Dear Openhouse Community-

We have witnessed the violent deaths of Tony McDade, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor’s lives at the hands of law enforcement officers in a mere matter of weeks, followed by anti-black brutality directed at those who speak out and protest in grief and rage at their loss. It is important to know that these acts of police violence are not new, nor are they random or a mere moment in time. They are the result of our history as a country built on white supremacy and our present systems designed to keep inequity in check. This is a history lived, both by all Black seniors and the generations who have followed in their footsteps to this moment.

Similarly to LGBTQ+ allyship, Black allyship is not about words or eloquent posts on social media or long speeches in front of a camera. Our role is to SHOW that we support our Black community members- to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter with action. And to demand that white people, and all people in our lives join us.

Empty words won’t help. Here are our commitments and suggestions:

1) We commit to amplify and listen to the voices of Black leaders, especially Black LGBTQ leaders, who are leading our movement and our country forward to say over and over again that Black Lives Matter. We have incredible LGBTQ Black leaders here in San Francisco who we are lucky to work alongside. Read and share this article by Brett Andrews, the Executive Director of San Francisco’s Positive Resource Center as part of Black History month: https://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2020/02/21/guest-opinion-during-black-history-month-ask.html

Or on Wednesday, join and listen to leaders (including new National Center for Lesbian Rights Executive Director, Imani Woods) who will share their insights in a “LGBTQ Voices to Combat Racial Violence Virtual Town Hall” .

2) If you are not Black, join us in reaching out to Black people in your life and do something kind. Do not ask how to help, just find a way to be helpful. Something small that matters- a meal, a note, a trip to the grocery store, etc. Again, this is not about your words. It is listening and holding space for their pain and exhaustion in facing the trauma of these events on top of a global pandemic where risks are higher for communities of color and highest for Black men and women.

3) Give to organizations who are at the front lines of helping to respond both to those who were attacked or jailed in protests over the weekend (Bail Funds For Protestors) and those leading the movement for Black LGBTQ+ justice including: the Transgender, Gender-Variant and Intersex Justice Project, the National Black Justice Coalition the Center for Black Equity and Black Visions Collective.

To every Black Openhouse community member, staff, board member and supporter, please know that Openhouse stands with you. We know these words are not enough and will not change the system that got us here- and that only what we DO matters in the fight for justice.

In Community,

Openhouse Staff and Board of Directors