American Jewish World Service and Its Partners Around the World Call for Justice for Those Murdered in Orlando, and for LGBT Communities Worldwide
NEW YORK – American Jewish World Service (AJWS) and the human rights organizations it funds around the world mourn the loss of life in the attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando. AJWS and its partners, who work every day for the rights and dignity of LGBT people and others who experience violence and oppression, released the following statements in response to the Orlando shooting:
Statement of Robert Bank, Incoming President of American Jewish World Service
“I am horrified by this past weekend’s murderous and hateful attack on LGBT people in Orlando. In the wake of this atrocity, I am joining with the AJWS community to pause, remember and mourn—so we can find the strength to fight another day.
“I feel fortunate and inspired to be part of the AJWS community, which supports activists fighting for the human rights of LGBT people and others who face hatred and violence on a daily basis. In my travels, I have met dozens of activists who are building a better future for LGBT people, often in the face of great danger. Essy, a lesbian woman in Kenya, trains ministers, imams and police officers to treat LGBT Kenyans with respect; Nicholas, a human rights lawyer in Uganda, persuaded his country’s highest court to declare the draconian Anti-Homosexuality Law unconstitutional; Dayanara, a Nicaraguan trans woman, overcame a life of hardship and is now organizing other trans women to fight for their right to healthcare, safety and housing. These are just a few examples among many.
“I know that the courageous activists whom AJWS supports throughout the developing world are mourning with us. They are Muslim, Christian, Hindu and secular. Now, they are standing in solidarity with LGBT people in the U.S., just as we stand in solidarity with them.
“I, along with my colleagues and our partners at AJWS, have devoted much of our lives fighting for the dignity and human rights of LGBT people around the world, and this tragedy is only strengthening our resolve to pursue justice.”
AJWS has received the following statements from human rights organizations supported by AJWS:
Statement from Liberia Women Empowerment Network (LIWEN), Liberia
“LIWEN identifies with and is saddened by this weekend’s attack on the LGBTI community in the USA. May the souls of the innocent victims rest in peace.”
Statement from Solidarity and Action Against the HIV Infection in India (SAATHII), India
“The mass shooting at Pulse resonates with those of us who have faced intolerance, hatred and violence simply for being who we are. The lesbian, gay, bi, trans, intersex, queer, ally and other (LGBTIQA+) communities in Imphal, Manipur, stand in solidarity with the families of the victims of this senseless crime. In doing so, we join cities around the country and the world in expressing our grief over this event.”
Statement from Transgender Network of Liberia (TNOL), Liberia
“We must continue to stand together and continue to work towards a world that is free from hatred and negativity. The equality of each human being is and will remain [the core of] our commitment to our global community and to the human race as a whole. If just one human being is bullied or terrorized or not given equality, then all of us need to come to their aid to insure complete and utter freedom in all aspects.”
Statement from Women’s Initiative (WINS), India
“We express our profound sense of loss and grief and alarm over the gruesome attack on the gay community in Orlando. This treacherous act was carried out against free citizens, in a safe place, where they simply wanted to be themselves, removed from the discrimination and homophobia that all-too-often plague our world. We want to instill confidence in the rest of our LGBTIQ community members in India and all over the world that justice will prevail, and that we share the same earth with the same concerns, and stand united against all odds. Our heart goes out to the departed souls and we stand by their families and friends in this hour of grief. Our love to them. We hail them.”
AJWS & LGBT Rights
Since 2005, AJWS has granted $5.6 million to social change organizations promoting the rights of LGBT people in the developing world. In 2016, AJWS granted $1.2 million to support the critical work of 51 organizations promoting the rights of LGBT people in 14 countries and in regional movements for change. With this support, AJWS’s grantees are supporting LGBT people to come out, speak out, collaborate and pursue recognition, inclusion, security and equality.
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David L. Marcus