The following is an interview by Camp Magazine correspondent Bethany Cain with Lucky Garcia.
Our Kansas City lesbian community is vibrant with people who commit their lives to making a difference. One of these generous people is Lucky Garcia, a local activist and web developer extraordinaire who spends most of her time helping others. We asked her some questions about herself and recent events, and here’s what she had to say.
Tell me about yourself. Are you from Kansas City? How did you end up here?
I’m originally from Colorado, but I have lived in Kansas City for about 12 years. I moved here to take a promotion in the military … and for a woman who was my partner for 10 years. The things we do for love! I am a combat veteran and served in the Army for eight years. After returning from Iraq, I completed my undergraduate degree in computer science and business management. I am currently self-employed and work in software and technology consulting, where we exclusively work with nonprofits, community organizations, small businesses and artists. Kansas City has really grown on me, and I’ve come to love it!
You’re involved with multiple organizations. Can you name and describe them?
I’ve been involved in several feminist, anarchist, anti-fascist, anti-racist and peace groups over the last several years, including Occupy KC, Veterans for Peace, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Food Not Bombs, One Struggle KC and Una Lucha KC. I do a lot of public speaking on veterans’ rights, sexual assault in the military and LGBT rights, as well as trying to bridge the gaps between these organizations and continually educating and creating dialogue around intersectionality within these and similar groups.
Is there a particular organization that you’ve seen grow/progress the most in the time that you’ve been involved?
I’ve been amazed at the growth of local anti-racist and Movement for Black Lives groups like One Struggle KC and Showing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ). Many of the people who were on the front lines, in Ferguson, created #BlackLivesMatter, and founded One Struggle KC were badass queer women. It is very empowering to see women on the forefront of the local and greater anti-racist work. I’ve seen One Struggle KC grow so much in the last two years due to their passionate commitment to people of colorand relentless drive to educate and organize the community, while trying to hold our local authorities accountable. From 2005 to 2015, the Kansas City police have killed 47 people and have had zero indictments. … White supremacy is systemic and only growing. This is why the Movement for Black Lives is so important. I look forward to destroying this and other state-perpetrated violence alongside other people of color and our white accomplices. I have no interest or time for respectability politics when we have militarized police literally hunting down and killing people of color and getting away with it. White apathy only upholds white supremacy.
Do you have a particular person/organization/movement/progression that you’d like to highlight?
I have so many stories! The women with One Struggle KC have bailed me out of jail multiple times after being arrested at police-brutality protests and have personally cared for both my physical AND psychological wounds inflicted by Kansas City police, and they continue to do so for many others. Additionally, One Struggle KC and Una Lucha KC host regular community healing spaces, forums and educational events for dealing with the racist police violence. … Another group that I’m involved in is KC Food Not Bombs and Free Store which is a collective of people who provide hot, nutritious meals, clothes and food for anyone in need absolutely free every Sunday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Northeast Kansas City. We are also building gardens! I believe that feeding people is the least we can do and controlling our own food source is critical to the people taking our power back.
Can you touch on your feelings about politics? Do you belong to a party? What kind of candidate (local and presidential) do you look for?
Well, that’s complicated. … I believe that every person should have access to quality food, shelter, education, health care and work regardless of class, race, gender, sexuality, disability, or legal documentation status. I do not believe in letting others starve while I have plenty. This is why I politically identify as an anarchist or anarcho-socialist. I do not support any particular candidate. I liked Sanders but don’t like his positions on war and use of drones to murder people. I am interested in what the Green Party and Dr. Jill Stein are doing. I appreciate the focus on climate change and socio-economic equality but I’d really like to see the Greens growing in the local and state levels. I suppose I could support a candidate who is committed to ending the prison and military industrial complexes, ending the genocide of people of color, getting money out of politics and stopping the destruction of our planet. But we have yet to meet that candidate or even that system of government. So for now, education and direct action in the streets are where I focus my energy.
You’re a part of the Kansas City LGBTQIA community. What are your thoughts about our community? What about our lack of bars/clubs/spaces for queer women? What does an ideal Kansas City queer community look like to you?
I’ve met some of the most amazing and kind people in the KC LGBTQIA community! I try not to get too distracted by the cliques and internal cattiness that seems to come up a lot. There’s so much work to be done in our community to empower our people, keep us safe, educate on racism, sexism and classism within the LGBTQIA community and continue to fight for equality. I’d rather we put our energy, time and money into those efforts. I’ve been disappointed in the lack of outrage and action in the community. However, I’m super impressed by the local youth stepping up in protest demonstrations, LGBTQIA education and community organizing.
The shootings in Orlando were devastating to our LGBTQIA community. Please feel free to share your thoughts, feelings, reactions, observations.
Like so many people in the LGBTQIA community, I was horrified, angered and deeply saddened by the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
We as a community hear of and experience violence in the LGBTQIA community often, but this particular attack affected me in a way I didn’t expect. I am an American Latina woman. The day after the shooting, I heard a white man on TV reading the names of the victims, and most of them sounded like mine. I felt like I had been hit hard in the gut. I dropped to my knees and cried. Black people in this country are being slaughtered nearly every day by the police. They hear the names of victims they can identify with all too often, and it’s disgusting. This was the first time in my life that I experienced a similar horror. The shooting in Orlando was a homophobic and racist-fueled massacre. I hope that the LGBTQIA community can recognize this and support our Brown brothers and sisters during this time so that we can heal together. …
We are a people who have allowed this to happen. Our political leaders have passed and attempted to pass hundreds of laws oppressing gay and transgender people. We as a people are upholding a system that feeds this kind of violence and hate. Where is the outrage? This must end! WE must end it! We must look beyond our differences to empower and uplift the voices of women, LGBTQIA folks and people of color. We must break down the religious, political and media systems that, in a cowardly way, provide a platform for vicious attacks like the murders in Orlando. I hope that we as humans can channel our anger, fear and sadness into positive and progressive action, be it on the streets, in the courtroom, or in our daily lives.
Photo credit: Jill Toyoshiba