Statement of Resistance on Inauguration Day: No One is Free Until We Are All Free
Today the 45th President of the United States will be sworn into office in Washington D.C. The man who will occupy the highest office in our nation for the next four years already has the lowest approval rating of any incoming President. Before taking office, he nominated a cabinet and top advisors full of men and women who are outspoken about their anti-LGBTQ positions on every issue from marriage equality to nondiscrimination laws. The incoming Vice President is a staunch proponent of conversion therapy and of rolling back practically every hard-won battle for LGBTQ people living in the United States. The new administration is set, from day 1, to begin an assault on the rights and freedoms of every group of marginalized people in the United States from the LGBTQ community to Muslims to immigrants to the poor and working class.
With every speech, news conference and tweet the man who will occupy the office of President, from this day until four years from now, has proven that he will harness hatred and fear to further his personal ambitions and his party’s deadly platform. Today all barriers to the Republican deconstruction of American government have fallen, and we must brace ourselves for the destruction of public services, programs, and of the public trust. If Congress and the incoming President are successful in the first 100 days of this administration, they will have stolen health care from 32 million Americans. They will have instituted a shameful registration process for Muslim people of faith. They will have re-codified a brutal and unapologetic racism back into our legal and immigration systems that so many fought to change. They will have not just rolled back marriage equality but will have endorsed the deep seeded hatred of LGBTQ people in our courts, in our schools, and even in public restrooms. They will have instituted new and massive tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans obliterating all remnants of the American Dream and ushering in a form of wealth and income inequality that will undermine the free markets they worship. If they are successful then this nation that dared to say a people could forge their destiny, not for a King, but for the common good and liberty of its people; that fought back the rise of fascism in Europe; and that took a long hard look at itself during the Civil Rights Era and chose to answer for its long history of slavery, genocide, and discrimination will no longer be the same nation. We will not be the brave and courageous people who can do great things and be accountable to one another for the injustices we visit on those who most need our compassion.
This past summer EQAZ’s board of directors made a decision to shape our work around three areas: Inclusion, Justice, and Equity. Our summer retreat was the first step as an organization in adopting an intersectional analysis of the work of LGBTQ equality. For too long our organization and the many other organizations that work for LGBTQ equality prioritized the battle for marriage equality to the exclusion of other important issues. We said proudly that we must fight this fight because love is love and all love should be equal under the law. What we and so many others did not see was that while the battle for love was noble in many ways, the daily battle for far too many in our community was not and is not for love, but for survival. We must recognize this truth as we move forward – this does not diminish the work of marriage equality – in fact, it makes that work and our future work stronger, braver, and more courageous because we can see our success and our failures.
We recognize this today because we need to harness that strength, bravery, and courage over the next four years. If we, as an organization, are to stand for inclusion, justice, and equity during this time we must resist the policies of fear and hate that the President, Congress, Supreme Court, Governor, and State Legislature create to dehumanize, criminalize, and impoverish women, people of color, poor people, disabled people, migrants, immigrants, refugees, non-Christians, and LGBTQ people. We must fight for our entire community, for the most vulnerable and marginalized among us because that is the fight for survival that we owe to the whole LGBTQ community. Love is love can no longer be our only call to arms – we must also shout, with equal conviction, that Black Lives Matter, Not One More Deportation, No Human Being is Illegal, that Immigrants Make America Great, that Women’s Rights are Human Rights, Stop the War on Women, that Climate Change is Real, that All Workers Deserve a Living Wage, that Water is Life, and so much more.
This week began with the celebration of a man who was a radical, who worked for Black liberation and who worked for the redistribution of wealth from the affluent to the poor, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We draw inspiration from this visionary and radical leader as we prepare as an organization and as individuals to resist and actively work against the new administration and its mission to sow the seeds of bigotry, hatred, and fear into a new American Century. We ask to join in this work with you, to resist with you, and to actively work for a more just and equitable nation together.
“To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor…Noncooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good. … To accept injustice or segregation passively is to say to the oppressor that his actions are morally right.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Kevin Patterson and The Equality Arizona Board of Directors