We demand swift, decisive, permanent change.
The death of our brother George Floyd at the hands of the Minneapolis police has ignited a global movement against racism, discrimination, and police violence especially against Black communities. For years we have seen the rise of crime against Black people. Black LGBTQ+ communities assert that ALL BLACK LIVES MATTER, including the lives of our Transgender brothers and sisters who are too often demeaned, devalued, and disregarded. As the global leader of the Black LGBTQ+ Pride Movement we are calling for a transformation of public policy in three key areas:
- Social equity in our time means the transformation of policing in America. The time has come for the United States to stop the criminalization of social ills. We need less investment in policing and greater investment in teachers, social workers, health care providers, drug counselors, marriage counselors, arbitrators and conflict resolution specialists, job trainers and college counselors. The police need to be governed by a new set of laws that demilitarize police departments serving our communities. These police forces should be made up of men and women that come from and live within the communities they serve. The rules that govern police work and define police training should emphasize de-escalation, communication, and community-based policing. This must include diversity training with communities of color, and LGBTQ+ communities as well. Finally, changes to operational rules and laws should make it easier to remove police officers accused of racial bias and abusing the use of force.
- Economic equity means greater private and public investments in our communities. This includes investments in public education, job training for the emerging economy, free college tuition, and easier, low-interest loans for small to medium sized, minority/women owned businesses. Economic equity means access to good housing located in safe, clean streets; and yes, it also means access to culturally relevant entertainment and arts. If we investment in the creative, social, and entrepreneurial energies of our communities, we invest in the future of our country, and the betterment of our world.
- Health equity certainly means access to quality primary and secondary health care. And this health care must also include access to quality mental health services. We live in a society that prefers to spend $60,000 year imprisoning someone rather than spend $10,000 a year in mental health services (including help for people with substance abuse problems and alcoholism). Mental health services can lead to greater quality of life for an individual and his/her family and community.
Finally, this entire nation must come to grips with its tortured and deeply pathological history with race. The continued devaluation and dehumanization of people of African descent must come to an end. This county must teach and confront the truth about slavery, the failure of reconstruction, the institutionalization of American style apartheid (segregation), the lynching of Black people, and the discrimination and biases that people of African descent have faced for over 400 years in America. In 2020 America, Black lives still do not matter. And Black LGBTQ+ lives seem to matter even less. The day all Black lives finally matter, America will begin to live the promise of its founding. Until then, the struggle continues.
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