TRUST Collective-Chicago is a new entity created "post-Orlando" that is composed of Latinx, Muslim and LGBTQ+ community leaders created after the shooting at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando. We stand in solidarity with the community of Lincoln United Methodist Church ( Lincoln UMC ) in Pilsen. Lincoln UMC, a church community and neighborhood, has been the target of multiple hate incidents and white-supremacist threats. Lincoln UMC is a predominately Latinx church community that has been a sanctuary church for undocumented immigrants, as well as a welcoming church for LGBTQ individuals.
The most recent hate incident experienced by the Lincoln UMC community was discovered the morning of Sunday, Oct. 2. Emma Lozano, Lincoln UMC's senior pastor, saw that a swastika and the words "Burn & Kill" had been written in black marker on the front door of the church. Fortunately, the camera captured footage of the offender, who lives a few blocks from the church. He is currently out on bond. A previous incident involved a swastika and the message "Rape and kill Mexico" that were written in white paint across the glass doors of the church. These incidents and other incidents of hate speech that have occurred in the Pilsen neighborhood have contributed to a climate of heightened fear and vigilance among Pilsen residents.
"We are a church of immigrants and refugees and have always been a sanctuary for them. We ask that the community and all people of faith stand with us in these uncertain times, so we may remain a safe haven for those who most often face the threat of racism and violence," states Lozano.
Lozano, Ald. Daniel Solis ( 25th Ward ) and the Chicago Police Department's 10th District commander are planning a town-hall meeting at the church where community members and the broader public can share their experiences in the wake of these numerous incidents, provide support, and discuss next steps. TRUST Collective-Chicago will be in attendance and will encourage inter-faith leaders to be in solidarity and participate, once the details have been confirmed.
Unfortunately, the Pilsen community is not alone in being targeted- both leading up to and following the recent election. Racial tensions have heightened not only in Chicago, but throughout the country. As members of minority communities, we are all too familiar with the ever-present undercurrents of racism, transphobia, nationalism, sexism, xenophobia, and Islamophobia that have reminded us that our lives are not respected as equal. Despite hatred, we have relied upon community organization and progressive legislation to extend human rights to all persons and the protective role of government in dismantling hatred and protecting the vulnerable.
However, we are now faced with two disturbing realities: ( 1 ) The increase of individual and group acts of violence toward minorities that is attributed to and endorsed by our elected leaders' hateful and divisive rhetoric; and ( 2 ) the feared undoing of progressive legislation and policy that encourages a betrayal of governmental protections toward its people. At this moment, we are forced to wonder if our federal government will provide protection or aid in this surge of oppression and hatred.
The policies, positions, and history of recently elected officials has emboldened a hateful, active, and demonstrative rhetoric, encouraging acts of violence toward Mexicans, Muslims, undocumented immigrants, people with disabilities, people of color, victims of sexual assault, women and LGBTQ+ communities. This has created a hostile climate where many oppressed and disenfranchised racial, ethnic, religious, gender and sexual communities fear for their safety and well-being. Many people in our city and country are rightfully alarmed by the hatred and vitriol that have been on full display.
TRUST Collective-Chicago stands in solidarity with the Lincoln UMC, the Pilsen community, and all marginalized and oppressed communities that are targeted and feel threatened. We areand always will bestanding in solidarity with these communities.
Now more than ever, we all must come together and stand in solidarity against acts of violence in our city, no matter the neighborhood or population. We will protest this behavior- both through policy work and action in our communities. We refuse to let the threat of violence or the pervasiveness of injustice deter us from striving for equality for all people. Our communities and families are all connected and related in this struggle, and we refuse to leave our family behind.
The TRUST Collective's mission is to bridge, respect, support and foster relationships across the Chicago area toward building a unified front and reducing targeted violence and discrimination. Founded in July 2016, we ( Latinx, LGBTQ+, and Muslim communities ) have gathered "Post-Orlando" to improve our collaborative efforts across the Chicago area toward reducing targeted violence and discrimination. We value honoring differences to build a more unified future.