In a cliffhanger decision, the Jacksonville City Council by a 10-9 vote Wednesday rejected a bill expanding the city’s human rights ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination. The vote capped three months of deliberation and debate about the extent of discrimination against gays and lesbians in Jacksonville, whether the city should add sexual orientation to the list of protected groups, and how much enforcement power the city should have in cases of discrimination against homosexuals. –The Jacksonville Times-Union, August 15, 2012
The Jacksonville City Council approved updating the city’s human rights ordinances to include LGBT protections. The bill passed by a 12-6 vote. Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry took no action, resulting in the bill becoming law. –WJCT, February 14, 2017
According to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), among Fortune 500 companies, 89-percent have sexual orientation non-discrimination policies and 66-percent have gender identity non-discrimination policies. Additionally, more than 90 companies have joined the Business Coalition for Workplace Fairness, a group of leading U.S. employers that support the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. A poll by Small Business Majority shows two-thirds of small business owners support a federal law prohibiting discrimination against LGBTQ workers and job applicants.
We Are Allies seeks to educate, engage and “call to action” the business, faith-based, military, government, nonprofit, educational, arts and private sectors as we move towards passage of comprehensive polices that protect our LGBTQ community against discrimination across our nation. Our strategic educational and advocacy efforts are designed to influence and encourage leaders and everyday citizens to work towards creating a culture of equity for the LGBTQ community in employment, housing and public accommodations. The campaign is designed to reaffirm those who currently support fundamental human rights for all citizens and to further engage those who are ambivalent, previously voted against comprehensive protections, or who are uninformed about the day to day challenges that face members of our LGBTQ community.
This is a place for everyday people to share their stories as to how they have seen their loved ones affected by intolerance. We seek to put an end to the discrimination and violence directed at our fellow LGBTQ community. We publicly stand united with our Gay, Lesbian, Bi-Sexual, and Transgender families, friends, co-workers, and communities.
For those who have been marginalized and silenced because of fear or shame, we offer to be your voice, to hold your hand, to stand by your side, and we promise to champion for a more equitable world.
We are mothers and fathers teaching our children to love and accept each other’s intrinsic humanness. We are sisters and brothers holding the hands of our siblings with great pride in who they are. We are coworkers who want to see our colleagues treated fairly, free from bias and discrimination. We are young and old who believe that we live in the land of the free, where all people are created equal. We are clergy and missionaries shepherding our congregations to welcome everyone into their hearts, openly and without judgment. We are veterans who have fought for the freedom of others across the ocean and who will continue to fight for basic human rights on our own native soil. We are citizens who believe in everyone’s right to pursue their own happiness.
We are Allies.
From Stonewall to the demise of DOMA to marriage equality, we are the family and friends of Harvey Milk, Marco McMillian, Matthew Shepard, Ebony Whitaker and Amanda Gonzalez-Andular. We are following in the legacy of other great Movements: Women’s Suffrage, European Liberation, Farm Workers, Feminist, Womanist and Civil Rights. We stand in solidarity with others already engaged in this fight.
We are Families. We are Friends. We are Co-Workers. We are Communities. We are Allies…because nothing is more important than our humanity.