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Activists release letter calling for Bryant's invitation to MLK event be rescinded



A dozen gay-rights advocates, pastors and Black Lives Matter activists have penned a letter asking organizers to rescind  Dr. Jamal Bryant' s invitation to deliver the keynote speech at the 30th Annual MLK Leadership Awards Breakfast. 

While applauding the Baltimore minister's work on behalf of the Black Lives Matter movement, the group says Bryant's "indefensible" slurs against gay people makes it impossible to support his appearance.

And those comments devalue and degrade black members of the LGBT community.

Here is the letter (The names of those who signed appear at the end)

Open Letter to Community

We are compelled by our commitment to racial justice to speak out on the selection of Rev Dr. Bryant as the keynote speaker at the Martin Luther King Day breakfast.

We assume that Rev. Bryant was chosen because of his work to combat violence and police brutality that is claiming young black lives. We applaud that intention and acknowledge Rev. Bryant for his efforts in this regard.

We must, however, challenge his selection due to the indefensible slurs and routine attacks on the humanity of gay and transgender people. In embracing slurs that dehumanize black men as “sanctified sissies” and opposing equal treatment under the law, Rev. Bryant has made it impossible for organizations to provide him a podium without also legitimizing his indefensible rhetoric.

And let us be clear. You cannot truly align with the message that Black Lives Matter while simultaneously making the world more hostile and dangerous for LGBT black people.

We issue three challenges. To the National Council of Negro Women who issued the invitation, we ask that you disinvite Rev. Bryant, not because of pressure from outside groups. Do so because you find his comments reprehensible. Do it because you want no part of delivering the message that black LGBT people are invisible and dispensable.

To others calling for Rev. Bryant’s invitation to be rescinded, we ask you to commit to amplifying the work his presence was intended to highlight. To do less would be to demonstrate the same hypocrisy.

To the black pastors who have signed a letter in support of Rev. Bryant speaking we invite you to meet with us. As a movement ignited by the murder of Trayvon Martin and carried to the streets by young people who have felt forgotten by the traditional civil rights structures, we implore you not to play into this divide. Your voice and vision for justice must include LGBT people to represent full justice for our community. We extend the offer of dialogue to Rev. Bryant as well but we cannot make excuses for the indefensible and dehumanizing rhetoric he employs. We who are black and LGBT will not allow this conversation to be framed as though we do not exist.

Let us work together to do the important work of confronting violence, combating police brutality and securing true justice for all.

Devan Cheaves

Bay Area Dream Defenders

Donna Davis

Co-founder Black Lives Matter Tampa

Rev. Chad Edwards

Pastor, Worship Unlimited Church

Ashley Green

Bay Area Dream Defenders

Reggie Glover

Black Lives Matter Tampa Treasurer

Jayson James

Bay Area Dream Defenders

Monique McKenzie

Bay Area Dream Defenders

Victoria Kirby York

National Campaigns Director,

National LGBTQ Task Force

Rev. J. Ricc Rollins, II

Pastor, The Edge Community Church

Nadine Smith

Executive Director

Equality Florida

L. Gene Webster-English, Ed.S, Doctoral Student

Executive Director

Federation of Families, HMH, Inc.

Chris J. Wilson

Super Sayian

Co-Founder Black Lives Matter Tampa


[Last modified: Thursday, January 7, 2016 3:29pm]


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