Quick Facts About Our Realities

These are some of the hard truths we face in our modern existence as LGBTQ+ people and as people of color.
According to the Williams Institute at UCLA, LGBTQ+ people are NINE TIMES more likely to be victims of violent hate crimes than non-LGBTQ+ people, and “LGBT violent hate crime victims are more likely to be younger, have a relationship with their assailant, and have an assailant who is white.” (source)
As of June 1, 2023 — the first day of Pride Month — the ACLU is tracking 491 anti-LGBTQ+ bills in the US, including restrictions on medical care, 1st Amendment speech, and educational materials. (source)
California reported a record number of hate crimes in 2022, with increases against Black (up 12.5%), Latine/x (30%), and Asian (177%) communities. Hate crimes involving sexual orientation were up 48%. (source)
According to a report in the Washington Post, “Experiences of racial discrimination are consistently linked with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, substance use and PTSD, as well as physical ailments such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.” (source)
Santa Barbara County is not immune to hate: Black and Latine/x students protest hate in their schools (source), and LGBTQ+ Pride flags are destroyed from family homes. (source)

Why Center Queer & Trans People of Color?

Just some of the reasons why our work is critical to the survival, wellbeing, and dignity of people of color in the LGBTQ+ community.

“In most domains of health and social and economic well-being, LGBT people of color (POC) fared worse than White LGBT people. The analyses of economic outcomes show a consistent advantage experienced by White LGBT people. Fewer White than POC LGBT adults reported experiencing food insecurity, unemployment, use of Medicaid for health insurance, and living in a low-income household.”

The Williams Institute at UCLA, January 2022

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“LGBTQ people of color (PoC) face higher rates of mistreatment in employment, the criminal justice system, and their personal lives than their white LGBTQ counterparts. LGBTQ PoC reported experiencing some form of discrimination at a rate 12 percentage points higher than white LGBTQ respondents—43 percent compared with 31 percent. The areas with the most evident disparities: health care, housing, their economic status, and avoidance behavior in public spaces when seeking out services.

Center for American Progress, June 2021

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“Black sexual minority men reported the highest levels of racial/ethnic stigma in LGBT spaces, and White sexual minority men reported the lowest levels. Connection to LGBT community plays a more central role in mediating minority stress processes for White sexual minority men than it does for sexual minority men of color. POC participants may be more accustomed to dealing with experiences of stigma, or may rely on more diverse community affiliations to manage minority stress.”

Community Psychology, Division 27 of the American Psychological Association

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“The combination of racial discrimination with gender and/or sexual orientation discrimination is significantly associated with increased odds of a past-year mental health disorder.” This is expo-nentially worse for LGBTQ people of color, who face disproportionate odds of suicidality, which is linked to discrimination. For example, while 12% of white LGBTQ youth attempted suicide, the rate is 31% for LGBTQ Native/Indigenous youth, 21% for LGBTQ Black youth and 18% of LGBTQ Latinx youth.”

What We Know Project, Cornell University, via Philadelphia Gay News, July 2021

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“LGBTQ PoC need support. But they don't always get it — because the LGBTQ movement at large has had different priorities. Namely, organizing around the fight for marriage equality. "When you're continuing as a community to face discrimination, harassment, even violence," Isaiah Wilson, external affairs director at The National Black Justice Coalition explains, "marriage is a luxury. Surviving, being able to participate in community, being able to provide for our families — if I can't do that, who's thinking about a marriage certificate?"

NPR, November 2017

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“Due to discrimination combined with a lack of workplace protections, unequal job benefits and taxation, and unsafe, under-resourced U.S. schools, LGBT people of color face extraordinarily high rates of unemployment and poverty. LGBT youth of color are at high risk of becoming homeless; LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of being unemployed; LGBT workers of color are at significant risk of poverty.”

The Movement Advancement Project

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Where We are Creating Change

Pride & Joy programming is intentionally designed to nurture impact in our communities.
On the case for rest for people of color.

““Grind culture has normalized pushing our bodies to the brink of destruction,” [Tricia Hersey] writes in the book [Rest is Resistance]. “We proudly proclaim showing up to work or an event despite an injury, sickness, or mental break. We are praised and rewarded for ignoring our body’s need for rest, care, and repair.”

The Nap Ministry is not a religious movement, she said, but a spiritual antidote to the very earthly problems that are plaguing communities: exhaustion, chronic diseases and mental health crises, issues she sees as arising from systems of capitalism and white supremacism.

