If you live in the United States, chances are, you’re well acquainted with the I Have A Dream speech given by Martin Luther King, Jr. at the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. It was a pivotal moment in the fight for African-American civil rights. And it had nothing to do with LGBTQ families. Or did it?
Right now, the eyes of America are turned towards Minneapolis, Minnesota where a black man, George Floyd was murdered in cold blood by an officer of the law. It’s not the first time a black man has been murdered by a white cop and, sadly, it won’t be the last. It may, however, make a difference in that those in power may see the high economic and social cost of allowing racism and injustice to run rampant among members of law enforcement. That allowing the law to be applied differently is counter-productive.
Right now, it seems improper to focus on anything other than the Black Lives Matter movement and true equality in the eyes of the law for people of color.
I would argue, however, that LGBTQ Families Day is part of the Black Lives Matter movement. There aren’t black rights and gay rights and women’s rights and so on — there are only rights. It is only those who seek to control others who try to differentiate in order to divide and conquer the rest of us. It’s much easier to trample on the rights of African-American if you’ve convinced everyone else that they’re independent from and unrelated to their own rights.
In reality, however, they’re all human rights and we’re all in this together.
Martin Luther King, Jr. once wrote “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” The fight for LGBTQ rights is the same fight taking place on our streets today. They are the same rights: the right to live in peace, the right to go jogging, to watch birds, to buy a pack of cigarettes — without risking death.
Nearly 60 years ago, Dr. King gave an incredible, moving speech in our nation’s capital while a quarter of a million people listened. That event was, in large part, organized by a man who knew full well that rights are rights, no matter who you are: Bayard Rustin was both black and gay, and spent his life as a civil rights activist.
Ideally, each of us are, to the best of our abilities, civil rights activists, fighting for everyone’s rights. Today, as a family of LGBTQ allies, we are speaking up for for our brothers and sisters of color.