HRC Blog

South Carolina Equality

Today I had the pleasure of meeting the new Executive Director of South Carolina Equality, Ryan Wilson, who took the helm at South Carolina’s statewide equality group just one month ago.  I wanted to meet Ryan at my earliest opportunity to talk about ways HRC and SC Equality can work together moving forward. 

While in Columbia, I was given a tour of the Harriet Hancock LGBT Center by Board President, Lester Franzen, and while I wasn’t able to meet Harriet herself, I heard stories of her decades of activism in South Carolina that built the framework upon which Ryan and others can continue to advance equality here. 

And so much progress has already been made when one considers the conservative climate in South Carolina.  Nondiscrimination ordinances protecting LGBT people have been passed in Columbia, Charleston, North Charleston and Folly Beach.  And that’s just the beginning.  Ryan and his team are considering ways to protect more people in more cities as well as protecting LGBT kids in South Carolina schools from bullying.  We should do all we can to support this critical work.

Passing LGBT laws in South Carolina wouldn’t be possible without the cultural and educational work that has been ongoing for decades.  At  dinner tonight, I got to meet a number of volunteer leaders who work day in and day out to ensure LGBT people are visible and empowered in South Carolina.   I met representatives from South Carolina Black Pride, South Carolina Pride, USC, the South Carolina Gay and Lesbian Business Guild, the Columbia Police Department, and an HIV prevention educator and youth organizer.  Before my visit to SC concludes, I hope to meet representatives from the Palmetto Transgender Association and We Are Family, among others.

I am looking forward to working with Ryan and these amazing community organizers and educators as they continue to move South Carolina forward.  

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