This April, every single adult in our nation became eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines. As we work to ensure that every single member of our communities has the information and access to these life-saving protections, we are also beginning to see our way toward what some would call “a new normal.” I am certainly excited for the possibilities in the months ahead. But I don’t want to get back to normal, nor do I think it is possible or something we should be striving toward. Because normal in this nation doesn’t work.
The status quo in our nation is one of over-policing and police violence that targets and shatters Black lives. The status quo is one of violence against APA people, against LGBTQ people and particularly trans and non-binary people, and those who live at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities. The status quo is one of indifference by some cloaked as patriotism. We have to dismantle the status quo for a new normal.
The actions of police across the country continue to be unacceptable. And we know that the coverage we see does not begin to capture the violence and everyday trauma that Black and Brown people experience in a society that views our lives as disposable. So far in 2021, we are on track to more than double the number of trans and gender non-conforming people killed in 2020, and the vast majority of the victims are Black and Brown transgender women.
At the same time, fueled by a year of hateful attacks from the White House during Trump’s administration, APA communities have been experiencing discrimination, physical assault and verbal harassment at historically high rates. For APA people who hold multiple marginalized identities, discrimination and its consequences can be even more severe.
This rising tide of violence comes as we are continuing to fight a wave of hate-fueled anti-trans legislation in the states, legislation that is dangerous in and of itself, but that also further fuels the stigma endangering trans lives.
As we acknowledge the deep pain of this moment and our shared history, we cannot let grief turn into despair or inaction. It is important that we speak out as we use all the tools in our toolbox to defeat white supremacy and call out injustice. We will remain united against hate in all its forms, and against all those who would try to say the lives of our communities are somehow worth less than others.
We will continue to push for policies and leadership that actively dismantle white supremacist structures of power. We will continue to fight for civil rights legislation that speaks to the interconnected needs of our community, including commonsense gun violence prevention measures, the Equality Act, the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and more. We will continue to advocate for police accountability legislation, such as the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, divestment of police resources and reinvestment in communities and for long-term transformational change in policing. We will continue to work to defeat legislation that endangers our lives and our democracy, including legislation that attacks our trans and non-binary family, LGBTQ visibility or our right to vote.
In all that we do, we will center close partnership and supporting our coalition, as we support individuals and organizations doing life- saving work on the ground. And in all that we do, we will make sure we are uplifting the voices of those being directly impacted. We are grateful to these advocates and to all who are speaking out. Your advocacy is making a difference.
I am deeply grateful for all the change that your support has made possible, but I know our work is just beginning. We are working toward a paradigm shift in how we see each other, in how we see ourselves, in order to ultimately dismantle the systems of oppression that succeed by pitting one person’s idea of liberation against another. This is hard work; this is generational work; this is work that demands grit and determination as it necessitates compassion and faith in a better tomorrow.
We draw strength not only from our history of breaking down oppressive systems, but from the realization that we have capacity to keep on moving forward. We see you, we support you and we are deeply grateful for all that you do to move us closer to liberation.
Alphonso David , President , Human Rights Campaign