Today we are sharing an open letter that our parent organization, PFLAG National, signed on to along with 46 other LGBTQ organizations, in regards to the recent outcry in our country. PFLAG was formed by a brave mother who stood up and marched, literally, to fight against violence that affected and endangered her own son, and is recognized in communities across the country as being an organization whose members and supporters speak up, take action, and advocate for change.
Nationally and across the country, PFLAG has an open dialogue with the law enforcement community and has leveraged who we are to educate police, prosecutors, judges—all who are involved in keeping our communities safe on a daily basis. Our conversations with law enforcement started because we recognized that they needed to be educated about how to serve and protect our loved ones. In many places, this dialogue and education has meant positive change, but we need to do more. We need to make sure our conversations are not just about the LGBTQ community but ALL who are marginalized.
It is important that we stand in solidarity, but we also have an opportunity to move into action, and be a catalyst for change in our hometowns. PFLAGers everywhere have the opportunity to leverage the unique strength of our mission to listen carefully, respond patiently, and never stop learning as we meet people where they are and build bridges. Here are some actions you can take right now as a PFLAG member or supporter:
- Offer support in social media and in conversations in your community. Be visible in your solidarity.
- Leverage your relationships, if you have them, with your local law enforcement community. Offer to be a bridge of understanding about issues of distrust and disenfranchisement because of potential or subconscious bias.
- Ask your community partners what you can do. If you do not already have relationships with people who are part of this outcry now is the time to reach out, introduce yourself, and ask what you can do to support them.
- Send a letter to the editor or op-ed to your local news outlet, sharing why these issues resonate with you.
The letter, below:
December 9, 2014
An Open Letter: From Ferguson to True Freedom
Words cannot begin to describe the depth of feeling we all share about the unfolding tragedies in Ferguson and New York City. Words cannot relieve the suffering of Michael Brown and Eric Garner’s loved ones nor can words alone salve the pain nor quell the anger of millions. It’s action we need and we need it now.
As LGBTQ national organizations, we proudly stand in solidarity with the civil rights organizations and local activists — including the actions of an amazing, fierce, brilliant cadre of youth leaders, many of whom are queer identified — in demanding fundamental systemic change that tackles the root causes of racial and economic injustices once and for all. From political accountability for the deaths of Michael and Eric to the immediate passage of federal legislation that completely bans racial profiling across this land to ensuring that local police departments are representative and fair arbiters of safety and protection for everyone and who — through their actions — are continually working to earn the trust, confidence and respect of the entire community.
We too must speak louder than words and take more action — to change more hearts and minds and fight even harder for the policies and practices that make statements such as this one obsolete.
We urge you to:
- Join the March Against Police Violence in Washington, called by the National Action Network, on Saturday December 13th, 10:30am;
- Organize and participate in peaceful protests in cities across the nation;
- Attend public meetings in your city or town to show your support or share your experience with elected officials; and
- Create your own actions for change in person and online — at home, at school, at work, in the corridors of power, and in places of worship.
Everyone, everywhere in our nation can do more to end racism and racial injustice. Everyone, from the Department of Justice that must do more to deliver justice for the Brown and Garner families to the high school principal who could do more to engage and educate students about racism and the need for justice.
Even those of us who have devoted our lives to this cause need to redouble our efforts to reach out to more people — including those people who are on the wrong side of this issue.
If we as a nation are to end racism and racial injustice once and for all, everyone must be part of an ongoing and sustainable process of change — a process that builds on all the progress we’ve made, a process that aims to recruit everyone, and a process with the specific mission of delivering lived equality, justice, and freedom for all.
American Civil Liberties Union
Believe Out Loud
Brethren Mennonite Council for LGBT
Bisexual Organizing Project
Bisexual Leadership Roundtable
Bisexual Resource Center
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Center For Black Equity
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Family Equality Council
The Fellowship Global (Pastor Joseph Tolton)
The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries (Bishop Yvette Flunder)
Freedom to Marry
Gay Men’s Health Crisis
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders
GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Harvey Milk Foundation
Higher Education T* Circle Advisory Board
Human Rights Campaign
International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
Marriage Equality USA
More Light Presbyterians
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce
National LGBTQ Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
The National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
The Pride Network
Reconciling Ministries Network
SAGE (Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders)
Trans People of Color Coalition
The Trevor Project