Darnell L. Moore Discusses the Black and LGBT Community with CSI Students
By: Anes Ahmed
In commemoration of Black History Month, a series of events have been organized by the campus departments to celebrate the rich history and identity of black communities.
On February 7th, 2019, the College of Staten Island invited the activist and author Darnell L. Moore to speak and engage with the full crowd of students and faculty about the contemporary struggles of the black and LGBT culture.
Reading segments from his newly published title, “No Ashes in the Fire: Coming of Age Black and Free in America,” Moore recalls the memories and experiences of when he first came to terms with his sexuality and circumstance.
Being raised in Camden, New Jersey, the environment and streets that Moore grew up in were laced in poverty, violence, and corruption.
Having a strong and loving mother that supported his decisions at an early, Moore was able to exhibit himself much more openly. In a personal and intimate section read by Moore from his book, Moore discusses the first moment he truly discovered himself.
An excerpt from his book states: “During my late adolescence, never once did a doctor ask me, while administering an HIV test, if I experienced love or rejection, connection or estrangement. It didn’t matter that Billy was beautiful and kind…Humans feel, but subjects report.”
From his first sexual experience with a man at a young age, to revealing to his mother about his identity, Moore’s stories and anecdotes are a prime example and journey of the trials of an African American coming to terms with himself and society.
That same society in which sets expectations to people of all colors, creeds and faiths. The same one that when Moore was fourteen years old, it allowed three boys from Moore’s neighborhood pour gasoline on him and attempt to light him on fire due to his identity.
Barely surviving, that event served to push Moore to advocate for justice and liberation through the telling of his experiences and learnings.
Today, Darnell Moore is currently is Head of Strategy and Programs at Breakthrough US, the former Editor-at-Large at CASSIUS, and a senior editor and correspondent at Mic. He is co-managing editor at The Feminist Wire and an editor of The Feminist Wire Books from the U. of Arizona Press.
He is also a writer-in-residence at the Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice at Columbia University.
Quoting from Moore’s memoir: “No more ashes. No more fires. Only love. And the unbridled urgency to build a world where the edges are imagined as the starting place for black liberation now and always.”
Moore told the present students at the reading that it is essential for the acknowledgement of self-love and the spread understanding.
Throughout the discussion with the attendees of the event, students expressed and questioned the themes of sexuality, family/friends, and the black experience.
Students recounted their own personal experiences and coming to terms with themselves and their origins, and how they should navigate their backgrounds to empower themselves.
Throughout the entire event, Darnell Moore exposed students to his intricate and developed perspective of both being a queer African American man in America and coming to terms with that identity.
More events in relation to Black History Month will be occurring throughout February and will be posted on the college’s website.