In the wake of the murder of George Floyd and the elevated movement for Black lives, we all engaged more deeply at this moment in our nation’s history to examine our unique organizational practices and policies with the goal of centering the lives of BIPOC people.
We all recognize that the incredible progress in our LGBTQ movement has also been uneven and that BIPOC people have been left out of many advances in formal equality. We see this in poverty rates, access to education, housing, health care, HIV, and suicide rates. Our BIPOC siblings have long been calling on LGBTQ+ organizations and leaders to do more to address the white supremacy and anti-Black racism that form the basis of so many systems of power. This includes enacting policies regarding law enforcement that these communities have long advocated for.
While these relationships are reexamined, for regional LGBTQ organizations like the North County LGBTQ Center and San Diego Pride, our direct partnerships and cultural competency training with law enforcement agencies continue as a harm reduction strategy for LGBTQ folks who both work within and who find themselves interacting with law enforcement agencies.
The principles of transformative justice call on us to believe in individuals’ abilities to transform and to hold people accountable for the harm that has been done. The data is indisputable: law enforcement agencies have harmed our Black and brown LGBTQ+ siblings and have also harmed our LGBTQ+ siblings with disabilities. In fulfilling our organizational mission related to addressing injustice and bias, we must hold these agencies and ourselves accountable.
Our recent decisions, long advocated for by many LGBTQ+ BIPOC folks both within and outside of our organizations, are vital steps in the continuum of holding these agencies accountable and represent years of dialogue and thoughtful action.
Our accountability work does not stop at any of our LGBTQ organizations’ decisions or statements. We are in a movement, a continuum. We acknowledge that addressing and dismantling white supremacy and anti-Black racism, principles that still form the basis of the United States, is not easy. It is not comfortable. It is also not optional.
We call on our community to join us in this reflective and active work to dismantle white supremacy and anti-Black racism in all its forms and thank you for your compassion as we undertake this challenging journey together. Our goal is to heal and build safer communities for all. We hope you will join us in that work. Together We Rise.
Fernando Zweifach López
San Diego Pride
P.S. Please take a few minutes to complete our Healing and Safer Communities Survey to help Pride identify policy reform recommendations and understand the best path forward for our organization’s relationships with law enforcement agencies.