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Black celebrities show support for LGBTQ community in Ghana after raid on center

   March 9, 2021 8:30 PM
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by Nimi Princewill, CNN

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Africa Ghana
(CNN)Black celebrities are urging Ghana's President Nana Akufo-Addo to work with LGBTQ community leaders after security forces raided and shut down an LGBTQ center in the West African country's capital last week.

Actors Idris Elba and Michaela Coel, and supermodel Naomi Campbell joined forces with other influential names in fashion, film and media to express their solidarity with the LGBTQ "family" in an open letter tagged #GhanaSupportsEquality on Monday. It comes after the recently-opened community center in Accra, named 'LGBT+ Rights Ghana,' was raided. Head of the center, Alex Kofi Donkor, told CNN last Thursday that he was concerned for his safety. Among the letter's 67 signatories are British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful, Netflix's chief marketing officer Bozoma Saint John and Virgil Abloh, chief executive officer at Off White and artistic director at Louis Vuitton. "To our Ghanaian LGBTQIA+ family: We see you and we hear you. We are in awe of your strength, your bravery and your audacity to be true to who you are even when it is dangerous to do so," the letter reads. "You are loved, you are important and you deserve a safe place to gather in your shared experience." Referencing the raid at the center, the celebrities said they had watched events unfold in recent weeks with "profound concern." "It is unacceptable to us that you feel unsafe," the letter added.

The celebrities, who vowed to stay abreast of developments concerning the LGBTQ community in Ghana, also promised to protect them using their shared power and influence. "Neither the raid on February 24, nor any other acts of intimidation have the power to break your indomitable spirits. It only emboldens all of us to act with more urgency and intention," the letter continued. They then called on Akufo-Addo, as well as political and cultural leaders, to "engage in a meaningful and purposeful dialogue" with the community so as to "create a pathway for allyship, protection and support."

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