US LGBTIQ groups back Black Lives Matter after George Floyd’s death

black lives matter george floyd human rights campaign
Minneapolis anti-racism rally in 2014. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Dozens of US LGBTIQ leaders have united to back the Black Lives Matter movement following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd.

Over 100 leaders of at least 75 groups, including GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign and The Trevor Project, have signed an open letter condemning racial violence in America.

The death of African-American man George Floyd while under arrest in the mid-western city of Minneapolis has sparked violent protests across the US.

In the letter published on Friday, the LGBTIQ leaders named Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and Christian Cooper alongside the many members of the black transgender community who have died during a shocking “epidemic of violence”.

“All of these incidents are stark reminders of why we must speak out when hate, violence, and systemic racism claim — too often with impunity — Black Lives,” they wrote.

“The LGBTQ Movement’s work has earned significant victories in expanding the civil rights of LGBTQ people. But what good are civil rights without the freedom to enjoy them?”

The letter declares “explicit commitments to embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy” as “integral to the objective of full equality” for LGBTIQ people.

“We celebrate June as Pride Month, because it commemorates, in part, our resisting police harassment and brutality at Stonewall in New York City, and earlier in California, when such violence was common and expected.

“We remember it as a breakthrough moment when we refused to accept humiliation and fear as the price of living fully, freely, and authentically.

“And we understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don’t matter.

“Today, we join together again to say #BlackLivesMatter and commit ourselves to the action those words require.”

Police officer later charged with George Floyd’s murder

In numerous cities across the US, peaceful protests against police violence have escalated into vandalism and looting.

George Floyd, who was unarmed, died on May 25 after police officer Derek Chauvin pressed a knee into Floyd’s neck for several minutes while restraining him.

Floyd repeatedly told the officer he could not breathe. The police department fired Chauvin and later charged him with third-degree murder and manslaughter.

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