CHICAGO — The results of the 2016 election were devastating to so many Americans.
We at Equality Illinois don’t say this because we have differing views than the president-elect on major policy questions; we acknowledge that members of our community have a diverse range of views on key policy matters.
The election was so devastating because we have elected to the presidency a man who has publicly targeted immigrants, children and grandchildren of immigrants, Muslims, the disabled, women, and many others. The election was so devastating because we have elected to the vice presidency a man who served as a key architect in an attempt to legalize religious discrimination against the LGBTQ community in every facet of our public lives. And even more alarming, these candidates, now our President-elect and Vice President-elect, have whipped up and legitimized a fear-based world view which pits a large base of Americans against many historically marginalized groups in our country.
The cornerstone of our evolving equality and liberty as an LGBTQ community is the broad belief that we as a country are better off when we expand notions of basic fairness and decent treatment to those whose identities differ from our own. That belief has been under attack this election season, and last night it lost.
Still, we know that our country is stronger than any one campaign or even any one presidency. We believe deeply in the American people and our democratic institutions. Even though we are alarmed today, we acknowledge that as of the writing of this letter, more Americans voted for a message of inclusion and strength in diversity.
Now is the time to deepen our commitment to building bridges not putting up walls. We call on all our LGBTQ stakeholders and allies to take two actions today in support of a brighter more equal America.
First, we in the LGBTQ community know that if we do not stand up for other historically marginalized groups when they are attacked, we will have no one left to stand up for us when we are attacked. That is why we are calling on our champions and allies to publicly and proudly support groups most under attack. To that end we have established donation pages so that the LGBTQ community of Illinois can stand up with a consolidated voice in support of immigrants, Muslims, and victims of sexual assault. We ask you to give what you can ($5, $25, $100) to each of the following groups:
- Council on American Islamic Relations – Learn more about the organization here. Support CAIR here.
- Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights – Learn more about the organization here. Support ICIRR here.
- Illinois Coalition Against Sexual Assault – Learn more about the organization here. Support ICASA here.
By standing up together as one community of LGBTQ stakeholders and allies with communities who have been under attack, we send a strong signal that we believe America is great when all Americans are valued.
Second, help us broaden our base. We believe that now more than ever our work at Equality Illinois is essential. Encourage five friends to sign up with Equality Illinois here to broaden our base of champions and allies.
What last night has confirmed for us is that the equality we have won to date is not guaranteed without our vigilance. In the next few months we are advancing our 2017 legislative agenda, expanding our outreach with partner groups across the state, and outlining our strategic plan to protect our rights over the next four years. Your help in bringing more people into our work will help us fight for a more inclusive Illinois.
With love for our country and hope for our future,
Brian C. Johnson