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PrismND creates t-shirt fundraiser to promote intersectionality

| Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Following the recent social unrest and police brutality protests around the nation, junior Aaron Moyer said he wanted to find a way to help individuals in the community that are struggling.

Moyer, co-vice president of PrismND, said the group decided to organize a t-shirt fundraiser to raise money for Black LGBTQ causes.

“The LGBTQ community is so diverse,” Moyer said. “We saw this as a great way to partner with Black student-led clubs on campus and really promote the intersectionality that sometimes gets overlooked.”

One of the groups PrismND partnered with is Shades of Ebony, a club dedicated to uplifting women of color. Senior Kaya Lawrence, the club’s president, said “intersectionality” is the idea that identity consists of multiple components, rather than one single label.

“[Intersectionality] provides a unique space for recognizing the ways in which groups can coalesce and unite to really help each other,” Lawrence said. “Intersectionality allows for a common space to recognize the ways in which you can unite and fight for a common goal.”

Moyer said the fundraiser gave donors the freedom to choose which nonprofit they would like to donate to, as long as it would benefit the Black LGBTQ community. 

“All you have to do is donate at least $11.20 to any nonprofit that you’d want to,” Moyer said. “The significance behind that is that Nov. 20 is the Transgender Day of Remembrance.”

Donors then forward PrismND proof of their donation via their website, and they will receive their t-shirt. 

The t-shirt, designed by PrismND secretary sophomore Molly Doerfler and senior Ellis Riojas, was inspired by the life of Marsha P. Johnson. Johnson was a Black transgender woman whose activism is largely credited for starting the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

(Editor’s Note: Riojas is a graphic designer for The Observer.)

“We wanted to symbolize the intersectionality between the identities of between Black and LGBTQ identities, so we used the image of Marsha P Johnson,” Doerfler said. “We have a quote from her in the middle that says, ‘No pride for some of us without liberation for all of us’, which embodies the intersectionality that we’re working for.”

Although the fundraiser closed Sept. 22, Moyer said continuing to learn about Black and LGBTQ causes is a great way to get involved. 

Lawrence said it is important to educate oneself, rather than expect Black or LGBTQ friends to do the teaching.

“In any group, club [or] organization that you’re in, just recognizing that the power you have to kind of make a change and work towards some kind of intersectional goals, like reaching out to other clubs or organizations on campus or individuals on campus and seeing what you can do to bring light to certain issues and help others and promote intersectionality,” Lawrence said.

Doerfler described “allyship” as supporting a community that you are not a part of and being willing to learn from it.

“One thing that we’ve really been stressing this semester about allyship is that it’s about working to protect your siblings on campus who might have different lives than you,” Doerfler. “One thing that we’ve really been stressing is that social distancing is a form of allyship because it helps protect your LGBTQ siblings who might not have good home lives.”

Lawrence cautioned against performative allyship, adding that she has seen many peers who claim to be allies fall silent when they see instances of injustice.

“An important component of allyship is not being afraid to stand up and speak up when the time comes when it’s necessary to do so — so really just not being performative,” Lawrence said. “Performative allyship can really be problematic and empty in a lot of ways so mak[e] sure that you’re putting the action behind your words and your intention.”

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