Billboard and Newly Released Ad Feature Gay Iraq Army War Veteran in LGBT Public Education Campaign

Featured in “All God’s Children” campaign by the Human Rights Campaign, Army Sergeant Justin Kelly is a Greenville native and fourth-generation soldier

JACKSON - Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) equality, released the third ad in its groundbreaking LGBT public education campaign, All God’s Children.  Sergeant Justin Kelly is an openly gay Iraq War veteran from Mississippi’s Delta region and speaks about serving his country with dignity and respect. Justin was born in Greenville and is a fourth-generation Army soldier and a medic in the U.S. Army Reserves. He believes that true freedom means freedom for everyone, including LGBT Mississippians.

Justin’s story will also be featured on one of two billboard’s unveiled this week in Jackson. The billboard featuring Sergeant Kelly’s incredible story will reiterate his message: LGBT people, including LGBT members of the armed services, deserve freedom and equality. The second billboard will feature Representative Alyce Clarke, the first black woman elected to the Mississippi Legislature.

“Justin’s story highlights the fact that our brave LGBT members of the armed services deserve equality,” said HRC Mississippi director Rob Hill. “These people work hard every day to preserve our freedom and we must recognize and value their sacrifices.”

Click here to watch the television ad and visit the campaign’s website.
Click here for an embeddable version of Sergeant Justin Kelly’s ad.
Click here to read the campaign’s fact sheet.

Justin’s ad will be aggressively promoted through targeted online marketing. This is the third in a series of ads in the “All God’s Children” campaign. The first ad released featured Mary Jane Kennedy, a Southern Baptist mother, and the second featured Rep. Alyce Clarke.

With faith at the center of the effort, the $310,000, four-week campaign aims to strengthen the foundation of public support for LGBT Mississippians, aid in the passage of pro-equality legislation, and bolster efforts to win marriage equality for Mississippi’s gay and lesbian couples.

Since launching the campaign, HRC Mississippi has also:

  • Hosted a telephone town hall with thousands of Mississippians from across the state. Speakers included lifetime NAACP Member and State Senator Derrick Simmons and former state representative Brandon Jones;

  • Engaged community members through volunteer phone banks;

  • Held meaningful conversations with Jackson residents through door-to-door canvassing.

Based on rigorous research, the campaign aims to reverse the fact that only five in ten Mississippians say they know an LGBT person when the national number stands at nine in ten Americans.  Research and our practical communal experience clearly indicates that people are far more likely to support LGBT rights and legal protections when they know someone who is LGBT.

The campaign is the latest large-scale effort of HRC’s Project One America, an initiative geared towards advancing social, institutional and legal equality in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas. HRC Mississippi is working to advance equality for LGBT Mississippians who have no state or municipal level protections in housing, workplace, or public accommodations; legal state recognition for their relationships and families; state rights to jointly adopt children; and state protections from hate crimes. Through HRC Mississippi, we are working toward a future of fairness every day—changing hearts, minds and laws toward achieving full equality.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.

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