The following is a message from Lorri L. Jean, CEO of the L.A. LGBT Center.
I know the results of last night’s election are shocking to most of us.
I read a headline this morning that said:
“Don’t mourn, fight like hell. Old hatreds won the day. But they can and must be vanquished.”
That’s not a bad way to think about where we find ourselves this morning.
This election cycle we experienced a battle between the two leading candidates for president unlike any other. And yesterday the country elected a president unlike any other: a man who preyed on the worst fears of our society, a man who proudly vowed to use a religious test to keep people from entering the country, and a man who ran on the most anti-LGBT platform in the history of the Republican or any party.
As tempting as it may be, fleeing the country is not a solution. Nor can we become paralyzed with grief or fear. Now, more than ever, is the time for progressive and fair-minded Americans of all parties to stand tall, strong, and together to fight for our values, for the inalienable rights to which we are all entitled, and for the well-being of the most vulnerable in our society.
At the Center, we are doing several things. We know that the consequences of the election both for our diverse LGBT community (and many other communities and values that were demeaned and threatened during the campaign) and our Center are serious. So, we are assessing the landscape if President-elect Trump makes true on his many promises. That will better enable us to develop strategies for protecting our community and our Center. And this will certainly require strengthening alliances with other progressive organizations whose missions and values are also under attack. Fortunately, the Center has been doing that work for years, but now it must be done with greater urgency and focus.
The same applies to all of us as individuals. In her concession speech, I thought Hillary Clinton said it quite well:
“Our constitutional democracy demands our participation, not just every four years, but all the time. So let’s do all we can to keep advancing the causes and values we all hold dear…For people of all races, and religions, for men and women, for immigrants, for LGBT people, and people with disabilities. For everyone.”
Beginning today, the work of the Center may be more important than it has ever been. If Obamacare is overturned, we’ll continue to offer affordable medical care for those abandoned by their government. If hate crimes rise, we’ll continue to offer counseling and legal advocacy. If members of our community feel depressed or emotionally distraught, we’ll continue to offer affordable mental health counseling. And we’ll continue to provide life-sustaining care for the most vulnerable in our community, including homeless youth and seniors, while vigilantly fighting for and defending our full equality.
The Center is always here with you and we are always here FOR you.
I do not want to give you false hope. But let me assure you that I DO have hope. First, I can’t forget that a majority of Americans actually voted against Donald Trump and what his campaign represented. I find some solace in that. Second, our community has faced terrible challenges before and we have not only survived, we have thrived. We have to draw on those reserves now. If there was ever a time for people who share our values to come together, it’s now. We must resist division. We must resist falsehoods. We must resist all efforts to turn our country back.