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LGBT groups issue letter supporting civil rights march

With events marking the 50th anniversary of the Great March on Washington set for this weekend and through next week, a coalition of LGBT civil rights groups has issued a letter of support.

The National Gay and Lesbian task Force led the effort to collect support from the LGBT community.

The letter reads:

Over the past year, our community has celebrated tremendous wins in the fight for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality and justice.

We have collectively cheered the first ever Senate committee markup of an inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the Social Security Administration’s modernization of its gender marker policy and U.S. Supreme Court wins on marriage equality in the Windsor and Perry rulings. But we remain frustrated that ENDA is still not the law of the land and we’re angered and deeply disappointed with the Court’s decision to turn back critical parts of the historic Voting Rights Act in Shelby.

We must channel this frustration and disappointment into action to tackle employment discrimination, voter suppression tactics, immigration reform and racial profiling, to name only a few.

This month we have an opportunity to bring the combined energy from our victories to a major gathering that will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom. History was made that day 50 years ago when thousands came to Washington, D.C. to lift up their voices in support of civil rights, employment protection and an end to racial segregation in our nation’s schools. On Aug. 24, we will rededicate ourselves to that dream of equality and justice.

It has been over 40 years since Stonewall and the birth of the modern LGBTQ rights movement. As national, state and local LGBTQ organizations, we know that while there have been many advancements over the last four decades since Stonewall and the five decades since the 1963 March, there is still much more work to be done. We are proud to commemorate the 1963 March and, once again, come together and collectively take action to “Realize the Dream.”

At a time when the nation still does not have clear federal laws barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, we still need to step up and be visible. We believe that everyone deserves the opportunity to find and keep a job in a safe work environment with a living wage regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and expression. We also believe that all members of our community, whether they are seniors, middle-aged or youth, deserve to be safe from violence, harassment, exploitation and racial profiling when they are at home, school, work, or in any other public places. As LGBTQ people, we believe that quality health care should be accessible, affordable and culturally competent. We believe that the 11 million undocumented immigrants, including at least 267,000 undocumented LGBT people living in this country, should have a real pathway to citizenship and people from all backgrounds should be able to stay with their families. We believe these are issues that cut across all lines of gender, race and ethnicity, gender identity and sexual orientation, ability and immigration status. It’s time to join forces and demonstrate our collective power.

Take Action

Working together, this rally and mobilization is an opportunity to lift up the voices of LGBT people as part of a broad progressive agenda for social and economic justice. Please join us on Saturday, Aug. 24, at 8 a.m.-3 p.m. in Washington, D.C., at the DC War Memorial at 900 Independence Ave, SW, Washington, DC 20245, as we come together in support of freedom and justice!

The letter is signed “In Solidarity” by: Get Equal, Human Rights Campaign, National Black Justice Coalition, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Pride at Work, AFL-CIO and with endorsements from: Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice, Believe Out Loud, Bethel Christian Church, BiNet USA, Bisexual Resource Center, Center for Black Equity, CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers, The Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals, Equality Federation, Family Equality Council, The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries, FORGE, Inc., Freedom to Marry, Freedom to Work, Gay-Straight Alliance Network, GLAAD, GLAD, GLMA: Health Professionals Advancing LGBT Equality, GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network), Harvey Milk Foundation, Immigration Equality, Lambda Legal, Leadership Team of NASPA GLBT Knowledge Community, Marriage Equality USA, National Center for Lesbian Rights, National Center for Transgender Equality, National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce, NQAPIA, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates, PFLAG National, Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), The Trevor Project, Trans Advocacy Network, Trans People of Color Coalition, Transgender Law Center, Unid@s and The National Latin@ LGBT Human rights Organization.

PHOTO — The crowd at the March on Washington in 1963. Photo: Wiki Commons