- April 19, 2013
I have spent an amazing week in Mississippi, traveling around the state to learn about the critical LGBTQ work underway. In a state that successfully defeated the “personhood” amendment in 2011, I knew I would encounter some extraordinary organizers, and I did.
I spent several days at the University of Mississippi being escorted by one such organizer, former HRC intern Ray Mays, learning about the work the University is doing to make the campus welcoming to all. They just released this Vow to Make it Better video. Check it out below.
I also met with the Mississippi Safe Schools Coalition. The Coalition is partnering with the University of Mississippi Pride Network and the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation to sponsor "Breaking the Silence LGBTQ Symposium: Changing Campus Climate" April 19-20, 2013, at the University of Mississippi.
It’s no surprise that in many ways young people are leading the way on educating and advancing LGBT equality in the state. Their work will help ensure the next generation of Mississippians can live openly and proudly in the state they love.
Things are stirring off campus as well. I met with the savvy Valencia Robinson in Jackson, who heads up HIV/AIDS advocacy for Mississippi in Action, and is the convener of an LGBTQ leaders group in the capital. I also attended a service at the Safe Harbor Family Church¸ where I got to meet many LGBT families from the Jackson area.
On the night before I left, Ray and I traveled to Tupelo to meet with the board of directors of Equality Mississippi, a new state-wide organization dedicated to promoting social justice and advancing equality for all LGBTQ individuals. I am excited to work with them to help build an organization that helps change the climate in Mississippi and works to advance local and state laws to protect LGBTQ Mississippians.
There are thousands of people vowing to make it better in Mississippi. I’m excited to work beside them to make sure their voices are heard.