The Orlando shootings have made it clear that despite advances in LGBTQ civil rights, violence and hate are still very real concerns.
While people of faith have differing stances on issues related to sexual orientation and gender identity, we can all surely agree that violence is not acceptable.
I'm writing to invite you to participate in LGBTQ Solidarity Sunday or LGBTQ Solidarity Sabbath. This interfaith initiative was introduced by DignityUSA in 1995 as a way all of us can make our opposition to anti-LGBTQ violence visible. Solidarity Sabbath/Sunday is held every year on the weekend before National Coming Out Day (October 11) and all are invited and welcome to participate.
HOW TO PARTICIPATE:
On Solidarity Sunday we wear the ribbon in and remember in prayer the victims and families of those harmed by hate crimes. Some congregations will have a special speaker, film or discussion; some will acknowledge in their announcements: "you may have noticed a number of our members wearing rainbow ribbons today..." Sermons will be preached and newsletter articles written raising awareness; some will stand in public vigil against violence; and in some congregations a lone person will courageously wear a rainbow ribbon knowing that all over the world others are doing the same.
- Wear your Solidarity rainbow ribbon at all times, especially religious services
- Pray for an end to anti-LGBT violence
- Educate your children, your faith community, your colleagues, your friends about the need to stop violence against all people, especially gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.
- Take the Solidarity pledge.
Solidarity Sunday is dedicated to the memory of the many who lost their lives through violence because of who they were or who they were perceived to be. May their deaths not have been in vain. Let us work together to end verbal and physical violence against anyone, including gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people!
Please consider participating in Solidarity Sunday wherever you are in a way that works for you, be it at home, work or religious services. Solidarity has spiritual power and when we are united in all our beautiful differences we send a message that violence and hate are not acceptable.
May God bless all the love in our hearts and use that love to bring peace to our world and communities.