Indeed, the concept of getting sufficient rest for good health is not new, and it’s well known that Black people are operating under a dangerous sleep deficit in America. In a 2020 survey of behavioral habits, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that nearly 44 percent of Black adults reported having short sleep duration (defined as less than 7 hours per night) compared with 31 percent of white adults. Lack of rest is correlated with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure — diseases that disproportionately affect Black people.”

The Nap Bishop Is Spreading the Good Word: Rest.
Tricia Hersey, founder of the Nap Ministry, sees rest as a revolutionary way to push back on America’s obsession with productivity at all costs. by Melonyce McAfee. The New York Times. October 13, 2022.

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On the case for intergenerational dialogue for people of color.

“The parents and elders of people of color have likely experienced discriminatory treatment, and more severe forms of it, that affected their health. Asking the older generations how they dealt with it and how they think people of color can move forward — if they are willing to share their experiences — “can instill a sense of hope for a better tomorrow,” [Helen Neville, a professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign] said. Older generations “have not only survived, but they have thrived.”

Developing a sense of pride in one’s heritage and what it has contributed to the world can also boost well-being, Neville and Concepcion said.”

People of color face significant barriers to mental health services.
Racism and stigma make it harder for people of color to get services, and it’s gotten worse during the coronavirus pandemic.

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On the case for community models of mental health and self care.

“Living in a world that is not just, equitable, or safe has reinforced why many psychologists of color choose to think deeply and be more intentional about how they practice self-care.

What does it mean to nurture yourself and your community in the face of ongoing discrimination, internal and societal messages that say you must work extra hard to prove your worth, and social structures that continue to favor people who have more resources, higher social status, or a particular skin color?

“For those of us who are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, there are extra layers that exhaust us and that we don’t have any other choice but to navigate—racism, oppression, interlocking forms of dehumanization,” said Hector Y. Adames, PsyD, a professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology and director of its Immigration, Critical Race, and Cultural Equity Lab (IC-RACE Lab). “Because of that, it’s so vital that we deeply think about how to take care of ourselves and each other.”

To illuminate what self-care might look like for people of color, Adames and other psychologists have amassed a rich set of ideas, pursuits, and messages related to this topic. Among them: Self-care should incorporate one’s community, values, and culture. It sometimes means challenging what’s considered normal. It includes a mandate to set boundaries. And it’s about claiming joy, pleasure, and rest despite a legacy of oppression.”

For psychologists of color, self-care is much more than that.
Building community, living by your values, standing up to injustices—these are more likely to top the list of self-care pursuits for psychologists of color than individualistic activities.

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On the case for culturally relevant approaches to mental health for people of color.

“There are stark racial inequities in mental health in the United States. A statewide minority health agency in the US state of Indiana, sought to find an evidence-based, culturally relevant mental health promotion program for their affiliates after finding a dearth of options appropriately for the communities of color they served. Therefore, the agency led a collaboration with community-based minority health affiliate agencies and two researchers to design, implement, and evaluate a mental health promotion program prioritizing people of color. 

The first implementation cycle in 2016 yielded a low sample size, so the program was implemented in 2018. A mixed method evaluation assessed participant outcomes and implementation processes. Matched pre, post, and eight-week follow-up assessments measured participant changes in knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors; and usage of skill-building tools. Educator and observer reflection checklists completed at every site for every session and ten semi-structured interviews of educators were triangulated to evaluate implementation processes. Statistically significant improvements showed positive results for participants using tools such as mindful breathing and imagery outside of the program in their everyday lives. 

Qualitative data further supported these findings with data illustrating patterns of self-reflection and application of program material. Educator and observer data also revealed appreciation for the curriculum, perception of benefit for participants, lack of fidelity, and time management challenges. Results suggest this program warrants further research as a promising practice for community-based, mental health promotion prioritizing people of color to ultimately contribute to reduction in disparities in mental health.”

Community-led mental health promotion for people of color in the United States.

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On the case for the impact of social connections on mental health.

“A study published in Quality of Life Research explored the relationship between health and self-reported racial discrimination among adults living in New York City. Among those who reported experiencing racial discrimination, more frequent social contact was associated with a decreased likelihood of suffering poor mental health.

Scientific research has linked exposure to racial discrimination to adverse health outcomes, including obesity, asthma, poor mental health, and mortality. A new study by Genevieve Bergeron and her team aimed to uncover whether social relationships might decrease a person’s likelihood of suffering these negative health consequences.

