This month marks the beginning of the 20th anniversary celebration for CLGS!
20 years of CLGS also means that the CLGS Latinx Roundtable (LRT) has existed for the better part of a decade, when founded and led by Orlando Espín and Mari Castellanos. What a year to celebrate a milestone anniversary!
How to celebrate an anniversary amid pandemics—Covid-19 and racism—and economic hardship and uncertainty for many, as well as devastating climate change impacts around the United States and the world?
What momentous decades these have been for LGBTQ+ people: marriage equality and greater trans visibility among many other accomplishments. I could list many other successes, resources, advocacy moments, community building events, and so on, and have the satisfaction of seeing that I and many others have faithfully sought to provide a thorough, thought-provoking, compassionate, liberative message through the various projects of CLGS, the LRT included.
I could also name the many set-backs as seen in the ever-increasing polarized environment in this election season. Yet, we are called to continue bridging differences and changing hearts and minds, thus saving lives. The work seems to be as relevant and important as ever.
The LRT has sought through its resources and curriculum to support the understanding, acceptance, and affirmation of Latinx LGBTQ+ persons in families and faith communities, as well as Latinx visibility in LGBTQ+ organizations. We continue this work as we promote and distribute these resources in English, Spanish, and Portuguese.
Two ideas are foundational to my understanding of this work and its impact for individuals and communities. From Scripture, I find comforting and important to know that I and every human being is a reflection of the image of God, an intimate and powerful reflection of God that leads to a radical inclusion of all in the gracious care of God and one another.
The second image is found in the baptismal covenant as found in the Book of Common Prayer (Episcopal) where I am called to respect the dignity of every human being. This call to respect human dignity is unequivocal – not an if/then statement, no judgment necessary, no matter the hurt, bias, or ignorance that may be within me, it is an absolute call.
No one said it would be easy but engaging in the work is life giving to all. Furthermore, this call to dignity for all is about abundance and not scarcity—recognizing that certain person’s dignities have not been upheld, does not mean that the dignity taken for granted by others is taken away.
We have made great strides in changing hearts and minds. And we know that now more than ever we need to translate the work of individuals to the work of changing the very systems that continue to perpetuate inequities in our society. The LRT will continue this work to change hearts and minds, while also changing systems, knowing that our work with and for Latinx persons and communities will never be completed until there is a complete acknowledgment that Black Lives and Black Trans Lives Matter.
I invite Latinx LGBTQ+ persons to recommit this anniversary year, this radically unbelievable 2020-2021, to the work that leads to affirmation of ourselves and of others, the prophetic work that saves lives.
My heartfelt gratitude to Orlando Espín, Mari Castellanos, Carolina Ramos, Rosa Frias, Pedro Rodriguez, Joe Palacios, Dan Romero, Charlie Cortes, Rhina Ramos, Richard Zaldivar, Elba Morales, Tino Cordova, and all those who will work with the LRT in the future!
Rev. Carla E. Roland Guzmán, Coordinator of the CLGS Latinx Roundtable