Tag Archives: Co-Workers

Pat Geraghty, Straight Ally

Pat Geraghty, CEO of Florida Blue, located in Jacksonville, FL explains why he is a Straight Ally in support of LGBT equality in the workplace. Read more here: http://wp.me/p3PnKk-73

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Ally Profile: Nancy Hogshead-Makar

Nancy Hogshead-Makar is Jacksonville’s own 3-time Olympic swimming champion from the 1984 Games. She is a life-long advocate for access and equality in athletics, internationally recognized legal expert on sports issues, scholar, and author. She has a commitment to equality, using sports as a vehicle for social change. As one of the foremost exponents for gender equity, she advocates for access and equality in sports participation, sexual harassment, sexual abuse and assault, employment, pregnancy, and legal enforcement under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and within the youth sports and Olympic movement.

Hogshead-Makar has testified in Congress numerous times on the topic of gender equity in athletics, written numerous scholarly and lay articles, and has been a frequent guest on national news programs on the topic, including 60 Minutes, Fox News, CNN, ESPN, NPR, MSNBC and network morning news programming. She serves as an expert witness in Title IX cases and has written amicus briefs representing athletic organizations in precedent-setting litigation. Her scholarship includes her book, co-authored with Andrew Zimbalist, Equal Play; Title IX and Social Change, Pregnant and Parenting Student-Athletes; Resources and Model Policies, published by the NCAA, and her book chapter, “The Ethics of Title IX and Gender Equity for Coaches” appears in The Ethics of Coaching Sports; Moral, Social and Legal Issues, edited by Robert L. Simon. Since 2003 she has been the Co-Chair of American Bar Association Committee on the Rights of Women. Sports Illustrated Magazine listed her as one of the most influential people in the history of Title IX.

Hogshead-Makar is currently the Senior Director of Advocacy for the Women’s Sports Foundation, a 29-year affiliation that started as a college intern.   She has received significant awards recognizing her commitment to athletics, including receipt of an honorary doctorate from Springfield College, induction into the Academic All-America Hall of Fame and the International Scholar-Athlete Hall of Fame, the Hall of Fame for the National Association for Sports and Physical Education, and receipt of the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators’ “Honor Award”. In 2011 she was presented with the National Organization for Women’s “Courage Award,” and was inducted into the National Consortium for Academics and Sports Hall of Fame. In 2012 she was awarded the “Title IX Advocate Award” from the Alliance of Women Coaches.

Nancy is the recipient of the 2014 International Olympic Committee’s Woman of the Year for the Americas. She has been recognized as one of the foremost authorities on gender equity in sports and one of the most influential people in the history of Title IX – the groundbreaking legislation which has given women the same opportunity as men to compete in US collegiate sports.

Why is Nancy a straight ally and supporter of the HRO ordinance?

I am an ally and supporter of the HRO ordinance because human dignity and respect for who you love is a birthright.

At every level, sports participation is a powerful educational experience, and is the underlying reason I work in this field. Homophobia, in particular, is used to diminish all women’s athletic feats, as they accomplish under a cloud of sexual suspicion. Women’s heart-soaring accomplishments can’t upset traditional notions of femininity too much as they become stronger, highly skilled and more ambitious. Therefore, questions about boyfriends and future plans of marriage are practically obligatory, and not just in the media.

So while most LGBTQ athletes suffer, my lesbian teammates suffered uniquely. Straight women may be afraid of supporting their lesbian teammates for fear they might be seen as lesbians themselves. Women athletes are all running from the same shame and discrimination, rather than affirming our life’s pursuits and our selves.

So it’s no wonder so many of my lesbian teammates didn’t share their sexuality with me until long after we’d finished competing. That saddens me – that they didn’t see me as safe. I love my family with my whole being, and I bring that enthusiasm with me to practically every conversation. I can’t imagine not being able to share the people I love with the world, for fear of discrimination. How painful. I want all of my lesbian and gay friends’ humanity. That includes their ability to share joyfully their life’s loves with as much passion and freedom as I share about mine without fear of loss.

