Human Rights Campaign Designates Juneteenth as an Organizational Holiday

Today, the Human Rights Campaign announced the establishment of Juneteenth as an organizational holiday. 

“Juneteenth is the culmination of countless seen and unseen efforts by enslaved peoples and abolitionists. It is a clarion call that we still hear today, a call that we have been pressed to answer thanks to the millions of people who are advocating for racial justice at Black Lives Matter protests, and in less visible ways,” said Alphonso David, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “Every Juneteenth from this year moving forward, employees at the Human Rights Campaign will have the opportunity to reflect on our shared journey, and how we can  further racial equity, individually, organizationally and globally. None of us is free unless all of us are free, a truth made clear by the very fact that it took more than two years for news of emancipation to reach enslaved people in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. With this designation, we proudly and publicly recommit to continue working on behalf of all marginalized people for full equality.”

The decision to make Juneteenth an organizational holiday is one more articulation of the vision and commitment that David made to make racial equity a cornerstone of HRC’s work when he joined the organization in August 2019 which includes adopting racial equity and inclusion principles for the staff, volunteer leadership and boards; launching a transgender justice initiative; launching an initiative to address voter suppression efforts that further marginalize minority communities at the ballot box; and expanding the scope of the organization’s work with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Juneteenth is the annual commemoration emancipation and the end of slavery that has been celebrated in the United States since June 19, 1865. It is often celebrated by organizing politically to strengthen civil rights for Black people in America. 

Earlier this month, the Human Rights Campaign organized a letter, joined by prominent LGBTQ and civil rights organizations, condemning racism, racial violence and police brutality while calling for action to combat these scourges. The letter is now signed by 800+ leaders of the nation’s most prominent LGBTQ and civil rights organizations.

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Martha McSally Haunted by Decision to Strip Life-Saving Health Care Coverage from Americans

HRC marks the three year anniversary of Senator Martha McSally voting for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) of 2017 in the U.S. House, which would have gutted protections for the 2.8 millions Arizonans living with asthma, cancer, diabetes and other pre-existing conditions. 

According to the Arizona Republic, Senator Martha McSally’s campaign is running a new ad that features a former staffer without disclosing their previous relationship or that the former paid staffer in 2014 “helped defend McSally’s attacks on the Affordable Care Act and roll its coverage protections back.” 

“On the anniversary of her vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, we remember how Martha McSally dangerously voted to strip ten million Americans and 2.8 million Arizonans of life-saving health care coverage,” said HRC Arizona State Director Bridget Sharpe. “McSally’s vote would have negatively impacted communities already facing discrimination and health care disparities, including the LGBTQ community. Millions of Arizonans with pre-existing conditions will not forget how McSally has failed them over and again in Washington. McSally can run but she cannot hide from her record on health care.”

As a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thousands of low-income people living with HIV have been able to obtain health insurance through the Medicaid expansion. This critical coverage ensures that people living with HIV have access to lifesaving treatments. The AHCA’s drastic changes to Medicaid would have likely stripped these people, and other vulnerable populations, of essential healthcare coverage.

McSally’s pattern of not standing up for Arizonans and their health care is especially troublesome as America deals with the COVD-19 pandemic. In 2017, McSally voted to slash $1 billion in funds for the CDC’s Prevention and Public Health Fund, including hundreds of millions set aside “for detecting and responding to infectious diseases and other public health threats.” McSally has refused to speak out against the Trump Administration’s  ongoing attempts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, saying, “it’s not my role” to get involved. McSally has also been caught lying about her attempts to take health care away from millions of Americans and “crowing about a ventilator deal that’s less than it appears.”

HRC recently published a research brief outlining the particular health and economic risks faced by the LGBTQ community during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Many in the LGBTQ community are uniquely vulnerable, as they are more likely to work jobs in highly affected industries, often with more exposure and/or higher economic sensitivity to the COVID-19 crisis, are less likely to have health coverage and are more likely to smoke and have chronic illnesses like asthma. Read the full brief here.

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HRC Endorses U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for Reelection

Today, HRC announced the endorsement of U.S. Rep. Angie Craig for re-election.

Rep. Angie Craig, as one of seven openly LGBTQ members of the U.S. House and the first openly lesbian mother to be elected to Congress, has been one of the community’s most impactful and vocal supporters of the Equality Act — crucial bipartisan legislation that would finally provide clear, comprehensive non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people nationwide. Over the next year, HRC will devote significant resources to turning out the 658,000 Equality Voters across the state of Minnesota to ensure pro-equality, LGBTQ leaders like Rep. Craig remain in, or are elected to office.

“The voters of Minnesota’s 2nd district made a wise choice in electing Angie Craig to Congress in 2018. She’s hit the ground running as a champion for civil rights, for good paying jobs, and for accessible and affordable health care,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “Angie Craig’s success in Congress has helped show LGBTQ children and youth that they can aspire to any job in America regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. The Human Rights Campaign is proud to endorse Congresswoman Craig’s bid for reelection and we look forward to continuing to fight alongside her for full equality.”

“I’m honored to have the support of HRC. As the first LGBTQ mother in Congress, I know that having more voices represented only makes our nation stronger,” said Angie Craig, U.S. Representative for Minnesota’s 2nd Congressional District. “We need all kinds of experiences and voices to be represented in order to move important policies, like the Equality Act, forward. It is my privilege to work with you to usher in a better future for the next generation.”

In the 2018 midterms, HRC helped register more than 32,000 voters and recruited more than 4,200 volunteers, who worked over 8,500 shifts and clocked more than 30,000 volunteer hours. In the critical final four days of the campaign, HRC staff and volunteers in get-out-the-vote efforts alone knocked on more than 80,000 doors, and held 36,400 conversations with voters at their doors and by phone on behalf of our endorsed candidates. HRC’s unprecedented grassroots mobilization represented an investment of approximately $26 million to recruit volunteers, mobilize constituents, register voters and grow the organization’s grassroots army in an all-out effort to pull the emergency brake on the hateful anti-LGBTQ agenda of the Trump-Pence administration and elect a Congress that would hold them accountable.

 

 Paid for by Human Rights Campaign PAC (www.hrc.org) and authorized by ANGIE CRAIG FOR CONGRESS

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Jeff Sessions is a Dangerous Opponent of Equality

HRC announced our opposition to the newly announced U.S. Senate bid of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“At every point in his career, Jeff Sessions has used his power to discriminate against LGBTQ people, people of color and anyone who doesn’t look or think like him,” said HRC President Alphonso David. “From his time as Alabama Attorney General to the Senate to his horrific leadership at the Department of Justice, Sessions has systematically worked the levers of government to deny the rights of others. In 2017, Alabama voters chose equality by electing Sen. Doug Jones. We are hopeful that Alabamians will continue along that path, and deny Jeff Sessions, Roy Moore, or any of the anti-equality politicians who are seeking this office as a means to discriminate.”

In the Alabama special election for U.S. Senate in 2017, HRC organized more than 20 GOTV events — including phone banks, canvasses, and community events in the closing weeks of the campaign. For two months, more than 160 HRC volunteers and 11 HRC staff worked to reach the nearly 200,000 “Equality Voters” across Alabama — a voting bloc comprised of not only the 100,000 LGBTQ voters in the state but also the thousands of additional allies HRC has identified statewide. HRC also partnered with allied civil rights organizations, including the NAACP of Alabama and others, to increase voter turnout.

For more on Sessions’ anti-LGBTQ record, go to HRC’s Sessions Report.

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