Our friend Meli Diaz asked us to share some info about BQIC for her US History Students, and we happily obliged! Our co-founder and Consciousness-Raising co-lead Dkéama Alexis spoke about BQIC’s origin story and our framework, so we wanted to share that with y’all today. We also want to elevate that today is also Nakba Day, the anniversary of the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 and the following displacement/ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.
Black and Palestinian solidarity has a long, intertwined history considering how both our communities have been brutalized in the name of nationalism and profit. May all our continued resistance and resilience bring an end to empire!
AL NAKBA shirt designed by Amy Gutmann Fuentes
Transcript: Hey y’all! My name is Dkéama Alexis — all gender pronouns are fine — and I am a co-founder and core organizer with the group Black Queer & Intersectional Collective, which is BQIC for short. We were officially established in March 2017, and we’ve been going strong ever since.
Our mission is, we are working towards a world where Black LGBTQIA+ people from all backgrounds can be free and thrive, and we do that through direct action, community organizing, education, and creating spaces where our voices can be heard.
The other co-founder, Ariana Steele, and I wanted to create BQIC because we found that there weren’t very many spaces in the organizing community that were fully hospitable to our intersecting identities of Black and queer and trans. We would find a lot of homophobia and transphobia in spaces organizing around racial justice and Black liberation, and we would also find a lot of unchecked racism in spaces led by white people. Unsurprisingly. So we were meeting with other Black queer and trans folks after Trump’s’ election to figure out how we culd effect change in Central Ohio, and then BQIC was born in March of 2017!
As a group we really champion direct action, which is basically, like the name might imply, taking direct action action against the oppressive forces that make our world unliveable, or more unliveable for certain communities. As a collective, we are also abolitionist in our framework. For those who don’t know what abolition is, it’s essentially an approach and a vision that basically wants to create a world where there are no police or prisons, because policing and prisons are sites of violence and are used to destroy communities and punish communities, especially Black communities, Brown communities, poor communities, immigrants, refugees, so on and so forth.
Abolition is this goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance, and also creating alternatives to those structures. It’s really important for us as an organization and collective by and for Black LGBTQ+ people because Black LGBTQ+ people are targeted the most under the prison industrial complex. And the prison industrial complex is the network of government and industry structures that work together to surveil, prison, and incarcerate or imprison people.
Back to direct action as a strategy — direct action is an incredibly useful strategy. It’s had an important place within the Black radical tradition, within queer and trans communities. For example, with the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 (i believe) as well as the Compton Cafeteria Riot in  where queer and trans folks who were being targeted, harassed, and abused by police said “we’ve had enough” and directly met the police force with self-defense and uprising and taking back the space that had been brutally take from them time and time again.
BQIC works in coalition, or in a larger group, with other organizers here, and we are part of the Columbus Freedom Coalition @cbusfreedomcoalition, which came together after Juliyus Tate, a 16-year-old Black boy, was murdered during an undercover SWAT sting in December 2018. An example of direct action that we took was we had a march, and there was a part of the march where a few organizers blacked a major intersection in Columbus with a car and then chained themselves to the car as a way to stop traffic and interrupt the flow of things, and call attention to the legacy of anti-Black police violence in Columbus. This worked because direct action is meant to interrupt the status quo as well as place pressure on the system that are violent towards certain communities so that we can hopefully topple those structures one day. This [action interrupted] the status quo in a lot of ways because the status quo is, of course, the regular flow of movement, but the status quo in our country is also Black boys, Black girls, Black women, Black folks of all genders being shot without any accountability. The status quo in our country is people being ripped violently from their home and being deported. The status quo in our country is […] people being on the “frontlines” for other people’s profit.
Asa collective, we are advocating for the liberation of Black queer and trans people who are targeted most in our police state, and also focusing on the most marginalized as a way to form solidarity with other marginalized and oppressed groups. I’m getting close to time and I know that was kind of rambly, but I hope everyone is taking care. ❤