Karen Ocamb

National LGBT Groups Stand with the Family of Trayvon Martin

Filed By Karen Ocamb | April 04, 2012 1:00 PM | comments

Filed in: The Movement
Tags: Equality Federation, gay groups, GLAAD, HRC, LGBT organizations, National Stonewall Democrats, stand in solidarity, stand your ground laws, the Task Force, Trayvon Martin

The Justice Department launched an investigation into whether the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin might have been a hate crime. The FBI's investigation is parallel to the criminal investigation by the state police. Meanwhile lawmakers and people around the country are asking for justice and a re-evaluation of state "stand your ground" laws Trayvon-Martin-.jpgthat enable neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman to escape arrest for the killing of the unarmed black teen.

Trayvon Martin (Family photo released to the media)

I've been writing about this preventable tragedy for a while, including asking Houston's lesbian Mayor Annise Parker about it. Like so many LGBT parents, Parker and her partner of 21 years have three adopted African American children. Parker said: "I have a son who looks like Trayvon Martin."

On Monday, a coalition of LGBT groups issued an open letter that described the killing of Trayvon Martin as a "national call to action" and demands justice for the family. The letter notes:

Many in our community have been targets of bigotry and bias. We have a great deal of experience grappling with the role bias plays in violent crimes against our communities. We well know the stories of young people targeted for violence just because of who they are: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Deoni Jones, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Angie Zapata, Sean Kennedy and countless others.

Trayvon's killing is a wakeup call to the enduring cancer of racism and racial profiling. The pain his family continues to endure transcends communities and unites us all. Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Here's the full text of the letter:

An Open Letter: Standing Alongside Trayvon Martin's Family and Friends

The tragic killing of Trayvon Martin is a national call to action. Our hearts go out to Trayvon's family and friends for the loss they have experienced. We stand in solidarity with them as they demand answers and justice. We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies.

Many in our community have been targets of bigotry and bias. We have a great deal of experience grappling with the role bias plays in violent crimes against our communities. We well know the stories of young people targeted for violence just because of who they are: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Deoni Jones, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Angie Zapata, Sean Kennedy and countless others.

Trayvon's killing is a wakeup call to the enduring cancer of racism and racial profiling. The pain his family continues to endure transcends communities and unites us all. Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Trayvon's killing is tragic and the stark reality that racial bias played a role in his death has alarmed our nation. Questions must be asked. Answers must be sought. And justice must be served. We join our voices to the chorus of so many others to demand that local and federal authorities find those answers. We stand in solidarity with Trayvon's family and friends as they seek justice for his killing. In the timeless words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Signatories:

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers

Equality Federation

Family Equality Council

Freedom to Marry

GLAAD

GMHC

Human Rights Campaign

Immigration Equality

International Federation of Black Prides

Lambda Legal

LGBT Progress at the Center for American Progress

National Black Justice Coalition

National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)

National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE)

National Coalition for LGBT Health

National Gay and Lesbian Task Force

National Stonewall Democrats

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates

PFLAG National

Pride at Work

Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE)

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN)

The Trevor Project

UNID@S


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