This issue is very special to us here at Hopelab. Well, all issues of HopeIRL are special to us, but this one seems particularly important right now.
As I write this letter, we are in the midst of a global pandemic. COVID-19 has killed more than 200 thousand people in America and 1 million worldwide. As people fight for their lives, we also fight to protect Black lives. A recent New York Times article, with data from four national polls, reported that 15 to 26 million people in the U.S. have participated in demonstrations, protesting the murders of Black Americans, making this the largest movement in this country’s history. Meanwhile, we’ve reached another grim milestone within the transgender community. The number of transgender people murdered in 2020 has already surpassed the total for all of 2019. Violence against transgender and non-binary Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) is an epic crisis.
That’s why this issue of HopeIRL is so important, right now.
The voices of the queer community, especially BIPOC voices, must be heard.
These are your voices.
We are listening.
HopeIRL was created to give a platform to young people to express what’s on their minds and in their hearts. It’s a place for you to feel safe in vulnerability, to be accepted within and lifted up by a community of your peers. The content in this zine is by young people for young people. And we hope it serves that purpose.
Issue two is dear to the Hopelab team because of its unapologetic self-expression and ability to amplify the voices we serve. We call our newest project “milk,” as an ode to the late San Francisco supervisor, and gay rights activist, Harvey Milk. It focuses on the development of science-backed tech to help queer teens and young adults live happier, healthier lives. Our hope is that we can co-create something that will build up resilience and bolster the mental health of LGBTQ+ youth. If you’re interested in learning more, check out https://hopelab.lgbt/ for more information.
As a white, heterosexual, cisgender woman, my voice doesn’t really have a place here. But as a storyteller, feminist, ally, mother, and accomplice for change, know that I walk with you and will lift up your voices, champion your stories, and protect your community. Every night, to encourage my daughter and let her know she is loved and cared for, I say to her these words: “Be good, learn lots, have fun, do your best, and you are loved.” In the same spirit, to you, I say, “Be safe, get loud, stay woke, practice self-care, and your stories matter.”
Robin Raskob is Editor-in-Chief of HopeIRL.