LGBTQ Organizations Unite to Combat Racial Violence

Eric Lesh
11 min readJun 1, 2020


“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.”

Those words, written over 30 years ago by Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remind us that indifference can never bridge the divide of hate. And, today, they should serve as a call to action to all of us, and to the Movement for LGBTQ equality.

This spring has been a stark and stinging reminder that racism, and its strategic objective, white supremacy, is as defining a characteristic of the American experience as those ideals upon which we claim to hold our democracy — justice, equality, liberty.

  • We listened to the haunting pleas of George Floyd for the most basic of human needs — simply, breath — as a Minneapolis police officer kneeled with cruel indifference on his neck.
  • We felt the pain of Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend as he called 9–1–1 after plainclothes Louisville police kicked down the door of their home and shot her eight times as she slept in her bed.
  • We watched the shooting death of Ahmaud Arbery by white vigilantes in Brunswick, GA, aware that they evaded the consequence of their actions until the video surfaced and sparked national outrage.
  • We saw the weaponizing of race by a white woman who pantomimed fear in calling the police on Christian Cooper, a Black gay man bird-watching in Central Park.
  • We have heard and read about the killings of transgender people — Black transgender women in particular — with such regularity, it is no exaggeration to describe it as a epidemic of violence. This year alone, we have lost at least 12 members of our community: Dustin Parker, Neulisa Luciano Ruiz, Yampi Méndez Arocho, Monika Diamond, Lexi, Johanna Metzger, Serena Angelique Velázquez Ramos, Layla Pelaez Sánchez, Penélope Díaz Ramírez, Nina Pop, Helle Jae O’Regan, and Tony McDade.

All of these incidents are stark reminders of why we must speak out when hate, violence, and systemic racism claim — too often with impunity — Black Lives.

The LGBTQ Movement’s work has earned significant victories in expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ people. But what good are civil rights without the freedom to enjoy them?

Many of our organizations have made progress in adopting intersectionality as a core value and have committed to be more diverse, equitable, and inclusive. But this moment requires that we go further — that we make explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ people.

We, the undersigned, recognize we cannot remain neutral, nor will awareness substitute for action. The LGBTQ community knows about the work of resisting police brutality and violence. We celebrate June as Pride Month, because it commemorates, in part, our resisting police harassment and brutality at Stonewall in New York City, and earlier in California, when such violence was common and expected. We remember it as a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically.

We understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don’t matter. Today, we join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require.

A Wider Bridge, Alan Schwartz and Arthur Slepian, CEO & Board Chair and Founder

ACLU, James Esseks, Director, LGBT & HIV Project

Affirmations, Dave Garcia, Executive Director

AIDS Foundation of Chicago, Aisha N. Davis, Director of Policy

American Civil Liberties Union, Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director

American Civil Liberties Union of Florida, Micah Kubic, Executive Director

American Institute of Bisexuality, Ian Lawrence-Tourinho, Executive Director

Annapolis Pride, Jeremy Browning, Founder & Chair

Arkansas Transgender Equity Collaborative, Tonya Estell, Board of Directors

Atlanta Pride Committee, Jamie Fergerson, Executive Director

AVOL Kentucky, Jon Parker, Executive Director

BAGLY, Inc. (Boston Alliance of LGBTQ Youth), Grace Sterling Stowell, Executive Director

Basic Rights Oregon, Nancy Haque, Executive Director

Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom (BALIF), Jeffrey Kosbie, Co-Chair

Bayard Rustin Coalition, Lawrence Shine, Co-Chair

Beth Chayim Chadashim , Juval Porat, Cantor

Bi Women Quarterly, Robyn Ochs, Editor

Bi+ Georgia, Dan Wilson, Lead Organizer

Bi+ Pride Milwaukee, Amy Luettgen, Organizer

Big Apple Performing Arts/New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Lisa Reilly, Executive Director

BiLaw, Nancy Marcus, Co-Founder

Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center, Gabrielle Antolovich, Board President

BiPOL San Francisco, Ms. Lani Ka’ahumanu

Bisexual Organizing Project — BOP, Leah Yoemans, Chair

Bisexual Resource Center, Belle Haggett Silverman, President — Board of Directors

