Central Florida LGBTQ+ Organizations Stand Opposed to Racial Inequality and Reaffirm Commitment to Anti-Racism Collaboration
As a united coalition of over 40 LGBTQ+ organizations in the Central Florida community, we are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all who reside and visit here. Since the senseless murder of George Floyd, our nation and our local community have asked that individuals and organizations take a deep look at what they are doing to be neither complicit nor perpetuate the ills of structural racism. While many of the freedoms that we enjoy as an LGBTQ+ community came as a direct result of the work and passion of Black and Brown LGBTQ+ people, we understand that our community and our movement for equality is not an inclusive space for Black LGBTQ+ community members. We are taking the time to listen and to educate ourselves so that we can do better and are committing ourselves to instituting actionable change.
Anti-racism is an ongoing practice. It requires accountability, to which we are all dedicated. We must take deep consideration as we reflect on what we are doing, at the individual, organizational, and communal level, to not be complicit in or feed into a system that upholds structural racism. We acknowledge that we need to do better, that we are sorry for past transgressions, and we are dedicated to continual growth and measurable change.
We acknowledge that our Black LGBTQ+ siblings, especially our Black trans siblings, have historically experienced more discrimination than their non-Black counterparts and we stand alongside the Black community in solidarity. Because of this reason, we recognized Racial Inequality as one of the top 10 issues facing the LGBTQ+ community in 2017 and detailed action steps necessary to confront it in the Alliance Agenda. While some steps have been taken, collectively, we acknowledge that there is much work that needs to be done.
On May 29, 2020, we signed on to a nationwide letter LGBTQ Organizations Unite to Combat Racial Violence that commits us to “embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ+ people.” The letter goes on to affirm, “We understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don’t matter.” That truth resonates with LGBTQ+ organizations across the world and is embedded into our culture, here in Central Florida, sparking a paradigm shift that will continue to transform our local LGBTQ+ movement.
On June 5, 2020, the One Orlando Alliance coalition held an emergency meeting in which our leadership and member organizations collectively took a firm stance by committing to:
- Expanding our Alliance Agenda’s focus from “Racial Inequality” to “Anti-Racism” as it relates to the Top 10 Issues facing Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ community and adding to this section a series of firm commitments that will be taken to build a more equitable community.
- Establish an Anti-Racism Team to which ALL member organizations have designated at least one person, in addition to their existing membership engagement responsibilities, to develop and prioritize a coalition-wide strategy. This team will help ensure that member organizations are both educated and action-oriented.
- Create and fund a position to lead our Anti-Racism commitment, immediately filled by Charlotte “Cha Cha” Davis, a longtime activist in the LGBTQ+ Black community and leader behind the #WeExist movement.
Coalition members met again on Sunday, June 7th to reaffirm our shared commitment to Anti-Racism. Topics discussed ranged from revising membership requirements that hold member organizations and representatives accountable, to developing and revising internal inclusion strategies, to leveraging relationships with government, corporate, and philanthropic leaders to ensure that the leadership of the LGBTQ+ communities that have historically been marginalized and under resourced are elevated. Our intention is to ensure that systemic racism is uprooted from policies and procedures designed to oppress people of color and that our local LGBTQ+ community examines racism in a way in which we have chosen not to confront in the past. We know we have left members of our Black community behind and commit to doing better.
We understand that statements do not excuse injustices of the past nor do they transform communities. We have collectively affirmed to make the changes necessary to ensure meaningful, long term reform. Deliberate action can help provide a healing balm while we work—together—to change the future. Just as we sprung into action to help our community heal after the Pulse tragedy, Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ organizations are standing alongside our Black LGBTQ+ community members. We hereby commit to embedding anti-racism into the culture of the Central Florida LGBTQ+ community, through action. We are committed to helping heal the wounds of our nation and our community and we do that because Black Lives Matter.
During Pride month especially, we must also remember that the LGBTQ+ liberation movement began as a response to the police brutality that LGBTQ+ people faced and its leaders included Black and Brown trans women. We intend to honor their work by standing with and following the lead of Black LGBTQ+ leaders now. This historic time in our nation’s history requires us to do more and do better, and the One Orlando Alliance intends to do that.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation
American Red Cross of Central Florida
Bros in Convo Initiative
Central Florida Sounds of Freedom
& Color Guard
Community Legal Services
Come Out With Pride
Hope CommUnity Center
Hope & Help
Human Rights Campaign
Impulse Group – Orlando
KindRED Pride Foundation
Legal Aid Society of the
Orange County Bar Association, Inc.
LGBT+ Center Orlando, dba The Center
Libby’s Legacy Breast Cancer Foundation
Maven Leadership Collective
Mental Health Association
of Central Florida
Miracle of Love
Oak Central Florida
OIC Orlando Immunology Center
Orlando Gay Chorus
Orlando Youth Alliance
OUAC/Heart of Florida United Way
Peer Support Space
The Pride Chamber
Planned Parenthood of the Southwest
and Central Florida
Rose Dynasty Foundation
Victim Services Center
of Central Florida