San Francisco Community Health Center
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~ From Our CEO
Too much to bear
The video of George Floyd was too much to bear, but I watched it.
The video of Ahmaud Arbery was also too much but I needed to know it.
The absolutely absurd and familiar scene in Central Park of a black gay man – Christian Cooper – threatened by a white woman who called police because he asked her to leash her dog. I’m relieved that he is still alive and speaking out.
And Breonna Taylor shot to death in her own home. And Tony McDade, a Black trans man, murdered by police in Tallahassee, Florida.
And now all the protests across our country and in our own backyard.
I am beyond terrified, beyond belief, beyond reactions – I am full of pain and sorrow and anger and torment. And it hurt to see the Asian police officer standing by as George Floyd begged for the basic right to breathe.
Just a few days ago, I came home and my neighbor – a Black woman – informed me and my husband that her children were playing outside their home and a bunch of white men yelled the n-word at them and told them that they don’t belong there – in our Bayview neighborhood of San Francisco.
I am an Asian gay man married to a Black gay man. As two queer men of color we raised our Black straight male son. All of this hurts. It hit our home directly and was gut-punching.
I have lost a lot of sleep and what keeps me grounded is this. It is both intricately complicated and poignantly simple. Black. Lives. Matter. Period.
There is no neutral side to this. And I am proud that my organization – San Francisco Community Health Center – will speak out. We will not be silent. Being silent meant that we would not have survived when we were known as API Wellness Center. Being silent meant that Asians and Pacific Islanders would have continued to be labeled as “other” and never had targeted resources for our communities. Being silent continues to mean that our HIV community will go without necessary life-saving resources and services. Being silent means that more Black people and more trans people of color will continue to die.
None of us can afford to be silent right now. Please speak out. Please support Black Lives Matter. Please commit to the action that this movement demands of all of us.
-Lance Toma, LCSW