Safety Begins & Ends with Us: A Collective Response to Violence

The Audre-Lorde Project, FIERCE, and Streetwise & Safe commend the work of New York City’s LGBT Council members who have centered our community needs when assessing and creating strategies to address violence against LGBTSTGNCQ people. They have understood the political importance of choosing strategies that align with racial and economic justice work of LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color and our allies in New York City who have been, and are still, working for the collective safety of all people.

We call on our city officials to support campaigns and programs that lift up healing and resiliency of LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color and our allies, and that seek to transform hate violence and end abusive policing practices such as Stop and Frisk. Community-led programs like Cop Watch need support from our city officials! We need more public spaces honoring and memorializing LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color history in New York City. Equally important is the need to respond to the grief and trauma experienced by communities impacted by violence targeting LGBTSTGNC People of Color. The “solution” of increased policing as a response to violence dismisses the leadership and legacy of LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color who have been building collective safety and dignity for all. We need more elected officials to meet and engage in dialogue with our communities to find strategic solutions for safety.

We call for justice for survivors of police violence. We also demand changes to the homophobic and transphobic police system including public acknowledgement and accountability for the acts of violence against our community, by the NYPD, which routinely targets our communities under the guise of ‘our safety’. We want an end to profiling on the basis of race, sexuality, age, gender identity and expression, housing status, immigration status, and disability, and HIV status. We want a thorough investigation into the recent 79th Precinct assaults on Josh Williams, Ben Collins, and Antonio Maenza. From the Stonewall Riots in 1969 to the 5 million stops under the Bloomberg Administration, our safety has never depended on deploying mass numbers of NYPD officers into communities where LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color live, survive, and thrive!

We are a community of fierce warriors and we need to continue to lift up our spirits and support one another. We, as LGBTSTGNCQ People of Color have and can continue to create methods of safety for ourselves. We’re calling out to the community to create methods that do not further criminalize each other but stand on the foundation of accountability and transformation. Since the Voting Rights Act has been gutted and focus on the Defense Of Marriage Act, has created a false myth that marriage is the end goal of our movement, now is the time more than ever for us to organize! Join the work we have laid out on the ground for years to ensure our collective safety, dignity, and liberation!

FIERCE is a membership-based organization building the leadership and power of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) youth of color in New York City.  We develop politically conscious leaders who are invested in improving ourselves and our communities through youth-led campaigns, leadership development programs, and cultural expression through arts and media. FIERCE is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of social justice movement leaders who are dedicated to ending all forms of oppression.
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