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!
We Are Straight Allies sends a huge “thank you” to Arbus Magazine, along with publisher Cinda Sherman and journalist Wesley Grissom, for their feature article in this month’s edition and their unwavering commitment to equality.
We Are 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!
We Are Straight Allies deeply appreciates the outpouring of community support in response to our previous statement to Parkway Properties. At this time, we have been told our signage is “allowed to remain” up through the duration of the One Spark event. Therefore, we will stay in our current location at the Juice Gallery in the Wells Fargo Tower located at 1 Independent Drive, Jacksonville, Florida.
Once the One Spark Festival has ended, We Are Straight Allies would like the opportunity to meet with Parkway Properties and their “key stakeholders” to discuss issues of bias and discrimination against the LGBT community, and their straight allies. We would also be happy to conduct diversity training for their senior leadership and staff, as this is a crucial component to our mission as we work towards the passage of a fully comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance in the city of Jacksonville.
We hope to see you all at One Spark!
**FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE**
We Are Straight Allies would like to publicly express our deep concern and disappointment regarding statements made by Parkway Properties on April 8, 2014 on behalf of several of their “key stakeholders” in the Wells Fargo Tower at 1 Independent Drive in Jacksonville, Florida. As a registered One Spark Creator Project, We Are Straight Allies has spent the past several months preparing an intentional and educational advocacy campaign. During that time, we were not informed of any issues surrounding our campaign or materials chosen for the event.
When we were told there were building tenants that were uncomfortable with the content of our campaign and wanted us removed from the Creator Venue space, we were disheartened as it served as a stark reminder of the daily bigotry that faces our LGBT family.
While we appreciate the support of Wells Fargo, JCCI, OneSpark and several members of the Jacksonville community to help us resolve this matter, it does not detract from the fact that homophobia and discrimination are insidious in our city. As allies, we have made a firm commitment to champion the rights of those marginalized in our community. Fifty years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, we again stand at the crossroads of freedom and equality.
We hope this unfortunate incident will serve as a catalyst for meaningful dialogue to reach better understanding of our differences, help us find common ground upon which to stand, and create a more inclusive city for us all. The larger issue remains that if these companies discriminate against allies, we fear their LGBT employees may face even greater bias. The time is now to pass a comprehensive Human Rights Ordinance.
“It is not our differences that divide us. It is our inability to recognize, accept, and celebrate those differences.”