First they came for the Communists And I did not speak out Because I was not a Communist. Then they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the trade unionists, And I did not speak out Because I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out Because I was not a Jew. THEN THEY CAME FOR ME AND THERE WAS NO ONE LEFT TO SPEAK OUT FOR ME!
“First they came …” is the poetic form of a 1946 post-war confessional prose by the German Lutheran pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984). It is about the silence of German intellectuals and certain clergy—including, by his own admission, Niemöller himself—following the Nazis‘ rise to power and subsequent incremental purging of their chosen targets, group after group. Many variations and adaptations in the spirit of the original have been published in the English language. It deals with themes of persecution, guilt, repentance, and personal responsibility.
A recent report has been released by the American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU) where they are tracking 450 new anti-LGBTQ bills. These laws are reaching a historic level of attacks on LGBTQI+ people across the country. Nearly 300 of these laws are targeting kids, “these bills are not about expanding health care, making schools safer, or addressing our mental health crisis,” stated White House Press Secretary Karine Jean Pierre. https://www.aclu.org/legislative-attacks-on-lgbtq-rights. https://www.nbcnews.com/nbc-out/out-news/tennessee-axed-millions-hiv-funds-scrutiny-far-right-provocateurs-rcna67769
In our home state of Tennessee some of our elected officials have proposed and are advancing 26 of these anti-LGBTQI+ laws, with anticipation of them being signed by Governor Bill Lee into laws. These anti-LGBTQI+ laws does not come without repercussions. LGBTQI+ Americans, especially the Trans Community is experiencing alarming levels in depression, suicidal ideation, and victims in hate crimes.
In addition, to introducing anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee directed the TN Dept. of Health to reject the use of available federal funds for HIV prevention services which is estimated around $9 Million dollars. The loss of funding such as this decision amounts to bankruptcy for an organization such as ours, who operates on a budget less than $200,000 a year.
Relationship Unleashed staff, board members and volunteers are committed to fighting for equality for all Americans under the law. Equal rights and equal protections are one of the bedrock principles of our democracy in our country. LGBTQI+ people are deserving of protection and full access to equality no matter where we live.
It is our hope that you will stand with all marginalized and oppressed people to stop these attacks against an already vulnerable community. This is why your financial support is needed for the LGBTQI+ Community now more than ever! Donations can be placed via the link here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/40-days-of-giving-to-keep-programs-services-for-nonprofit-org-alive-tickets-596091865817
On Behalf of Relationship Unleashed, our Board of Directors, and Volunteers we thank you for your support and consideration!
Gwendolyn D. Clemons, MBA, MSM, PRC, Co-Founder & Executive Director