HRC Mississippi Announces LGBT Workplace Equality Pledge with over 100 Businesses

by Ianthe Metzger

HRC’s Equality Is Our Business Pledge Aims to Encourage Workplace Equality for LGBT People

JACKSON—HRC Mississippi is pleased to announce its Equality is Our Business Program, designed to celebrate diversity and inclusion in the workplace,  advance protections in employment, housing and public accommodations, and create more inclusive business practices. The Equality is Our Business pledge builds upon the modeled success of the If You’re Buying, We’re Selling campaign, started by Mississippi business owners Joce Pritchett, Eddie Outlaw and Mitchell Moore, in response to the passage of the Mississippi Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 2014. The new HRC Mississippi pledge aims to strengthen support for the values of diversity and inclusion, including Mississippi’s LGBT community, by engaging businesses of all sizes to sign the pledge, place stickers at their front door or cash register, and participate in a series of social networking and educational programs designed to highlight why equality is good for business

“Equality makes good business sense and this pledge is another reminder to our legislators that Mississippi business owners support and embrace the LGBT community,” said HRC Mississippi director Rob Hill. “Regardless of our backgrounds, we can all agree that everyone should be treated with dignity and respect.”

There are clear financial benefits of businesses who enthusiastically commit to LGBT diversity in the workplace. That’s why hundreds of Fortune 500 companies have equality protections in place for their LGBT workers. The business community understands in order to attract and retain top talent, managers must have workplace policies that treat everyone fairly.

According to a 2014 HRC survey, LGBT Mississippians are productive, contributing members of their respective communities. 57 percent of respondents have lived in the Magnolia State for more than 20 years; 53 percent have volunteered in their communities; and 10 percent of LGBT Mississippians are currently serving, or have served, in the Armed Forces. However, LGBT people in the Magnolia State face challenging hurdles. More people have faced workplace harassment in rural Mississippi (54 percent) than those in urban settings (37 percent); almost half have experienced harassment in public establishments; and 41 percent of LGBT households earning less than $45,000 have experienced harassment at work.

Below are a few businesses supporting the HRC Mississippi Equality Is Our Business Pledge:

"At Robinson Studio we believe that the Equality Is Our Business Pledge reinforces and supports the belief that we all deserve to be included and respected in our places of work and housing choices, regardless of our sexual orientation or gender identity."
Erica Robinson
Robinson Studio

“The American Red Cross places great value on promoting an inclusive and equitable workplace. By bringing diverse talent and perspectives together, we create an enriched workplace, and a more culturally competent organization.” 
Jay Huffstatler 
Chief Development Officer
American Red Cross Mississippi Region

"Belhaven Residential trains its employees on the Fair Housing Act and provides housing to qualified applicants without regard to race or color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability. Belhaven Residential recognizes additional unprotected classes who deserve objective consideration and shall be treated with the same respect and dignity as those who fall under legal protections. Therefore, we also offer housing to qualified applicants without regard to sexual orientation or gender identity." 
Jennifer Welch
Belhaven Residential

“Equality is our Business. We are proud to display the sticker in the entrance window in our MS office. Mississippi would be stronger and more prosperous if workplace equality and equal treatment in housing and public accommodation were the norm.”
Brad Chism
Chism Strategies

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. HRC Mississippi works to realize a future where everyone is treated fairly by changing hearts, minds and laws.

To view the pledge, click here.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest 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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