Bradbury-Sullivan LGBT Community Center, Adrian Shanker, Executive Director

Brooklyn Community Pride Center, Floyd Rumohr, CEO

Broward House, Inc, Stacy Hyde, CEO

Cache Pride Center, Cassandra Seikkula, Program Director

CAMP Rehoboth , David Mariner, Executive Director

Campaign for Southern Equality, Adam Polaski, Communications Director

Campus Pride, Shane Windmeyer, Executive Director

Capital Pride Alliance, Ryan Bos, Executive Director

Cathedral Of Hope UCC, Rev. Dr. Neil G Thomas, Senior Pastor

Center on Halsted, Modesto Valle, CEO

CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Denise Spivak, CEO

Citrus Pride, Chuck Higgins , President

Cleveland Stonewall Democrats, Dara Adkison, President

Community Education Group, A.Toni Young, Executive Director

Congregation Beit Simchat Torah, Sharon Kleinbaum, Senior Rabbi

Contigo Fund, Marco Antonio Quiroga, Director

Curve Magazine, Merryn Johns, Editor-in-Chief

Diocese of Southern Ohio, Rev deniray mueller, Legislative Liaison

Diversity Center, Santa Cruz County, Sharon Esther Papo, Executive Director

Edutechnologic, Brad Henry, CEO

elizabeth f schwartz, p.a., attorney & activist

Equality Arizona, Michael Soto, Executive Director

Equality Business Alliance, Eddie Reynoso, Executive Director

Equality California, Rick Chavez Zbur, Executive Director

Equality Delaware, Mark Purpura, Director

Equality Federation, Rebecca Isaacs, Executive Director

Equality Florida, Nadine Smith, Executive Director

Equality Illinois, Brian Johnson, CEO

Equality Michigan, Erin Knott, Executive Director

Equality NC, Kendra R Johnson, Executive Director

Equality Nevada, Chris Davin, President

Equality New Mexico, Adrian N. Carver, Executive Director

Equality New York, Amanda Babine, Executive Director

Equality Ohio, Alana Jochum, Executive Director

Equality Texas, Ricardo Martinez, CEO

Equality Virginia, Vee Lamneck, Executive Director

EqualityMaine, Matt Moonen, Executive Director

Fair Wisconsin, Megin McDonell, Executive Director

Fairness Campaign, Tamara Russell, Board Member

Family Equality, Denise Brogan-Kator, Chief Policy Officer

Fenway Health, Ellen LaPointe, CEO

Fierté Fredericton Pride, Amelia Thorpe, Co-Chair

Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Nik Harris, LGBTQ Consumer Advocate

Florida LGBTQ+ Democratic Caucus, Stephen Gaskill, President

FORGE, Inc., Loree Cook-Daniels, Policy and Program Director

Free Mom Hugs, Katrina Kalb, Executive Director

Freedom for All Americans, Kasey Suffredini, CEO & National Campaign Director

Freedom Oklahoma, Allie Shinn, Executive Director

FreeState Justice, Mark Procopio, Executive Director

GAAMC, Gordon Sauer, President

Garden State Equality, Christian Fuscarino, Executive Director

Gay City: Seattle’s LGBTQ Center, Fred Swanson, Executive Director

Gay Resources of the Ozarks, LLC, Brian C. Vega, LPC, NCC, Owner

Gay USA TV, Ann Northrop and Andy Humm, Co-Hosts

Gender Rights Maryland, Sharon Brackett, Board Chair

Gender Spectrum, Joel Baum, Senior Director

Genders & Sexualities Alliance Network (GSA Network), Geoffrey Winder & Ginna Brelsford, Co-Executive Directors

Georgia Equality, Jeff Graham, Executive Director

Get The Vote Out, Brad Henry, Founder

GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO

GLBT Alliance of Santa Cruz, Gloria Nieto, Board member

GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD), Janson Wu, Executive Director

GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBTQ Equality, Hector Vargas, Executive Director

