Dear Ambush Nation,
These are indeed interesting times we are all witnessing and living through. We are still in the middle of a global pandemic that for many months has basically shut down the entire planet. Tens of millions of Americans are still unemployed.
As businesses begin to reopen, we see several states along the Gulf Coast and throughout the country where cases of COVID-19 are increasing to new record levels. Here in Louisiana–and New Orleans–we have done a much better job than most of flattening the curve. Yet here in New Orleans, we have tens of thousands of service industry workers who continue to be unemployed.
We also see Black Lives Matter protests all over the world since the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer on May 25th. As a community, now is the time for all of us to come together to support each other, especially the Black Lives Matter movement, and, in particular, our trans brothers and sisters of color as they continue to be the most vulnerable members of our LGBTQ community.
BLACK LIVES MATTER!
Since George Floyd’s murder, Black Lives Matter protests have erupted worldwide. Several have occurred here in New Orleans; people have marched in the streets to bring awareness to this global Movement.
And yes, black lives do matter. Black lives are in danger in a way that white lives are not. In the LGBTQ community, we need to acknowledge that when we talk about black lives, we must include black trans lives as well. All people of color need to be included in this movement as we do not want to leave anyone behind, especially our black trans brothers and sisters.
I think it’s important that white America acknowledges fully the systemic racism that exists in our society. Not only do we need to acknowledge it, but we need to be part of the solution and, most importantly, we need to listen with open minds and hearts to all people of color.
I know it’s not always easy for some white people to understand what white privilege is or how the Black Lives Matter movement affects them. This, however, is where those of us who are white and informed about these topics need to help educate others. We are not equal until we are all truly equal. And that starts by knocking down barriers of systemic racism that affects people of color, including our trans brothers and sisters of color.
I’ve personally seen this in my work as a lawyer. For seven years, I was a public defender representing mostly people of color. I saw firsthand how systemic racism could destroy someone’s life. I saw how black men were treated much more harshly than whites who were accused of the exact same crimes. This is a problem that continues today and must be corrected. We all need to be part of the solution and not be afraid to ask our friends what is the most effective way to help.
We need people to be engaged. We need to participate in Black Lives Matter protests. We need to listen to our friends of color and black trans people to better understand their concerns.
We need to make sure that everyone we know is registered to vote. To end systemic racism, laws will need to be changed. We all need to do our part to make that happen. Recently, the Trump administration rolled back health care protections for people who are transgender, so now doctors and health care facilities can legally discriminate against our transgender brothers and sisters. This is not acceptable.
We need to ensure that our elected officials work to protect all people of color and LGBTQ people from all discrimination. We all need to be engaged in the upcoming presidential election. This is not the time to sit on the sidelines. We all need to work together to support Black Lives Matter because black lives do matter and this includes black trans lives. Let us all do our part, as there is much work to do before we are all truly equal.