HRC Blog

44 Days and Counting

This post comes from HRC's Aisha Satterwhite:

That's how long it took George Zimmerman to turn himself in and to be charged with second degree murder in the death of Trayvon Martin. This is a step that was hard won as a result of public pressure and everyday people sounding the alarm, using social media and public protest. Regular people advocated for justice for a young black man whose life was taken tragically and senselessly. A young black man who embodies so many other young black men in this country who have lost their lives because of fatal snap judgments driven by prejudice. A young black man whose life matters.

Trayvon's life and his senseless death matter to me because I see my fiancé and his sons in him. I see my brother-in-law and my cousins and uncles and friends and extended family and co-workers. I see a class of people in this country who face violence for simply being who they are.

We've made so many strides as a people and as a country - black president y'all! - but we have so far to go. Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s quote "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere" is not relegated to bumper stickers or email signatures or infographics on Facebook and Pinterest. There is power in those words, especially when people put collective action behind them.

So you're probably wondering why I'm writing about this on HRC's blog, why this matters, what the connections are. Collective action is helping bring justice to Trayvon Martin's family. The Human Rights Campaign was involved in that action, organizing a coalition of national LGBT organizations to release an open letter calling on authorities to fully investigate and ensure justice is served.

Last night, HRC was honored by the National Action Network (NAN) for their groundbreaking work on marriage equality in Maryland, as well as their work to pass the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act and the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." Last week, NAN honored HRC's Donna Payne for her work on LGBT equality issues. And last February, NAN's president and founder Reverend Al Sharpton joined Americans for Marriage Equality because he doesn't believe in double standards when it comes to civil rights and equal protection under the law.

We've seen groups like the National Organization for Marriage try to use divisive tactics to pit black communities against LGBT communities against communities of color. We know these communities aren't separate because we all co-exist in these spaces. I'm a straight black woman and I work with HRC because there are people I love in all of these communities. It's that simple. When we stand together to protect each other from violence and bigotry, we can create a world where all of our lives matter.

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