January 10, 2019

PFLAG National has signed on to the following statement, which can also be found on the National Black Justice Coalition website here.

Today, 50 LGBTQ and allied organizations (listed below) released the following statement to demand a thorough investigation by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office of the second death of a Black man at the West Hollywood home of Ed Buck, a prominent political donor, within two years.

According to the LA Times, authorities found 24 syringes, five glass pipes, plastic bags with white powdery residue and a crystal-like substance at the scene when Moore’s body was found. The identity of the latest man found dead at Buck’s apartment has not been released publicly, but the facts are clear — Buck and access to drugs at his apartment are the common denominators in the deaths of Black men, and these continued injustices have yet to be addressed by local law enforcement:

“We, the undersigned organizations working to advance and empower the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community, act in solidarity with the victims and those impacted by both tragic deaths of Black men at Ed Buck’s home in less than two years.

“We will work in earnest to understand what happened to these men who lost their lives — Mr. Timothy Dean who died on Monday, and Mr. Gemmel Moore, who died under seemingly similar circumstances in July 2017 — and why Buck continues to maintain unsafe spaces for Black gay men.

“Nearly a dozen young men have confirmed Moore’s account and shared personal stories about Buck’s alleged, nefarious practice of injecting Black men with various lethal substances. In light of Monday’s tragedy and the apparent pattern of abuse and death of Black gay men in Buck’s home, we insist that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office conduct a thorough and impartial investigation into both deaths.

“Given serious and legitimate concerns about how the Sheriff’s Department and District Attorney’s Office have handled both investigations — including a failure to share critical and timely information about both cases with the greater Los Angeles LGBTQ community and the media — we also believe that an independent, thorough review of their actions is warranted and urge both to make all appropriate, procedural reforms to address the systemic inequities that lead predators to target Black LGBTQ people. We demand this with a historical understanding that if Buck were a Black man living in Watts, Inglewood, Compton, or South Los Angeles or his victims were white men, the investigation and outcome would be different.

“We, the undersigned organizations, join together to acknowledge the systemic and structural forces that make Black gay, bisexual, trans, and queer men vulnerable to predators, including white supremacy, anti-Blackness, heterosexism, wealth gaps, criminalization, and income inequality. We also acknowledge the growing epidemic of crystal meth use and abuse among Black queer men and the lack of attention and resources given to this phenomenon by local, state, and federal governments and organizations who serve Black and/or LGBTQ communities. We affirm the fact that all Black lives matter and call upon elected officials and community leaders to work on solutions that address the root causes of these vulnerabilities.

“The tragic deaths of these two Black men are of great concern during a time when white supremacy, anti-Blackness, and racial violence are pervasive. Although some may blame the victims for their own deaths or shame sex workers, we affirm that the intersection of racism, poverty, homophobia, and biphobia restrict opportunities for Black LGBTQ people in America, sometimes forcing them to turn to commercial sex work for survival, in ways that make them vulnerable to exploitation and manipulation. This is the agonizing reality for too many LGBTQ people, especially LGBTQ people of color, and it must be addressed with urgency.

“We also respectfully urge elected officials who have previously accepted contributions from Buck to donate that money to charitable organizations that work to protect and empower Black LGBTQ people and their communities.

“As we make this demand for justice, we do so understanding that we do not live in silos. The injustices toward people of color, LGBTQ people, religious minorities, and other marginalized groups, which continue to increase, impact us all. Audre Lorde reminds us, ‘difference is a dynamic human condition,’ and that we are all deeply connected. It is in the spirit of protecting those persecuted because of race, gender, ability, sexuality, religion and background that we call for unity against hate and solidarity in love.”

Signatories:

  • National Black Justice Coalition
  • National LGBTQ Task Force
  • American Civil Liberties Union
  • ACLU of Southern California
  • Advocates for Youth
  • ADAPT
  • AIDS Action Baltimore
  • AIDS United
  • Arkansas Black Gay Men's Forum
  • Athlete Ally
  • Bailey House, Inc.
  • BiNet USA
  • Black AIDS Institute
  • Belong Church
  • Center for Black Equity
  • Center for Culture, Sexuality, and Spirituality
  • Center for Disability Rights
  • CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers
  • Concerned Citizen
  • David Cunningham Foundation
  • Equality California
  • Equality Florida
  • Equality North Carolina
  • The G-Listed
  • Global Justice Institute
  • Human Rights Campaign
  • Iconic House of Unforgettable Revlon
  • Justice4GemmelMooreAndEdBucksOtherVictims Campaign
  • Million Hoodies Movement for Justice
  • National Black Women's HIV/AIDS Network
  • National Organization of Black County Officials
  • National Center for Lesbian Rights
  • National Council on Independent Living
  • New Paltz Action Network
  • Nerve Mag
  • NMAC
  • NYC Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
  • Oakland LGBTQ Community Center
  • PFLAG National
  • Positive Women's Network-USA
  • Prevention Access Campaign
  • Reframe Health and Justice
  • Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS)
  • St.Louis Black Pride
  • Treatment Action Group (TAG)
  • Urban Coalition for HIV/AIDS Prevention Services
  • URGE: Unite for Reproductive & Gender Equity
  • V-Day
  • Woodhull Freedom Foundation
  • Youth Justice Coalition

Case Background:

On Monday, January 7, 2019, a 55-year old Black man died under suspicious circumstances in the West Hollywood apartment of Ed Buck. Buck is a white man who has been a prominent political donor to primarily Democratic political candidates. This tragedy follows the death of Mr. Gemmel Moore at Buck’s home in July 2017, under seemingly similar circumstances. According to the Los Angeles Times, authorities found "24 syringes with brown residue, five glass pipes with white residue and burn marks, a plastic straw with possible white residue, clear plastic bags with white powdery residue and a clear plastic bag with a ‘piece of crystal-like substance" at the scene when Mr. Moore’s body was found. Mr. Moore’s death was immediately determined to be an accidental methamphetamine drug-related overdose and the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office declined to file charges.

Mr. Moore’s personal journal was later published, blaming Buck for giving him his first methamphetamine injection and suggesting he was responsible for coercing continued drug use in Buck’s home. Mr. Moore's account suggests Buck had a pattern of coercively injecting drugs into young Black men. Since Mr. Moore’s death, other young men have stepped forward to confirm Moore’s account and share their own stories about Buck’s alleged practice of injecting Black men with various illicit and dangerous substances.

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