As part of the sustained dialogue over the role of race in our society, we at the MoCo Pride Center find it important to add our voice to those calling for structural changes. Nationwide, Black people and other people of color are targeted, mistreated, abused, and often killed by the very people tasked with their safety and the protection of their human rights, including many vulnerable members of the LGBTQ+ community. They also have lower chances of receiving equal treatment before the law, or seeing justice done after an infringement of their rights. Over the next few months, the MoCo Pride Center will be launching initiatives to amplify the voices of LGTBQ+ people of color and ensure their places at the table.
Here in Montgomery County, while violent encounters at the hands of police are relatively uncommon, there is still an inequality of access and protection. Members of the LGTBQ+ community are often fearful of our local police because of past incidents and current attitudes. Although there have been laudable outreach efforts made by several agencies, attempts to create dialog between the community and local law enforcement have been sporadic. There is a clear perception little is being done by local, county, and state leadership about this rift between the police and our community.
This situation is untenable.
We are calling for our local law enforcement leadership and our elected officials to seek out and respond to the expressed needs of communities of color and their LGTBQ+ members. We expect policy and training updates that prioritize equity and dignity. We insist that non-elected leaders, including political appointees, aggressively seek out and close the gaps in services, especially for LGTBQ+ people of color. We want improved dialogue between the police and our community.
We are also calling on our county and local legislators to take necessary steps to ensure protection extends to our community members that are people of color through the law itself, as well as reform of our law enforcement and our social services networks.
The MoCo Pride Center is committed to promoting policies and practices that improve the lives of LGTBQ+ people of color. We will be working with other state and local organizations to pressure our legislators and law enforcement leadership into working for true reform.
MoCo Pride Center Board of Directors