The last full day of OUT on the Hill 2015 activity, and Saturday morning I awakened to what is a familiar sight to Washingtonians but not to this Texan.
I was awakened by the roar of motorcycles and sirens and got to my seventh floor hotel room window just in time to see the presidential motorcade speeding by heading in the direction of the White House.
I went from witnessing that sight to witnessing an amazing State of the Black LGBTQ/SGL Community panel that started at 9:00 AM focused on the wellness of our community.
It was a panel moderated by the Rev. Dr. Jamie Washington featuring Valerie Spencer, Faith Cheltenham, Dr. Cleo Manago. Tim’m West, Geneva Musgrave and Rayceen Pendavis had some tell it like it T-I-S is moments and commentary about what we needed to do in a multipronged ongoing strategic way to build and continue focusing on Black LGBT community wellness.
It ended way too fast, and I stayed in that room to check out a Tim’m West moderated panel entitled Brave Education: OUT Black Educators Advancing Educational Excellence.
The panel that started at 12:15 PM discussed the issues, challenges and joys in K-12 schools for TBLGQ students of color and the out teachers and administrators seeking to prepare them for collegiate studies and the world.
There were also comments from the panelists that pointed out that the public education system need to just as concerned about producing students who are critical thinkers than their ability to take a standardized test.
It also pointed out how important it was to have out Black LGBTQ educators on these campuses representing and being possibility models for Black LGBTQ and other students.
The final plenary session was another after lunch State of the Black LGBTQ/SGL conversation that focused on Faith and Spirituality featuring the Rev Rodney McKenzie, Minister Verdell Wright, Bishop Allyson Abrams, and the Rev Dr Jamie Washington.
The conversation touched on many issues including the been for Black LGBTQ folks to forcefully push back against the loud and wrong anti-Black doctrine that has been remixed to attack us, talk about Black liberation theology from a Black LGBTQ lens, and do a much better job of integrating trans people in this mix.
After closing remarks from Sharon Lettman-Hicks, Kylar Broadus, and Venton Jones, the bittersweet moment of #OOTH 2015 coming to a close was upon us. I also found myself in the middle of an intergenerational conversation in which I and youth with Trini, Haitian and Nigerian heritage started a fascinating conversation in which we discussed the African Diaspora, our shared connections and history, and where Black LGBT people fit in this.
And yeah, I got to destroy two more Slurpees before I called it a day and crashed from conference fatigue.