We Are Straight Allies would like to thank our courageous allies, incredible performers, amazing volunteers, and wonderful sponsors for your support during One Spark. Your commitment to seek and uphold justice and equality for all as we work to build a better community continues to inspire and motivate us. Through education, engagement and partnerships, we were able to secure 1,936 signed equality petitions, garner 759 votes, add 305 new ‘likes’ on our Facebook Page, and placed 22nd out of over 600 Creator Projects.
Many of you are aware of the controversy and discrimination that we faced during the beginning of One Spark. We would like to publicly thank the local media, corporate and community leaders and national organizations for their quick response and unwavering support. This challenge underscores the very real need for a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance and continued dialogue and action within our community about the lived experiences of those who identify as LGBTQ.
We were deeply moved by so many of the comments from attendees and the wide range of diverse backgrounds of the people who support this Movement. Here are a few snippets we wanted to share with you:
“My younger brother came out to me on New Year’s Eve. He sent me a text. I was completely shocked…still trying to wrap my head around it, but expressed my support.
–40something Black man with wife and two children
“Our daughter is a lesbian in Philadelphia. She’s marrying her partner in Hawaii. We have two sons – one is openly gay, but we think the other one is too.”
–60something white couple from St. Augustine
“I came out last year. Now, I’m homeless. I’ve been sleeping on friend’s couches. I’m moving to another state next month.”
–20something college student
“This HRO will be detrimental to my business. It will result in lawsuits and from a Christian perspective, I have problems with the message of gay rights.”
–50something white male small business owner
“L-G-B-T! I love me some LGBT’s. They make the strongest drinks. Five dollars and three drinks later and I’M seeing rainbows!! What’s your [Creator] number? I’m voting for you!”
–30something Black woman walking behind us on our way to the Hemming Plaza stage for our Creator Pitch
“I’m pretty sure this [equality] is what Jesus would want.”
—60something, white male, as he signed his Equality Pledge
“I am sooooooooooooo hoping EVERYONE votes for your great work. I am honored to have worked & volunteered with you. Count Me In On Your Next Event / Venture!”
—40something, Hispanic female
“Just wanted to pop in and say thank you for everything you do to help our community. It’s people like you and your organization that helps our (LGBT) community over come hatred and discrimination. Thank you again.”
—30something, white male
“So glad that I volunteered with the We Are Straight Allies campaign at One Spark. I am used to talking with people about the inclusive HRO and collecting pledges in different venues, so it was not brand new for me. What was new was the fact that the entire discussion centered around straight people, their attitudes, what they know, and what is misinformation. It was about their journey, not mine.
First, I wasn’t necessarily the authority! It was great. The straight people behind the table were talking as authorities on what it means to be a straight ally. I was seen as a resource, so when someone had a question, they would turn to me for a little help or boost. It was great for me to be acting as a resource as opposed to initiator of a (sometimes) tricky discussion.
Second, gay people walked up and they were a little disoriented like me! We started to realize that we have a specific role within We Are Straight Allies. Our role involves showing up, being out, and feeling grateful for political support. When we do that with our straight allies, we’ve done A LOT. The rest is up to the straight folks. It’s up to Jacksonville’s straight majority to get the info, define their position, and either become an ally or not.”
—40something, white female, community advocate and volunteer
And, a woman’s nephew came out to her as she was signing our Equality Pledge.
We have provided an overview of highlights from One Spark including links and images below. Again, we thank you!