Building momentum: A Year to Remember by EV’s James Parrish
As we get ready to celebrate the new year, the staff at Equality Virginia took some time to remember some of the places we went this year, people we reached, and what successes the LGBT community achieved in 2013.
- We drove to California and back. Well…not really, but we did clock more than 6,000 miles to speak at events, attend prides, and meet with allied groups, individuals, legislators, donors, and business and religious leaders.
- Through the Commonwealth Dinner, Legends Gala, Day of Action, prides, get out the vote work, cookouts for marriage equality, meetings with school boards, and more, we interacted with at least 15,000 people throughout Virginia – gathering more supporters and changing hearts and minds along the way.
- We enjoyed tremendous success in 2013: The Virginia State Senate passed a bill that would have protected LGBT employees from workplace discrimination; our work with school boards in Albemarle and Fairfax counties protected an additional 193,884 public school students from bullying and harassment; and for the first time in history, all three EVPAC endorsed candidates elected to state-wide office strongly support equality for LGBT individuals and families.
- On a national scale, 2013 has been called the “gayest year in gay history.” From the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, to a doubling of the number of states that have achieved the freedom to marry, to the Senate’s historical vote on ENDA, I have no doubt that we will look back on 2013 as a turning point in the struggle to gain equality for the LGBT community.
But here in Virginia our work is far from over. As we head into the new year, there will be many uphill climbs and roadblocks. For starters, while voters in the November election overwhelmingly supported statewide candidates who believe in full equality, the backwards looking House of Delegates is still way behind Virginians and the business community. And there are well funded groups – like the Family Foundation – who will fight us every step of the way.
Undeterred and enthusiastically we move forward:
- Working in the General Assembly to secure second parent adoption, non-discrimination protections for state employees, repeal of the marriage amendment, and an equality license plate
- Coordinating with national groups to change hearts and minds in support of the two marriage lawsuits in Virginia
- Engaging local communities to enact fully enumerated bullying policies, support non-discrimination efforts, and increase awareness and support for Virginia’s LGBT community
There is still time for YOU to be part of the change today. If every LGBT Virginian gave just $20.13 to celebrate the end of 2013, we would have enough funding (over 4.6 million dollars!) to have the resources we need to ensure that Virginia joins the list of states that respect LGBT workers and families.
Equality is making its way to Virginia. Don’t sit on the side lines; invest in the change.
Thank you for your support of Equality Virginia. One day soon, we will celebrate equality here at home.
Enjoy a happy and healthy new year!
Yours for equality,
Equality Virginia is the leading statewide, non-partisan advocacy, outreach and education organization seeking equality for LGBT Virginians. EV believes in a truly inclusive Commonwealth where all are equally welcomed and valued, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.
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