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This week has brought us many highs and lows. How are you feeling?
On a high note, just yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program will remain in effect, protecting 800,000 recipients – including 60,000 who identify as LGBTQ+. We are so happy that our DACA siblings will be able to continue to live their lives without fear of deportation. You belong here and we are so glad you are part of our familia.
Additionally, earlier in the week, the Supreme Court affirmed that it is unlawful to fire LGBTQI+ people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a great victory in how sex discrimination is interpreted under the law. Prior to this decision, it was legal in 25 states to fire an employee based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Though we pause to celebrate, the struggle continues as the decision also stated these rights can be superseded by the rights of religious freedom. This created a potential loophole for employers to continue to discriminate.
While we are celebrating these victories, we cannot stay silent about the fight for Black Lives. We are continuing to hear about our Black siblings facing violence and death. In the last few days we have learned of the deaths of more of our Black familia, like our Black Trans sisters – Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Riah Milton. This week, we heard about nooses being placed in trees around Lake Merritt right here in Oakland. Today, as we commemorate Juneteenth, we are again reminded that none of us are free until all of us are free. Join us in continuing to stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter Movement and the Black Trans Lives Matter Movement in fighting for justice.
We also must continue to advocate for our rights in other areas, like healthcare. Just last week on the 4th anniversary of the tragic shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando Florida, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a dangerous ruling restricting access to healthcare during a global pandemic. We know that trans and LGBQI+ people already face high rates of discrimination when accessing health care. Prior to this policy being enacted, 8% of lesbian, gay and bisexual adults and 29% of transgender adults reported that a health care provider refused to see them because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
Although we are all facing many challenges at this moment and the work for justice for our communities is not over, the Supreme Court decisions are a glimmer of hope in a difficult moment. We know that when discriminatory policies are in place our Black, immigrant, and trans communities are impacted greatly. Our struggles are linked. We are committed to continuing to work to support our families and communities to continue to fight discrimination.