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 Bryant’s invitation to be rescinded, we ask you to commit to amplifying the work his presence was intended to highlight.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.

ADD YOUR NAME to the letter by clicking here:

Devan Cheaves
Bay Area Dream Defenders

Donna Davis
Co-founder Black Lives Matter Tampa

Rev. Chad Edwards
Pastor, Worship Unlimited Church

Earl Fowlkes
Executive Director/CEO, Center for Black Equity

Ashley Green
Bay Area Dream Defenders

Reggie Glover
Black Lives Matter Tampa Treasurer

Jayson James
Bay Area Dream Defenders

Sharon J. Lettman-Hicks
Executive Director/CEO
National Black Justice Coalition

Monique McKenzie
Bay Area Dream Defenders

Pastor Rodney McKenzie
Director of the Academy for Leadership & Action,
National LGBTQ Task Force

Victoria Kirby York
National Campaigns Director,
National LGBTQ Task Force

Rev. J. Ricc Rollins, II
Pastor, The Edge Community Church

Nadine Smith
Executive Director
Equality Florida

L. Gene Webster-English, Ed.S, Doctoral Student
Executive Director
Federation of Families, HMH, Inc.

Chris J. Wilson
Super Sayian
Co-Founder Black Lives Matter Tampa

Alele J. Williams
The Freedom Center for Social Justice

Minister Naomi Christine Leapheart
United Church of Christ
Black Lives Matter 717







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