What if the stigma of same-sex relationships didn’t exist? The suspicion of being a lesbian could no longer be used to marginalize women in sports, and we’d all be healthier and more productive.

The Jacksonville Human Rights Ordinance will be a solid step towards making this dream a reality.


See Nancy’s Straight Ally Video Statement here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=364dJ3hv_OY

Thank you, Allies!

Good morning, ALLIES!

Words cannot express the deep appreciation and respect we feel towards each of you for participating in this movement. As we’ve listened to your stories and  connected with your positive, powerful energy, we are reminded yet again that our freedoms are inextricably bound. Earlier this year, Chevara Orrin was asked to serve as the keynote speaker for Black History Month for MEPS (Military Entrance Processing Station). The theme was “We are Standing at the Crossroads of Freedom and Equality.” She shared her personal connection to the Civil Rights Movement – her white, Jewish civil and human rights, women’s liberation activist mother, and her father, James Bevel, a fiery orator and strategist who served as one of Dr. King’s top lieutenants, who was a driving force of the civil rights campaigns of the 1960’s, including the Birmingham Children’s Crusade.

She reminded them that history often repeats itself. A century after the Emancipation Proclamation was issued, the struggle for equality manifested into the 1963 March On Washington, a rally for jobs, economic equality and freedom. Fifty years later, we are yet again standing at the crossroads of freedom and equality.  When our City Council voted 10-9 to reject a bill expanding the city’s human rights ordinance to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination, we were in that standing room only crowd of about 500 people. As we watched the votes of council members appear on the digital board, we thought of Bayard Rustin, the chief organizer of the March on Washington. It was Bayard Rustin who first brought Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance protest techniques to the attention of Dr. King. It was Bayard Rustin who helped mold Dr. King into an international symbol of peace and nonviolence. It was Bayard Rustin who stood teetering precariously at the intersection of race and sexual orientation at a time, not much different than now, when discrimination and homophobia runs rampant in our community.

Chevara thought of Fannie Lou Hamer, Harry Belafonte, Harriet Tubman, Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, Emmitt Till, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Father Popieluszko and Harvey Milk. And then, about her own sons and the world that they will inherit from us.  Last October, a documentary, Messenger of the Truth, was screened at the Jacksonville Film Festival. It is the true story of a Roman Catholic priest who fought for social justice in Poland in the 1980’s. As images of Father Jerzy Popieluszko’s battered, bloated body pulled from the Vistula River in Poland in 1984, it was reminiscent of Emmett Till’s mutilated corpse floating in the Tallahatchie River in Mississippi in 1955.

Abolitionist Movement. Eastern European Liberation Movement. Civil Rights Movement. Women’s Suffrage Movement. Feminist Movement. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender Movement. Lives lost and transformed through struggle for human rights, social justice, and political and religious freedoms. Connections that are deeper than symbols. Millions of slaves emancipated. 300,000 freedom fighters marching on Washington. 100,000 Polish Catholics celebrating the life and mourning the death of Father Jerzy Popieluszko, hands raised in a fist, the index and middle fingers extended. The “V” sign for victory….for peace.

The Black Power salute, arm outstretched with clenched fist, made in protest by African-American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, during their medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Thousands standing in silent solidarity attending a candlelight vigil in San Francisco honoring Harvey Milk or being attacked by state and local police with billy clubs and tear gas while marching across the Edmund Pettus bridge in Selma, Alabama. Peaceful protests, violent confrontations, brilliant and charismatic leadership, strategy, all for the belief in freedom.

What does all of this have to do with us? Or any of you?  Well, the history of Jacksonville, and our great nation, demands that we make deliberate, intentional efforts to draw connections that bring us closer to one another so that we are no longer standing at the crossroads of freedom and equality.  In 2006, then-Senator Barack Obama delivered these words at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Martin Luther King, Jr. monument:

“We have not yet arrived at this longed-for place. For all the progress we have made, there are times when the land of our dreams recedes from us — when we are lost, wandering spirits, content with our suspicions and our angers, our long-held grudges and petty disputes, our frantic diversions and tribal allegiances.”

