June 8, 2023
In Solidary of Pride Month, 2023
Dear Nantucket Community,
In recent memory, the United States has witnessed dramatic and inclusive changes in LGBTQIA+ rights. There was the Stonewall Uprising in June 1969 (The Harvard Gazette), Massachusetts became the first state to legally recognize same-sex marriage in May 2004 (WGBH), and the directive “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed in September 2011 (The White House). There is no doubt that the LGBTQIA+ community and their allies in this country have been fighting for equality and their civil rights for generations.
Yet, more recently, we have also witnessed hate and discrimination targeted towards the LGBTQIA+ community. The Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando occurred in June 2016, it was one of the worst acts of violence against the LGBTQIA+ community in United States history (NPR). And, just last year, the DEI Office issued a statement of solidarity after the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs in November 2022 (Town of Nantucket). Today, there is a wave of anti- LGBTQIA+ legislation being proposed and enacted across the United States (NBC News). Acts of violence destroy families and communities and acts of exclusion fray the fabric of the nation.
The Town of Nantucket unequivocally stands shoulder to shoulder and in solidarity with the LGBTQIA+ community on island and throughout the United States. Civil rights are human rights and everyone should have the right to be and express themselves free of fear, oppression, and violence. We cannot and should not allow the pendulum of acceptance and decency in society to swing towards hate and discrimination.
Since its establishment, the DEI Office has advocated for the creation of a Human Rights Commission to be a governing body that supports the LGBTQIA+ community and other underrepresented groups on island. This recommendation is now a part of the Select Board’s strategic plan development for the Town. In collaboration with local institutions such as the Nantucket Atheneum, the DEI Office will work to ensure that the island’s LGBTQIA+ community always have access to safe and inclusive spaces throughout Nantucket Island.
As a community, we should continue to demonstrate our solidarity with our LGBTQIA+ friends and neighbors. With your support, the DEI Office aims to be a resource and partner for LGBTQIA+ residents and allies in the never-ending quest for equality and to ensure that all are welcome on Nantucket.
Dr. Kimal McCarthy
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Director