America has blood on its hands yet again.
Make no mistake: Whenever political and religious leaders allow a climate of intolerance to fester, it becomes a breeding ground for violence. Anytime rhetoric demonizes instead of humanizes; promotes hate, not love; and gives tacit approval to injustice instead of remaining vigilant and continuing the pursuit of justice, the fear of difference is fostered and community is fractured.
For decades, bars and clubs were—for we who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex—our sanctuary and holy ground, when other institutions turned us away. They provided the only place of safety, freedom connection and solidarity, beyond the reach of bigotry. Now this safe haven has been violated. At Latin night, at Pulse in Orlando, the blood of LGBTQI persons—and particularly trans folks, latino/as, and undocumented and documented brothers and sisters—has been spilled, reminding us that none of us is safe if one of us suffers.
We must remain vigilant for all communities pushed to the margins because it is there, at the edges of society, that the most vulnerable are subject to exploitation, suffering, violence and, yes, even death.
At GLIDE, a place of unconditional love and unconditional acceptance, we vow: Not one more!
We will stand up against the lies that are told about our sisters and brothers.
We will speak out against hate speech.
We will seek justice for all those on the margins.
We will stand in solidarity with all those who face gun violence.
We will work for saner gun control laws.
We will continue to be a people grounded in love, a community of many colors, races, ethnicities, abilities, classes.
We will remain rooted in solidarity with the most vulnerable, so that all those who seek to harm will find themselves facing an army of lovers.
We will stand, open and proud, and push back all the forces of hatred, injustice and violence, so that all children can grow up proud and unafraid to be who they were created to be.
By Reverend Dr. Karen Oliveto, GLIDE Senior Pastor