SGV LGBTQ+ Center Statement on Nonviolence
The San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center stands with our mission and is committed to fostering a safer and more inclusive SGV for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities. Our Board of Directors is saddened to learn about the violence committed against First Works Baptist Church in El Monte early this morning. We understand that cultivating a safe and inclusive environment means we must advocate for a respectful dialogue to reach an understanding, if not acceptance. The pandemic has intensified and clearly exposed the pervasiveness of violence against all individuals. We as an organization vow to acknowledge the world we live in and to take a stand against violence wherever it is.
While we strongly condemn the Church’s persecution of women and LGBTQ+ individuals, we know that the only way to create an inclusive society that celebrates the diversity of our community is through nonviolence. From the conquest of our lands, violence on our frontline care workers to domestic violence at home, our communities across borders have and continue to fight gender-based and militarized violence. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”
In the harsh face of LGBTQ+ hate, we understand that promoting our community’s well being requires us to be proactive and committed. We are grateful to the thousands of individuals in the El Monte community who have stepped up to show their support for their LGBTQ+ family, friends, and neighbors, and we encourage you to continue to use your voice to fight for justice. In 2021, we are going to move forward to spread love and acceptance to future generations instead of digressing to violence. We offer our thoughts and prayers to the families and communities that were affected by this violence.
We would like to advise everyone to stay away from the church and allow the city and its officials to continue their active investigation. If you have information related to this morning’s bombing at First Works Baptist Church, we ask that you please notify the FBI’s Los Angeles Field Office at (310) 477-6565.
With Hope and Unity,
The Board of Directors
San Gabriel Valley LGBTQ+ Center