Zimmerman Verdict Sparks LGBT Groups’ Calls for Justice
A coalition of LGBT-rights organizations has called for justice for Trayvon Martin after a Florida jury on Saturday acquitted George Zimmerman of the teenager's murder.
"Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety," 35 LGBT-rights groups, including the National Black Justice Coalition, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force and Human Rights Campaign, wrote in the open letter released yesterday.
Zimmerman was found not guilty of the February 2012 murder of 17-year-old Martin after a high-profile televised trial that concluded last week. Although Zimmerman will not face jail time for shooting and killing Martin, which Zimmerman's lawyers argued was done in self-defense, he could still face financial damages from civil suits that could be filed by Martin's family. The NAACP has also called on the Justice Department to file civil rights charges against Zimmerman.
Read the letter here:
An Open Letter: Trayvon Deserves Justice
We cannot begin to imagine the continued pain and suffering endured by Trayvon Martin's family and friends. We stand in solidarity with them as they continue to fight for justice, civil rights and closure. And we thank everyone who has pushed and will continue to push for justice.
Trayvon Martin deserves justice and his civil rights. We support the organizations and community leaders who are urging the federal government to explore every option to ensure that justice is served for Trayvon and that his civil rights are honored and respected. But our work does not end there: we will honor Trayvon Martin by strengthening our commitment to end bias, hatred, profiling and violence across our communities.
We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies. Our community has been targets of bigotry, bias, profiling and violence. We have experienced the heart-breaking despair of young people targeted for who they are, who they are presumed to be, or who they love: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Brandon Teena, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Marco McMillian, Angie Zapata, Sakia Gunn, Gwen Araujo and countless others.
Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.
Justice delayed is justice denied and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. "a right delayed is a right denied." We honor Trayvon by seeking justice for all people.
American Civil Liberties Union
Believe Out Loud
Bisexual Resource Center
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Family Equality Council
Freedom to Work
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
Harvey Milk Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Movement Advancement Project
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
The Trevor Project
Trans Advocacy Network
Transgender Law Center
Trans People of Color Coalition