One of the joys of my long justice journey is to have been invited to be a member of the Board of Directors of PFLAG National. The inspiration I get from working alongside the loved ones of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people fuels my advocate soul, and their commitment to the well-being of all LGBT individuals -- be it their children, family members, friends, or co-workers -- is an example that all of us should follow.
And just as they, and I, could not be silent in response to the beating death of Matthew Shepard in 1998, I, and they, will not be silent in response to the death by shooting of Trayvon Martin in 2012.
My wife and I, as the parents of two sons, have lived our lives seeking to help them understand and survive as black boys (and now as young black men) in a society that still, in too many instances, judges them by the color of their skin and not by the content of their character.
As so many of us grieve over the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, we cannot help but acknowledge the intersections of the verbal and physical violence that is too often perpetrated on our youth because someone fears their diversity. Whether that child is black, gay, differently abled, or just somehow perceived to be different, we are all heartbroken when they experience the injustices and ostracisms that too much of society imposes on them. And there is a clear commonality to our respective concerns and fears about the potential outcomes of that violence.
We do not have all of the facts related to the death of Trayvon Martin; after so many have spoken out, investigations are now underway, and in time we will be able to assess for ourselves the circumstances that led to his tragic death.
And I know that the people I have been working alongside and standing up with to fight the injustice in the treatment of their children will be standing alongside me and the rest of us, demanding justice for this child. I am grateful that so many of the people I work with have a deeply personal understanding of those of us who are the parents of young black men and women, and will join with me in the ongoing fight for justice and equality for all.