It is Pride month and in Seattle, the weekend of celebration has come upon us. Thousands of people arrived to different parts of Seattle to party, enjoy festivities and be proud. And while I am a Transgender and Queer Person of Color, proud of who I am and have a desire to celebrate that, I am wondering if we could put this congregation of the masses to better use.
Don’t get me wrong – I do believe that a giant celebration of identities that our current “leadership” is trying to erase and/or keep oppressed is revolutionary and a form of resistance. It is absolutely necessary for oppressed groups to celebrate in the face of adversity.
I also don’t believe that it is the sole responsibility of LGBTQ people to organize, interrupt and dismantle ICE or any other systems of oppression.
But I also believe that the world is on fire.
Our country is on fire.
And we need to organize together.
And we have to do something. But what is it that we do?
I am reminded of a Martin Niemöller poem:
First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.
I am a first generation American citizen I keep imagining what who I would be had I been separated from my mother at a young age. Who I would be or where I would be? Where would my mother be?
My social media feeds, emails and news stories being filled with NO NEW YOUTH JAIL, the children in concentration camps in Texas and youth being targeted by police, I am drawn to ask a question:
Are we ever doing enough to keep young people safe? What are we doing to preserve this generation?
And while the youth artists I know constantly remind me of what our world could be if they were the leaders, I can’t help but also wonder what world we are leaving them with?
I just wish that we could organize the amount of people that attended Pride weekend at an ICE office and shut it all down.
The question I’d like to propose is for the sake of future generations, how will we rise together for each other?
Ebo Barton is Arts Corps’ new Teen Leadership Manager, and is a Transgender and Non-Binary, Black and Filipino poet and artist. They have aspired to be a Youth Speaks Seattle poet since 2007, but have always been too old. So, instead, they decided to be part of the family, always hoping to support, empower and love the poets and poetry of Youth Speaks Seattle. They compete in the adult poetry slam circuit; represented Seattle on 5 National Slam Teams and 3 Individual World Poetry Slams. Their most notable poetry slam accolade is placing 5th in the World in 2016. Their work touches on political issues from a personal point of view and often is birthed from the struggles of living in the identities that they are. Ebo believes in the power of language and art as a tool for revolution.