ALAA Roots — An Unofficial Site

March 9, 2017

Joint Statement From the LGBTQ and ACLA Caucuses: We don’t need your permission to exist

Filed under: ACLA,Affirmative Action,Islamophobia,LGBTQ,Racism — nyclaw01 @ 5:53 pm

From: Ma, Ying-Ying
Sent: Thursday, March 09, 2017 4:53 PM
Subject: Joint Statement From the LGBTQ and ACLA Caucuses: We don’t need your permission to exist.

Joint Statement From the LGBTQ and ACLA Caucuses: We don’t need your permission to exist.

We don’t need anyone’s permission to exist, in fact, we’ve been existing since the beginning of time… and will continue to do so despite the violence perpetrated on our communities.

We are responding to an email of hate sent in response to the LGBTQ Caucus’ email regarding the killings of women of color who are trans. Honoring our lost community members, mourning and raising up the lives of our living and our dead is not brainwashing, it is our right. As it is our right to bring our full selves to work without being called abnormal, sinful, and without being dehumanized. It is this very dehumanization that contributes to the crisis of violence facing transgender women of color that the LGBTQ Caucus was compelled to write about yesterday. This is the context we write from.

We do not need anyone’s permission to exist.

Some of us didn’t sleep last night after reading the email. Some of us didn’t feel safe to come to work today. Some of us felt terror and fury for our clients. Some of us have never felt safe. Some of us are finding it hard to do the job we love. Some of us don’t have the privilege of simply opting out of this conversation, or tuning out the reality of violence that impacts our lives and the lives of people we represent. Attempts, by our colleagues, to halt or stop the conversation as a way to silence us, perpetuates violence and further marginalizes those of us who are most oppressed within our communities.

We do not need anyone’s permission to exist. And our very existence is not sinful, nor is our clients’. Rather, it is courageous and an act of daily resistance to survive.

Those of us who are trans, queer, people of color – specifically Black and Muslim, have appreciated the responses in solidarity with our communities. LGBTQ people of color experience marginalization in intersectional ways, and by people and places we call home, work, colleagues, and family. We welcome the support and allyship from those who prioritize our safety. In particular, we want to share our commitment to supporting people who wish to express their outrage around the transphobia, homophobia, racism, Islamophobia and xenophobia within our work space.

We do not need anyone’s permission to exist.

We will not tolerate anti-Blackness and transphobia in the name of the 1st Amendment. We appreciate the administration’s swift response in this matter, this time, and are hopeful that it will respond with similar speed to future instances of anti-Blackness and other forms of racism such as Islamophobia and xenophobia.

We do not need anyone’s permission to exist.

Marginalized people are leaving Legal Aid at an alarming rate because of the explicit and implicit bigotry and bias within our organization. For instance, Brooklyn has lost ⅓ of their attorneys of color this past year alone, due in large part to tacit endorsement of oppressive and racist conduct here at Legal Aid. Navigating the violent and hostile obstacles of our job is unsustainable if we cannot count on basic safety and respect in our work spaces.

We are caucuses comprised of, but not limited to, Black trans people, people of color, queer parents, Muslim immigrants and noncitizens, Jewish lesbians and people with disabilities. Not only do we not need anyone’s permission to exist, we demand that our organization commit to doing better by us and our clients.

Sincerely,

ACLA & LQBTQ Caucus Members

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