Our Letter to the El Monte City Council
In alignment with our Mission of promoting a safer and inclusive San Gabriel Valley for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, we release this statement to emphasize that we do not stand for any hate in the SGV.
On this, the fifth day of 2021, we also want to hold space for Kimberly Patricia Cope, the first reported trans death of the year. We vow to acknowledge the world we live in. We are taking a small step towards acknowledgment of our own community by mourning this tragic loss, and also by noting that there are more than 1.8 million LGBTQ+ people living in California and understanding that the safety of LGBTQ+ people is a basic human right. We understand that cultivating a safe and inclusive environment means we feel a responsibility to advocate for the LGBTQ+ community to the El Monte City Council in the hopes of building a foundation of respect and education that is needed for the future of LGBTQ+ bodies.
As a community center, our work is built on a basis of respect and advocacy for LGBTQ+ bodies in the San Gabriel Valley. We want to acknowledge that the current spotlight on El Monte is not a singular moment, but rather a tipping point that highlights both a blindspot and cements why change is needed in 2021. With 350 trans people killed/murdered in 2020, and 43 of these based in the USA, it is necessary that the advocacy for our basic human rights is acknowledged and acted upon now, more than ever, in the San Gabriel Valley. Today, in the harsh face of LGBTQ+ hate, we understand that promoting our community’s own well being requires us to be proactive and committed. Our team builds this bridge as a call-in to the community at-large to address the state of LGBTQ+ affairs amongst our peers.
The volunteers of our organization want to emphasize that building LGBTQ+ competency means embracing cultural diversity and allowing for the growth of your own personal potential. This is a value similar to that of the City of El Monte’s mission statement. Allowing hate speech to continue calls into question the allyship of elected officials. To ask for visible allyship from our elected officials in support of an already marginalized group is not a rare ask — but today marks a pivotal point in the conversation surrounding LGBTQ+ citizens of El Monte, will their city actively stand with them? One of the seven values is ethical behavior; as a Center we want to highlight that there is a fine line between Hate Speech and a Hate Crime, however, rhetoric often leads to action. Is a community that is violent towards women and the LGBTQ+ community the future that you imagine for El Monte?
We leave you with two action steps tonight: One, have all elected and appointed officials within the city of El Monte attend the San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center’s Safe Space Training, allowing professional and public officials such as yourselves gain a better understanding of addressing concepts and language regarding LGBTQ+ communities. This will increase the community’s comfort level and expand understanding. Two, implement an ad-hoc committee (appropriately vetted) creating a Statement of LGBTQ+ Equality from the City of El Monte. We are seeing LGBTQ+ support every day in the SGV and we are looking forward to El Monte’s showing of support. Just last June the city of Duarte released a proclamation in honor of Pride Month and it is through these practices of accompliceship that we can build a just and safe future together.
With Hope and Unity,
The Board of Directors
San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center