Robin Hearts-Love and Dimitria Blackwell

Robin Hearts-Love and Dimitria Blackwell

Love always wins. That phrase is a very common motto in the LGBTQIA+ movement simply because it’s message is simple, direct and encouraging. The slogan also happens to be a pertinent because when doing something as simple as volunteering to perform a community service, your biggest adversary is usually hate when you are a part of our community.

Since the announcement of the library reading event, we have had a full range of emotions; excited, anxious, fearful. It was this fear, not for ourselves but the safety and well-being of staff, volunteers and children that led us to make the decision to cancel the event. We have been accused of lying about the reason for the cancellation, it has been in national headlines, and conservatives have been claiming “victory”. What you haven’t heard though is how it wasn’t a victory, but rather a small win in a larger battle. This small act of volunteering to read has become so much more, and it will impact not just the Morgantown area, but instead will make a nationwide and perhaps worldwide movement.

Literacy had always been the focus on the event. With the cancellation, suddenly we no longer had an event, and the passion for the message grew stronger. We still wanted to show the importance of reading, not just through childhood, but through adulthood as well. We had selected our books and began to think they were destined to sit on the shelf, never to be heard by young ears. It was through the emotion, the sense of loss and the feeling of defeat that had started to set in that we decided that something had to be done. We knew that what we were offering was vital and necessary, and we had to find a way to complete what we had set out to do.

It is not uncommon for Drag Queen Storytime to be met with signs and shouts of false accusations and protests. The idea that formed between us would give children an opportunity to retain their innocence, and shield them from the hateful rhetoric. We had decided in the modern age of technology, we would start a YouTube channel.

Our channel would not only save the children from being exposed to protestors, but also give parents and guardians the opportunity to pre-screen the material and decide if it was appropriate and a good fit for their family. It was a big undertaking, but we knew it had to be done. With our community feeling like we had been defeated by hate, we worked diligently for two days planning, strategizing and organizing. We knew we needed to act quickly, because we all needed a win. With no more than a makeshift set of two chairs, some cut fabric, an end stand and an owl statue, we, and the books we had looked so forward to reading, were ready for our debut. From idea to fruition in two days, we felt accomplished and renewed. We filmed all three books we had been planning to read and an introduction to our page that night, and we knew we had done the right thing.

The first two videos premiered that very night, with the third premiering Wednesday, and the outreach of messages of love and appreciation, the shares with notes of admiration and gratefulness, and the views coming in showed us very quickly that- LOVE ALWAYS WINS! Tune in each week and see what stories we pick! You never know if YOUR favorite childhood story might be on our list!

The YouTube channel is called Drag Queen Story Time Blackwell Enterprises.