“Exploring the moderating effect of social relationships on racial discrimination and health-related outcomes is of particular interest because it represents a modifiable behavior amenable to public health intervention,” Bergeron and colleagues say.” 

Social relationships can buffer negative mental health consequences associated with racial discrimination

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On the case for different understandings of mental health for people of color.

“Modern political developments that encroach upon the lands and rights of Native Americans are traumatizing, Gray said. And on average, less than 50% of Native Americans finish high school — education is one of the determinants of the quality of one’s mental and physical health.

Latinx people also face discrimination, in their case based on their languages, ethnicity and class, said Jasmine Mena, an assistant professor of psychology and affiliated faculty in Latin American studies at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania.

“The impact on their mental health is never positive,” Mena said. “It impacts self-esteem and substance use, and it’s associated with many (negative) outcomes.”

Political events and discourse regarding immigration can be harmful to mental health even for those who are documented, because they still become targets, Mena said.

Black people have higher rates of depression, anxiety and sleep and digestive problems, studies have found. Racially discriminatory events have led Black people to be in a state of high arousal — which means a heightened level of situational awareness and vigilance, said Helen Neville, a professor of educational psychology and African American studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.”

People of color face significant barriers to mental health services.
Racism and stigma make it harder for people of color to get services, and it’s gotten worse during the coronavirus pandemic.

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On the case for joy for Black people.

“The act of celebrating Black Joy creates space to resist this culture of oppression by finally allowing the feelings of joy to be wholly experienced as its very own act of resistance. 

No matter the mode of creative self expression one might choose, the Black Joy movement supports the mindset of being rebelliously joyous. Society has tried to take away joyous moments from Black People, and even as work continues to be done to dismantle systems of inequality, rejoicing in Blackness is one of the most powerful and necessary things you can do. 

Black Joy can be seen as a healing mechanism. It gives people a breath of fresh air amidst the overload of traumatic posts and events. Joy can help heal.  Even if you don’t identify as Black, you can celebrate Black Joy by amplifying Black voices and by promoting Black creativity and culture. You can join informative conversations that educate and celebrate Blackness. 

“Being secure and taking pride in our Blackness is an important element in healing from racial trauma and continuing to fight against systems of oppression,” [said] talkspace therapist Ashley Ertel, LCSW, BCD, C-DBT.”

Exploring Black Joy & Why It’s Important for Mental Health.

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On the case for empowering young people of color.

“A new report from Mental Health America shows white children with depression are more likely to receive mental health counseling than their Black, Hispanic and Asian counterparts. Permanente child and adolescent psychiatrist Asha Patton-Smith, MD, spoke with Public News Service about mental health disparities for children of color and why mental health services are more important than ever.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than a third of all high school students reported persistent feelings of sadness or hopelessness in 2019, a pre-pandemic statistic which was already up 40% from 2009. Dr. Patton-Smith said Black children and young adults of color also may face social stigmas around mental health that discourage them from seeking help.

"In the African American community and the Latinx community, we still have a long way to go," Dr. Patton-Smith said. "There's still challenges in understanding that depression, anxiety and mood issues are not character flaws, they're not personal weaknesses."”

A Psychiatrist Explains Mental Health Disparities for Children of Color.

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On the case for improving access to nature for people of color.

“In North America, 80 percent of the population is urban. Ensuring that urban residents have access to natural spaces and beaches can provide them with a central meeting place, give neighborhoods a unique identity and foster a connection with nature. For people with limited transportation, accessible public spaces are vital. Studies have demonstrated that youth in low-income neighborhoods rely more heavily on local public spaces and use them more frequently than youth in affluent neighborhoods. Yet the amount of available public spaces in low-income neighborhoods fails to account for this need. 

This year, summer has arrived in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, and there has been a push for people to either stay home or stay local;but requiring people to stay home bars many Americans from access to nature. In Los Angeles, studies of minority neighborhoods revealed fewer than two acres of park space per 1,000 people, compared to more than 31 acres in white neighborhoods. A Baltimore study found that although Black people had easier access to parks, white people had access to more parkland within walking distance. This results in high congestion at predominantly Black parks;which in light of the Covid-19 virus, we know raises the risks posed in accessing these crowded public areas. 

