A “Breaking the Silence” interfaith prayer vigil to honor the memories of LGBT youth who have killed themselves in recent weeks as well as pay respect to the four young men who have accused Bishop Eddie Long of coercing them into sexual relationships for their courage to speak out is set for Nov. 13 in Lithonia.

Prayer vigil set to honor LGBT youth suicides, address homophobia in black church

“There are many more who feel hopeless so they are being silent. This is a call to action for the church and the community. We need to pray and put our words into action so healing can begin,” states the website for the Dallas-based Silence Equals Consent, organizer of the vigil.

Tuan N’gai, founder of Silence Equals Consent, has said he hopes the Bishop Eddie Long scandal is used as a way to push out homophobia in the black church.

“This is something widespread in the black church,” N’gai said in a YouTube video about the controversy.

“I really hope the black community sees this as a opportunity and seizes the opportunity to open up and begin some kind of healing. If we don’t deal with it is going to continue,” he says.

Long is accused of using his spiritual authority as head of New Birth Missionary Baptist Church, located in Lithonia, to coerce four men into sexual relationships. Long has denied the charges.

When news broke of the Long scandal, many people believed it was time to address homophobia, once again, in the black church.

N’Gai founded Silence Equals Consent specifically to challenge homophobia in the black church.

“Silence Equals Consent isn’t a battle cry against the black church or the community at large”, Tuan said in an interview with Mandrake Society Radio .

“It’s an effort to call attention to the issues that have divides us in hopes to bring about unity and healing. We need to learn to focus on what makes us the same, and learn to see our differences as something beautiful.”

The vigil is also a time to pray for the numerous LGBT people who have committed suicide in recent months with friends and family members saying bullying played a huge role in the young people taking their lives.

Breaking the Silence
Saturday, Nov. 13
Willie Watkins Special Events Center
5843 Redan Road
Lithonia, GA 30058