During the Friday City Hall vigil for Shante and Willie, a resolution was read by Pastor Freedom K.D. Gulley of Progressive Open Door Christian Center at the event expressing support for the Houston trans community.
Here is the full text of the April 15 resolution that was signed by Pastor Gulley and Rev Alex D. Byrd, the Southern Regional Bishop for the Fellowship of Affirming Ministries.
Resolution of Support and Action
April 15, 2016
Whereas, a double murder occurred on Sunday, April 10, 2016 in the midtown area of the city of Houston involving a young transgender woman, Shante Thompson and a young man Willie Sims.
Whereas, The fellowship of Affirming Ministries (TFAM) has been committed to providing pastoral care to transgender men and women, and protecting their civil rights since its inception in 1999, as evidenced by the TransSaints ministry,
Whereas. the South Region of TFAM includes the city of Houston, Texas and two churches which provides direct pastoral care to transgender men and women in their congregations and within the communities they serve,
Whereas, we are concerned about the negative perceptions, biases and discrimination of the public in regards to transgender men and women and how such attitudes may impact the way these murders will be perceived in the public, governmental and law enforcement arenas,
Whereas, we are compelled by a Christian imperative to speak up for those who are perceived to be the least among us and fight for the causes of justice,
Whereas, we are also compelled by our call to minister to the spiritual needs whom God entrusts in our care, especially those who are respected and marginalized by society,
Be it resolved that the South Region of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries lends our support to the family of Ms. Shante Thompson and Mr. Willie Sims. We offer our prayers, our actions and our ear to you— weeping as you weep and fighting as you fight the good fight. We stand with our arms open without judgment or shame representing the love of our God which is eternal and without respect of person.
Be it further resolved that we stand in solidarity with those who call for justice to be done in this unjust situation. Regardless of the circumstances that may surround it, Shante Thompson and Willie Sims were murdered. Such acts deserve an unbiased commitment to justice.
Therefore, we are calling for the Houston Police Department and any other law enforcement agency that shall undertake the investigation of these murders to do so without regard to and prejudice or bias against the transgender experience. We ask that they would treat this case with the same fervor and dignity as they would any other investigation.
We implore the city, the law enforcement agencies, and the news media to respect the lives of the transgender individuals in this case by calling them by the name and gender by which each of them have been known to self-identify.
We further pray that justice be served against the perpetrators of this crime. We wholly expect that a fair trial and due process be given to anyone indicted in this matter.
This is our calling and our service to Christ and to the people we serve. To this call we hereto put our hand and faith.
Done this 15th day of April Two Thousand Sixteen,
Rev. Alex D. Byrd
Regional Bishop for the South
Pastor Freedom K.D. Gulley, D. Min.
Member of the Executive Council for the South Region .