“All men are created equal. No matter how hard they try, they can never erase those words. That is what America is about.”—Harvey Milk, slain LGBT rights champion
This month, we honor the 50th anniversary of the momentous Stonewall riots. The series of demonstrations did more to advance the cause of equal rights for gay Americans than any other single event in U.S. history and sparked a movement that continues today.
We celebrate the achievements and social progress of the gay community during Pride Month, but we do so with an eye toward the future — mindful that the fight for equality is never easy or complete. At the Broward Sheriff’s Office, we honor our LGBT employees in all areas of our organization.
Deputy Josh Sapp’s story epitomizes what we strive to achieve at BSO. The six year law enforcement veteran began his career at a police department where he was suspected of being gay and subsequently shown disrespect for who and how he chose to love. But when Josh started his career at BSO, he found a home that measures his value on quality of work and content of character, not sexual orientation. Deputy Sapp is currently assigned to the DUI Task Force, working with an important team of deputies to keep impaired drivers off our roadways.
As sheriff, I play an important role in protecting the rights of all Broward’s nearly two million residents. As Broward’s first African American sheriff, and as a person who has experienced inequality firsthand, it is a role I fully embrace.
I know the fight for equality is not a fight for any one group or individual — it is a fight for the rights of all Americans. Those rights are preserved in our Constitution and are part of the moral fabric of this nation. Yet, despite the efforts of many, there is still much work to be done to ensure equality and acceptance for all.
We must recognize that what makes us different is also what makes us special — and makes us stronger. Each and every one of us brings a different perspective and uniqueness to our communities. No one person or group of people is better than or inferior to another.
As sheriff, I instill in the men and women of BSO to be blind to color, to treat everyone as equals and never turn a blind eye to the injustices and inequities affecting our diverse communities. Everyone, regardless of race, religion, gender or sexual identity, deserves the same opportunities, the same level of respect and the same rights as everyone else.
Please join me and the men and women of the Broward Sheriff’s Office on June 15 in Wilton Manors for the Stonewall Pride Parade and Festival as we celebrate the LGBT movement and equality for all. For more information, please visit our community events calendar at sheriff.org.
Service Equals Reward
Sheriff Gregory Tony