Over the decades, white supremacists and white nationalists have committed acts of violence against our LGBTQ community, Jewish communities, immigrant communities, and communities of color. We know that many of our LGBTQ siblings share lived experiences across a multitude of marginalized identities. Last year, in the United States, there were nearly 30 reported murders of trans people, and almost all of them were black trans women. As we have been living under an administration that supports misogyny, racism, transphobia, homophobia, and xenophobia, how do we fight back?
As you may have seen, our programs continue on safely in virtual spaces. That includes our interfaith organizing program, DevOUT. You may have recently seen their online panel on Reconciling Faith & Queer Identity. DevOUT’s Light Up the Cathedral event is still going forward this year, and we’re excited to stream it to your living room. Last year as we all witnessed the rise in hate and violence targeting the LGBTQ and Jewish communities, our annual Light Up event was focused on those intersections of experience and identity.
This year Light Up the Cathedral will be focused on the intersections of the LGBTQ community and anti-black racism and violence.
We are honored to announce that Rev. Naomi Washington-Leapheart, Director for Faith-Based and Interfaith Affairs for the city of Philadelphia will be our Keynote Speaker this year. The Reverend was recently the Faith Work Director for the National LGBTQ Task Force and is an adjunct professor of Theology and Religious Studies at Villanova University, with joint affiliations with the University’s Center for Peace and Justice Education and Africana Studies program and we are thrilled that she will be sharing her wisdom and insights with us.
Too often faith has been used as a wedge and weapon against LGBTQ, black, and other marginalized people. Our interfaith programs and Light Up the Cathedral event flip that narrative and show that our diverse experiences with faith can be a tool to break down barriers to liberation and progress. Whether we are fighting the rise in hate and violence towards our black, LGBTQ, Jewish, API, or immigrant communities, our villains are the same. We can defeat discrimination with a truly intersectional approach to public service and activism. We can overcome these together, we can get there together, and Together We Rise.
Fernando Lopez is the Executive Director of San Diego Pride. Lopez’s years of LGBT advocacy, nonprofit management, public education, diversity consulting, media relations, guest lectures, and organizing have made him a consistent presence ensuring the struggles of the LGBT community are ever visible.