Equality FL News
This update is designed to keep you up-to-date about important elements of our work.
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In this issue:
- "No Excuses, No Delays." Do We Really Mean It?
- Join Us For The Equality Campaign Training
- Victory in North Miami! Voters Punish Gay-Baiting Candidate
- Dunedin Passes Inclusive Human Rights Ordinance
- Mourning the Murder of Dr. George Tiller
- Welcome Katie Parrish
- Tobias Packer Joins the Board of the Florida GLBT Democratic Caucus
This essay by Equality Florida Executive Director Nadine Smith is provoking a great deal of discussion among activists.
At a recent speaking engagement, I asked a group of people what the world would be like if from the day they were born prejudice had never touched their lives.
No homophobic bullying in school. Supportive families at homes No trans-bashing humor on TV. No workplace discrimination. Equal treatment of all families regardless of orientation or gender identity. No closet, ever, because you had never, ever needed one.
Most of the people responded by talking about new laws that would be in effect but they struggled to name the deeper, more personal impact on the texture of their daily lives. A few talked about what they would no longer fear but struggled to articulate what affirmative attitudes would replace those fears.
And one man wept and said it broke his heart that he could not imagine, even for a moment, what his life would have been without the constant presence of the bigotry and hatred he'd endured for more than 60 years.
I encourage everyone to try this exercise because it is surprisingly difficult, and because I believe it is the pathway to our most potent tools in response to government-imposed second class citizenship: a sense of urgency and the willingness to sacrifice.
We need urgency and sacrifice to harness the transformational power of living "as if." "As if" the laws had already changed. "As if" society were just.
Join us for the Equality Campaign training, July 11-12 in Orlando
Are you ready to take a stand for equality? Are you ready to make a difference in your community? Are you ready to learn the organizing skills you need to motivate volunteers and create change?
This intensive two-day training is designed to teach the principles of effective community organizing to activists committed to LGBT equality in Florida.
Equality Florida will put a high priority on training teams of 4 or more individuals from each community, who will work together on local action plans throughout Florida. Sign up today and forward this to people in your community whom you believe will make strong team members.
Equality Campaign training is planned for Saturday July 11th and Sunday July 12th in Orlando. Registration is only $25 and includes food and materials. Applications are due Wednesday, June 10th, 2009. Space is limited so apply today! Remember, Priority is given to local teams of 4 or more, so recruit your friends and colleagues! Click Here to Sign Up Today!*
We look forward to seeing you at the Equality Campaign training!
PS If you're interested in the Equality Campaign training but absolutely cannot make the July 11 & 12th dates, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll keep you informed of possible future trainings.
Voters Punish Gay-Baiting Candidate; Elect Andre Pierre in Close Run-Off
On June 1st we alerted our Miami-Dade members about a desperate, anti-gay attack ad targeting Andre Pierre in the City of North Miami Mayor's Race. The moment Equality Florida learned of the ad we took action:
- We contacted the group responsible and Wolland himself to demand a public apology.
- We called over 3,000 voters in North Miami letting them know about this ugly, last minute, negative campaining
- We sent an email alert to thousands Equality Florida members throughout Miami-Dade
In a clear repudiation of the divisive politics of gay-baiting, Andre Pierre defeated Frank Wolland in the June 2nd runoff election 2,870 to 2,525. Wolland had been the top vote getter in the May 12th primary.
Thank you to everyone who responded to our alerts.
The offensive ad appealed to homophobic prejudice by photoshopping outgoing Mayor Kevin Burns in a romantic pose with Mayoral candidate Andre Pierre on the bow of the Titanic under the headline "Don't worry Andre, they're only icebergs."
Mayor Burns, who is openly gay, had endorsed Andre Pierre. Under Mayor Burns leadership North Miami has made tremendous strides in supporting LGBT families including the passage of one of Florida's strongest Domestic Partnership policies. Andre Pierre has pledged to continue the city's efforts to be welcoming and inclusive of all residents.
Thursday, June 4th the Dunedin city commission unanimously voted to pass a city ordinance adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the city's nondiscrimination in public accommodations law.
Equality Florida commends Dunedin for becoming the 9th municipality in Florida to pass a fully inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance.
This past week, Dr. George Tiller, a man who has faced down bombs, bullets and arson in order to provide women with access to safe and legal abortions was shot to death in his own church as he handed out bulletins to parishioners. His allegedl attacker was a member of the radical and violent group "Army of God."
Anti-gay activist, Florida resident, fellow-member of the "Army of God" and longtime anti-abortion spokesman Randall Terry issued a statement this week:
“George Tiller was a mass-murderer. We grieve for him that he did not have time to properly prepare his soul to face God.”
You might recall that Randal Terry disowned his own son when Jamiel Terry came out as a gay man in 2004. Terry responded by writing an op-ed, sharply criticizing his son and saying, "He is no longer welcome in my home."
Equality Florida condemns this violence and remains committed to standing up for personal freedom everywhere. We strongly support a woman’s right to make very personal reproductive decisions without government intrusion.
My name is Katie Parrish. I grew up in Naples, but now live in Orlando. I am a senior at University of Central Florida studying Political Science and Legal Studies. I just came onboard with Equality Florida in May and am organizing Camp Equality Florida. I have been involved in activism and politics for about two years now. Last summer I worked on Mike Smith?s congressional campaign for district 8 and I recently returned from working with Greenpeace in San Francisco doing a three month campaign organizing internship. Living in California during the wake of proposition 8 and preparation for the Supreme Court decision redefined my purpose in the LGBT movement. I saw how the city of San Francisco embraces their LGBT culture and how empowered residents (gay and straight) became after proposition 8 and it inspired me to work towards empowering activists in Florida.
I am very excited to be working with Equality Florida and specifically to be organizing the new Equality Campaign. The Equality Campaign's mission is to build teams from cities all over the state and train them in organizing skills such as message development, team-building, volunteer recruitment, fundraising, and grassroots organizing. Modeled after Camp Obama, these local teams will leave the training with a strategic plan for accomplishing goals in their community and the ability to empower those around them.
Tobias Packer, New Media Manager for Equality Florida, was appointed to the board of the statewide GLBT Democratic Caucus. Tobias now serves as a regional director representing Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties.
The GLBT Democratic Caucus is a longtime coalition partner working side by side with Equality Florida to achieve full equality for all Floridians.