LGBT groups voice support for family of Michael Brown

Photo Credit: Kevin Goebel/flickr.

Photo Credit: Kevin Goebel/flickr.

Nearly 20 LGBT-rights organizations issued a letter voicing their solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was shot and killed Saturday by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

“When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country,” the letter states.

According to the 17 organizations, the LGBT community “cannot be silent at this moment, because LGBT people come from all races, creeds, faiths and backgrounds, and because all movements of equality are deeply connected.”

The death of Brown has spurred days of unrest and clashes with police in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis. On Tuesday, President Barack Obama issued a statement affirming that the Department of Justice would investigate the shooting.

“The death of Michael Brown is heartbreaking, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family and his community at this very difficult time,” Obama said. “As Attorney General Holder has indicated, the Department of Justice is investigating the situation along with local officials, and they will continue to direct resources to the case as needed. I know the events of the past few days have prompted strong passions, but as details unfold, I urge everyone in Ferguson, Missouri, and across the country, to remember this young man through reflection and understanding. We should comfort each other and talk with one another in a way that heals, not in a way that wounds. Along with our prayers, that’s what Michael and his family, and our broader American community, deserve.”

Read the full letter from LGBT organizations:

When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community cannot be silent at this moment, because LGBT people come from all races, creeds, faiths and backgrounds, and because all movements of equality are deeply connected. We are all part of the fabric of this nation and the promise of liberty and justice for all is yet to be fulfilled.

The LGBT community stands with the family of Michael Brown, who was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri. We stand with the mothers and fathers of young Black men and women who fear for the safety of their children each time they leave their homes. We call on the national and local media to be responsible and steadfast in their coverage of this story and others like it–racialized killings that have marred this nation since the beginning of its history. We call on policy makers on all levels of American government not to shrink from action, and we are deeply grateful to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice for their immediate commitment to a thorough investigation.

At this moment, we are inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies … but the silence of our friends.”

ACLU
Center for Black Equity, Inc.
Equality Federation
Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders (GLAD)
GMHC
Human Rights Campaign
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR)
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
PFLAG National
Pride at Work, AFL-CIO
Soulforce
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
United AIDS

Justin Snow is Metro Weekly's political editor and White House correspondent. He can be reached at jsnow@metroweekly.com.

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