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LGBTQ Organizations Unite to Combat Racial Violence
Posted on May 29, 2020 at 1:50 pm

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” Those words, written over 30 years ago by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remind us that indifference can never bridge the divide of hate. And, today, they should serve as a call to action to all of us, and to the Movement for LGBTQ equality.

This spring has been a stark and stinging reminder that racism, and its strategic objective, white supremacy, is as defining a characteristic of the American experience as those ideals upon which we claim to hold our democracy — justice, equality, liberty.  

  • We listened to the haunting pleas of George Floyd for the most basic of human needs — simply, breath — as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled with cruel indifference on his neck. 
  • We felt the pain of Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend as he called 9-1-1 after plainclothes Louisville police kicked down the door of their home and shot her eight times as she slept in her bed.
  • We watched the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes in Brunswick, GA, aware that they evaded the consequence of their actions until the video surfaced and sparked national outrage.
  • We saw the weaponizing of race by a white woman who pantomimed fear in calling the police on Christian Cooper, a Black gay man bird-watching in Central Park.
  • We have heard and read about the killings of transgender people — Black transgender women in particular — with such regularity, it is no exaggeration to describe it as a epidemic of violence. This year alone, we have lost at least 12 members of our community: Dustin Parker, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Yampi Méndez Arocho, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Nina Pop, Helle Jae O’Regan, and Tony McDade.

All of these incidents are stark reminders of why we must speak out when hate, violence, and systemic racism claim — too often with impunity — Black Lives.

The LGBTQ Movement’s work has earned significant victories in expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ people. But what good are civil rights without the freedom to enjoy them?

Many of our organizations have made progress in adopting intersectionality as a core value and have committed to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. But this moment requires that we go further — that we make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ people.

We, the undersigned, recognize we cannot remain neutral, nor will awareness substitute for action. The LGBTQ community knows about the work of resisting police brutality and violence. We celebrate June as Pride Month, because it commemorates, in part, our resisting police harassment and brutality at Stonewall in New York City, and earlier in California, when such violence was common and expected. We remember it as a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically. 

We understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don’t matter. Today, we join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require.

Affirmations, Dave Garcia, Executive Director

AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Aisha N. Davis, Director of Policy 

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director

Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative, Tonya Estell, Board of Directors

Campaign for Southern Equality, Rev. Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, Executive Director

Cathedral Of Hope UCC, Rev. Dr. Neil G Thomas, Senior Pastor

Center on Halsted, Modesto Valle, CEO 

Equality Arizona, Michael Soto, Executive Director

Equality California, Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director 

Equality Delaware, Mark Purpura and Lisa Goodman, Board Chairs

Equality Federation, Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director

Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, Executive Director

Equality Illinois, Brian Johnson, CEO

Equality New Mexico, Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director

Equality New York, Amanda Babine, Executive Director

Equality North Carolina, Kendra R Johnson, Executive Director

Equality Ohio, Grant Stancliff, Communications Director

Equality Texas, Ricardo Martinez, CEO

Fair Wisconsin, Megin McDonell, Executive Director

Fairness Campaign, Tamara Russell, Board Member

Family Equality, Denise Brogan-Kator, Chief Policy Officer

Freedom for All Americans, Kasey Suffredini, CEO & National Campaign Director

FreeState Justice, Mark Procopio, Executive Director

Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, Fred Swanson, Executive Director

Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC), Kelsey Louie, CEO

Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, Executive Director

GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Janson Wu, Executive Director

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Hector Vargas, Executive Director

GLSEN, Eliza Byard, Executive Director

GSAFE, Brian Juchems, Co-Director

Human Rights Campaign, Alphonso David, President

Immigration Equality, Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director 

Ingersoll Gender Center, Karter Booher, Executive Director

Lambda Legal, Kevin Jennings, CEO

LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Mike Thompson, CEO 

LGBT Life Center, Stacie Walls, CEO

Louisiana Trans Advocates, Peyton Rose Michelle, Director of Operations

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Tre’Andre Valentine, Executive Director

MassEquality, Tanya V. Neslusan, Executive Director

Movement Advancement Project, Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director

National Black Justice Coalition, David Johns, Executive Director

National Center for Lesbian Rights, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director

National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, Executive Director 

National LGBTQ Task Force, Rea Carey, Executive Director

NMAC, Paul Kawata, Executive Director

Oakland LGBTQ Community Center, Joe Hawkins, CEO  

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Erin Uritus, CEO

One Colorado, Daniel Ramos, Executive Director

One Iowa, Courtney Reyes, Executive Director 

OutFront Minnesota, Monica Meyer, Executive Director

OutNebraska, Abbi Swatsworth, Executive Director

Pacific Center for Human Growth, Michelle Gonzalez, Executive Director

PFLAG National, Brian K. Bond, Executive Director

PRC, Brett Andrews, CEO

Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County, Kiku Johnson, Executive Director 

Resource Center, Cece Cox, CEO

Sacramento LGBT Community Center, David Heitstuman, CEO

San Francisco Community Health Center, Lance Toma, CEO

SF LGBT Center, Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director  

SAGE, Michael Adams, CEO

San Diego LGBT Community Center, Cara Dessert, CEO 

Silver State Equality, André C. Wade, State Director 

Tennessee Equality Project, Chris Sanders, Executive Director

The Diversity Center, Sharon E Papo, Executive Director

The Gala Pride and Diversity Center, Michelle Call, Executive Director

The Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center, Glennda Testone, Executive Director

The LGBTQ Center, Long Beach, Porter Gilberg, Executive Director

The LGBTQ Center, NYC, Reg Calcagno, Senior Director of Government Affairs

The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, CEO

Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), Emmett Schelling, Executive Director

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Andy Marra, Executive Director

TransOhio, James Knapp, Chair & Executive Director

Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA), Carl Matthes, President 

Wyoming Equality, Sara Burlingame, Executive Director