GLSEN, Eliza Byard, Executive Director

GLSEN Southern Nevada, Trevor Harder, Co- Chair

GMHC, Kelsey Louie, CEO

GO Magazine , Dayna Troisi, Managing Editor

GSAFE, Brian Juchens, Co-Director

Harvey Milk Festival, Inc, Shannon Fortner, Executive Director

Have A Gay Day, Michael Knote , Executive Director

Heartland Equality, Dustin Havens, Director of Operations

Henderson Equality Center, Chris Davin, Executive Director

Hetrick-Martin Institute, Thomas Krever, CEO

Hetrick-Martin Institute: New Jersey, Lillian Rivera, Executive Director

Hudson Pride Center, Elizabeth Schedl, Chief Operations Officer

Human Rights Alliance — Santa Fe, NM, Kevin A. Bowen, President

Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, Kathy Ahearn-O’Brien, Executive Director

Immigration Equality, Aaron C. Morris, Executive Director

Ingersoll Gender Center, Karter Booher, Executive Director

Inside Out Youth Services, Jessie Pocock, Executive Director

InterPride, Julian Sanjivan and Andrew Baker, Co-Presidents

It Gets Better Project, Brian Wenke, Executive Director

Kaleidoscope Youth Center, Erin Upchurch, MSSA, LISW-S, Executive Director

Keshet, Idit Klein, President & CEO

Lambda Legal, Kevin Jennings , CEO

Left of Center Productions, Linda Lewis, Entertainment Agent

Lesbians of Color Symposium Collective, Inc., Shaunya Thomas, Co — Founder / President

LGBT Bar Association of New York, Eric Lesh, Executive Director

LGBT Caucus of the California Democratic Party, Tiffany Woods and Lester Aponte, Co-Chairs

LGBT Community Center of Greater Cleveland, Phyllis Seven Harris, Executive Director

LGBT Community Center of the Desert, Mike Thompson, CEO

LGBT Equality Alliance of Chester County, Don Davis, President

LGBT Life Center, Stacie Walls, CEO

LGBTQ Center OC, Peg Corley, Executive Director

LGBTQ Center of Bay County Inc., Cindy Wilker, President

LGBTQ Community Center of Southern Nevada, John Waldron, CEO

LGBTQ Victory Fund & LGBTQ Victory Institute , Mayor Annise Parker, President & CEO

LGBTQ+ Allies Lake County, Betty Jacobs, Founder/Executive Director

Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, Robert Vitelli, Executive VP/COO

Long Island LGBT Center, Lauren Corcoran-Doolin, Vice-President, External Affairs

Los Angeles Bi Task Force, Mimi Hoang, Co-Founder

Los Angeles LGBT Center, Lorri L. Jean, CEO

Louisiana Trans Advocates, Peyton Rose Michelle, Director of Operations

Lower Columbia Q Center, Jim Summers, Vice Chair

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition, Tre’Andre Valentine, Executive Director

MassEquality, Tanya V. Neslusan, Executive Director

Math4cure, Karen Young, Executive Director

Matthew Shepard Foundation, Jason Marsden, Executive Vice President

Me Too Springfield, Jordan Harris, President

Methodist Federation for Social Action, Bridget Cabrera, Executive Director

Movement Advancement Project, Ineke Mushovic, Executive Director

Nashville Pride, Phil Cobucci, Community Affairs

National Black Justice Coalition , David Johns, Executive Director

National Center for Lesbian Rights, Imani Rupert-Gordon, Executive Director

National Center for Transgender Equality, Mara Keisling, Executive Director

National Equality Action Team (NEAT), Brian Silva, Founder & Executive Director

National LGBT Bar Association and Foundation, D’Arcy Kemnitz, Executive Director

National LGBTQ Task Force, Rea Carey, Executive Director

National Organization of Gay and Lesbian Scientists and Technical Professionals (NOGLSTP), Rochelle Diamond, Chair

National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) , Glenn D. Magpantay, Executive Director

National Trans Visibility March, Apyphanie Barnhill, Asst. National Strategy Director

National Voices for Equality Education and Enlightenment, Jowharah Sanders, Executive Director