The California Coastal Commission defines environmental justice as “the fair treatment of people of all races, cultures, and incomes with respect to the development, adoption, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies.” The Surfrider Foundation has long fought for fair and equitable beach access for all, and we recognize that for many people, particularly Black people in America, equitable beach access has not been the case. As we continue to seek ways to safely enjoy the outdoors, we must prioritize principles of equity and inclusion, and how this pandemic might be deepening the systemically and historically ingrained divide between BIPOC and access to nature. It is important, now more than ever, that we recognize this divide as unfair and inequitable, and that we advocate for public access for all.  Surfrider is committed to doing so through our beach access initiative.  Surfrider strives to support inclusive beach access by bringing inland or underserved community members to visit the beach every year.”

Confronting Racial Inequity in Beach Access.

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On the case for the relationships between physical health and access to nature.

“That opportunity to take a moment in nature is something many researchers have increasingly identified as valuable for people’s mental and physical health. But a new report underscores a reality that many Black and brown Americans have recognized for years: In the United States, people of color live in places with less immediate access to nature than white people do. The report, led by the Hispanic Access Foundation and the Center for American Progress, found that communities of color are almost three times more likely than white communities to live in “nature deprived” areas, those that have less or no access to parks, paths, and green spaces.

Historical racism in housing practices, city planning, and institutions has shaped the pattern, which has been well documented for decades. But its effects are particularly damaging this summer. During COVID-19-related restrictions, access to outdoor recreation has emerged as a crucial component of people’s emotional and physical wellbeing. At the same time, it has become increasingly obvious that Black and brown Americans are unsafe in many of the country’s public spaces. …

Natural spaces are good for our brains, too. One study South led found that community members reported better mental-health status after vacant lots in their neighborhoods were cleaned up and carefully planted. The simple act of walking past a natural-feeling space, even if it’s not pristine, can lower heart rates and reduce stress. Walks in nature, another study showed, left people with clinical depression feeling happier than they did after a walk in an environment with more concrete, and improved their short-term memory. Yet another study suggested that 90-minute nature walks could potentially help stave off depression.

Early exposure to the natural world can have profound effects on children, adds Luis Villa, the executive director of Latino Outdoors. The streets of his childhood neighborhood in Los Angeles were lined with fruit trees that birds fluttered around, and his family spent Sunday mornings at a nearby park. Even those small glimpses of the natural world influenced him profoundly, leading him toward conservation and environmental issues as a career path.”

How ‘nature deprived’ neighborhoods impact the health of people of color. 
Green spaces make people healthier and happier, but decades of systemic racism have left many people of color living in areas without access to nature.

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On the case for engaging communities of color in climate change policy.

“The research on the intersection of racial wealth inequality and climate change continues to emerge.

But there’s more research available on the climate gap—how people of color and low-income households will be hit hardest by the consequences of climate change—that gives us insight into the problem.

Economic factors are pivotal in explaining this uneven distribution. … The pervasive racial wealth gap makes it harder to make sure climate change solutions are distributed equitably.

Gerald Torres, professor of environmental justice at Yale University, says inclusive climate change solutions should increase the climate resilience of marginalized communities at risk, and they should include them in proposed solutions.

“As we move to transform the energy side of our economy, how can we do that and not leave some communities behind?” Torres says. He describes how solutions like improving infrastructure will have effects on other aspects of society, including where the funding will come from and how they’ll transform transit and jobs. “All of these issues will have a differential impact based on wealth.”

The APHA outlines potential ways to achieve health equity and climate resilience. Those strategies include bringing awareness to inequities, increasing community engagement and allocating more funding toward initiatives like infrastructure investments in historically neglected communities.”

How Communities Of Color Are Hurt Most By Climate Change.

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More About Pride & Joy

The idea for SBP&J was developed in a thoughtful, considerate process focused on community and joy.
Why "Pride & Joy"? What is that?

Pride is the journey every LGBTQ+ person is on; joy is our purpose, and it is what we deserve. Throughout the year, we are often asked to be political, to work for change, to mind the headlines in the news. But that isn't sustainable. Joy is what sustains us — joy is the endgame, the reason we do what we do. Toni Morrison once said, “It’s not possible to constantly hold onto crisis. You have to have the love and you have to have the magic. That’s also life.” Our communities deserve to live with joy, not just struggle. Plus, our collaborating partner, ColorBloq.org has it as their tagline: "We are more than our trauma, we dare to joy."

