We can all learn some things from Queering Kwanzaa

Habari gani? What’s the news? Kwanzaa 2020 is upon us, and maybe you have never thought to observe it. Growing up, I knew all about Kwanzaa as it was something my family celebrated religously. But I noticed that among my Black Queer friends, I was part of the “minority” that observed Kwanzaa. That was until recently.

The past few years I have invited more and more of my Black Queer friends to celebrate Kwanzaa with me. Why you ask? Because when I think about Kwanzaa, I think about it as a…


The coronavirus gradually spread throughout the world this year and altered many aspects of our lives. As time progressed, we began to understand more about COVID-19. It became increasingly apparent that race was a factor in who contracts and dies from the disease — across the U.S., a Black person is nearly 2.5 times more likely to die from COVID-19 than a white person. These tragic disparities laid bare the results of generations of systemic racism. We already knew that those living in lower-income neighborhoods, with less access to clean air or water, residing in substandard housing, in food deserts…


How white people can be better allies to the Black Community during times like this.

Creator: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos | Credit: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos Copyright: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos
Creator: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos | Credit: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos Copyright: © Leonard Freed / Magnum Photos

This past Monday, George Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man and resident of Minneapolis, was killed by a police officer. The officer kept a knee pinned on George’s neck even as he was pleading, “Please, I can’t breathe,” all while three other officers at the scene did nothing to intervene.

I hear repeatedly white people say they feel helpless when things like this continue to happen; when Black people are murdered and the white perpetrators are all too often not held accountable. But white people are…


Police cars are not the only thing we have to be on the lookout for.

Well, I guess black folk across America will be updating “the talk” once again.

You know, the one where we remind each other to keep our mouths shut and both hands in plain view when we encounter law enforcement. It is an unfair burden we carry in the Black community but necessary if we want to stay alive. The talk is a painful routine that I go through with many of the young Black men who come through the doors of my organization. I always…

Daniel J. Downer

Daniel J. Downer is Executive Director of The Bros in Convo Initiative, a community org empowering Black bisexual, gay, same-gender-loving, and queer men.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store