Open Letter to Community
Open Letter to Community:
We are compelled by our commitment to racial justice to speak out on the selection of Rev Dr. Bryant as the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Day breakfast.
We assume that Rev. Bryant was chosen because of his work to combat violence and police brutality that is claiming young black lives. We applaud that intention and acknowledge Rev. Bryant for his efforts in this regard.
We must, however, challenge his selection due to the indefensible slurs and routine attacks on the humanity of gay, bi, and transgender people. In embracing slurs that dehumanize black men as “sanctified sissies” and opposing equal treatment under the law, Rev. Bryant has made it impossible for organizations to provide him a podium without also legitimizing his indefensible rhetoric.
And let us be clear. You cannot truly align with the message that Black Lives Matter while simultaneously making the world more hostile and dangerous for LGBT black people.
We issue three challenges. To the National Council of Negro Women who issued the invitation, we ask that you disinvite Rev. Bryant, not because of pressure from outside groups. Do so because you find his comments reprehensible. Do it because you want no part of delivering the message that black LGBT people are invisible and dispensable.
To others calling for Rev. Bryant’s invitation to be rescinded, we ask you to commit to amplifying the work his presence was intended to highlight. To do less would be to demonstrate the same hypocrisy.
To the black pastors who have signed a letter in support of Rev. Bryant speaking we invite you to meet with us. As a movement ignited by the murder of Trayvon Martin and carried to the streets by young people who have felt forgotten by the traditional civil rights structures, we implore you not to play into this divide. Your voice and vision for justice must include LGBT people to represent full justice for our community. We extend the offer of dialogue to Rev. Bryant as well but we cannot make excuses for the indefensible and dehumanizing rhetoric he employs. We who are black and LGBT will not allow this conversation to be framed as though we do not exist.
Let us work together to do the important work of confronting violence, combating police brutality and securing true justice for all.
Rev. Chad Edwards
Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
Pastor Rodney McKenzie
Victoria Kirby York
Rev. J. Ricc Rollins, II
L. Gene Webster-English, Ed.S, Doctoral Student
Chris J. Wilson
Alele J. Williams
Minister Naomi Christine Leapheart
Stand with us by adding your name to the letter!
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