ActivismBlack FuturesLGBTQIA+

R.O.A.D.: The Queer-Led Org Getting Back To Its Roots

April 13, 2022

As society advances in the acceptance and legalization of the LGBTQ+ community, Africa still drastically lags. According to a global review published by Reuters, only 22 of Africa’s 54 countries have legalized same-sex relations.

In Mauritania, some states of Nigeria, Somalia, and South Sudan, the maximum punishment for same-sex law offenders is death. Other African countries have steep penalties like life imprisonment, high rape, sodomy, and homophobic offense rates, and rises in violence and marginalization against LGBTQ+ people. Yet, these same legal notions help drive Africa’s people’s behavior, acceptance, and understanding—near and far. 

Many African descendants who live across the world still struggle with the effects the laws and treatment in Africa have caused—whether they still live there or somewhere else. That’s where Reuniting of African Descendants (R.O.A.D.) comes in—serving to empower, strengthen and uplift LGBTQ+communities across the globe. 

R.O.A.D. is one of many leading organizations taking a stance against the violence and disenfranchisement of LGBTQ+ African descendants across the global diaspora. A grassroots project, R.O.A.D. aims to provide programs, tools, and resources centered around strength, skills, and self-sufficiency to LGB, SGL, queer and trans people of African descendants. Serving its community near and wide, R.O.A.D. has planted assistance roots directly in Africa while helping people in other areas of the world, including the United States. 

R.O.A.D. is uniquely led by a board of directors that diversely reflects the people it serves. Chairman Nick Hadikwa Mwaluko is a Magna Cum Laude graduate and Point Scholar from Columbia University. Mwaluko is also a Black African, trans, queer, non-binary, Tanzanian-American, and a third culture queer raised in East and Central Africa. Arykah Carter (Secretary) and Asha Lyons are trans-women board members. And having experienced hardship and challenges herself, secretary Vonne Williams dedicates her life to helping herself and others live their best financial lives through personal development. 

So how exactly is R.O.A.D. making an impact on its community?

To start, its programs offer monetary and social programs of impact. For example, their Global Mutual Aid addresses direct financial requests from people in Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to financially assist with health, social, and economic well-being needs.

In partnership with The Mahogany Project, R.O.A.D. ignited the Artivism Collaboration. This initiative brought Black queer, trans, and non-binary creatives and artists together to collectively created Adult Coloring & Activity Book. This artistic expression addresses stigmas, promotes social justice, increases body positivity, increases mental wellness and self-care, & decreases social isolation.

In addition, other R.O.A.D. programs include the No Sibling Left Behind initiative, Emerging Leaders, H.R.T. Campaign Uganda, and focus groups that help better serve the R.O.A.D. community. 

To learn more about R.O.A.D.’s impact and how you can get involved or seek assistance, you can reach out directly and share your background, interest, and how R.O.A.D. can serve your needs.