Equality Bus Thanks Nebraskans
August 22, 2011
This post comes from Fred Sainz, VP of Communications & Marketing.
The Cornhusker State is known for many things; corn, great steaks, and friendly people. But after nearly a week in the Cornhusker state, I’d add that Nebraskans should also be known for their warmth, generosity, and desire for equality.
With the help of the state equality organization, Citizens for Equal Protection (CFEP), we held some amazing events to not only empower the LGBT community to be advocates for themselves, but also to educate fair-minded Nebraskans about the lack of legal protections that make life in this great state challenging for many LGBT people. It was a fast — and productive — four days in which we made a lot of new friends and hopefully changed hearts and minds for the better.
You’ve already read about the wonderful welcome we were afforded last Thursday night in Omaha by GOglbt, the gay professionals’ group, and how Omaha Mayor Jim Suttle and Councilman Ben Gray spoke at our news conference on Friday morning, the substance of which was featured on the front page of the local paper. You’ve also read about the wonderful Pathways to Acceptance event that we hosted in Omaha Friday afternoon. And that was just the beginning…
Saturday morning, we hosted our Equality Open House on the campus of ConAgra Foods in downtown Omaha. ConAgra, which scores 95% on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index, could not have been a more generous host and we are so grateful for their hospitality. Throughout the day, hundreds of people came to participate in our amazing equality exhibits, and share their stories. We met a mother who brought her 14 year-old daughter. In her first week of high school no less, the courageous young lady had decided to come out to her family and friends. We met a man who came on behalf of his brother, who was home with his partner and newborn twins. We also met with a number of folks who had been fired from their jobs, for no other reason than their sexual orientation or gender identity. We were humbled to be in the presence of such tremendous people who came to share their stories with us and help advance equality in Nebraska and across the country.
With the Open House behind us, on Saturday evening, we headed to Lincoln, where we set-up shop on the campus of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for the festivities associated with welcoming students back to campus. Last night, the Equality Bus was part of the yearly Big Red Welcome, a festival attended by tens of thousands of students. Many of the students we met were excited that the On the Road to Equality tour had come to their school, and couldn’t wait to join HRC’s fight for equality. We are so grateful to everyone to stopped by the bus and signed on to help end bullying.
The success of this trip would not have been possible without the efforts of many including Jeff Schamp at CFEP, Robert Patterson at GOglbt, Scott Heggenbart at ConAgra, Rev. Scott Jones, and Dr. Pat Tetreault and Bill Manning from UNL.
Next stop on the road to equality: Kansas!