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UCC Coalition re. Gwen (Eddie) Araujo Murder & Hate Crime, Newark, California

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    CALLED OUT From The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns ... October 30,2002 Gwen (Eddie) Araujo Murder & Hate Crime, Newark, California The members and friends of
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 30, 2002

      From The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns

      October 30,2002
      Gwen (Eddie) Araujo Murder & Hate Crime, Newark, California

      The members and friends of The UCC Coalition for LGBT Concerns are
      deeply saddened and angered as we have learned of the fearful, hate
      motivated and cruel circumstances of the untimely death of
      Gwen(Eddie)Araujo of Newark, California.

      In our prayers we reach out in love and sympathy to Gwen's family and
      friends. In our prayers we reach out to hold in our hearts all the
      youth in the Bay area, in the world, that they might know such
      cruelty and injustice is not the last word; that there is reason to
      hope for a world transformed by love and understanding.

      In our prayers we reach out to those who perpetrated this crime and
      others who have done likewise, that they might take responsibility
      for their actions, and that their punishment be just and humane. In
      our prayers we ask God to heal the feelings of revenge and fury; to
      transform our response to this horror into a passion for change and
      reconciliation among all people.

      It was 1997 when the United Church Coalition for Lesbian & Gay
      Concerns adopted the name by which we are now known, The United
      Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender
      Concerns. In these five years we have gained even greater
      understanding than we had then about the call for us and for our
      churches to truly welcome people of all gender identities, as well as
      lesbian, gay and bisexual people. We've also become clearer about the
      necessity of the church to speak out immediately to protect
      transgender people and to extend civil rights protections to include
      transgender persons. The lives and well being of other human beings
      are at risk and cannot wait until the rest of us understand fully our
      prejudices and fears.

      We are supported in our stance by the President of the United Church
      of Christ, Rev. John Thomas and other national UCC leadership who
      have said about this crime "Gwen's death is a shocking reminder of
      the fear, prejudice and ignorance that fuel the power of hate to
      diminish and destroy life. These events also cry out to us that this
      is not what God intends. There is much work to be done before we
      attain the vision of God's community´┐Ż This is not a time for silence,
      indifference and complacency. It is a time for speaking out and
      listening; it is a time for compassion and solidarity; it is a time
      for learning, advocacy and risking new ways of being community."

      Gwen (Eddie) Araujo is the 26th person to be killed since last year's
      Day of Remembrance held in November 2001. This is double the number
      killed last year and substantially higher than the annual average of
      transgender people murdered over the past decade for being
      themselves. The Day of Remembrance is an annual event held in more
      than 40 cities across the nation to memorialize those transgender
      persons killed during the preceding year. This year Remembrance
      services will be held in most participating communities on Wednesday,
      November 20, 2002.

      We will not be part of the silence which allows such violence to
      grow. We will not stand by while versions of hate proliferate, too
      often justified by interpretations of Christian scripture and faith
      which do not represent what we believe, nor the faith of most
      Christians. There are resources that can help us learn and respond,
      such as the "Transgender Pocket" of the "Open and Affirming Study
      Packet" which we have published (http://www.uccCoalition.org),
      Transgender Good News by Pat Conover and other books on this subject
      published by Pilgrim Press (http://www.pilgrimpress.com/cat-3.html)

      It is our hope that everyone in this country would take to heart
      these final words, quoting again from the letter from our church's
      leadership, "There is no reason to remain in the dark about the
      transgender realities among us. We can learn, we can grow and we can

      Rev. Mitzi N. Eilts
      National Coordinator

      Dr. Timothy Brown, Commissioned Minister
      Youth and Young Adult Coordinator

      MS. Barbara Satin


      The United Church of Christ Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and
      Transgender Concerns (The Coalition) is a non-profit
      educational/advocacy movement related to The United Church of Christ
      (UCC) formally recognized in the UCC By-laws. Celebrating 30 years
      of existence The Coalition provides affirming sanctuary for LGBT
      Christians, their family and friends. The Coalition advocates for
      the rights of and full participation of LGBT people in church and
      society. The Coalition proclaims the belief that God's good news
      affirms the orientation and identity of LGBT persons as part of God's
      good creation.

      Contact for further information:
      Kara Hooper, Communications Coordinator 731-588-5026
      Communications@... or Rev. Mitzi N. Eilts, National

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