I am doing something that I said I wasn’t going to do. I am throwing my two cents in regarding the United Lesbians of African Heritage (ULOAH) drama that has unfolded very publicly by way of email over the past 72 hours.
I have had a personal issue with ULOAH for at least the last two years. I was disappointed in the lack of visibility the organization had and its silence on critical issues facing the Black lesbian population in this country.
While I know that everyone isn’t political, there are sometimes when by nature of your mission statement, you just have to get involved and ULOAH was MIA.
Now whose fault that is I don’t know and I am not going to point fingers.
So to date, ULOAH’s annual Sistahfest has been cancelled. There are apparently pending charges of fraud against former and/or current board members and founders. Lisa Powell, the executive director quit or was fired, depending on who you ask. And now, there’s an email pleading for “letters of support” for ULOAH to help “save ULOAH.”
In my eyes, ULOAH was always an elitist organization for older Black lesbians. Again, like I said, in my eyes.
In the past several years, while ULOAH has received numerous awards and grants, I have not seen any real effort on its behalf to be in the community for Black lesbians. A lot has happened. There were the marriage amendments, the Black pastors coming down on lesbians and gays, there were prides and other events, and ULOAH, a national organization wasn’t there. About the only time I heard from ULOAH was when it was time for Sistahfest, and that quite frankly isn’t right.
I wrote an article for a Black newspaper here in Los Angeles and told an abbreviated version of my coming out story. The next day after it was published, I received an email from a 17-year-old Black lesbian who I then befriended because I felt like she could use a “big sister” and there’s no such entity like that in Los Angeles for younger Black lesbians.
That’s what I am talking about when I say where is ULOAH.
I once spoke at a ULOAH event designed to bring together younger sistahs. This must have been two years ago. In my eyes, not much has happened since then in terms of reaching out to younger women.
While I have no interest in getting involved in the ULOAH drama, I will say this.
I hope that ULOAH and all parties involved can manage to put their differences aside for the betterment of ULOAH and the people you claim to represent and bring it back to its former glory with new blood. We do need ULOAH and we need Sistahfest. As Black lesbians, we have so few spaces and organizations that are all about us. For some Black lesbians, Sistahfest is the only time they get to be out or interact with other Black lesbians. Don’t take that away.