Message from our Board Chair Chase Kincannon

MESSAGE FROM OUR BOARD CHAIR CHASE KINCANNON

Ours is a difficult time.

It seems to me that this short sentence can be laid claim by any generation of our community. Today is no exception. And I am no exception. In light of recent events, I am angry, but there are things we can do as advocates of the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce to implement positive change in our community.

In this newsletter, we are providing resources to help you take action, but first, allow me to share some thoughts from my perspective.

I posit that the collective nerves of the nation were shot long before COVID-19 arrived. Long before Amy Cooper, George Floyd, or Tony McDade. These are symptoms of a nation plagued by a constant stream of hate for decades – if not centuries – in our country, but especially for me in the last three years.

Like most of you, I have been watching and feeling the increasing unrest these last days, weeks, and months. No matter which way I turn, I see injustice, cries of racism, discrimination, fear, and hatred. And now, widespread violence amid a pandemic of epic and historical proportions.

My natural response is to point to our country’s lack of leadership and lay blame. To point to the terrible cops and the terrible training they may or may not have received.

But, I ask, what good comes from this finger-pointing? What can I do? How does my voice in a protest, my blacked-out social media, my angry Facebook post actually make a difference? What will change in a week, a month, a year because of my actions today?

Widespread systemic change happens because We The People organize, plan, and put relentless pressure on the system for however long it takes. Elections, court decisions, and new laws often mark our successes as we continue to fight for equity, for equality, for our rights. However, these are only the indicators – the results – of hard-fought battles waged for months or years. If we want to be the change that happens, we need to settle in and join the ranks of those who have been planning, fighting, and chipping away at the broken system already.

Since joining the Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce, I’ve learned that the mission and vision we present is pretty inarguable. Find me someone in today’s business world who publicly opposes LGBT rights and I’ll show you a business that’s famous for all the wrong reasons. We’ve shifted the status quo: Big Business knows that supporting the LGBT community is Good Business. It is, of course, The Right Thing To Do, and now it’s Profitable, to boot. This did not happen by accident. It happened because we organized, got brave, and fought our fight for decades. Not to mention, it all started with Small Business, but that’s another Letter from the Chair…

Destruction is easy. Go build a house, then go tear one down, and tell me which process you found easier. Our challenge is to keep building the society we envision.

Leadership is the most essential quality required to organize a movement, to keep its momentum, to rally its supporters. But good, strong leadership is nowhere to be found in our highest offices of government. They lack the most important key to success, and we can exploit that weakness. We need you to join the ranks of a well-led organized movement, and I’m going to tell you how you can do that.

If you’re truly serious about being part of the mission to stop the hate, check out this document that is a resource to help connect people to anti-racism work. If you haven’t engaged in equality work in the past, start now. These organizations need your help and involvement. You may not know what gifts you have to give until you start a conversation, but believe me, you can be part of this thing and in a bigger way than you think. Get involved, stay involved, and show the haters that you’re not going anywhere until our organized, collective voice is heard. #BlackLivesMatter #LGBTLivesMatter

Chase Kincannon
Board Chair
Austin LGBT Chamber of Commerce

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