On September 5 the 3rd Annual State of Black Gay America Summit took place in Atlanta as one of many events offered to thousands of black same gender loving people and our allies who came from far and near to participate in the 13th Annual Atlanta Black Gay Pride celebration.
Bishop Yvette Flunder, an outspoken and influential black lesbian and Presiding Bishop of Refuge Ministries/The Fellowship and founder of The City of Refuge Community Church UCC in San Francisco, delivered a powerful keynote address urging the black gay community to no longer settle for conditional freedoms.
"I want to make it clear that I am not in favor of accepting conditional freedoms anymore in any way anywhere. I think we have settled for to little to long", she said.
"You see conditional freedoms sisters and brothers, or partial liberty is something that oppressed people tend to settle for. We accept it because what has been ingrained in us is a sense of second-class citizenship. We become satisfied when we're able to get crumbs from the table,"she added.
Bishop Flunder also addressed marriage equality and the military's discriminatory "Don't Ask Don't Tell policy" noting the harsh reality for black gay soldiers penalized under the ban.
"There is something insidious about being African American and homosexual in the military because there is more emphasis [of oppression] on people of color," she said. "We get oppression from our own sisters and brothers who turn them [gay African-American service members] in."
Bishop Flunder's 45 minute address to the nearly 200 people in attendance paled in comparison to the massive crowds that turned out for dozens of parties hosted throughout the Labor Day weekend, and the lack of young people present did not go unnoticed.
If the black LGBT community truly desires a place at the table and a world where equality and respect for all people is commonplace then we're going to have to start showing up and putting in the work.
Get into an excerpt from Bishop Flunder's keynote address in the video below:
Bishop Yvette Flunder photo via Dyana Bagby