A Drag King with Zero Tolerance for Discrimination

Some say she threw the punch that started the Stonewall Uprising on June 27, 1969 and launched the Gay liberation movement. No one really knows who threw that punch, but Stormé DeLaverie (day-la-vee-ay) was an entertainer, a bouncer, an activist, and a drag king with zero tolerance for discrimination. Early Life Her mother was a black servant in her white father’s household. Born  in New Orleans in 1920, Stormé never knew the exact her date of birth. She chose December 24th. Her father gave her a private education, and her grandfather raised her. Interracial marriages were illegal in New Orleans, but according to Stormé, her mother never wanted for anything. Eventually, they moved, and her father legally married her mother. Facing Discrimination “I was a negro with a white face.” Everybody beat young Stormé up, the white kids and the black kids. After one incident where “they left me hanging on the fence,” she wore a leg brace for a year. Her injury left a scar, and she remained crippled in that leg. Her father finally told her that if she didn’t stop running, she’d be running the rest of her life. “I stopped running when I was 15 and […]

May the Fourth is More than a Movie Meme

I was a high school senior in Westerville, Ohio, weeks away from graduation, when Kent State became national news for all the wrong reasons. Kent State University, a mere two hours away, was one of the few places of higher education on my list of colleges to consider. That tragic part of history etched itself in my memory. Do you remember May the fourth is more than a movie meme? On May 4, 1970 National Guardsmen opened fire on a crowd of Kent State students protesting the Vietnam War. They killed four and wounded nine. To this day, I still struggle to understand what happened and why. A Simplified Summary of The War The Second Indochina War, more commonly known as the Vietnam war probably began before World War II. But Japan’s invasion, defeat, and subsequent withdrawal from Vietnam left the nation vulnerable.  Communist-leaning, Ho Chi Minh claimed the northern city of Hanoi to be the capital of the Democratic Republic of Viet Nam, and appointed himself president. The French, wanting to reclaim control, backed Emperor Bao Dai. Saigon became the capitol of the state of Viet Nam. They wanted a country with close economic and cultural ties to the […]

You Are Strong Enough

After all we’ve been through as individuals and a nation, we’re all tired. Even if we have hope, we’re stress fatigued. No matter how tired you are of all that’s happened. You are strong enough. Yes, we have months to go before we have a handle on the pandemic. Longer for economic and racial injustices to be corrected. Even longer to restore some sense of national unity. It’s exhausting. But we are strong. All of us—You are strong enough to get through this. Strength is one of those things you’re supposed to have. You don’t feel that you have it at the time you’re going through it. Joan Didion Problems are not the problem; coping is the problem. Virginia Satir Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength. Arnold Schwarzenegger Being vulnerable is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. Karamo Brown Strength and compassion are not mutually exclusive. Robert Kiyosaki Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven’t half the strength you think they have. Norman Vincent Peale But standing up to […]