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ACPA Opposes all Public Policies and Laws that Sanction Discrimination
28 March 2016



Allow me to introduce you to Angel Celeste Collie, Assistant Director of the LGBT Center UNC-Chapel Hill, member of the ACPA Trans Inclusion Working Group and former Soulforce Equality Rider.  https://lgbtq.unc.edu/about-center/our-staff/angel-collie

Angel is an extraordinary human being, student affairs professional and member of ACPA.  This petition is about hundreds of thousands of citizens in the United States like Angel who our nation is at great risk of disenfranchising if not subjecting to vigilante injustice.

ACPA opposes all public policies and laws that sanction and encourage discrimination of any type against all human beings.  We need you to join us in raising awareness about the current wave of legislative attempts at the state level  87 of these were attempted in 2015 and only a handful survived.  2016 is a new day and there is a much more organized and well-funded push to get these egregious bills passed.  North Carolina just passed the most discriminatory legislation since before the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  

As of March 23, 2016, there are 97 anti-LGBT bills either introduced, active or passed in 27 state legislatures across the United States and in Congress.

These bills allow religion to be used to discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identified persons in virtually all aspects of their lives.  Whether an LGBT person wants to join a college student group or seek counseling services or a same-sex couple tries to obtain a marriage license from a county employee or access basic medial care at some point in their lives, these bills open the door to unequal treatment.

These bills fall under the broad category of Anti-LGBT Religious Exemption Legislation but they take different approaches.  If one in road does not work, these very savvy politicos try another. You can read more about these bills at https://www.aclu.org/anti-lgbt-religious-exemption-legislation-across-country?redirect=anti-lgbt-religious-refusals-legislation-across-country#rfra16

We want to slow down and stop the onslaught of these bills.  Two strategies that are proving effective are corporate social responsibility and grassroots advocacy. 

Corporate Social Responsibility

We are choosing to work with corporations like Salesforce that share our values. CEO Mark Benioff was highly effective in organization resistance to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act.  He next tackled Georgia and now he is focused on North Carolina.  

Grassroots Advocacy

When terrible legislation is passed like that just confirmed in North Carolina, our members suffer.  All citizens suffer. Please read this Facebook post from Angel Celeste Collie. 

"March 23, 2016 8:21PM

I'm really not even sure how to make sense of what is happening in my beloved home state tonight. Seeing my life and the lives of people I love and that have loved me reduced to hateful slurs, fear based threats, and made out to be predators is heart wrenching. We are not who they say that we are. We are beautiful souls open to a sacred energy beyond binary constructions that seek to limit us all to narrow boxes of pink or blue. We live out a possibility of freedom for all humans when we defy those boxes. We are lovers of Justice. We hold truth and integrity to ourselves and our loved ones as a scared value demonstrated by the authentic lives we live. We are the ones harmed, attacked, silenced and victimized by exclusive and segregated spaces. We love even as we are hated. It is my hope and my prayer that those who do this harm to transgender and gender non-conforming people be extended love and grace even as we unapologetically bare our lives and our truth in love. May we someday share tables (and bathrooms) in peace and harmony. May we continue to keep the hope that we may all someday be beloved community at the center of our movement. May we challenge unfair and harmful legislation out of our great love for justice, fairness and equality. I am going to choose to live in hope and trust that God can use even this for our future good even if I can't quite see it right now."

We live in hope as well.  We are engaged in an assessment of more than 103 additional city and state legislative proposals that may bring harm to our members and to their communities.  One by one, we will work with those human rights defenders within grassroots organizations in each place where we have members and where we conduct events and bring our collective strength to bear against the challenges they are facing.  In some cases, this may mean a boycott or a “buycott” if local strategists find this most helpful.

In some cases it may mean joining with other nonprofit and for profit corporations to amplify media attention and warn discriminating state and local officials of the impact on their reputation and economic base.  In some cases it may mean bringing testimony at a government hearing.  In some cases, as we did in Indiana, it will mean asking you to quickly sign on to a petition.  Most recently, in Houston, we have been working with 18 different entities that are developing a campaign to roll back the recent repeal of HERO, their human rights ordinance.http://www.myacpa.org/article/heros-take-hit-houston   

 We have asked all our peer student affairs higher education associations to join us and insist on hotel and convention center contracts that guarantee all of us the following:

Release from contracts without penalty if a human rights ordinance is repealed in a city scheduled for an event

Release without penalty if a discriminatory ordinance is passed by the state or city in which an event is scheduled.

WE NEED YOUR SIGNATURE to bring financial pressure to bear on those places that sanction discrimination by getting our hotel and convention partners to negotiate these types of contracts.  It is our hope that we never have to use such clauses in our contracts. 

And, we have found that this type of negotiation with local convention centers, hotels and Chambers of Commerce is considered highly supportive of grassroots efforts to push back this type of legislation.  Most of them oppose anti-LGBT measures because they know they are bad for the reputation of the city or state and they hurt the economy.  Our concern is that they hurt human beings.

One of the presenting problems in Houston, Georgia and North Carolina was the speed with which very conservative members of their legislatures were able to get discriminatory bills passed.  We have to get ahead of these processes in each state and make some noise early and often.  http://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/economy/article/City-concerned-for-conference-business-in-6791478.phpAnd we have to be persistent in our efforts. 

Thank you for joining us and encouraging us in actions like our petition in Indiana. 1863 people signed that petition.  http://www.myacpa.org/blogs/presidents-desk/public-statement-indiana-religious-freedom-restoration-act

We hope you will now help us in North Carolina.

Thank you.


Cindi Love, Ed.D., Executive Director
ACPA--College Student Educators International
www.myacpa.org
clove@acpa.nche.org
@drcindilove

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