What's your pitch; tell me in 30 seconds what this looks like?

The LGBTQ+ community in Santa Barbara is asking for more, and it deserves more. In one 4-day weekend event during LGBTQ+ History Month, we are going to accomplish 5 things: 1) Highlight joy as a necessary part of what sustains us, 2) Build connections in Santa Barbara and across the West Coast, 3) Elevate the diversity and expansiveness of the LGBTQ+ community, 4) Create events and space for the LGBTQ+ community that don't exist elsewhere on the calendar, and 5) show the gift of possibility in what we can create and do together.

Why did you pick October?

We’ll be honest: Santa Barbara in October is beautiful. The weather is still warm, the skies are clear, and it’s still room temperature outside at night. But there are important reasons why we chose October. We get to push Pride Season all the way into fall. And we get to do it with one of the largest groups within Santa Barbara’s LGBTQ+ community: UCSB and SB City College students, who aren’t in session together until the end of September. But what else is important? October is LGBTQ+ History Month; it is Filipino American History Month; it’s still Latino/a/e Heritage Month; it’s the home of Indigenous Peoples’ Day and World Mental Health Day. The date is intentional. When we talk about making sure we reach all corners of our community, we mean it.

Is Santa Barbara ready for this?

In talking with community members over the last year, we found that there is a demand for more: more art, more collaboration, more community building, and more joy. This event is a response to the community's needs. And it is an attempt to braid these needs with the reality of where we live: Santa Barbara is a gorgeous place to live and visit, and we can share that, highlight that, and build connections, with this community as our backdrop.

Is this divisive? Are you dividing the community?

There is no single way to be a member of the LGBTQ+ community. Our lives are different. Our experiences are different. Our needs, wants, and desires are different. That means it is impossible to create one event, one place, or one organization that covers the vastness of our communities. A stereotype says we can all be served by one approach. Seeing us as individuals who form a community asks us to use all the tools available to meet the needs of those individuals from where they are. We don't believe in scarcity and limitations of identity — we believe in abundance and expansiveness.

Why another Pride festival?

This is about Pride — and Joy. There is so much to explore; LGBTQ+ culture is rich, diverse, and expansive. Just like there are more coffee shops than Starbucks even in a small community like Santa Barbara, we believe there is room for more than one LGBTQ+ event on the calendar. And, at the end of the day, we are certain that LGBTQ+ people in our community deserve more than one time of year to celebrate our history, culture, and connections to each other. Joy should be a year-round thing, and we are motivated by that truth.

How are you different?

We want to build community up and down the West Coast. We want to show off our hometown to LGBTQ+ community leaders and organizations, and establish connections between the people here and those builders from other cities. And we want to do it by highlighting the communities that are too often left out of leadership, decision-making, and event planning roles in the LGBTQ+ community: Black, Latino, Indigenous, Asian, Middle Eastern, and Pacific Islander communities. Equity asks us to do things differently.

What experience do you have?

The core planning committee has experience in event planning and logistics, community organizing, life, health, & executive coaching, nonprofit management, arts and entertainment, education, financial planning & accounting, publishing, Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, and more. Plus, we are collaborating with ColorBloq.org, a narrative change publication and events space that has partnered with hundreds of LGBTQ+ voices and organizations over the last 6 years. Color Bloq has co-produced events at AfroTech, and in partnership with The Transgender District, Blue Cross Blue Shield of California, and tech firms like Twitter, Unity, Instrument, and more. We are a group of community builders and community leaders, diverse, inclusive, and overflowing with excellence.

What is your story?

Two community builders in Santa Barbara share a basic value, and when they met, they knew they had to work together. Vivian Storm and Chief Esparza carry this understanding with them: “We do this for community, not for clout.” Vivian spends her time building with others, and curating spaces where joy can thrive. Community is central to her work. As she will tell you, community doesn’t just happen. “We have to work for it.” Chief believes we can nurture a renewed sense of community in Santa Barbara, and connect this city to others, in a way that feels like home to people most often excluded from conventional LGBTQ+ narratives, celebrations, and organizations. “Let’s tell the story of all corners of our community.” As community builders do, they are bringing together a team of creators to continue making something new, something LGBTQ+ people in Santa Barbara — and all over the West Coast — deserve. Joined by Terra Cobian, Carlos Mendez (aka Angel D’Mon), and René García Hernández, this group is showcasing their combined experiences and talents to break ground on an idea whose time has come.