On June 4th, the Mayor of New Carrollton Maryland issued a proclamation officially recognizing pride month for the first time in the city’s history. The order was well timed given that residents of New Carrollton elected their first queer councilmember in Spring of 2021.
Briana Urbina—a LEE member—who identifies as the first Latinx queer woman on New Carrollton city council said the proclamation was affirming for her and others like her. “When you think about cities and communities that have a progressive record of recognizing LGBT folks, it’s almost always white people at the forefront, but people of color have been doing deep organizing all along. Recognizing pride is not expected from us [people of color] and it feels good to be seen in this way.”
Briana ran for municipal government because she wanted to foster inclusive connections in her community. She embarked on her campaign eager to bridge the divide between those living in apartments and residents from single family homes. Her campaign was bolstered in her run by LEE’s coaching support. “LEE was able to look at me and point out the things that already happened in my life and show me that I’m just as qualified as those that fit the traditional mold. They helped me to take a chance on myself. In order for voters to choose me, LEE gave me the ability to share my story.”
In her first few weeks on the council, she’s working towards establishing a renter’s rights committee that is focused on the unique needs of renters in the community. She also introduced a motion for Juneteenth to be a holiday in New Carrollton. Briana said, “There’s this idea that municipal government doesn’t do much, but there is a lot that can be done with city council dollars that can make an impact. I’m looking forward to pushing the boundaries of what municipalities can accomplish in Maryland.”
For more information about Briana, you can visit her council page on https://www.facebook.com/urbinaforus.
Celeste Perilla is the Director of Regional Impact in Maryland at Leadership for Educational Equity. A graduate of Baltimore Public Schools, her work centers around building community capacity, emphasizing leadership development, and community organizing to positively impact educational experiences in Maryland.