Michigan’s Transgender Community Prepares to Take ENDA Work to Washington
July 7, 2014 by Lynne Bowman, Regional Field Director
With a little less than two weeks until Transgender Lobby Day 2014, activists in Michigan are preparing to send representatives from all over the state to Washington, D.C., to advocate for the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). Given that Michigan is one of 32 states that does not have employment protections for gender identity, statewide activists felt it was important to be heard during the annual event.
For HRC Super Volunteer and Organizer Char Davenport, making the trip is a natural extension of the work she has been doing the last few months with the Americans for Workplace Opportunity campaign. One of Ms. Davenport’s chief responsibilities has been to collect stories and letters for U.S. Representative Candice Miller about the need for ENDA. When asked to help organize some folks to attend the event, Davenport took a leading role in helping find housing, raising funds and organizing members of the transgender community from many of the most important U.S. House Districts in Michigan.
“Helping organize this event is very important to me. As someone who has lived through workplace discrimination repeatedly, I know just how devastating losing a job can be,” Davenport said. “What I really like about this event is the opportunity to share our stories with those that need to hear them and get more people from the transgender community engaged.”
Nearly a dozen people from Michigan will be making the mid-July trip to partake in the policy conference and Lobby Day action. Among them will be Charlie Lombardini, who also has been spending a considerable amount of time volunteering for HRC. As someone who has lived in cities with and without any employment protections, Lombardini is well aware of the peace of mind they can bring.
“It’s a rather large burden knowing I could be fired at any moment for simply being who I am,” Lombardini explained. “Once I complete college, I am not entirely sure where I will end up working, so to have a law like ENDA passed that protects people in all cities, in all 50 states would provide some peace of mind and more opportunities for someone like me.”
If you are interested in helping Michigan’s transgender community get to Washington so they can share their stories, you can do so here: http://www.gofundme.com/b02sag
If you are in the Detroit Metro area or thumb of Michigan and would like to get involved and help build support for ENDA, you can contact Allison VanKuiken at email@example.com to learn about the latest volunteer opportunity.
Be sure to check us out online at www.WorkplaceOpportunity.org.
July 30, 2014