The death of George Floyd and the Black Lives Matter movement that followed increased voices for others facing oppression and injustices in the community.
After the deadly shooting at Atlanta spas targeted Asian Americans, the End Asian Hate rallies nationwide brought attention to incidents where innocent people were being attacked.
These movements are not only impacting the Black or the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, but it is also reaching other cultures facing racism and discrimination.
Siobhan Boyd-Nelson is the Director of Development and External Relations at Equality Ohio. She draws many parallels between the Black Lives Matter movement and the Stonewall Riots.
“It’s actually a beautiful thing,” said Boyd-Nelson. “We saw the uprising in June of last year during pride month. That’s because the Stonewall uprising was a protest. It was fighting back against police harassment and violence against the LGBTQ community. And I think it is an important return for the LGBTQ community to remember that is in fact our roots. That is why we have this celebration of pride month. The celebration comes from first standing up and demanding that we be treated well by the government, by the police in our community.”
The LQBTQ community, she says, reaches every corner of every community, and many times race and ethnicity intersect with it.
“What intersectionality is, is a recognition that oppression and marginalization don’t line up and take turns,” said Boyd-Nelson.
Rabbi Rick Kellner of Congregation Beth Tikvah remembers a full sanctuary three years ago following the Tree of Life Synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh. He says it wasn’t just his congregation, but the community at large there to show support. Kellner says his community has an obligation to help those facing challenges.
"There's no question that we had to step up and use our voices to support and to know that when anyone is suffering it is our responsibility to respond to someone else's suffering,” said Kellner. “My fear is that we tend as human beings to go at things alone. That we do not always ask for help. This is a time that we have to make space to ask for help. This is a time that we have to recognize that people who are out there who, hate the Jewish community, who hate the African American community, who have hatred towards the Asian community and others. There are likely a lot of commonalities that overlap amongst those groups.”
Imran Malik of the Noor Islamic Cultural Center believes the momentum is finally here and long overdue. He says hate should not be happening in 21st century America. He reflected on the ongoing effects of the recent travel ban.
“It’s not just for the Muslim community, we are talking about the rights of every American, we are talking about everyone, encompasses African Americans, Jews, Muslims, other minorities that call America a new home or as their adapted home for centuries,” said Malik. “We can sit here and deny that there is no racism, there’s no discrimination, there’s no hate. Unfortunately, we are living through 150 years of pushing it under the rug, atmosphere.”
Both Kellner and Malik believe the way to rectify it, is to continue the conversation.
"Having an opportunity just to conversate, even if the person is from a different walk or a different opinion of life but when you offer people to communicate and dialogue there is definitely opportunity to take it to the next level,” said Malik.
“I think we need to find spaces where people can share their pain, share their stories and share their suffering without the possibility of embarrassment without the possibility of criticism without the possibility of someone interjecting and saying no you are wrong and people need to learn to say, ‘I hear you,’” said Kellner.