We cannot let hate win.
Or fear or bigotry or violence.
Make no mistake, we just elected a president who capitalized on the fears of many by hurling racism, Islamophobia, misogyny, and other forms of prejudice as a campaign strategy. This is a man who embraced hate speech. This is the man who told us he will bring back waterboarding, who was recorded admitting to sexual assault, and who incited violence towards protesters at his rallies. Hate and bigotry have been sanctioned and unleashed against us as LGBTQ people, women, people of color, Muslims, immigrants, people with disabilities, and others. If this election has shown us nothing else, it is that we have no time to lose. We must come together now to turn the tide of vitriol and violence.
At the New York City Anti-Violence Project, we see every day the result of hate turned to violence in the form of discrimination, assaults, and even homicides. In the two weeks leading up to the election, there were at least four high-profile incidents of hate violence against people who are LGBTQ or perceived to be throughout New York City. And even as I waited in line to vote Tuesday, the AVP issued an alert announcing the homicide of Noony Norwood, the 23rd homicide of a transgender or gender-nonconforming person in the United States this year.
Right now I am afraid for our country, but I am hopeful about our ability to build a movement. We continue to be inspired by Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, and the powerful transgender activists who are coming together for Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience next week and opposing violence every day. At AVP, we know all too well how to challenge and dismantle hate and violence because it’s what we do every day. Starting today, I hope you will join me, and all of us at AVP, in making sure Trump fails in his mission of divisiveness and violence.
As LGBTQ people, we are represented in every sector of this society. We are wealthy and unemployed. We are affected by police violence and gun violence. We are documented, undocumented, and the deported. We are people of color and we are white. We are a part of the long and determined struggle to create a world that is just and fair. And we will not give up until all of us are safe and free.
We can lead the way:
Respect differences without hatred and call out all forms of violence. The impact of violence on our communities and lives is so pervasive that sometimes we don't even notice it, or it gets little attention unless it is seen as horrific and extreme. Right now, when many are being turned against our communities, we must all be ever-vigilant and look out for each other. All violence, including daily harassment and discrimination, police violence, and intimate partner violence, must be reported, addressed, and prevented.
Create policies and strategies with ally communities. No one community can win alone. We must find ways to join forces with other marginalized communities. Now more than ever, we need to be united in demanding that all of us can live safely and peacefully in this country. That means all of us standing up against police violence and discriminatory policing and making sure that the policies we work toward include transgender and gender-nonconforming people, immigrant communities, people of color, low-income people, and other targeted populations. And we must make space for individuals in those communities to lead the way.
The end of this long, vicious campaign cycle and the election of Donald Trump is not the end at all, but rather but a call to action to continue the most important work we have to do in this country — to end violence. And it starts with us.
It’s time for us to step up. If you’ve been quiet because you felt safe before, we need you to stand strong and speak out now. We cannot continue to assume that violence will end on its own or in due time. We cannot assume that the tide will turn on its own. We cannot sit back and silently watch other communities be attacked.
If there ever was a time to build a beloved, diverse community, that time is now.
BEVERLY TILLERY is the executive director of the New York City Anti-Violence Project. Follow her on Twitter @BeverlyTillery.