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In Solidarity, We Rise

In Solidarity, We Rise

International Workers' Day underlines the importance of LGBT people allying with other social justice movements, say Glennda Testone and Aaron C. Morris.

Today, in recognition of International Workers' Day, hundreds of thousands of people across the nation are joining forces in peaceful demonstrations, protests, and rallies to support the rights of workers and immigrants. In our respective roles at New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center and Immigration Equality, we proudly stand in solidarity.

In the months since the presidential election, millions of people have united to protect and defend the fundamental human rights of others. Once seemingly unrelated groups have come together as allies to pursue inclusive, intersectional strategies of resistance. Today, we remember that LGBT people are workers too. We are immigrants; we are women; we are people of all faiths. We are part of every movement, and every movement affects us.

In our own backyard of New York City, thousands are taking to the streets in support of economic justice and in protest of the anti-immigrant policies of the Trump administration. We say, rise up! In his first 100 days in office, President Trump signed 30 bills into law and issued 32 executive orders largely in an attempt to strip away our health care; to ban people from seven majority-Muslim countries from traveling to the United States; to stop resettling refugees into the United States; and to roll back protections for transgender students. And he has promised to defund Planned Parenthood and similar women's reproductive health organizations.

These actions are attacks on LGBT people And, we know that many of you are hurting. Each of our organizations has seen a 30 percent increase in demand for our programs and services since the election. We are here for you.

At the Center, we announced the creation of an Advocacy and Mobilization Department to inform and mobilize the community on critical issues and ensure LGBT rights continue to be protected and enhanced. We've increased more than ever the number of legal clinics offered to the community even we as continue to be targeted as immigrants, as trans people, and as women. And we also continue to be deeply committed to maintaining a safe and supportive space for young people who are coming out in a climate that supports bigotry and prejudice, just as we have for more than 34 years. At Immigration Equality, we fought the Muslim and refugee ban in court, created "Know Your Rights" materials for immigrants, and dramatically increased our direct legal services program. We are also training every new asylum and refugee officer in the nation in HIV and LGBT human rights law.

At the Center and at Immigration Equality, we are doing everything in our power to support LGBT people. But we need your help too. There will be challenges along the way, but also progress. To resist effectively, we must collaborate with many other communities. This means forging new alliances and new partnerships. It means lifting up other people even as we lift up ourselves. Today, we march for the rights of workers and for immigrants. We also recommit ourselves to fighting side by side with other leaders and movements to protect this nation and its people. Won't you join us?

GLENNDA TESTONE is the executive director of the New York City Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, & Transgender Community Center. AARON C. MORRIS is the executive director of Immigration Equality, the nation's leading LGBTQ immigrant rights organization.

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Glennda Testone and Aaron C. Morris