LGBT groups respond to violence in Oak Creek, Joplin

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A coalition of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender civil rights groups and allies issued a solidarity statement responding to this week’s violence in Oak Creek, Wis., and Joplin, Mo.

The statement, released Aug. 9, reads:

“As organizations serving lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) communities, we are stunned and saddened by the recent spate of violence against communities across the country. The shooting at the Sikh gurdwara (temple) in Oak Creek, WI that left 6 people dead was certainly a blow to all of us on Sunday, August 5. To hear about the fire at the mosque in Joplin, MO not even 24 hours later compounded our sense of tragedy and shock. We send our deepest sympathies to the families affected.

“Currently, details about both incidents are still emerging. Local law enforcement in Oak Creek have been joined by the FBI in an ongoing investigation of the incident as a potential act of domestic terrorism and a potential hate crime. The fire in Joplin was the second of its kind at the mosque, on the heels of another fire on July 4. Motives in both cases are still being determined (the first fire at the Joplin mosque was determined to be arson).

“The LGBTQ communities we work with and serve are no strangers to violence in our midst. We know our communities are threatened on a daily basis by the many faces of hate and intolerance – not just because of our sexuality or gender identity, but because of our race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, ability, and too many other facets of our identities. We stand in solidarity against all forms of violence, as well as the hate and intolerance that all too often propagate it.

“We roundly condemn the violence committed against our fellow community members in Oak Creek, WI and Joplin, MO. As flags fly at half-staff around the country, we call for a fuller dialogue among diverse communities, law enforcement, and policymakers to better address violence in our communities.”

The groups that signed the statement include: Advocates for Youth, Affinity Community Services, Inc., American Civil Liberties Union, Asian Pacific Islander Equality- Northern California, Audre Lorde Project, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, Family Equality Council, FIERCE, First Nations Two Spirit Collective, Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, Immigration Equality | Action Fund, International Federation of Black Prides, National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Queers United for Action, PFLAG National (Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays), Queers for Economic Justice, Queer Muslim Working Group, Queer Women of Color Media Arts Project (QWOCMAP), SALGA, Southerners on New Ground (SONG), Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Trikone.