New York City Anti-Violence Project, Beverly Tillery, Executive Director

New York City Gay Men’s Chorus, Lisa Reilly, Executive Director

New York LGBT Network, David Kilmnick, President/CEO

NMAC, Paul Kawata, ED

North Dakota Human Rights Coalition, Barry Nelson, Organizer

North Jersey Pride, C.J. Prince, Executive Director

North Shore Alliance of GLBT Youth, Stephen Harrington, Executive Director

Northwest Arkansas Equality, Inc., Joseph Porter, President, Board of Directors

Oakland LGBTQ Community Ctr., Joe Hawkins , CEO

Oasis Legal Services, Ari Jones, Staff Attorney and Outreach Coordinator

OCTOPUS LLC (Organizing Communities Transgender Outreach Promoting United Support), Kimberly Sue Griffiths, Executive Director

One Colorado, Daniel Ramos, Executive Director

One Iowa, Courtney Reyes, Executive Director

One Orlando Alliance, Jennifer Foster, Executive Director

One-n-ten, Nate Rhoton, Executive Director

onePULSE Foundation, Barbara Poma, CEO

Our Family Coalition, Sam Ames, Interim Executive Director

Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, Erin Uritus, CEO

Out Boulder County, Mardi Moore, Executive Director

Out in STEM, Cortland Russell, President & CEO

Out in the Open, HB Lozito, Executive Director

Out Leadership, Todd Sears, Founder & CEO

Out on Film LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Craig Hardesty and Jim Farmer, Board Chair and Festival Director

OutFront Kalamazoo, Amy Hunter, Executive Director

OutFront Minnesota, Monica Meyer, Executive Director

OutNebraska, Abbi Swatsworth, Executive Director

OutRight Action International, Daina Rudusa, Senior Communications Manager

Outright Vermont, Dana Kaplan, Executive Director

OUTshine LGBTQ+ Film Festival, Victor Gimenez, Executive Director

OUTspoken Leaders, Jacob Kniep, Executive Director

Pacific Center for Human Growth, Michelle Gonzalez, Executive Director

Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, Rand Hoch, President and Founder

Peer Support Space, Dani, Dandelion Hill, Director of Peer Services

PFLAG Los Angeles, Steve Krantz, Vice President

PFLAG National, Brian K. Bond, Executive Director

PFLAG NYC, Drew Tagliabue, Executive Director

PFLAG South Miami, Jennifer Solomon, President PFLAG South Miami Chapter

Plexus LGBT Chamber of Commerce, Amanda Cole, Executive Director

Point Foundation, Jorge Valencia, Executive Director & CEO

PRC, Brett Andrews, CEO

Pride at Work, Jerame Davis, Executive Director

Pride Center of the Capital Region, Martha Harvey, Executive Director

Pride Center Of Vermont, Mike Bensel, Executive Director

Pride Fund 1, Densil R Porteous, CEO

Project No Labels, CLAIRE ELISAN, Founder / CEO

Project PRIDE Sarasota, Joshua Beadle, Co-Founder & Executive Director

PROMO, Stephen Eisele, Executive Director

Proud Haven Inc, Debbie Scotto, Co-Founder

Q Center, James K. Phelps, ACFRE, Interim Executive Director

QLatinx, Christopher J. Cuevas, Executive Director

Queens LGBT Center (QCenter), JR Cehonski, Director of Programs

Rainbow Community Center of Contra Costa County, Kiku Johnson, Executive Director

Rainbow Mobile, Bryan Fuenmayor, Executive Director

Reformed Catholic Church, Chris Carpenter, Presiding Bishop

Resource Center, Cece Cox, CEO

Rockland County Pride Center, Brooke Malloy, Executive Director

Rose Dynasty Foundation, Inc., Jason DeShazo, President

RUSA LGBT, Yelena Goltsman, Founder and Co-President

Ruth Ellis Center, Inc., Jerry Peterson, Executive Director

Sacramento LGBT Community Center, David Heitstuman, CEO

Safe Schools Action Network, Shannon Cuttle, Director

Safe Schools South Florida, Scott Galvin, Executive Director

SAGE, Michael Adams, CEO

SAGE Jersey City, Gordon Sauer, Affiliate Leader

SAGE Metro Detroit, Angie Perone, Executive Director

SAGE New Orleans — NOAGE, Jim Meadows, Executive Director

SAGE Upstate, Leslie Lamb, Program Administrator

San Diego Pride,, Executive Director

San Francisco AIDS Foundation, Joe Hollendoner, CEO

San Francisco Community Health Center, Lance Toma, Chief Executive Officer

SAVE — Safeguarding American Values for Everyone, Orlando Gonzales, Executive Director

Sero Project, Sean Strub, Executive Director

SF LGBT Center, Rebecca Rolfe, Executive Director

Shenandoah LGBTQ Center, Emily Sproul, Executive director

Side by Side VA, Inc., Ted Lewis, Executive Director

Silver State Equality, André C. Wade, State Director

Solano Pride Center, Jonathan Cook, Executive Director

South Orange Middle School, Johanna Barnhart, Dr.

