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These past few difficult weeks bring tears to our veils. Our hearts are heavy with painful pulsing brought by violence. Hurting people brought hate and violence to our Oct. 23 Redwood Pride event at Jefferson Community Center, shouting at participants. Hurting people brought hate into our civic centers and continue to shout deeply misguided, privileged attacks into the echo chambers of the internet. We feel vulnerable because we are human. Human can be a very hard thing to be sometimes. We need each other because we are the mirrors for our own humanity. Even when the pain of it all feels like too much sometimes, we see you and you are loved. You, our beloved Dearly Queerlies, are who we are always looking for!

Your "Queer AF" fashion and leather details,

Your bumper sticker and flashes of flag,

Your tattoos and tastefully French tucked T-shirt,

Your beautiful boots and Pride edition sneakers,

Your comfy flannel and practical old pick-up truck,

The way you say, "they" when you hand off a coffee at the Old Town cafe,

The way you genuinely connect as you help a fellow queer at the store checkout.

We see you.

We live for the eyes you make at us, that brave wink you gave when we wondered about one another on the sidewalk, the smiling nod you offer even though we may not be your type, even though you don't know our names. You are beautiful souls; you are worth fighting for! You deserve a Big Gay Place in this community, a place to be your Fabulous Self, and we are so, so thankful you live here in Humboldt with us! 

Thank you for being so kind to check in on one another. Thank you for being brave to continue to show up to our queer gathering places. Thank you for nodding on the streets, for hanging flags and for every way, every day, that you continue to express. "We Are Here, We Are Queer and We Will Keep Loving Each Other!"

"Joy! More joy! Always joy!"

The message above is the letter that we wrote ahead of the Nov. 20 Trans Day of Remembrance. It's the message we sent out the evening of the Nov. 19, hours before the anti-queer mass shooting at Club Q in Colorado. In light of this, and the violence and fear-mongering in our community, we would like to emphasize that our collective resistance is what is needed most. Across history, our rainbow community has had each other's backs, hearts and spirits. From Compton's Cafeteria to the Stonewall Uprising to the White Night Riots to Club Pulse to now, from Third World Gay Liberation to ACT Up to Queer Nation to Bash Back!, we must stand together.

"Queer power, queer pride, we will not hide."

In these moments we must renew our shared commitment to freedom of expression and identity through acts of solidarity and resistance. For those capable of doing so: We must show up and show out when violence, fear-mongering and other forms of bigotry that lead to violence, would have us disappear. Your Sisters call upon you now to do this.

Two of our abbey's most solemn duties happen around this time of year, Trans Day of Remembrance and World AIDS Day. These are events that honor those whose lives have been lost to violence, lies, shame, hate and neglect. Our vigils bring the memory and spirit of those lost to share in the love of community. To be seen, known and not forgotten. To be given dignity.

And you all showed out in a transformative outpouring of love and solidarity. Sunday night we estimate well over 200 people gathered with candles, song, voice and remembrance on the courthouse lawn. A gathering that happened in spite of fears of disruption. Together, we read the names of 331 trans people across the world and locally who were lost to us, as well as the five names of those taken at Club Q. You saw each other, held each other, honored each other, grieved with each other and loved each other. 

The light of our gathered candles shall live on as a light for our community. A reminder that we are never alone and we are never forgotten. Together, the light of our truth shall burn brighter in the face of hatred, violence and death. A light of comfort and a beacon of hope.

May our new ancestors who you helped transcend the veil continue to protect and guide us. Ah-men. Ah-women. And ahll-the-rest-of-us.

Contact the Eureka Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence by email info@eurekasisters.org or by visiting eurekasisters.org.

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