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  • Honor Them With Action, by Keith Menhinick

    by Keith Menhinick

    Honor Them with Action

    Stanley Almodovar III

    Amanda L. Alvear

    Oscar A. Aracena Montero

    Rodolfo Ayala Ayala

    Antonio Davon Brown

    For God made humans and said, “It is good.”

    Darryl Roman Burt II

    Angel Candelario-Padro

    Juan Chavez Martinez

    Jerald Arthur Wright

    For God made flesh and said, “It is good.”

    Luis Daniel Conde

    Cory James Connell

    Tevin Eugene Crosby

    Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon

    For God made bodies and said, “It is good.”

    Deonka Deidra Drayton

    Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández

    Leroy Valentin Fernandez

    Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez

    But they were furious. The Gibeonites stormed into the court demanding justice for their murdered family. They shouted at King David: “We have no blood guilt against you or against Israel, but against your Pulse-ribbon-e1465748736286.jpgpredecessor, King Saul, who broke his vows and killed our people. Give us seven of his sons so that we can kill them and set even the score.”

    King David did exactly that. He handed over seven sons of Saul, seven human bodies to the Gibeonites. The Gibeonites beat them and impaled them outside the city walls. Their dead bodies boiled under the glaring sun, left for the birds and beasts to tear flesh from their decaying bodies.

    Mercedez Marisol Flores

    Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz

    Juan Ramon Guerrero

    Luis Sergio Vielma

    Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez

    But Rizpah, the mother of two of the slain sons, set up camp outside the walls of the city. Rizpah took sackcloth and spread it out on the rock, and she stood guard over those dead bodies. Rizpah guarded the bodies of not only her two sons, but of all seven of those boys, choosing to be mother of them all. Rizpah allowed neither the birds of the sky to rest on them by day nor the beasts of the field by night. She grieved, she resisted, and she ensured that those bodies were claimed, guarded, and named.

    Paul Terrell Henry

    Frank Hernandez

    Miguel Angel Honorato

    Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado

    Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez

    Soon, heavy clouds rolled overhead and rain beat down on Rizpah as she guarded the seven dead sons. Word got back to King David about what Rizpah had done. David went himself and gathered the bones of Saul and the bones of Saul’s dead sons, and brought their bones back to Israel where he honored them with a proper burial in marked graves.

    This story in 2 Samuel 21 is a story of resistance and protest—modeled by a mother. It is a story of a woman who honored the innate sacred worth of bodies. It is a story of family—a queer lesson that family is both those who share our name and those whom we choose to claim. On that day, Rizpah’s love and resistance ensured there were no unclaimed bodies, no unmarked graves, no unsaid names.

    Javier Jorge Reyes

    Jason Benjamin Josaphat

    Eddie Jamoldroy Justice

    Anthony Luis Laureano Disla

    Christopher Andrew Leinonen

    Many years later, another mother kneeled down beneath the impaled body of her son and two others. Another mother named Mary who claimed and guarded Jesus’ body, and I believe she also claimed the two bodies hanging beside him. She tended the bodies until she could gently help lower Jesus’ dead body from that cross, press damp cloth to clean the dried purple blood on his forehead, wrap his body in clean linen, and lie him in a marked grave. On that day, Mary’s love and resistance ensured there were no unclaimed bodies, no unmarked graves, no unspoken names.

    Jonathan A. Camuy Vega

    Brenda Marquez McCool

    Gilberto R. Silva Menendez

    Kimberly Jean Morris

    Akyra Monet Murray

    Many years later, in June 1973, a gay club in New Orleans was set on fire by arson. The Upstairs Lounge burned, killing 32 human bodies trapped inside. Some of those dead bodies were never claimed by families, or houses of worship, or communities. There were unclaimed bodies. There were unmarked graves. There were unspoken names.

    A few years later, in June 2016, 49 people were murdered on Latino night at Pulse nightclub in Orlando. 49 human bodies. 49 brown and black and sacred bodies.

    On this day, we are Rizpah and we are Mary. Let us gather to claim their bodies. Let us gather to mark their graves. Let us gather to say their names.

    Luis Omar Ocasio Capo

    Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez

    Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera

    Joel Rayon Paniagua

    Jean Carlos Mendez Perez

    Let us act as the beloved community that rises up to claim bodies and speak truth to systems and powers.

    Let us act as the diverse community that includes every human body under a shared rainbow of gender, sexuality, race, religion, ability, language, and every other human category.

    Let us act as the queer community that honors bodies as sacred, that protests the violence that kills them, that shuts no one out, that lays down sackcloth on the rock outside the city walls, that mobilizes in actions of love and resistance until there are no unclaimed bodies and no unmarked graves and no unspoken names.

    Enrique L. Rios, Jr.

    Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz

    Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan

    Edward Sotomayor Jr.

    Shane Evan Tomlinson

    Martin Benitez Torres

    Alejandro Barrios Martinez