The murder of nine people inside their historic African-American church this past Wednesday still has us in shock. The shooting victims at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina include Rev. Clementa Pinckney, Rev. Sharonda Singleton, Myra Thompson, Tywanza Sanders, Ethel Lee Lance, Cynthia Hurd, Rev. Daniel L Simmons, Sr., Rev. DePayne Middleton-Doctor, and Susie Jackson. Our hearts go out to the families and friends of these victims.
But we cannot adequately mourn these victims without also addressing the terrible, racist motives of their killer. We cannot adequately mourn them without also strongly speaking out against the racism we see in our country and our communities that has taken so many other lives.
PROMO believes that #BlackLivesMatter not in addition to our equality work, but because of it.
When we work for inclusive nondiscrimination laws for LGBT people, it is because we want those laws to work. That means for everyone, including those the laws are already supposed to protect. When we work for marriage equality, it is because everyone should have the freedom to marry the person they love. But it is also because marriage gives more security to all couples against things like poverty. When we work for health equity, it is because we want to address health disparities for LGBT individuals and their families, just as there are increased health disparities for people of color.
And when we speak up for those who are protesting excessive force and the loss of life at the hands of the police, it is not because we do not support police. We believe we can support law enforcement, while at the same time addressing systemic issues. We speak out because we understand what it means to not be heard, what it means for a system to be built to work against us.
The LGBT movement has a long history of protesting, marching, and rioting. These have been an expression of our frustration and anger for being misunderstood, stereotyped, profiled, harassed, hurt, and killed. And we do not forget that each year in June, we celebrate one of our most violent riots and protests, Stonewall, with a Pride celebration.
The LGBT movement also has a long history of racism. As the future of this movement, not only should we recognize this, we have a responsibility to continue to change it.
We are all in this together.
People of every demographic, every race, gender, faith, age, ability, ethnicity, class, socio-economic background, and more, identify as LGBT. So again, we say: We are all in this together.
PROMO will mourn the lives lost in Charleston by continuing and increasing our commitment of inclusion and racial justice. Regardless of whether you have already been working or you want to begin, none of us can afford to be silent anymore. What can you do? Share this image to show you, too, are committed.