As organizations serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, we are stunned and saddened by the recent spate of violence against communities across the country. The shooting at the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, WI that left 6 people dead was certainly a blow to all of us on Sunday, August 5. To hear about the fire at the mosque in Joplin, MO not even 24 hours later compounded our sense of tragedy and shock. We send our deepest sympathies to the families affected.
Currently, details about both incidents are still emerging. Local law enforcement in Oak Creek have been joined by the FBI in an ongoing investigation of the incident as a potential act of domestic terrorism and a potential hate crime. The fire in Joplin was the second of its kind at the mosque, on the heels of another fire on July 4. Motives in both cases are still being determined (the first fire at the Joplin mosque was determined to be arson).
The LGBTQ communities we work with and serve are no strangers to violence in our midst. We know our communities are threatened on a daily basis by the many faces of hate and intolerance- not just because of our sexuality or gender identity, but because of our race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ability, and too many other facets of our identities. We stand in solidarity against all forms of violence, as well as the hate and intolerance that all too often propagate it.
We roundly condemn the violence committed against our fellow community members in Oak Creek, WI and Joplin, MO. As flags fly at half-staff around the country, we call for a fuller dialogue among diverse communities, law enforcement, and policymakers to better address violence in our communities.
Advocates for Youth
Affinity Community Services, Inc.
American Civil Liberties Union
Asian Pacific Islander Equality- Northern California
Aurdre Lorde Project
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Family Equality Council
First Nations Two Spirit Collective
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Immigration Equality | Action Fund
International Federation of Black Prides
National Black Justice Coalition
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Center for Transgender Equality
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays)
Queers for Economic Justice
Queer Muslim Working Group
Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP)
South Asian Lesbian & Gay Alliance of New York City (SALGA-NYC)
Southerners on New Ground (SONG)
Sylvia Rivera Law Project
Ben de Guzman, Co-Director for Programs
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA)
Statements from South Asian, Sikh American, and Asian American and Pacific Islander communities:
Trikone, South Asian LGBT organization in the San Francisco Bay Area: http://www.facebook.com/trikone
National Council of Asian Pacific Americans: http://www.ncapaonline.org/index_74_1778409865.pdf
South Asian Americans Leading Together:http://www.saalt.org
Sikh American Legal Defense and Education Fund:http://www.saldef.org/news/tragic-wisconsin-gurdwara-shooting-leaves-7-dead/#more-7376
For a map of vigils across the country to stand in solidarity with affected communities, click here.
Special Helpline from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: 800-985-5990