This Black Queer Life Matters
Team Member: Nikhil Umesh
Mark Smith wrote -
A 19 year-old Black & Queer youth needs your help to avoid homelessness and getting swept up in a violent system. He has suffered enough at the hands of his violently homophobic "Christian" family. It was a year ago that his mother first kicked him out, but he focused on finishing his nursing pre-requisites at UNC and earned top grades, despite the circumstances. After this past school year, student housing went away and he lived with his cousin and aunt for a short time, until his mother told them not to help him. A couple of days ago, they kicked him out and I heard from him on a bench outside a Food Lion, where he was prepared to sleep for the night.
He has had to withdraw from UNC due to the financial and emotional stress of this situation. His plan is to enroll at Wake Technical Community College in Cary and continue on his path to nursing there, where it is more affordable. He just secured a full-time job at a fast food restaurant in Cary, and is interviewing for a second job at Wal-Mart.
But, he needs help and time to get on his feet and build some security. He has no biological family to fall back on anymore. It takes a lot to go from being a first-year college student to being completely independent and self-sufficient.
He is working with some folks to budget, find helpful resources, and plan for a safe and secure future that allows him to be stable and pursue his dream of nursing.
To protect his identity, I will not share his name. Here's what you should know. He is 19. He is bright, caring, charismatic, humble, kind, hilarious, optimistic, and hurting. He has watched his family and much of his community turn their backs on him, and he needs to feel love and support rise up around him so that he can survive this traumatic time in his life. He will be a fantastic nurse, probably taking care of someone you know in the coming years.
Queer and trans youth of color are disproportionately homeless and incarcerated in our community and across the United States as a result of violent systems that target them daily and relentlessly. With your support, he can rise above these systems. Knowing him, he would find a way to rise above even without your support. But as humans, I think we need to lift each other up.
This is a chance for you to declare with your money that Black Lives Do Matter, that All Black Lives Matter. And that means Black Queer & Trans Lives Matter. And that means that This Black Queer Life Matters.
He knows we are trying to raise some funds for him, but that is all he knows. Let's overwhelm him with love and support.
Here is a rough outline of the goal we arrived at for this fundraiser:
• $400 - 1st Month's Security Deposit
• $400 - 1st Month's Rent
• $400 - Approx. 4 months Utilities
• $500 - Approx. 4 months Car Insurance
• $240 - Approx. 4 months Cellphone Bill
• $400 - Approx. 2 months Groceries
• $255 - Towing Fees
• $700 - Car Repairs
• $200 - Gasoline
• $400 - Legal Fees Associated with Pursuing Child Support (owed to him until the age of 21 per New York law)
• $500 - Miscellaneous
• $605 - Safety Fund
• $4000 - Financial Assistance toward Wake Technical Community College Fall Semester
Donating through CrowdRise means 1-3% of the total donations will go to crowdrise.com. If you wish to avoid this small fee and ensure that 100% of your money goes to this youth, then you can just send funds to me directly through Venmo (@Mark85ray) or Facebook. Let me know if you have any questions at all.
And, thank you. Thank you for not abandoning him when others have. Thank you for demonstrating to him that his life really does matter.