If Silence is Death, Solidarity is Life

OPINION

Mourners lay flowers at a memorial for the victims of the Q Nightclub mass shooting that has devastated the LGBTQIA community across the country during a candlelight vigil and march in Philadelphia, PA, on November 26, 2022.
A couple holds hands as they carry flowers for the Q Nightclub mass shooting victims during a candlelight vigil and march in Philadelphia, PA, on November 26, 2022. (Photo By Cory Clark)

PHILADELPHIA – People in the LGBTQIA+ community gathered Thanksgiving weekend to celebrate the lives and mourn the loss of the Q Nightclub mass shooting victims in Colorado Springs, CO, on November 19, 2022, the day before Transgender Remembrance day. The mass shooting, combined with a rise in anti- LGBTQIA+ and anti-Trans genocidal language and attacks over several years, has put the community on edge.

Those who were murdered that night weren’t the only victims that we need to remember. Nor is it the injured, the heroes that stopped that coward, or the rest of the patrons in the club that night. The entire LGBTQIA+ community are victims of this homophobic dirtbag, his dirtbag father, the right-wing creeps like Fucker Carlson, and the rest of the mouthbreathers they spoon-feed their hate.

A memorial for the five victims of the mass shooting at Q Nightclub is laid in Clark Park in Philadelphia, PA, on November 26, 2022. (Photo By Cory Clark)

We can’t allow this to be swept into the forgetfulness of America’s goldfish brain. We must view this horror in the nightmare of its context as a part of a war not just on the LGBTQIA+ community but the Jewish, Black, brown, indigenous, and Asian communities, on women and the poor.

Black and white of a man calling for the end of the war against black people during a march for Freddie Grey in 2015. (Photo By Cory Clark)

We sat back for the last half dozen years and laughed about the civil war rhetoric spouted by the morons in the cult of Trumpism. We should have taken them seriously because that civil war started long ago. Hell, maybe it never ended when the North pulled the slave states kicking and screaming back into the union.

When it started or if there was ever even a pause doesn’t matter; what matters is that none of this is new. What matters are the real-world consequences for our communities, the trauma, broken families, the fears each of us is sacked with, the housing and food insecurities, and the missing loved ones we’ll never get to love on again.

The LGBTQIA+ community has always been a favorite punching bag for the right-wing in America, much like the Jewish and immigrant communities have been globally. Anti-semitism, anti-immigrant rhetoric, anti-black racism, homophobia, transphobia, and attacks on women and the poor are all intimately connected. They have been feeding off one another since the dawn of time, and they always will unless we address those that perpetuate it and its root causes.

Philadelphians across the cultural spectrum stand in solidarity with communities of color during a BLM march in 2020. (Photo By Cory Clark)

Many of us in each affected community are exhausted; we’ve been fighting back for so long, but we don’t have the luxury of disillusionment or failure. We must see and feel the pain and trauma of all our brothers and sisters who are being ground up in the right-wing hate machine. Then stand with and around them. Solidarity is our safety net; it is the armor by which we will survive and thrive, even in the face of age-old hate and violence.

This solidarity begins not after one of us is stricken by a horror like the Q Nightclub, Pulse Nightclub, Tree of Life Synagogue, Buffalo, or El Passo mass shootings. It begins in our everyday life, on the train, at work, at school, in our neighborhoods, and at home. Solidarity must become our way of life, leaving no one behind.

In times like these, I am constantly reminded of Pam Africa’s words, “there is no savior but ourselves.” The police and politicians can’t or won’t protect us, so it falls to each of us individually, as neighborhoods and as communities, to protect each other, to house, feed, and educate each other. To comfort each other in all our moments of struggle, no matter how small they seem, and to speak out for each other.

A black woman stands with her fist raised high hundreds of others take a knee during a Black Lives Matter march in the summer of 2020. (Photo By Cory Clark)

It is time we got out into these streets and held the purveyors of hate and misinformation accountable. We must do it to show these thugs, White supremacists, Christian Nationalists, and other hate mongers of the world that we are not afraid of them; we have each other’s back. Then we must come out en mass and oppose them whenever they slither their little heads from under the rock.

About Cory Clark 49 Articles
Cory Clark is a Photojournalist and writer focused on Human Rights and other social issues. His work can be found in hundreds of media outlets from Philly Magazine to Fortune. He has been a long time freelancer for Getty Images, The Associated Press, and Association French Presse. Cory, his wife, and son are residents of East Germantown.

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