Central PA's LGBT News Source
Every February, we come together to honor Black LGBTQ and allied innovators, trailblazers and social justice warriors who have changed our world for the better. This Black History Month, let’s not only celebrate the achievements and progress that we have made, but also commit ourselves to breaking down the barriers to racial and LGBTQ equality that still remain.
Just in the last two weeks, we saw the brutal attacks on actor and advocate Jussie Smollett and Candice Elease Pinky — a Black transgender woman shot five times in Houston. Earlier in January, we lost Dana Martin in Alabama … the first known transgender person murdered in 2019.
Hate violence and the use of hate speech can never become acceptable.
Yet, unfortunately, these aren't the only issues we need to wrestle with.The Black LGBTQ community also faces disproportionate economic disadvantage in both housing and unemployment … the increased impact of HIV … and a lack of quality, affordable healthcare, to name just a few.
Fierce advocates are battling these challenges head-on and advancing justice in communities across the country and here in Washington. And, right now, with the support of some key advocates and champions for both racial and LGBTQ equality, we’re working to pass the Equality Act — which would ensure the explicit and consistent non-discrimination protections we need at the federal level!
We must also keep electing pro-equality leaders committed to change, especially those that understand the critical interconnection of the fight for equality across marginalized identities. We will continue to amplify the work of civil rights organizations and advocates fighting racial, social and economic injustices. We will combat hate violence, systemic racism and oppression in every way we can.
And we will make sure every single voice in our community is heard, valued and protected — not just during Black History Month, but every month, and in the many battles we have ahead.
Cozier is Senior Vice President Diversity, Equity & Inclusion