A Statement from the ONYX National Council, on behalf of the Men of ONYX.
The death of George Floyd is a seminal event and a rallying cry being heard around the world. At this pivotal moment, The Men of ONYX number ourselves among those demanding change. We believe #BlackLivesMatter, but know we must do more than change our social media pages to black or post hashtags. Our activism must be broader, deeper, and specific to be sustained as a lasting change.
While there is an epidemic of state-supported violence against our brothers and sisters, there is also an epidemic of violence even more deadly for our Trans siblings, who also fight bigotry, hatred, and violence in their own communities. The Men of ONYX believe that support for #BlackLivesMatter REQUIRES support for our Trans family. For Black Lives to Matter, ALL Black Lives must Matter! When you say the names of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Travon Martin, and Tamir Rice, you MUST say the names of Nina Pop, Tony McDade, Monika Diamond, and Iyanna Dior.
We will hold our elected officials accountable by showing up at the ballot box, especially on the local level. The election of Ella Jones as the first Black and first female mayor of Ferguson, MO (a city with a 70% Black population) shows the potential power of local elected officials. MUCH MORE IMPORTANTLY, we will hold our officials accountable by showing up in the community. The Men of ONYX will continue to be a visible presence in every aspect of our community, not just the bars and at contests and runs. We will speak out in community forums. We will volunteer our time for the causes near to our heart. We will take leadership positions and be a force for change in our community through our words and actions. In our own communities, we will challenge bias and bigotry. We will stand in the gap for those who need our support.
We will advocate for change through legislative action. We demand a new approach to policing based on an obligation to preserve life and prevent injury. We support the Uniform Reporting Law Enforcement Improvement Act (URLEIA), which will end unconstitutional policing by requiring accountability for all jurisdictions and ensuring that the patterns and practices of law enforcement agencies and agents nationwide are transparent. We support the NAACP’s Police Reform Agenda, especially its calls for systemic changes in the way officer-involved shootings are investigated and prosecuted, and the disqualification from police work of those found guilty of misconduct.
Our actions will be political, social, AND economic. We support the Black and Brown, LGBTQ+, and women-owned businesses that support us. Equally, we vocally oppose those antithetical to our cause, because every dollar spent there supports agendas opposed to ours. We must be vocal and consistent in both our support and opposition.
We must dismantle the systems of oppression that devalue Black and Brown lives. We support the de-militarization of the police and demand real accountability of the justice system as a whole. We demand an end to the school-to-prison pipeline and the prison industrial complex that profits from the pain and disenfranchisement of People of Color.
In the coming months and years, we will stand firm in our call for systemic change, which includes:
Full implementation of the URLEIA.
The elimination of qualified immunity for police and sheriff departments nationwide.
A ban on the sale of military weaponry and equipment to police departments.
The institution of body cameras in all jurisdictions with penalties for failure to wear or activate.
The institution of Use of Force Continuums at the local, state, and federal levels.
Public availability of police misconduct records in all cases and used as recertification criteria.
The implementation of Citizen’s Review Boards in every jurisdiction.
#BlackLivesMatter sits at the intersection of many communities, as do the Men of ONYX. We are Men of Color, Cis, Trans, and so much more. If Black Lives truly matter, we the community must take up common cause with all Black People and allies. We call upon our siblings in Leather and Kink, our LGBTQIA+ family, and all people of conscience to support the critical work ahead. Share these thoughts, join us on the line, defend us as you would have us defend you!
The Men of ONYX