Op-Ed: “Silence Is Not an Option”


By Jovanka Beckles


I would like to see our Black communities across the country stand up in outrage, just as many in Muslim communities are coming together to speak out against the hate that made this heinous act of murder possible.We cannot let the media frighten us into believing that this is all about terrorism; it is about home -grown hate that is manifested in homophobic tolerated beliefs and actions.


As Black people, we know what it is to be scapegoated. Will we stand idly by and allow this to happen to another group of people who are being targeted?


Do we not know silence is not an option?


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King is known to have said…silence is not an option.


A friend of mine expressed both appreciation for the outpouring of support on social media, and a challenge for those posting to do more than simply post a message.


She encouraged people to remember that many in the LGBTQ community – especially but not exclusively young people –are traumatized, fearful and suffering.


I wholeheartedly share these sentiments and ask that family, friends, educators, neighbors, faith community leaders and others reach out to folks in the LGBTQ community to let them know that they are loved, not hated.


What are you doing to challenge the hate that inspired the killing of innocent people? How do you passively and implicitly co-sign hate expressed as homophobia?


We are all connected.


Jovanka Beckles is a member of the Richmond City Council


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