Post submitted by HRC Mississippi Field Organizer Rob Hill.
On a beautiful spring night in Waveland, Mississippi, I witnessed something even more beautiful than the town’s spectacular beaches and water. I had the privilege to be present, on behalf of the Human Rights Campaign, as Waveland, which calls itself the “Hospitality City,” proved those words to be true by passing an anti-discrimination resolution recognizing the dignity and worth of all residents-including LGBT residents.
While several residents deserve praise for bringing this resolution forward, the real champion is a man named David Garcia, lifelong resident of Waveland and mayor of this town which is still recovering nine years after it was ravaged by Hurricane Katrina. While so many elected leaders are reluctant to stand up for LGBT people, I discovered in Mayor Garcia one who makes no apologies for his advocacy and one who truly cares that all people feel welcome and valued.
“The approved action is important for the people of Waveland. This sends a strong message throughout Mississippi that LGBT citizens are welcome in our fantastic city,” said Mayor Garcia. “We are proving to the country that our city is on the right side of history.”
As a native and resident of Mississippi, this makes me proud, but it also gives me hope. It gives me hope that more people, especially our elected leaders, will have the courage to not only speak out but, like Mayor Garcia, take important actions which affirm the dignity and worth of all Mississippians.
Thanks to the leaders of Waveland and many other communities across Mississippi, the “Hospitality State” keeps getting more and more hospitable. That’s beautiful!
Just last month, HRC launched Project One America, an unprecedented effort to expand LGBT equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. This summer, HRC Mississippi will open office space in Jackson staffed with a statewide director, community organizer, and faith organizer. The community-based program will focus on changing hearts and minds, gaining enduring legal protections and building more inclusive institutions from the church pew to the workplace.
For details on Project One America in Mississippi, visit http://www.hrc.org/states/mississippi