Mo Keane

There were several speeches given during the Coalition for Women's Rights' Black Lives Matter march on Feb. 16., 2023. Mo Keane, president of the Queer and Trans People of Color Society, talked about the legacy of racism and how Black resistance - 2023's theme for Black History Month - kept the movement for equality moving forward. Below are their remarks from that day. 

Good afternoon everyone! My name is Mo Keane and I was asked to speak on the behalf of my organization, QTPOCS. We are the Queer and Transgender People of Color Society, which is a space and organization dedicated to the empowerment and elevation of queer BIPOC voices here at Stockton University.

We are all here today alongside Women's Coalition, Stockton Socialists, First Ospreys, TogetHER, Los Latinos Unidos, Caribbean Student Association, and African Student Association to remember and honor the lives of Black people in our community locally and globally.

Mo Keane in front of the crowd during the BLM march

February is Black History Month, and this month honors the rich culture, history and community of Black people in America. This is both a time to rejoice and to mourn. We as a community know firsthand how important kinship is, and to lose even one of our own is a profound and felt loss. Blackness historically has been shied away from, silenced and openly targeted in America, and the effects of these racial systems are felt into today.

In 2023 alone, we have seen three known murders of unarmed Black individuals in America at the hands of police, and countless other acts of non-fatal violence that are just as insidious, dehumanizing and outright cruel. Keenan Anderson. Tyre Nichols. Alonzo Bagley.

The numbers are exponentially higher when you overlay Blackness with the experiences of gender non-conformity and queerness. For so long, we have been asked to suppress, to stay silent, to stay complicit in state-sanctioned violence and genocide. Even showing up to this march today is an expression of defiance, of resistance to the status quo.

This history month's theme is Black Resistance. For the Black queer community, the act of resistance, even defiance, is ingrained into its very core.

From what was referred to as "cross-dressing," to the rich history of underground ball scenes, to even now the open defiance of white, western definitions of masculine, feminine, androgyny, we as a collective are active participants of revolution and resistance to the erasure of Black and POC history. We as a community have faced devastating loss of history, culture and most importantly - lives.

To get up each morning is an act of resistance. To take up space, to remember our history, to march in their memory and honor. We can never make up for the unnecessary loss of Black lives, but we can keep them alive in namesake by showing up, being active in our communities and pushing for change. The legacies of all those lost before us live in our minds and hearts and will never be truly forgotten.

Get up each morning, know that you are loved, and remember.