Rarely does an organization’s name say exactly who they are.
Black, Out & Proud, though? It’s pretty clear.
Formed in 2017 with the express mission of providing advocacy, education, and inspiration for and by the Black LGBTQ+ community, the roster of initiatives that have sprung from this group is staggering. From programming to support culturally relevant physical fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness practices, to Juneteenth Pride marches, to a Black Women’s LGBTQ+ Summit, to some of the best online education campaigns around, Black, Out & Proud puts forth an energy that changes all who have the wonderful opportunity to partake in their work.
This holiday season, the organization continues to operate their Community Support Fund, which grants up to $100.00 to Black LGBTQ+ individuals in Columbus requesting assistance with food, personal hygiene items, household goods, or baby supplies. A form to request funds can be found on their website.
The Buckeye Flame caught up with Eboni Partlow, Board President of Black, Out & Proud, to catch an update on challenges, success, and the path forward.
How did these efforts start and why?
The creation of Black, Out & Proud (BOP) is the brainchild of the phenomenal business owner Letha Pugh with the purpose being a representation for Black LGBTQ persons in a scarce landscape of LGBTQ representation. The primary goal is for LGBTQ Black queers not only to survive, but thrive.
What challenges are you running into?
COVID and the racial justice in the city this past summer were the biggest challenge for this year. Before COVID, a quarterly meeting called Black Out was held in various spaces. This was a space where a Black LGBTQ person could hang out and be around the community for support. We attempted to bring it virtually but the racial injustice that started in March shifted our focus. We quickly assembled a march at the end of June. We also noticed that the LGBTQ Black community had been hit the hardest due to COVID job loss. So the Community Support Fund was created which allowed us not to advocate for not only Columbus but surrounding cities.
What would success look like for BOP?
For the space to not be needed. It would be amazing if we didn’t have to constantly hold up a mirror, to be acknowledged, and to not have to keep fighting for affirming spaces.
What can readers do to support BOP’s efforts?
Black, Out & Proud always appreciates donations to stay relevant. It also would help support the community fund. We also ask for support of Black liberation and all [we’re] assisting to sponsor.