“When we see injustice, we must speak out as strongly as we can. Otherwise, we are complicit in oppression,” said HRC President Alphonso David.
HRC has doubled down on our commitment to racial justice by building coalitions and incorporating this work into programs organization-wide.
Among HRC’s key actions was the release of a letter, joined by prominent LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations, condemning racism, racial violence and police brutality while calling for action to combat these scourges. The letter is signed by more than 150 leaders of the nation’s most prominent LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations.
As part of this work, HRC is calling for national action to transform policing and the criminal justice system in this country so that marginalized populations are free from police brutality and a militarized police force.
HRC released a letter joined by over 350 prominent LGBTQ+ and civil rights organizations, calling for structural change, for divestment of police resources and reinvestment in communities and for long-term transformational change in policing. We united with these organizations to urge immediate and urgent action to rectify a legacy of white supremacy and anti-Black racism that continues to lead to police violence and killing of Black people across the country. The LGBTQ+ community is familiar with fighting against systems of power that are set up to serve the privileged few. We must speak out as strongly as we can and urge for change now.
And along with more than 450 organizations, HRC joined the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights in writing to Congress outlining principles to serve as a baseline of what is needed to address the policing crisis. Any meaningful reform must include these measures.
These priorities are: (1) the creation of a use of force standard that allows force only when necessary and as a last resort; (2) a ban on chokeholds; (3) a ban on racial profiling; (4) the establishment of a police misconduct registry; (5) the inclusion of a “reckless” standard in 18 U.S.C. Section 242 that enables federal prosecutors to hold law enforcement accountable for criminal civil rights violations; (6) a prohibition on no-knock warrants, especially in drug cases; (7) the elimination of the judge-made doctrine of qualified immunity, which allows officers and other government actors to evade accountability when they violate individuals’ rights; and (8) the demilitarization of law enforcement agencies.
As in all emergencies, the most vulnerable are the most at risk during the COVID-19 crisis. We cannot ignore the role that bias plays in health disparities.
That’s why the HRC Foundation has been releasing data reports since the earliest days of the pandemic showing that LGBTQ+ people, especially LGBTQ+ people of color and specifically transgender people of color, are disproportionately impacted economically by the pandemic.
By collecting data on how the pandemic is affecting our community - Black LGBTQ+ people, trans people, LGBTQ+ communities of color and the LGBTQ+ community as a whole - we can best determine how to urgently meet the needs of these at-risk individuals and respond with prevention and treatment strategies that work.
Our work to combat racism and anti-LGBTQ+ efforts continues daily with new opportunities to engage in critical conversations and drive transformational programs, policies and collaborations. In addition, as the impact of COVID-19 and racial injustice converge with the presidential election, it is more crucial than ever that we keep at the forefront of our minds that there is no LGBTQ+ equality until Black Lives Matter, until Black Trans Lives Matter and until that truth is echoed all the way up to the White House.