WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation�s largest gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender (GLBT) civil rights organization, today announced the launch of "Year to Win," a nationwide electoral initiative aimed at mobilizing pro-equality voters in the 2008 election season. The effort will focus the resources of the organization�s more than 700,000 members and supporters in key battleground races throughout the country. Along with today�s announcement, HRC also released its first round of U.S. Senate endorsements for the 2008 General Election.
The Human Rights Campaign�s Year to Win campaign builds on the success of its efforts in 2006, which had an over 90% win rate and earned the organization the #2 ranking as most effective interest group by National Journal. As in the 2006 general election, HRC will be on the cutting edge of strategic and organizational efforts to harness the political power of the organization�s members and supporters nationwide - in addition to the GLBT community as a whole - as well as to prevent the right wing�s election-year attempts to exploit GLBT Americans for political gain. These efforts include:
Having already organized, educated and motivated the GLBT community during the primary season, HRC will target resources toward fair-minded candidates on the federal and state level. By maintaining a visible and sustained presence in the field, at GLBT community pride events, and through the �08 election website, issues important to pro-equality voters will continue to be on the front-burner of the national political dialogue.
"From mobilizing our members and all GLBT Americans, recruiting and training a cadre of grassroots campaign workers, and strategically targeting �high-impact� races, the Human Rights Campaign is making 2008 our �Year to Win,�" said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We�ll elect fair-minded candidates and ensure that equality issues are discussed this election year on our terms - not the right-wing�s."
Building off the success of HRC�s Campaign College, which brings college students to Washington, D.C. every summer for intensive campaign training, HRC will kick off trainings in communities nationwide to mobilize on the grassroots level. Camp Equality� will train nearly 1,500 people in 13 cities to work on political campaigns. By recruiting and training supporters of equality, HRC will bring more people into the political process, train them to help fair-minded candidates achieve victory, and build support for equality across the country. The first Camp Equality� training will take place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on May 10-11. Additional trainings are scheduled for Phoenix, Arizona (May 30 - June 1) Houston, Texas (June 13 - 15) Albuquerque, New Mexico (June 27 - June 29) Las Vegas, Nevada (June 27 - 29) Northern Virginia (July 11 - 13) Cincinnati, Ohio (July 11 - 13) Columbus, Ohio (July18 - 20) Long Island, New York (July 25 - 27) Denver, Colorado (August 8 - 10) Dallas, Texas (August 15 - 17) St. Louis, Missouri (August 15 - 17) and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (September 5 - 7). Those interested in participating in Camp Equality� are encouraged to apply online: www.hrc.org/CampEquality.
HRC will also take advantage of opportunities to connect with voters at GLBT pride events nationwide. As in previous years, the Human Rights Campaign will take part in more than 100 pride events, allowing HRC to reach out to core supporters, introduce people to the equality movement and ask members of the GLBT community to sign pledges to vote in November. The HRC Diversity team will also empower GLBT people of color to be proud of their sexuality while celebrating their unique cultural heritage. The International Federation of Black Prides started in the late 1980s as a way to raise money for Black HIV/AIDS organizations. There are now 36 cities that host Black pride events. HRC is a supporter of 20 Black pride events, three Latin pride events, and one Asian Pacific Islander heritage celebration. For a complete list of pride events where HRC will be involved, visit: www.hrc.org/Pride.
Additionally, HRC will be mobilizing equality supporters on the 2008 True Colors Tour, with headliners Cyndi Lauper, The B-52s and host Carson Kressley. The tour will kick off Gay & Lesbian Pride Month on May 31st at Boston�s Bank of America Pavilion. Special guests will include Rosie O�Donnell, Indigo Girls, Joan Armatrading, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, Regina Spektor, Tegan and Sara, Wanda Sykes, Nona Hendryx, Deborah Cox and The Cliks. In 2007, more than 70,000 people attended the concert series. For a complete list of dates and to purchase tickets, visit: http://www.truecolorstour.com/.
In 2006, through an expanded field team and an unprecedented focus on state-level activity, the Human Rights Campaign helped secure victory for 211 endorsed candidates, offering up a stinging defeat for some of the most anti-gay politicians in the country, including Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa. HRC targeted 30 races in 18 states, raised $1.3 million in candidate contributions, placed 84 staffers in the field and spent more than $5 million in election-related activities.
"I am proud to have the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, a group that does so much to further the cause of equal rights for all Americans," said Gov. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), candidate for U.S. Senate. "Justice for all is one of the bedrock principles on which our country was founded and it is the responsibility of every American to work to make true equality a reality. It�s something I am committed to doing in the U.S. Senate. I am grateful for the support of the HRC and applaud them for the work that they do every day."
"I have always been an advocate of equal rights for all Americans, regardless of gender, ethnicity, race, religion or sexual orientation," said U.S. Rep. Tom Udall (D-NM), candidate for U.S. Senate. "As a tireless and effective advocate for equal rights, HRC helps advance the cause of equality, and because of that, I am proud to receive their endorsement."
"I'm grateful to have this endorsement from an organization that fights for the rights and celebrates the spirit of the individual," said U.S. Rep. Mark Udall (D-CO), candidate for U.S. Senate. "Born and raised in the West, I know firsthand the strong ethic of protecting individual rights - a western tradition that reminds members of both political parties to leave people alone in their private lives. Because of this ethic, I find it troublesome when I see a politician - or anyone for that matter - righteously championing discrimination or hateful attitudes about the GLBT community. To do so reflects a world view that seems to me to be ethically wrong and backward-thinking. I am proud to have HRC�s endorsement and support."
"I am proud to accept the Human Rights Campaign�s endorsement and vow to continue the fight against all forms of bigotry, hate and prejudice and for basic equality and human rights as New Jersey's U.S. Senator," said U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ).
"I am honored to have the endorsement of the Human Rights Campaign, one of the savviest, most respected and most influential political, civil rights and human rights organizations in our country," said U.S. Sen. John Kerry (D-MA). "When you�re in a fight to change our country, you can always count on HRC to be there with you in the trenches, and there�s no better ally in the fight to advance the cause of freedom and equality for all Americans. I have been proud to work with the Human Rights Campaign for close to 25 years now in the U.S. Senate. We�ve fought together to combat AIDS, including our fight this year in the Foreign Relations Committee to lift the HIV Travel Ban, to pass the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Prevention Act, to end discrimination in the workplace through ENDA, and to work toward the day when same-sex couples are granted the same rights other Americans take for granted. We�ve spent a lot of our energy these last years stopping bad things from happening with a Republican in the White House. We�ve been proud to fight those fights, but I can�t begin to tell you how much I look forward to serving in a bigger, stronger Democratic majority in Congress under a Democratic president so we can wage and win the progress we�ve been waiting for and which the community deserves."
2008 U.S. Senate endorsements as of April 28, 2008:
Max Baucus, D-MT
Joe Biden, D-DE
Susan Collins, R-ME
Dick Durbin, D-IL
Al Franken, D-MN
Tom Harkin, D-IA
John Kerry, D-MA
Mary Landrieu, D-LA
Frank Lautenberg, D-NJ
Carl Levin, D-MI
Jack Reed, D-RI
Jeanne Shaheen, D-NH
Mark Udall, D-CO
Tom Udall, D-NM
Note: U.S. House endorsements by Human Rights Campaign will be made available at a later date.
The Human Rights Campaign is America�s largest civil rights organization working to achieve gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against GLBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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