Solidarity from Baltimore to Ferguson
Michael S. Lewis, Board of Directors
Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director
Equality Federation expresses our strong solidarity with the the family of Freddie Gray, local community leaders, and many community protesters in Baltimore, as well as those raising their voices across the country. We are also calling for meaningful, systemic change so that no lives are lost or negatively impacted in the future by mass incarceration or police brutality.
From Baltimore to Ferguson, all Americans should be able to provide for themselves and their families and to feel safe in the communities they call home. That includes safety from increasingly militarized police forces which fuel the disproportionate, mass incarceration of people of color in the prison system.
Our nation's criminal justice system has long been plagued by the kind of racism and violence that has taken the lives of people of color, especially young black lives. The systemic issues of poverty, joblessness, and racism put communities at risk, as well as the future success of our nation. The epidemic of racial bias that all too often permeates our cities, towns, and neighborhoods must be exposed and eliminated.
Carrie Evans, Executive Director of Federation member Equality Maryland told the Washington Blade, “What we are seeing is our city and the people who call it home, screaming out in pain to all of these realities. These realities will not change in a week, but all of us who live here will continue the fight to dismantle these realities. Our city and its leaders and residents are tenacious and while this is a very trying time for all of us, we will not be deterred from our commitment to our city and doing all that we can to change its realities.”
Our community, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community (LGBTQ), will not achieve full equality until we all work together to address the harsh inequities facing our brothers and sisters of color, especially since many members of our community are also people of color. Therefore, our destinies for full equality are joined at the hip. We also share in the fear, frustration, and outrage being expressed by so many during these troubling times, and we are more committed than ever to realizing our dream of full equality and justice for all. Now is the moment to lift our voices, share our stories, and continue to do the hard work so that all of us can be free from violence and discrimination.
During times like these, we find solace in the words and foresight of the leaders who came before us. In his 1963 letter from the Birmingham City Jail, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “In a real sense all life is inter-related. All men are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be… I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word."
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