Still Bisexual, Nicole Kristal, President

Stonewall Columbus, Gerry Rodriguez, President of the Board of Trustees

Stonewall Democratic Club, Drexel Heard II, Community Vice-President

Stonewall Sports Cleveland, Patty Hace, Board Chair

TargetCue, Cathy Renna, Principal

TBuddy, Dani Farrell, Founder & CEO

Tennessee Equality Project, Chris Sanders, executive director

The Alliance for GLBTQ Youth, Pauline Green, Executive Director

The Bros in Convo Initiative, Daniel J. Downer, Executive Director

The DC Center for the LGBT Community, Rehana Mohammed, Board Chair

The Diversity Center, Sharon E Papo, Executive Director

The Gala Pride and Diversity Center, Michelle Call, Executive Director

The Karpel Group, Craig Karpel, President

The Lesbian, Gay Bisexual and Transgender Community Center (NY), Glennda Testone, Executive Director

The LGBT Bar Association of New York, Eric Leah, Executive Director

The LGBT Center of Greater Reading, Michelle Dech, Executive Director

The LGBT Center, NYC, Reg Calcagno, Senior Director of Government Affairs

The LGBT Pink Panthers Movement, Faith Alastair, President

The LGBTQ Center Long Beach, Porter Gilberg, Executive Director

The Pride Center at Equality Park, Robert Boo, CEO

The Pride Center of Maryland, Mimi Demissew, Executive Director

The Pride Network, Jacob Rudolph, Executive Director

The San Diego LGBT Community Center, Cara Dessert, CEO

The Source LGBT+ Center, Brian Poth, Executive Director

The Stonewall Inn Gives Back Initiative, Stacy Lentz, CEO

The Trevor Project, Amit Paley, CEO

Trans In Color, Dani Farrell, Founder & CEO

Transgender Children’s Legal Defense Fund, Benjamin Cooper, President of the Board

Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT), Emmett Schelling, Executive Director

Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF), Andy Marra, Executive Director

Transgender Michigan, Susan Crocker, Operations Director

TransInclusive Group, Inc, Tatiana Williams, Executive Director

TransNewYork, Gennifer herley, Executive Director

TransOhio, James Knapp, Chair & Executive Director

TriVersity Center for Gender and Sexual Diversity, Steven Teague, Executive Director

True Colors United, Gregory Lewis, Executive Director & CEO

True Colors, Inc., Robin McHaelen, Executive Director

Truth Wins Out, Wayne Besen, Executive Director

Unity Coalition|Coalicion unida, Herb Sosa, Director & CEO

Uptown Gay & Lesbian Alliance (UGLA), Carl Matthes, President

Utah Pride Center, Robert Moolman, Executive Director

Visuality, Inc., Arlene Goldberg, Vice President, Board of DIrectors

Voices4, Oliver Fuhrmann, Lead Organizer

Waves Ahead & SAGE PR, Wilfred Labiosa, Executive Director

We Matter Winchester, William Wright, Administrator

William Way LGBT Community Center, Philadelphia, Chris Bartlett, Executive Director

Wisconsin Trans Health Coalition, Ben Andert, Core Team member

Woodhull Freedom Foundation, Ricci Levy, President & CEO

Wynwood Pride, Anna Margarita Albelo, Executive Director

Wyoming Equality, Sara Burlingame, Executive Director

Youth Seen, tara jae, Executive Director



Eric Lesh

Executive Director, LeGaL @lgbtbarny. Attorney promoting justice in & through the legal profession for the #LGBT community. 40 Best LGBT Lawyers Under 40.