Category Archives: Press

PRESS: Straight Allies featured in the Jacksonville Free Press

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Deep appreciation to the Jacksonville Free Press for featuring the We Are Straight Allies campaign this week.

There are those in black and brown communities who openly support LGBT equality and the number is growing as we continue to educate and draw connections between our collective struggle and liberation. Thank you Dr. Irvin PeDro Cohen, Rachel Thomas, Ronald Breaker, Darnell Smith, Luis H. Lopez and Rev. Victoria Hamilton for adding your voices to this movement.

“African-American newspapers are those newspapers in the United States that seek readers primarily of African-American descent. These newspapers came into existence in 1827 when Samuel Cornish and John Brown Russwurm started the first African-American periodical called Freedom’s Journal. During the antebellum South, other African-American newspapers sprang forth, such as The North Star founded by Frederick Douglass. As African Americans moved to urban centers around the country, virtually every large city with a significant African-American population soon had newspapers directed towards African Americans.

Most of these publications like Freedom’s Journal’s (1758–1799) were published in the north and then distributed, often covertly, to African Americans throughout the country. Blacks’ ability to establish many environments and black neighborhoods in the North led to the first wave of publications. By the 20th century, daily papers appeared in Norfolk, Kansas City, and Washington D.C.

In the late 19th century the main reason that the papers were created was for uplifting the black community. Many blacks sought to assimilate into larger society, and Northern blacks felt it their duty to educate southern blacks on the mores of Victorian society. Many African-American newspapers struggled to keep their circulation going due to the low rate of literate African Americans. Many Freed Africans had low incomes and could not afford to purchase subscriptions, but shared the publications with one another.”

PRESS: Straight Allies featured on Equality Florida Blog

We’d like to thank our partners at Equality Florida for mentioning our campaign recently on their blog: http://eqfl.org/jaxhro/straightallies

They have been on location in Jacksonville, for the past several weeks now, working with the Human Rights Campaign and the Jacksonville Committee for Equality to pass a fully-inclusive Human Rights Ordinance (HRO), an anti-discrimination policy based on sexual orientation and gender identity or expression. We Are Straight Allies will be here to help fully support their efforts!

“To pass this HRO, we will all need to work together” – Jess Osborn, Statewide Outreach Coordinator, Equality Florida

PRESS: Straight Allies featured on HRC Blog

We’d like to thank our friends at the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for featuring our “We Are Straight Allies” campaign on their blog recently: http://www.hrc.org/blog/entry/straight-allies-stand-up-for-fully-inclusive-jacksonville-ordinance-in-new

Marty Rouse, National Field Director of the HRC, had this say about the new campaign:

It’s terrific that this campaign is highlighting straight allies who share the basic value that no one should face discrimination in Jacksonville.  We urge all supporters of equality to speak out and take action in support of the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance.

The HRC is the largest LGBT equality-rights advocacy group and political lobbying organization in the United States. According to the HRC, it has more than one million members and supporters.

HRC is an umbrella group of two separate non-profit organizations and a political action committee: the HRCFoundation, a 501(c)(3) organization that focuses on research, advocacy and education; the Human Rights Campaign, a501(c)(4) organization that focuses on promoting the social welfare of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people through lobbying Congress and state and local officials for support of pro-LGBT bills, and mobilizing grassroots action amongst its members; and the HRC Political Action Committee, which supports candidates that adhere to its positions on LGBT rights.

The historical records of the Human Rights Campaign are maintained in a collection at the Cornell University Library. Arriving at Cornell in 2004, the records include strategic planning documents, faxes, minutes, e-mails, press releases, posters, and campaign buttons. The archive is the second largest in the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Human Sexuality Collection. In February 2007, the archive was opened to scholars at the library, and selected records were organized into an online exhibit called “25 Years of Political Influence: The Records of the Human Rights Campaign.”

Straight Ally Ad Campaign

Contact: Chevara Orrin                                                FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Phone: 678.637.9041                                                   August 24, 2013
Email: wearestraightallies@gmail.com

Straight Ally Ad Campaign Features Prominent Community Leaders

 JACKSONVILLE, FL – Three local community advocates Chevara Orrin, Dan Bagan and Laura Riggs have created a straight ally ad campaign to raise awareness and encourage support of the Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance. The ordinance, which was rejected last fall by City Council, would have expanded the city’s human rights ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

The ad’s tagline, “We Are Straight Allies…because nothing is more important than our humanity” has drawn together a diverse group of Jacksonville’s citizens from the education, faith, arts, military, sports, and corporate sectors. Participants range from a teenager to a retired military officer to a pastor of the Lutheran church. City leaders featured include Pat Geraghty, CEO – Florida Blue, Hope McMath, Executive Director – Cummer Museum and Gardens, and Steve Halverson, President & CEO – Haskell Company.  Pat Geraghty says he’s happy to come out as a Straight Ally because he’s seen discrimination in many forms throughout his life.  He says, “Discrimination in any form is wrong.”

“This struggle is an intrinsic human rights issue. I have been a champion for the rights of the marginalized since I marched on tiny, six year-old legs to the Lorraine Motel in Memphis Tennessee years before the nation celebrated the King holiday,” says lead creative Chevara Orrin. “Today, 50 years after the historic March on Washington, we are once again standing at the crossroads of freedom and equality. Each day, communities across our nation are joining a growing list of cities that support LGBT equality. It’s time for Jacksonville to pass a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance and become a leader in this effort.”

Orrin, Bagan and Riggs want the campaign to serve as a call to action. “I am inspired by the divine power in all human beings to create the world they live in.  When faith and laws are wed, we divorce ourselves of our humanity.  We can create a happier world through love and celebration of our differences.” Riggs says, “The greatest gifts we can offer this initiative are joy and our devotion to seeing all beings treated equally.”

The website, www.wearestraightallies.com, features several ways for everyday citizens to become involved including signing a petition to support of the Human Rights Ordinance or contacting Jacksonville City Council members to voice support for the passage of the ordinance.

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