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LGBT groups say 'Trayvon Martin deserves justice'

Days after a jury acquitted George Zimmerman of second-degree murder and manslaughter in the shooting of Florida teen Trayvon Martin, a coalition of LGBT rights groups has issued an open letter declaring "solidarity" with Martin's family and friends.

Led by the National Black Justice Coalition and the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, 35 national LGBT advocacy groups signed on for a letter saying they plan to "honor Trayvon Martin by strengthening our commitment to end bias, hatred, profiling and violence across our communities."

The letter connects Martin's shooting to several high-profile killings of LGBT youth, including Lawrence King (the gay 15-year-old shot at a California school in 2008) and Matthew Shepard, the Wyoming teen whose murder may be America's most prominent anti-gay hate crime.

"Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety," the letter reads.

Here's the letter in full, with a list of all 35 groups who co-signed it:

We cannot begin to imagine the continued pain and suffering endured by Trayvon Martin’s family and friends. We stand in solidarity with them as they continue to fight for justice, civil rights and closure. And we thank everyone who has pushed and will continue to push for justice.

Trayvon Martin deserves justice and his civil rights. We support the organizations and community leaders who are urging the federal government to explore every option to ensure that justice is served for Trayvon and that his civil rights are honored and respected. But our work does not end there: we will honor Trayvon Martin by strengthening our commitment to end bias, hatred, profiling and violence across our communities.

We represent organizations with diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender constituencies. Our community has been targets of bigotry, bias, profiling and violence. We have experienced the heart-breaking despair of young people targeted for who they are, who they are presumed to be, or who they love: Rashawn Brazell, Lawrence King, Ali Forney, Brandon Teena, Brandon White, Matthew Shepard, Marco McMillian, Angie Zapata, Sakia Gunn, Gwen Araujo and countless others.

Every person, regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or gender identity, must be able to walk the streets without fear for their safety.

Justice delayed is justice denied and in the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. “a right delayed is a right denied.” We honor Trayvon by seeking justice for all people.

All Out
American Civil Liberties Union
Believe Out Loud
BiNet USA
Bisexual Resource Center
Center for Black Equity
CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals
Equality Federation
Family Equality Council
Freedom to Work
Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network)
GetEQUAL
GMHC
GLAD
GLAAD
Harvey Milk Foundation
Human Rights Campaign
Immigration Equality
Lambda Legal
Movement Advancement Project
National Black Justice Coalition
National Center for Lesbian Rights
National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs
National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce.
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
National Minority AIDS Council
National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance
Out & Equal Workplace Advocates
PFLAG National
The Trevor Project
Trans Advocacy Network
Transgender Law Center
Trans People of Color Coalition

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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