On May 29, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) in collaboration with over 100 LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations – including Basic Rights Oregon – released a letter calling for action against racism, racial violence, and police brutality in light of recent violent events, including the murder of George Floyd which took place on May 25.
President of the HRC Alphonso David asserted, “When we see injustice, we must speak out as strongly as we can. Otherwise, we are complicit in oppression. And we have seen a lot of injustice lately. From George Floyd, to Ahmaud Arbery, to Breonna Taylor, to Christian Cooper, to Nina Pop. The LGBTQ community is familiar with fighting against systems of power that are set up to serve the privileged few. And we are united to fight the systems that target our Black and brown siblings, today and always.”
The letter specifically calls for people of the LGBTQ+ community to take action to help people of color as they struggle to gain equality in American society. It recounts the violent events that have occurred in the span of a few months, including the loss of 12 Black transgender individuals to violence in this year alone: Christian Cooper having the cops called on him by a white woman for simply bird-watching, the death of Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes, the murder of Breonna Taylor in her own apartment by police officers, and the most recent killing of George Floyd, who was choked by a policeman’s knee for over eight minutes.
Furthermore, the letter references LGBTQ+ accomplishments in expanding civil rights but asks, “But what good are civil rights without the freedom to enjoy them?”
The letter finishes by asserting, “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.”
The letter has been signed by countless organizations from across the country, including by Nancy Haque, Executive Director of Basic Rights Oregon, which seeks to ensure the safety and equity of all Oregonian members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Click here for the full text of the letter, and a full list of its signers.
By Cara Nixon