Post submitted by Tushar Malik, HRC Global Engagement Fellow
HRC Director of Membership & Online Strategyy Ann Crowley was invited to speak to a group of global human rights defenders and leaders from South Asia last week. This group of leaders visited the United States as part of the U.S. Department of State’s premier program, the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), which connects current and foreign leaders in a variety of fields with their American counterparts through short-term visits to the United States.
Along with Loren McArthur, Deputy Director of the Civic Engagement Department at National Council of La Raza (NCLR), Ann Crowley discussed the broader model of HRC’s membership base, laying special emphasis on how our 1.5 million members and supporters are the driving power behind HRC’s success. The IVLP visitors, who were from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, and Nepal, were extremely intrigued by HRC’s committed support from monthly donors.
Considering the fact that only one country in South Asia (Nepal) has decriminalized same-sex relationships, this meeting brought out a lot of questions pertaining to the HRC’s work in the 1980s and 90s fighting repressive laws and bringing about a shift in social perspectives. At this point Ann mentioned how different the scenario is for LGBT people in Southern USA, reiterating that there needs to be a lot more work that needs to be done to achieve full equality even within the United States.
The Human Rights Campaign recently launched Project One America, a comprehensive, multi-year campaign to dramatically expand LGBT equality in the South through permanent campaigns in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. Read more here.