Statement on the homophobic slur used on August 19, 2020

Press Release
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Thursday, August 20, 2020

Statement on the homophobic slur used on August 19, 2020

“Language matters. Language has the power to uplift and degrade. The slur used by Thom Brennaman is a word that exists only to degrade the LGBTQ+ community. It is an ugly, derogatory, hate-filled word. Words imbued with hate can only do harm.

Language is a powerful thing. It can spur people to action in pursuit of a righteous cause or it can be used to destroy people, their self-worth, their sense of belonging. The slur used by Thom Brennaman serves only to imply that certain people do not belong and to declare them lesser people. This is hateful, disappointing and wrong. We at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center are committed to inclusive freedom in this nation and in our global community – freedom for all people to live and love freely and without fear. The regular use of such a hateful slur is evidence that we still have a long way to go toward achieving inclusive freedom for all.

However, we can and will grow from this moment. We encourage you to use this moment to have meaningful conversations with your family, your friends and yourself. Reflect on the power of language and the importance of understanding its context. Take this opportunity to reaffirm your commitment to inclusive freedom by eliminating hateful, othering words from your vocabulary. We stand against hate and prejudice. We stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”

Woodrow Keown, Jr.

President & COO
National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

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About the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center
The National Underground Railroad Freedom Center opened in August 2004 on the banks of the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Since then, more than 1.3 million people have visited its permanent and changing exhibits and public programs, inspiring everyone to take courageous steps for freedom. Two million people have utilized educational resources online at freedomcenter.org, working to connect the lessons of the Underground Railroad to inform and inspire today’s global and local fight for freedom. Partnerships include Historians Against Slavery, Polaris Project, Free the Slaves, US Department of State and International Justice Mission. In 2014, the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center launched a new online resource in the fight against modern slavery, endslaverynow.org
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