By: Mustafa Sullivan

Dear Black Future Legends,

In schools and communities across the US, the time for action amongst our youngest leaders is now. GSA Network’s trans, queer, and gender-expansive leaders are reclaiming black history month as their time to rise as Black Future Legends. GSA Network is a next-generation LGBTQ racial and gender justice organization whose mission is to empower and train queer, trans and allied youth leaders to advocate, organize, and mobilize an intersectional movement for safer schools and healthier communities.

On Friday, February 19th 2016, GSA Network will have the annual GSA Day 4 Racial Justice; an annual event we renamed last year to celebrate the movement building work happening in GSAs and LGBTQ groups across the country.  GSA Network’s youth leaders are not fighting single issue campaigns; nor are they comfortable with creating safe spaces where only white or affluent youth can be themselves. GSA Network’s youth are from the deep South in Mississippi, Arkansas, and Georgia; in native communities in New Mexico; in urban cities like Long Beach, Philadelphia and New York; and in places as diverse as Hawaii.

Our communities are not just fighting for youth to come out in their own homes; they are also changing the narratives on issues such as bullying,  such as zero tolerance anti-bullying policies and are connecting to broader struggles in their activism to challenge homophobia and transphobia.
These youth are not content with change that starts only with voting. Our youth leaders are fighting to free black lives everywhere and acknowledge the multiple expressions of their identity as sources of mass movement for the next generation of movement leaders.

Now more than ever our national leadership is comprised of youth ages 12-24 who are trained schools and community organizers who lead actions and workshops that fight to end state violence against black lives, who educate each other on sexual health and wellness, and who understand that gender is a social construct that limits trans people, gender-expansive people, and cisgendered people in all races and ethnicities. Our #BlackFutureLegends are holding our communities together in braver and brave spaces that build organizing from a new form of political strategy that doesn’t leave anyone out. LGBTQ youth of the newest and newer emerging generations fight day in and day out to stop the deportations of our families, to end the ongoing criminalization of black and brown people including those of our kin who are Muslim; that fight in solidarity with a global youth movement that wants people to be free in the US, in Mexico, and in Palestine.

They want a world free of homophobia and anti-semitism, free of transphobia as well as Islamophobia.  These black future legends and their networks of allies tirelessly educate youth and members of the community to understand the moral hypocrisy that supports political leadership that does not know that black lives matter….everywhere.

We at GSA Network, staff, and youth alike, know that political analysis that is morally bankrupt anywhere causes the senseless genocide of our world everywhere. The Trans, Queer, and Gender Expansive youth in this current movement are both pro-Black and pro-Palestine, are people from diverse urban, suburban, and rural communities that fight against the school to prison pipeline and, in many cases, are restorative justice practitioners that are liberating their schools and communities daily.

In spite of any public policies that support drone attacks in the Middle East, the ongoing genocide of black people by state violence, and the senseless murder of transwomen of color we draw a line in the sand and work tirelessly to protect those most marginalized by poverty, racism, and capitalist patriarchy. We are a movement that is made up of youth leaders, organizers, teachers, and diverse families that are in support of their Trans/Queer People of Color families and we believe that the civil rights movement starts and ends with us.

In Peace and Solidarity,
Mustafa Sullivan
GSA Network Director of National programs