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    BLM AT SCHOOL - December *Globalism and Collective Values
    Posted on 10/29/2020
    Collective Value

     Year of Purpose – December’s principle is Globalism and Collective Value.  December 3 is International People’s with Disabilities Day. Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer are two disabled freedom fighters we revere, even as the disabilities they carried with them into struggle aren’t consistently lifted up as assets in their fight. To fight against societal ableism, we must celebrate our differences and understand how the lessons from Black disabled organizers teach us how to build inclusive, accessible movements.








    Gender Affinity

    Remembering William Dorsey Swann - Swann was born into slavery.  He was a slave in Hancock, Maryland and was freed by Union soldiers after the Emancipation Proclamation went into effect.
    During the 1880s and 1890s, Swann organized a series of balls in Washington, D.C.  He called himself the "queen of drag". Most of the attendees of Swann's gatherings were men who were formerly enslaved, and were gathering to dance in their satin and silk dresses. Because these events were secretive, invitations were often quietly made at places like the YMCA.
    Swann was arrested in police raids numerous times, including in the first documented case of arrests for female impersonation in the United States, on April 12, 1888. In 1896, he was falsely convicted and sentenced to 10 months in jail for "keeping a disorderly house", i.e., running a brothel. After his sentencing, he requested a pardon from President Grover Cleveland. This request was denied, but Swann was the first American on record who pursued legal and political action to defend the LGBTQ community's right to gather.
    Swann was known to have been close with Pierce Lafayette and Felix Hall, two men who had also both been enslaved and who formed the first known male same-sex relationship between enslaved Americans.
    When Swann stopped organizing and participating in drag events, his brother continued to make costumes for the drag community. Two of his brothers had also been active participants in Swann's drag balls.