Exhausted, Grieving, Enraged. ⠀

Dear readers,

Anita Dolce Vita here, publisher and executive producer at dapperQ. As a queer Black femme who for the past four years has worked in a toxic work environment where I have been discriminated against for my race and sexual orientation, the latest overt violence against our Black communities has hit me hard. I have not been able to stop crying long enough to write a formal statement denouncing the brutality against Black bodies, the insidious systemic racism that erodes our communities and families, or the erasure of queer and trans people from some pro-Black movements, while also having the strength to continue showing up as a healthcare provider during a pandemic. I have been posting on our Instagram, but I wanted to take a moment to let you know that, behind the tears and pain, I hear and love my Black communities. Please continue to follow us on Instagram @dapperQ for updates. In solidarity, Anita.

 

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Exhausted, grieving, enraged. ⠀ These are just a few of the emotions we at dapperQ are feeling after yet another killing of a Black person at the hands of police, George Floyd, and after we witnessed another Karen, Amy Cooper, wield her whiteness as a potentially deadly tool. ⠀ A central piece of our mission has always been to amplify the voices of Black queer and trans people through fashion and to create a space where we can see ourselves reflected. Today, that means making a space for ourselves to grieve; to be enraged; and to find support among one another. Our feelings — your feelings — are valid. ⠀ We call on our white allies to do the work of educating their own about racism and white supremacy. In the words of Dr. Ibram X. Kendi, “The heartbeat of racism is denial, is consistently saying, “I am not racist,” while the heartbeat of antiracism is confession, self-reflection, and seeking to grow change.” We call on you to seek to grow change. Photo by @marohagopian

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Our 👏🏽 platform 👏🏽 is 👏🏽 not 👏🏽 neutral! #blacklivesmatter #translivesmatter Keep resisting!

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As we move into Pride month, remember that Pride started as a riot led by trans women of color in response to a police raid on the Stonewall Inn. Hence the #StoneWallRiots Make your Pride and LGBTQIA+ activism intersectional. Remember that we are not a monolith and many of us face multiple layered forms of discrimination and oppression. The intersections of racism, transphobia, sexism, homophobia, biphobia, xenophobia, and ableism deprive our communities of access to healthcare, housing, employment (there are still 29 states without laws prohibiting employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity), legal justice, and many necessary resources. Allies, make sure to pull up beyond June! Listen to us. Believe us. Speak up against injustice. Educate yourselves. Celebrate LGBTQIA+ contributions to women’s history and Black history. No whataboutisms. And of particular importance, as we all continue to resist, remember to also #SayTheirNames There is an epidemic of violence against transgender communities, with fatal violence disproportionately affecting Black transgender women whose life expectancy is between 35 to 37 years old. Do not stay silent! Do not erase their names in our continued fight for justice! #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #TransLivesMatter

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Iyanna Dior #BlackTransLivesMatter

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Shortly after midnight on March 13, Louisville police used a battering ram to crash into the apartment of Breonna Taylor and discharged a spray of bullets that killed the 26-year-old EMT. Like Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Yvette Smith, Miriam Carey, Pamela Turner, Shantel Davis, and many other Black women who have died at the hands of police officers, Breonna’s death received neither the same media attention nor widespread public fury as the tragic deaths of her cisgender Black male counterparts. Social justice movements must be intentional about naming and dismantling the specific oppression of those who exist at the intersections of multiple identities and not contribute to the erasure and silencing of voices and experiences. #SayHerName #BreonnaTaylor Graphic by @arielsinhaha

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@dapperQ is queer Black owned. As we aim to dismantle racism within our LGBTQIA+ communities, we also acknowledge that any movement that excludes Black queer and trans voices is inherently anti-Black. For some, #BlackLivesMatter ends when there is any discussion of the violence, oppression, and discrimination that Black queer, trans, and non-binary communities face at the hands of cisgender heterosexual people who cannot, or will not, recognize our layered experiences, since distancing themselves from our communities and erasing our Blackness helps them to better align with white heteronormative patriarchal values. Turning the oppressed against each other has always been a tool of the oppressor. Don’t fall for it. ⠀ This particular exclusionary activism got very close to home when our owner @anitadolcevita – a Black femme – was asked to serve as a consultant at a global corporate company. The company’s cishet Black female Inclusion and Diversity Director said to Anita that she didn’t understand why their individual brands went “so hard for Pride.” From our perspective, very few brands go “so hard” for Pride. Many engage in performative allyship for customer acquisition … for that pink dollar. Many companies, including the one in question, disappear after Pride when all their limited edition rainbow products run out. They do not include us in their Black History Month campaigns. They do not include us in their Women’s History Month campaigns. They do not invest in helping to end epidemic violence against LGBTQIA+ communities, violence that disproportionately impacts Black transgender women. They do not invest in ending queer and trans homelessness, which disproportionately impacts Black youth. They do not hire, retain, reward, respect, and advance Black queer and trans employees, and their leadership certainly doesn’t not include a wide range of queer and trans Black talent. This erasure of queer and trans people from Black narratives and Black history is something that our allies must also speak out against. ⠀ 1st 📸 of @steroidbeyonce in @stuzoclothing by @hbcohen at #dapperQ NYFW. 2nd 📸: 16 queer black pioneers who made history @nbcout

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