Every single day it feels like the news cycle can’t get more brutal. But then we wake up, something new happens, and we have to adapt, respond and keep moving.
We’ve all experienced this compounding of stresses over the past several months: the pandemic, the ongoing epidemic of violence against vulnerable Americans, the protests against racialized violence, the COVID-19 death count and — of course — the approaching election that could change everything.
We are approaching nothing short of a tipping point in this county. And it’s a moment that calls on all of us to engage, respond and to do our best to help change the course of history.
Wins & Losses
The past month, in many ways, felt like whiplash when it came to LGBTQ rights. On June 12, the Trump administration finalized a rule interpreting Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that removes clear protections from discrimination against LGBTQ people.
Three days later, SCOTUS ruled that companies can’t unfairly fire or otherwise discriminate against LGBTQ people in the workplace.
Finally, in early July the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) announced that it would propose a rule that would enable emergency shelters for people experiencing homelessness and intimate partner violence to discriminate against transgender and gender-nonconforming individuals by denying them access to single-sex shelters based on their gender identity.
The message from the Trump Administration is clear: this country is committed to targeting and attacking the most vulnerable members of our communities. Despite repeated attempts to claim that the president is pro-LGBTQ, he has time and time again worked against our best interests — and is now, once again, downright attacking us.
In North Carolina and around the world, we saw an incredible shift happen this month: LGBTQ people celebrated Pride Month as a return to our roots, protesting against the targeted violence inflicted on vulnerable groups including black, brown, transgender and gender-nonconforming members of our communities.
Equality North Carolina joined countless other organizations in supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and calling for the redistribution of police funding and better policies and systems of police accountability. The march for Black Trans Lives in New York City saw over 15,000 people from all walks of life come together to call for an end to the epidemic of violence facing transgender women of color in this country. It was, in my opinion, one of the most important Pride months that we’ve seen in recent history.
In the weeks and months to come, we must keep up this momentum and continue to fight for a world framed by equity and opportunity for people of color — particularly black and brown Americans.
COVID-19 & The Election
We are now just over 100 days from the most important election of our lifetimes — an opportunity to not only get Donald Trump out of office, but to transform the trajectory of this country through elected offices from the top of the ticket to the bottom.
Unfortunately, we’re also continuing to see the death toll from COVID-19 climb, and its inevitable impact on the electoral process has yet to be seen. The pandemic is still disproportionately affecting black and brown communities, as well as our elders and those with preexisting conditions. Those of us with enough privilege to not be in a high risk category this election season are going to have a uniquely pivotal role to play in helping Get Out The Vote this year.
At Equality North Carolina, we’re looking for volunteers to help us build out an entirely new (mostly virtual) campaign structure to register voters, educate them about our candidates and talk to their immediate circles about the importance of voting this election cycle. You can sign up at the volunteer portal on our website to get involved. If you haven’t heard, we’ve endorsed 145 pro-equality candidates across the state of North Carolina for the 2020 General Election.
This moment in our country’s history and our lives is nothing short of a tipping point. Between the pandemic, the ongoing protests against racialized violence and the perpetual attacks on our most vulnerable by the Trump administration — we don’t have any choice. All of us must come together and collectively work towards building a better future for the coming generations before it’s too late.
This election is a great place to start. I hope you’ll join us.