a gay black woman's discovery of her jewish self

We Will Not Be Silenced

Posted on: June 13, 2016

rainbow-fist-1I get NYT updates on my phone and like anyone else who gets these updates, was started to read that 20 LGBTQ folks had been killed at a nightclub in Orlando. I read the article by the light of my phone and the bits of sunlight that had started to stream into our bedroom. As I read, I listened to the light snoring of our dog and the heavy breathing of my sleeping wife and I felt a wave of sheer terror wash over my body.

We could be those people. Our friends could have been those people. I could have died simply for being in a space meant to be a sanctuary for me and my LGBTQ brothers and sisters. I finished reading the article and snuggled in close to my wife and fell into a fitful sleep before waking again a few hours later. My wife brought us coffee to bed and said, “Can you believe that fifty people were killed at a gay club in Orlando?”

“Twenty,” I corrected her.

“No, it’s up to fifty now.”

The day went on much as any Sunday would. We busied ourselves with life; gardening, laundry, cleaning, playing with our dog. As I checked my phone my Facebook timeline started to fill with more news, shared communal sadness from the LGBTQ community and anger from all sides. Anger at the messages of prayer when tangible actions are needed. Anger at media outlets refusal to call it what it is; a hate crime. Anger at the media’s positioning of the LGBTQ community and the Muslim community against one another, though I realize that this hateful homophobe was no true Muslim. There was little mention of the fact that this was a hate crime, but rather an act of terrorism, which it is. But it’s an act of terror acted upon the gay community.

The sheer magnitude of this hate crime is astounding and I feel only shock and disbelief.

Last night my wife joined our friends and hundreds of others in our community for a vigil for the victims of the shooting but I didn’t go. I made an excuse about needing to finish up the cleaning, not being dressed or ready. And I’m still not sure I know why I didn’t want to go.

Something about the inaction of a vigil perhaps. Maybe it was a desire to be alone. And honestly, I worried the vigil would be very white and something about that didn’t sit well with me either. The fact is that a minority within a minority was targeted. Not only was the target gay, but also Latina/o. I’m not sure if this was the gunman’s motive or just his blind homophobia and hatred, but the fact remains that brown and black LGBTQ folks lost their lives and that fact, the it could have been me hurts me deeply. And the deafening silence of so many cis-gendered, straight white folks on my Facebook feed speaks volumes.

I will not be silent.

I will use my voice and say that I am here.

I see my other QPOC community and I feel your pain, sadness, anger and frustration.

I see my brothers and sisters and the Muslim community and I will fight hatred with love and understanding.

Take care of one another.

Baruch Dayem Emet. May the memories of those who were lost be a blessing to their friends and family and to the world. May the families and friends left behind be comforted with all of the mourners of Zion. And may we, as a people, lean into love and turn against hate.


1 Response to "We Will Not Be Silenced"

Thank you for this.

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