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When we say "All Black Lives Matter" it is because we are advocating to stopping the war on Black LGBTQ+ lives by those within our own communities.  Black LGBTQ+ folxs faces a double whammy at the hands of racists and homophobic individuals.  Although police brutality was a tipping point for this movememt. Let's be clear Black LGBTQ+ folxs have been subjected to cultural violence and minimum support from the community at large for too long. The Black Lives Matter Movement was birthed by queer and trans women after Trayvon Martin's death.  Our protest to declare that "All Black Lives Matter" is a rally cry to the Black community that Black LGBTQ+ folxs are not subsets or allies to this movement, we are the Movement. We are not asking for permission to get on the bus we are riding and driving along side our Black community. Please stop treating us like an outsider or step sibling. Fight for us as we fight for you. Remember, Ain't none of us free until we are all free!

Relationships Unleashed has been committed to serving the Greater Memphis community since 2014.  Our organization has been on the front line fighting for rights and services for Black LGBTQ+ people by providing monthly comprehensive educational programming (mostly funded out of our pockets).  As active participants of The Black Lives Matter Movement we are more committed to continue our efforts against systems rooted in inequity, inequality, discrimination rights and oppression of  African Americans.


As a “Triple Minority” (Black, Female, & Lesbian) I feel uniquely qualified to expound on the narrative of this letter.  I would like to describe the challenges our organization have encountered as a small grassroots nonprofit navigating in a racially fraught power dynamic with grant makers. Our experience has been one of isolation, neglect, and continued rejection. Not because we aren’t doing the work but because we aren’t the familiar organization that’s in close proximity with the privileged decision makers.        


The goal of Relationship Unleashed organization is not to remain a two-person organization and a staff of volunteers, with a budget of less than $50,000.00 for the next five years. We are requesting better inroads with foundations to penetrate the lack of access to private and public foundations. We are requesting opportunities for our organizations to be in fellowship with foundations that will support leaders of colors. We are requesting a council advisory board to help with fundraising and using access and privilege to help make connections we would not otherwise have access to. These are some of the actions we are requesting.  


In the coming months we are hopeful that this conversation will continue to develop into an actionable plan. It is time to move past grant makers not trusting black leaders and trusting white folks to tackle black folks problems. Philanthropy is really centered on this notion of charity and benevolence to its core. There are assumptions of privilege and power wrapped up in that. We do not want power brokers giving us a seat at the table. We want power brokers giving up seats so that someone else can have their seat sometimes. We really need financial help now to respond to the rapid emergency needs of our community who are depending on us! This is the actionable plan of our demands!


"All Black Lives Matter,"

Gwendolyn D. Clemons, Executive Director of Relationship Unleashed 

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