This Pride Month, Classroom of Compassion created
49 Crowns - a socially distanced collaborative community effort to create floral crowns to honor the 49 lives lost at Pulse Night Club four years ago. With this lesson,
we honor ourselves and our community with a foundational exercise to root our PRIDE: Building Our Crowns.
Ashlee Marie Preston
Lee Faelnar Te
WHO WE CELEBRATE
This project was inspired by foundational queer icons,
Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, Stormé DeLarverie, and James Baldwin
MARSHA P. JOHNSON
Marsha P “Pay It No Mind” Johnson, known for her outspoken personality, generosity, and unwavering advocacy for LGBTQI+ rights, was, of course, part of the struggle during the Stonewall Riots. With her best friend Sylvia Rivera , Marsha helped to found Street Transvestite Action Revolutionaries (STAR)—the first organization to give housing and help to gay, trans, gender nonconforming people and sex workers. Marsha was “a bodhisattva, a holy person, a saint on street corners,” and Sylvia was a nurturing role model and crusader, “[using] her outsider status to help make change.”
Sylvia Rivera was a civil rights pioneer—a tireless advocate for gay liberation, people of color, homeless youth, sex workers, and any marginalized community.
Today we think of Sylvia Rivera among the icons of the LGBTQ movement, but in the 1970s her radical ideals of inclusivity and systemic poverty/racism were too much for the majority.
Sylvia worked endlessly for her queer family using her spirit and voice to continue transforming her community and the world to be more inclusive. Her legacy lives on through the work of the Sylvia Rivera Law Project.
Stormé DeLarverie (pronounced Stormy De-LAR-ver-ee), was a performer, bouncer, and volunteer patrol known as the “guardian of lesbians. Few people know the extraordinary history of this queer leader and the vital role she played in the Gay Rights Movement.
In the early hours of June 28th, 1969 the Stonewall Inn was raided, and Stormé was assaulted by police. “Nobody knows who threw the first punch, but it’s rumored that she did, and she said she did.”
Hundreds of queer folk resisted beside her, protected her, and began what would go down in history as a riot. For Stormé and the queer comminuty, “It was a rebellion, it was an uprising, it was a civil rights disobedience – it wasn't no damn riot.”
James Baldwin was one of the most brilliant and insightful authors, essayists, poets, and playwrights in American History.
His work not only gave a transcendent voice to the black and queer communities, it “explored the psychological implications of racism for both the oppressed and the oppressor.”
Baldwin became the best selling black author in the WORLD.
His work was best-selling not only because he spoke to so many black and queer people, but because he spoke to everyone. His work and words were intersectional.
“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.”