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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, November 2, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 44
GSBA's Louise Chernin: 'When one of us is attacked, we are all attacked'
Section One
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GSBA's Louise Chernin: 'When one of us is attacked, we are all attacked'

GSBA President and CEO's letter to the community

Dear Community,

No sooner had I finished a letter to you about the hateful rhetoric being spewed against our trans and gender non-binary community, I learned about the deadly attack against our Jewish community in Pittsburgh.

The assault against anyone perceived as 'other' are coming so swiftly, we can barely catch our breath. We were raised to believe 'words can never harm' but, of course we know differently. Words not only hurt, but when hateful speech comes from the highest office in our land, they are interpreted as the go-ahead to commit carnage. Some no longer see the common humanity in each of us, but are guided by fear and distrust and, especially for less grounded people, may strike out against anyone who looks or lives differently from them.

This past couple of weeks, I have felt like a Mama Bear, standing up, roaring mad and ready to fight back because one of my family members is being threatened and attacked. I know, we all know too well, that when one of us is attacked, we are all attacked. That 'all' is not only all of us in the LGBTQ or Jewish communities, but in any marginalized community. Not only because we can be the next target, but because we are one human family and we must stand up, fight back and never allow any one of us to be a target of division and hate.

To those of us in our LGBTQ family who identify as trans, gender expansive, gender nonconforming or non-binary, we are furious you are the object of a hateful, narrow-minded, vindictive government searching for vulnerable people to use as a target to deflect attention away from their destructive leadership. To those of us who are Jewish and, like me, may also be LGBTQ, it uncovers wounds not healed, fears not far below the surface, and sadness too profound to focus on for very long.

However, we are a resilient people. To those who think that this cowardly strategy will work, we need to be clear that we will stand up, stand together, and fight back. Fighting back is not new to us, we are a tight community, we are organized, and we vote. I know this doesn't make it any easier right now for those directly experiencing this attack, and for that I am heartbroken. I hope that each of us who are in the direct line of this ugly attack, know that your community is with you and ready to do all in our power to provide refuge and safety wherever it is needed. We are a community built on love and that is what nourishes us and keeps us strong.

To our allies, I implore you to stand with us and demonstrate the true meaning of ally. After all, we are all allies, especially in a time when there is a concerted effort to divide us. Whether you are walking thousands of miles to find safety in the U.S., frightened that even an officer of the law can be life threatening, peacefully gathered in a house of prayer to worship, or simply trying to live your life as your own true self, I am you, and I am your ally.

In solidarity,

Louise Chernin
GSBA President and CEO

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GSBA's Louise Chernin: 'When one of us is attacked, we are all attacked'
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