Tag Archives: Communities

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.

Ally Profile: Pastor Reginald Gundy

Pastor Gundy_FP

Born in Jacksonville, Pastor Gundy is a graduate of Troy State University with a BS Degree and hold two Masters Degrees, Masters of Arts in Pastoral Ministries and Master of Divinity.

He is a retired public school teacher, and is also retired from the US Army with two Meritorious Service Awards. He is the recipient of the Congressional Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition for outstanding and invaluable service to the community award, Jacksonville’s Florida Mayor’s Distinguish Award, Trailblazers Award, Teacher of the Year Award and many other U.S. Army Awards

He is currently the Pastor of the Mt. Sinai Missionary Baptist Church and past Jacksonville Local Chapter and State President Florida Southern Christian Leadership Conference. He has 14 years of experience in working with Not-for-Profit organizations specializing in advocacy for Juvenile Justice and Civil Rights issues. He is married to Wallette, they have a son named Andrew and two grandchildren, Darrion and Savia. He is a pastor with 33 years ministerial experience and serves on the Boards of several Not-for-Profit Organizations.

Recently, Pastor Gundy has publicly changed his stance on the need to expand the HRO in Jacksonville.  Once a vocal opponent of amending our city’s protections, Pastor Gundy has expressed why it is important to protect the rights of everyone in our community.

It is time for me to write the letter from the “Jacksonville Jail”.  It must address the conservative evangelical and black church as a whole:

The history
The harm
The hurt
The healing
The hope

The LBGT community has a right to be heard, but also others.  The voices of change must also respect the voices of resistance.  We must also deal with the voices of fear. I see the plan to introduce the law that will address the fears, but that is not what many others see.   It is very important that Bible base-believers be heard, along with the others.   That did not happen in the first meeting and must not happen hence forth.

I have set on the new ordinance for 18-months that specifically addresses the protection of the church.  You cannot blame a culture of resistance  based on their Biblical beliefs.  My belief is tied deeply with the Bible, as it relates to all matters of sin, and all have and all sin, and all fall short.  But, thank God for Jesus, all can be saved and forgiven.  Anger and mistrust, on either side, does not allow acceptance, respect, forgiveness and reconciliation.

LBGT issues have divided churches, communities and families.  This should not be, there must be honest dialogue, disagreements and forgiveness.  The evangelicals must be part of the long-term solutions and we all must love each other, even if we do not agree:

1.  The law protects the church.
2.  The law protects housing, jobs and public access.
3.  The law protects people against discrimination.

The conversation is tough but it must be held.  Discrimination against any human being is discrimination against all humanity.

Love should not divide, but bring all of us together.

Pastor Reginald Gundy, pens An awakening to what it means not to discriminate, featured in the Orlando Sentinel on February 5, 2016

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Ally Profile: Wendy McSweeney

Wendy McSweeney_FP

Wendy McSweeney is the Enterprise Inclusion Leader for SunTrust Banks, Inc., responsible for developing and executing growth and engagement strategies, consulting with executive leaders and driving enterprise wide inclusion and diversity at SunTrust. With a focus on deliberate and inclusive connections with teammates, communities and clients, McSweeney is accountable for linking the internal and external activities of Suntrust’s Teammate Networks to business goals and objectives, providing transformative learning opportunities and effectively communicating the company’s commitment to inclusion. She is excited to have the opportunity to create an environment where her LGBT teammates feel safe and valued for their contribution to the company.

A 20-year veteran of the financial services industry, McSweeney has extensive inclusion and diversity, leadership, program management, relationship management, coaching and consulting experience. She chairs the SunTrust Enterprise Inclusion Council and serves as a member of the SunTrust Executive Inclusion Committee. In 2014, Black Enterprise Magazine named McSweeney one of the “Top Executives for Diversity & Inclusion” and the Georgia Diversity Council named her one of the “Most Powerful and Influential Women” in Georgia.

Before joining SunTrust in 2013, McSweeney served as the diverse segments development leader at Wells Fargo Advisors (WFA). In that role, she designed programs to increase productivity and retention of diverse financial advisors and managers and led the new financial advisor sourcing program to recruit new advisors to the business. During her 11 years with WFA, she served in increasingly responsible positions to include business & administration manager of the national sales group and business manager of the business development group. Prior to joining WFA, McSweeney served as a conversion manager for SunTrust Bank’s Retirement Group where she partnered with organizations in Washington D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

McSweeney also serves on the Board of Directors of The Brian Jordan Foundation. She is a member of The Network Journal’s 2012 Class of “Forty under 40” leaders in business and a 2010 graduate of the St Louis Business Diversity Initiative Fellow’s Leadership Program. She earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from Virginia Union University and an MBA from the University of Phoenix. Wendy is a registered general securities representative with a Series 7 license.

ALLIES: Mondo Mike and the Po Boys with Spice

Last night, Mondo Mike and the Po Boys with Spice premiered their new single, “Soul to Soul”, a lush bluesy ballad in a Ray Charles style of arrangement on the Electro Lounge 89.9. If you remember, they were rockin’ it out with us at our Equality Party at One Spark this past April.

They have dedicated this song to the passage of a human rights ordinance in Jacksonville as MMPB/S believe in everyone’s inalienable right to love whomever they please. The song was inspired by the TEDx talk of Dr. Judi Herring on gender diversity and complexity.

Thank you for adding your voices to the growing chorus for Equality in Jacksonville!

The Hamiltons, St. John’s Lutheran Church

The Hamiltons shepherd the St. John’s Lutheran Church Jacksonville and they are proud allies. In their original letter to us, they said they support an HRO in Jacksonville because,

“We could not in good conscience stand by while there isthe slightest possibility that one of our LGBT Sisters and Brothers can face discrimination in jobs and housing. No matter what your belief system says, this is a Human Rights Issue. Everyone has the right to make a sustainable living and not stand in fear of loosing their job for who they are or perceived to be in their sexual orientation. Qualifications should be the determining factor.”

We call them P-Ham and PV – come by and meet them at One Spark!

 

 

PRESS: Arbus Magazine Mar/Apr ’14 Issue

We Are Straight Allies has been featured as one of TEN One Spark Creator Projects (out of over 700) in the March/April issue of Arbus Magazine! Thank you, Cinda Sherman! Also, check out page 45 to see Hope McMath’s Ally Ad, then click to read her profile here:  http://wp.me/p3PnKk-ef

We would also like to send a special thank you to our ad participants: Gloria Steinem, Steve Halverson, Rachel Thomas Vitti, Pat Geraghty, Frieda Saraga, Brennan Campa, Nancy Hogshead-Makar, Rabbi Jesse Olitzky, Ronald Breaker, Pastors William & Victoria Hamilton, Luis Lopez, Darnell Smith, Gary & Nancy Chartrand, Meredith and Mark Frisch, Pastor Bruce Havens, John Delaney, Pedro Cohen and Hope McMath.

One Spark, “the World’s Crowdfunding Festival” is April 9-13, 2014 in downtown Jacksonville. Creators from all over the world will light up our city with projects in art, innovation, music, science and technology. They’ll showcase their best ideas for a chance to access $310,000 in crowdfunds and cash awards, 3.25 million dollars in capital investments and direct contributions from more than 150,000 attendees and backers around the globe.

You can check out our project profile by clicking on this link:
http://www.beonespark.com/discover/creator_projects/we-are-straight-allies