(WM) The One Orlando Alliance, a grouping of more than 40 Central Florida LGBT organizations, announced June 9 the formation of an anti-racism committee within its organization to address the issues of systemic racism in Central Florida’s LGBT community.

“We are committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment for all who reside and visit here,” the Alliance stated in a press release. “Since the senseless murder of George Floyd, our nation and our local community have asked that individuals and organizations take a deep look at what they are doing to be neither complicit nor perpetuate the ills of structural racism.”

The Alliance established its anti-racism committee in an emergency coalition meeting on June 5. The meeting came one week after the Alliance joined more than 600 LGBT organizations nationwide in signing a letter committing to “embrace anti-racism and end white supremacy, not as necessary corollaries to our mission, but as integral to the objective of full equality for LGBTQ+ people.” The letter also affirms that the signed-on organizations “understand what it means to rise up and push back against a culture that tells us we are less than, that our lives don’t matter.”

The Alliance named Charlotte “Cha Cha” Davis, a longtime activist in the LGBTQ+ black community and leader behind the #WeExist movement, to head the committee.

“We have finally gotten to the point where we need to address these issues and this committee will create a level of transparency within the Alliance and the organizations that are involved,” Davis says.

Along with the creation of the committee — which the Alliance will require each member group to designate a representative to — and establishing Davis as the Racial Equality Liaison, the organization’s June 5 meeting also expanded on the Alliance Agenda’s Top 10 Issues Facing Central Florida’s LGBTQ+ Community. It changed the focus from “Racial Inequality” to “Anti-Racism,” adding a series of firm commitments to that section which will be taken to build a more equitable community.

The Alliance’s anti-racism committee held its first meeting on June 7. Topics discussed ranged from revising membership requirements and developing and revising internal inclusion strategies to leveraging relationships with government, corporate and philanthropic leaders to ensure that the leadership of the LGBT communities that have historically been marginalized is elevated.

“I have worked with all of the organizations within the Alliance and I’ve been bringing up racial inequalities here in Orlando for the past 12 years now,” Davis says, “and there’s a huge gap between the LGBTQ community as a whole and the black LGBTQ community. I think that’s what the need is now, to bridge that gap and open up the lines of communication that haven’t been there because we haven’t been included in a lot of the conversations.”

Davis says that there have been inroads made over the last four years in the LGBT community, since the tragedy at Pulse, and that since then she can see that the climate is definitely changing.

“I can say now that we are starting to see those issues addressed with the Alliance, having genuine authentic people at the table and hearing from voices of people that have lived experiences,” Davis says.

Read the full Alliance statement at OOA Statement on Commitment to Anti-Racism_06092020.

For more information on the One Orlando Alliance and its anti-racism committee, visit OneOrlandoAlliance.org.