ever I believe we must stay united as youth of color. We must rise and survive TOGETHER. We must reject white supremacy, not ignore the topic. With your mindfulness, stories, talents, resilience, and assistance, we will. We all sure will.

Art Wall for Trayvon and Justice at SOLESPACE in downtown Oakland.
Art Wall for Trayvon and Justice at SOLESPACE in downtown Oakland.

 

Ronnie Veliz

Ronnie Veliz, born in La Libertad, Peru and raised in the San Fernando Valley of California, is a queer migrant of faith who advocates and organizes for youth empowerment; more schools, less prisons; gender & racial justice, and LGBTQ liberation. Ronnie is the Southern California Program Manager at the Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) Network and an Advisory Board Member of Latino Equality Alliance (LEA). He joined the GSA movement while attending LA Valley College in 2007 and has a degree in Psychology and a background in public education. From his student activism to contributing to the passage of the FAIR Education Act, conversion therapy ban, and the TRUST Act, Ronnie has built coalitions with queer, trans, and straight students, immigrant youth, and youth with disabilities in communities of color. Ronnie has led several grassroots campaigns for health and public safety across California and mobilized thousands of youth and parents with the campaign Pathway to Citizenship in Bakersfield. He has previously served as a counselor at Bienestar; teacher assistant at LAUSD; health educator at Instituto Familiar De La Raza, and has led grassroots campaigns to help release undocumented queer youth from immigration detention centers. Recently, Ronnie toured across California with Chicana feminist artist Carolina Alcala with the art+activism family acceptance project "Protect Our Children" and co-founded Somos Familia Valle, an organization for youth and parents to build healthier communities in the San Fernando Valley by empowering the LGBTQ, Latin@ community, and all straight supporters to engage in transformative dialogue, peaceful demonstrations, and familiar collectivism. He can be reached at TheRonnieVeliz@gmail.com

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