In the Spring of 2016, Twitter user @wondermann5, a queer Black writer and comic book creator, began tweeting the hashtag #GayMediaSoWhite.
This hashtag was a riff on the popular #OscarsSoWhite hashtag (created by media strategist and inclusion advocate, April Reign), and was created to call-out the lack of people of color featured in the most popular Gay Media publications of that time.
That moment inspired Chief Esparza to begin forming the first iteration of what would eventually become Color Bloq. The idea was to build a community project dedicated to sharing the vast experiences of Queer & Trans People of Color (QTPoC) through an online community magazine and in-person community events.
The first Collection was published on April 1, 2017; the first Kickback was held on July 22, 2018.
Over the next several years, along with Niq D. Johnson, PhD, Nic Perales, and Sean-Paul Rocero — not to mention a half-dozen other collaborators who joined in the storytelling project for a time — the project grew to become a crucial publication and community events space for QTPoC storytelling and discourse of that time.
The growing catalog of work highlighting community voices continued to advance the project’s commitment to storytelling and narrative change.
By the summer of 2019, it was time for something new. The project became an organization, cofounded by Chief, Niq, Nic, and Sean-Paul, and renamed as Color Bloq: The Stories of Us.
With the same central purpose, Color Bloq was constructed as a literary journal, archive, and convening of Queer & Trans BIPOC stories, creating generative opportunities for worldbuilding through thought, conversation, and narrative change.
The Co-founders knew they could do this even by elevating stories in that space between the joyful and the mundane.
It has been over 6 years since the idea was first sparked. The time since then has been highly volatile for queer publishing and media, with many brands, names, and organizations closing their doors or becoming more mainstream in their focus.
Yet through all of that, Color Bloq remains committed to its mission, and dedicated to reaching all corners of the QTBIPOC community.
And like that first publication in 2017, the organization continues to work with the understanding that as Queer & Trans BIPOC, we are more than our trauma, we dare to joy.