We Will Not Be Silenced
June 10, 2020
This time, one year ago, we were coming together in celebration to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall uprising and to mark the huge strides that our LGBTQ community has made on so many fronts.
Fast forward to the present and our nation and the entire world are confronting the biggest health crisis of our lives, COVID-19.
With COVID-19, we are battling a pandemic that has taken hold of the world with some five million reported cases and more than 320,000 reported deaths in a five-month period of time. And, the scars from this new type of war are touching people from all walks of life.
The LGBTQ community knows first-hand what it’s like to be in the middle of a hellish health war. Our brothers and sisters, beginning in 1981, confronted the HIV/AIDS epidemic that some referred to as the “gay cancer.”
The blatant acts of bigotry and discrimination were raw in the 1980s and 1990s as the AIDS crisis unfolded and like today’s pandemic the response from our leaders in medicine and government was slow and uneven.
As the current pandemic unfolds, I remain hopeful that science, ethics and smart governance will prevail in mitigating worst case scenarios. I remain hopeful that smart leaders in the U.S. and globally will be reminded of the 32 million people who have died from HIV/AIDS since the 1980s, including 700,000 Americans.
We won’t be marching down Fifth Avenue in New York or Market Street in San Francisco this year to celebrate PRIDE. Instead, we must be resilient, and we will use this quiet period to push and to prod for fairness, and continue to break down the walls that divide us. Our fight goes on, and we must continue to stand up, speak out and deliver for the most vulnerable. This is a fight worth fighting. It’s for all of us—gay, straight, Black,, Latino, white, young and old.
And, I will end with my favorite quote from a Mississippi journalist during the days of segregation, “Little good is accomplished without controversy and no civic evil is overcome without publicity.”