Tag Archives: Kiyan Williams

Stanford Students React to DOMA and Marriage Equality

by Sammie Wills, ’16

Yesterday, on June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court ruled the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional by a 5-4 vote, because “it violated the right to liberty and to equal protection for gay couples.” With this decision, Facebook exploded with the reactions of many individuals — some full of sheer bliss, some seething with anger, and some couldn’t care less.

I wanted to explore some of these reactions, and hear first-hand what students and alumni had to say about the recent rulings.

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For My Sistah(s): A Black Feminist Queer Consciousness-Raising Book List

This piece originally posted on The Feminist Wire.

by Kiyan Williams, ’13

I am the over-protective older brother of a fourteen-year old young black woman. And I am worried for her.

I was worried for her on my bus ride home last week when I witnessed a man verbally assault a young woman who I imagined as my little sister in a few years. In his drunken slur, her attacker made vulgar sexual advances towards her, and when she rebuffed, he spat a filthy barrage of denigrating, crude attacks about her body size and dark skin. The overprotective brother in me emerged incensed and ready to defend this sister, but before I intervened she responded with a fierce affirmation of her beauty and self-worth that left her assaulter in a stupefied silence.

As my sister matures into a young woman I am forced to realize that I cannot be everywhere to protect her from the hostility of a world that is at war with young women, especially young women of color. Continue reading

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Queer Newark: Our Voices, Our Histories

by Kiyan Williams, ’13

Four years ago you would have found me a precocious and eager sixteen-year old on the corner of Broad and Market Streets stopping every passerby scurrying through Newark’s busiest intersection. I would canvass the streets of Newark registering people to vote equipped with a pen, a clipboard, a charming smile, my favorite pair of Jordans, and a stubbornness inherited from my grandmother. During the summer of 2007 hundreds of new voters were registered by my teammates and I for the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), the organization that conservatives demonized as fraudulent during the 2008 presidential election in a futile attempt to defame President Obama.

Fast-forward a year and you would have found me outside of a grocery store in Maplewood, New Jersey armed with the same clipboard, pen, charming smile, and stubbornness. The only differences were that I was now garnering signatures in support of New Jersey’s marriage equality bill, was wearing black patent-leather oxfords, and the people I solicited were mostly white instead of black or Latina/o.

Between those two summers I had fiercely declared to the world that I was queer, and had added an LGBT equality button along side my “black and brown power”, “safe sex is the best sex”, and “feminism rocks” buttons pinned to my messenger bag. I was now invested in same-sex quality as I was for racial, gender, and economic equality. At the time same sex marriage was the only “gay rights issue” I knew of—it was the topic of every news headline and political debate—and so I volunteered for an organization that advocates for same-sex marriage in New Jersey.

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