We are hopeful that we can attain the dreams and goals set forth by those who came before us. Today, we celebrate the convergence of the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., A. Philip Randolph, and Bayard Rustin.  A. Philip Randolph once said, “A community is democratic only when the humblest and weakest person can enjoy the highest civil, economic, and social rights that the biggest and most powerful possess.” And from a tiny jail cell in Birmingham, King wrote, “We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.”

It is our collective responsibility to begin … again … this work — NOW! The road to freedom is long and arduous, but as Tracy Chapman sings, “If not now, then when?

Thank you for your time and commitment. We look forward to sharing our work with the world.

Much love to you all (to those of you we have met and have still to meet)

Chevara, Dan, and Laura

***We’ve included a link for the 2005 Academy award-winning short documentary, Mighty Times: The Children’s March. This film was co-produced by the Soutern Poverty Law Center and HBO, and tells the story of the Birmingham civil rights marches. The Children’s Crusade was initiated and organized by Chevara’s father, James Bevel.

For four days in May, 1963, thousands of school students marched in peaceful nonviolent protest to desegregate the city. They were beaten, hosed, attacked by dogs and arrested. This pivotal campaign promoted President John F. Kennedy to publicly fully support racial equality and led to the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.


Ally Profile: Pat Geraghty

“I believe that engaged employees are a key ingredient for a business to be successful. Internal diversity within the workforce helps businesses better understand who they serve and allows the focus to be on the work and not on definitions that limit inclusion.” – Pat Geraghty

Patrick “Pat” Geraghty is chairman of the board of directors and chief executive officer (CEO) of Florida Blue, the state’s largest health plan serving more than 7 million people in Florida and providing Medicare payment services to beneficiaries across 15 other states.   He holds a Bachelor of Arts from Colgate University and has participated in executive education programs at Harvard University School of Public Health and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania. He has three children; Sean, Briege and Kiera.

Throughout his career, Geraghty has been active in community and professional organizations. He is a board member for a diverse group of organizations, including the National Institute of Health Care Management (NIHCM), Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Prime Therapeutics and the Oliver Wyman Innovation Center Advisory Board. He is a member of United Way’s Tocqueville Society and, in 2011, was appointed to the Florida Council of 100.  He received the Humanitarian of the Year Award from Kappa Alpha Psi for Florida Blue, the American Values Award for his outstanding leadership and commitment to the community from the North Florida Council Boy Scouts of America, The Jefferson Award for Public Service for BCBSMN, the 2012 Game Changer Award from Politic365 for Florida Blue and the Gold Standard from the CEOs Roundtable in support of the American Cancer Society with BCBSMN and Florida Blue.

Geraghty has been featured in Florida Trend magazine and interviewed on Bloomberg TV’s Street Smart program and the Nightly Business Report which airs nationally on PBS. Additionally, he has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Florida Times Union, Miami Herald, Tampa Tribune, Tampa Bay Times and Orlando Sentinel, among other publications.

Pat has seen discrimination in many forms throughout his life, amongst family members and in the workplace.  He learned about discrimination early on when his grandfather, an Irish immigrant. was denied employment.  “When we discriminate against others in our everyday lives, people pay a price.” he explains.  “Discrimination in any form is wrong.”  As Chairman and CEO, Pat wants employees to fully experience the opportunities they have available, both at work and home.

Pat is proud to be a Straight Ally, working to build a more inclusive, more fair, community for everyone to live in.  “Florida Blue stands for inclusiveness and for passing the Florida Competitive Workforce Act.  We will also be supportive in the efforts to work on the changes in Jacksonville’s Human Rights Ordinance.”

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ACTION ALERT: Sign the Straight Ally Pledge

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We need your help – sign the Straight Ally Pledge TODAY!  Tell our City Council you support a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in Jacksonville, FL that bans discrimination against sexual orientation and gender identity in the workplace or at school.