It has been a long two years since COVID-19 changed our entire world. In these two years, it has, at times, felt like it would never be possible to do things like hear powerful speeches in person again. And while we will never return to the “normal” we experienced before 2020, we have created a new normal.

In this new normal, we understand what it means to take care of each other by taking care of ourselves. We know now how to be there for each other even if we can’t be physically present. And now, because of our hard work, I am so thankful to say that HRC is, with precautions in place, slowly returning to our in-person events where we can be and work together.

We’re making it a priority to come together and share our message of resilience, resistance and speaking up for those who need powerful voices in their corners, like our trans and non-binary young people. Once again, we’ve been able to unite, share some love and strategize at in-person events like our dinners, pride events and HRC’s own Equality Convention.

And right now, it is more important than ever for us to be united — and strategic. Because, as so many of us know from painful personal experience, it’s beyond tough for LGBTQ+ people today. And it’s even more difficult to be an LGBTQ+ kid — especially if you are a transgender or non-binary kid in school.

In attacks coordinated by extremist hate groups, fueled by politically motivated, hate-fueled rhetoric, politicians are pushing to prevent trans and non-binary kids from playing sports at school, from accessing life-saving, gender-affirming medical care, and from learning about and discussing anything about queerness. We won’t let these efforts succeed.

HRC is fighting back against this legalized discrimination by advocating in the streets, litigating in the courts, and educating in schools across the country. This year, the expansion of our Welcoming Schools program has meant that HRC’s messages of love, understanding and acceptance are helping teachers create safer spaces for all kinds of students across the country.

Everyone can learn something new in our changing world, and educators are engaging with these opportunities to make a huge difference for LGBTQ+ kids and their communities everywhere.

I am incredibly proud to work with such strong advocates and leaders in our movement, and I know you will appreciate the staff and member profiles in this edition of Equality magazine. And I know that these advocates, our movement leaders, and especially our supporters make this work possible — this work toward a better, brighter future for all.

Because the future of our nation is only as strong as the future that each and every person can — and should — be able to achieve. As long as white supremacy and systemic bigotry corrupts our institutions, as long as extremists erode our foundational rights, as long as bright futures are cut short by hateful violence, and as long as families are forced to live in fear, we cannot see the promise of liberation fulfilled. Together, we must commit ourselves to realizing that promise of liberation. To paraphrase the great Barbara Jordan, “a promise…though shared by all of us, is realized in each one of us.”

In Solidarity,

Joni Madison , Interim President , Human Rights Campaign