It is especially heartbreaking that this act of violence has occurred during the month dedicated to uplifting the LGBTQ community, a time of celebration and unity, and the month of Ramadan, a period of peace and self-reflection.
APALA condemns rhetoric that serves to further divide our communities and reminds all Americans that the acts of one individual do not represent all Muslims. The constant attempts to use institutionalized polices and rhetoric, such as the term “radical Islamism”, to scapegoat the Muslim community will only fuel anti-Muslim bigotry and lead to additional policies that normalize violence against AAPIs and other communities of color.
Moreover the 49 victims of this massacre targeting the LBGTQ community, including many whom were Latino, depicts the type of fear our queer and trans brothers and sisters have to live with every day because of their identity. This tragedy cannot intimidate LBGTQ people to continue to live in terror, but instead we must all be resilient and band together to stop hateful acts of homophobia and transphobia in America.
Sunday’s horrific shooting was, sadly, not an isolated incident. This year alone, we have seen 134 mass shootings and many more hate crimes throughout the country, patterns of violence that cannot continue. A taxi driver was shot in Pittsburgh, and a store owner in New York City was attacked – two instances of hate crimes all motivated on basis of the victims’ faith. APALA strongly cautions against the compounding of additional hate crimes and the pitting of people of color against each other as both our brothers and sisters in the LGBTQ and Muslim communities understand what it means to be targeted. Together, we are stronger and call for all political, religious and civic leaders to unite against prejudice and violence directed at any group.
The tragedy in Orlando marks one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history and comes at a time where excessive gun violence highlights the dire need for policy change. APALA decries the wide availability of firearms and explosives, along with policies that standardize profiling and surveillance of marginalized communities. We join the national call to strengthen our gun control laws to ban assault weapons and bolster background checks and federal encouragement.
“The continued targeting of marginalized communities, from Charleston and Colorado, and acts of terror, from Boston to Brussels, remind us of the deadly force of fear and hate. We stand united against the demonization of entire communities, and denounce all acts of homophobia, Islamophobia, transphobia, and xenophobia,” states APALA National President Johanna Hester.
“We have far to go to in addressing the deep rooted hate, especially towards marginalized people, that continues to plague this country,” reflects APALA Executive Director Gregory Cendana. “We must support each other in these tough times. It’s a shame that mass shootings, hate crimes and other forms of violence are still as common as they are today. And lastly, we must continue to love, to heal, and to grow.”
APALA remains committed to creating spaces where all people can live without fear of being targeted for their sexuality, sexual orientation, their faith, the color of their skin or any other self or perceived identity.
Click HERE to read the Muslim Alliance for Sexual and Gender Diversity (MASGD) Statement.
Click HERE to read the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance (NQAPIA) Statement.