The nation’s LGBT leaders have joined the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) to pen an open letter of solidarity in response to the killing of Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was shot and killed by police on Saturday in Ferguson, Missouri.
The coalition of co-signers noted that Brown’s killing transcends LGBT rights. All equality movements are a deeply-connected fabric of the country and its unfulfilled promise of liberty and justice for all, the open letter said.
“It’s an issue that encompasses all communities that have experienced injustice,” said HRC spokesman Adam Talbot. “We can’t be silent because LGBT people come from all races and backgrounds.”Although 30% of Ferguson’s population is white, data released by the Ferguson police department reveals that African-Americans comprised 94% of arrests, 92% of searches, and 86% of vehicular stops. The police force is reported to be 93% white.
Gay Men’s Health Crisis, the nation’s first HIV/AIDS service organization, told msnbc it signed onto the letter because the U.S. is in the midst of a dangerous epidemic, as young individuals of color and their parents are left in fear each time they leave the safety of their homes.
“Public safety must not be the noose around the necks of young men of color,” said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. “Society continually sends a message that young black men are dispensable and this is a public health emergency we all must address. GMHC stands with our local and national partners in our continued effort to fight social injustices like the murders of Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin and so many countless others.”
The LGBT groups warned that the U.S. is failing as a nation when communities experience fear and brutality because of who they are or how they look.
“In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country,” the letter states.
A similar open letter was published by the HRC following the shooting of unarmed teen Travyon Martin by neighborhood watchman George Zimmerman in Florida, saying Martin’s death was “a wakeup call to the enduring cancer of racism and racial profiling.”
While the HRC hopes for an end to these tragic killings, the organization will continue to speak out against the violence with others members of the LGBT community until they end, Talbot said.
“We care about justice,” Talbot said. “This is an issue we all care about.”