Thursday, October 9, 2014

What's Next?

Apparently, we're not done checking up on our original homeland. And sadly, we have to discuss another heartbreaking Orange County story here.

In June, Zoraida Reyes was found dead in the parking lot of a Diary Queen in Anaheim. She was a fierce activist who advocated tirelessly for immigrant and trans* civil rights. When she passed away, the local DREAMer and transgender communities were shocked by this horrifying loss.

But now, they're a little closer to justice. On Tuesday, Anaheim Police arrested Randy Lee Parkerson for suspicion of murder. Anaheim Police are not investigating the Zoraida Reyes case as a hate crime, even though local trans* activists suspect Reyes' transgender identity was a "huge factor" in her death.

Southern California LGBTQ community advocates are also asking questions in the death of Aniya Parker in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles. LA Police initially described Parker's death as the result of a "robbery gone bad", but video surveillance shows the assailants shooting Parker after she ran away from them, then leaving her purse behind.

The untimely deaths of Zoraida Reyes and Aniya Parker in Southern California serve as sorrowful reminders of the dangers so many LGBTQ Americans still face in this nation. And they serve as reminders to LGBTQ civil rights activists that we still haven't reached the end of the long road to equality just yet.

Now, we're finally a bit closer here in Nevada. Just moments ago, Jon Ralston posted the document showing the usual H8 filled suspects withdrawing their respective petitions to the US Supreme Court and the Ninth Circuit for an emergency stay in Sevcik v. Sandoval. They can still try requesting an en banc hearing in the Ninth or an appeal to the US Supreme Court. But as we've explained before, Perry v. Brown will ultimately be cited in their dismissal due to lack of standing.

So now, finally, after this very long wait, marriage equality is coming to Nevada. And already, we can hear folks asking, "What's next?" "What do those people want?" "Can't they leave all us 'normal people' alone now?"

As long as injustice persists, the beautiful struggle for equality continues. As the old saying goes, "No Justice, No Peace." Hate crimes are still happening, and perpetrators are still claiming "panic defense". People are still being fired, and perpetrators are still claiming "freedom". People still face wrongful discrimination on a number of matters daily, and perpetrators are still claiming "segreation laws".

While we've come a long way here in Nevada, there is still more progress needed here. And yes, there's still far more progress needed nationally. Today, we can't help but feel relieved that the Nevada case is finally coming to an end as marriage equality is fast on the move nationally. However, this doesn't mean the LGBTQ civil rights movement is now finished.

So what's next? Justice. And equality. For everyone. As long as people like Zoraida Reyes and Aniya Parker are losing their lives because of who they are, we should all know what's next for the LGBTQ civil rights movement.

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