Chicago, California Join Growing List of Cities and States Banning Official Travel to NC

HRC and Equality NC hailed the news that Chicago and California are maintaining their bans on taxpayer-funded travel to North Carolina. The announcements come after North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper, Senate President Phil Berger, and House Speaker Tim Moore passed a law doubling down on many of the worst aspects of the state’s notorious anti-LGBTQ HB2 law.

“We thank California Governor Jerry Brown and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for their leadership — and we commend Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel for taking action in the wake of fresh attacks on equality in North Carolina,” said JoDee Winterhof, HRC Senior Vice President for Policy and Political Affairs. “This sham ‘deal,’ passed without a single LGBTQ person at the table, actually doubles down on discrimination against millions of North Carolinians. It’s far past time North Carolina politicians — both Republican and Democrat — stop using LGBTQ people and other communities as political pawns to target for discrimination. In order for North Carolina to move forward, lawmakers must fully repeal HB2 and pass inclusive non-discrimination protections.”

“Cities across the country are seeing HB142 for what it really is — a fake repeal of HB2,” said Equality NC Executive Director Chris Sgro. “The new law continues to make North Carolina the only state in the nation to reserve for itself the exclusive ability to regulate bathroom access and one of only three states to ban cities from passing crucial non-discrimination protections. Cities like Chicago want to ensure that all of their employees are safe when traveling. It is unfortunate that HB142 continues to put LGBTQ people in harm’s way when a simple full repeal of HB2 would have resolved the issue.”

Chicago and California join an ever-growing chorus of cities and states not fooled by North Carolina’s new anti-LGBTQ law, including MinnesotaNew York CityWashington, DCSan FranciscoSeattlePortland, ORAtlantaBaltimoreBurlington, VTLos AngelesOaklandSanta FeCincinnatiSalt Lake CityPalm Springs, CAWest Palm BeachPortland, ME; and Wilton Manors, FL.

HB 142 is not an HB2 repeal, and replaces one discriminatory, anti-transgender, bathroom bill with another. It bans local LGBTQ non-discrimination protections statewide through 2020, and it substitutes the previous anti-transgender bathroom provisions with a new provision that forbids state agencies, public universities, primary and secondary schools, and cities from adopting policies ensuring transgender people have access to restrooms consistent with their gender identity.

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HRC Joined 19 Coalition Partners in Calling Upon DHS to Halt Deportation of DREAMers

Today, HRC’s President Chad Griffin joined the leaders of 19 progressive organizations in calling upon U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security John Kelly to halt the deportations of Daniela Vargas of Mississippi and Daniel Ramirez of Seattle, as well as any other DREAMers in his custody, and release them back to their families and communities.

LGBTQ people are as diverse as the fabric of this nation. Now, more than ever, we must stand together against hate, division, and fear. And HRC couldn’t be prouder to stand shoulder to shoulder with our coalition partners in support of the immigrant and undocumented communities. Because when you attack any one of us — you attack us all.

Read their letter below or upload it here.

The Honorable John F. Kelly
Secretary of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528

March 7, 2017

Dear Secretary Kelly,

We, the undersigned, write to ask that you take action immediately to stop the deportation of all detained immigrant youth, particularly DACA recipients Daniela Vargas and Daniel Ramirez, who could be removed from the country they have called home since a young age, any day now.

We are deeply concerned about the cases of Daniela Vargas, Daniel Ramirez, Edwin Romero, and Josue Romero, four DACA recipients who have been arrested and detained by ICE officials. These enforcement actions appear at odds with President Trump’s assurances that individuals with DACA should not worry about deportation.1 We would like to hear from you directly whether or not the Department of Homeland Security plans to honor President Trump’s statements expressing his support for DACA recipients.

Within days of taking the presidential oath, President Trump promised DACA participants that they “shouldn’t be very worried” and that he was going to “take care of everybody.”2 On February 16, President Trump promised once again that his administration would show “great heart” with DACA children and acknowledged they were some “absolutely, incredible kids.”3 During your confirmation hearing, you stated you would “keep an open mind” with regards to children with DACA. Yet, the recent actions of the Department of Homeland Security indicate that the Department is targeting certain DACA individuals for enforcement.

Only six weeks into the Trump administration, ICE officers have detained at least four DACA recipients. On Wednesday, ICE agents detained Daniela Vargas who was in the process of renewing her DACA application. Even though her father and brother had recently been arrested by ICE officers, she was not afraid to speak out. At a recent press conference she said: “Today my father and brother await deportation, while I continue to fight this battle as a dreamer to help contribute to this country which I feel that is very much my country.” According to press reports, shortly after she made this brave statement, ICE officers took her into custody.4 And, because she entered the country as a young child with her family on the Visa Waiver Program, we are hearing reports that she is being processed for imminent deportation, without due process.

In Seattle, Washington, ICE officers detained Daniel Ramirez, a 23-year old DACA recipient and the father of a three-year-old US citizen.5 Just last week, Edwin Romero, another DACA recipient, was jailed for 15 hours and faced removal over unpaid traffic tickets.6 Josue Romero was detained in Texas before being ultimately released to his parents.7 These recent activities indicate an alarming pattern within the Department of Homeland Security, and have already created a chilling effect in immigrant communities. Taken together, these do not appear to be random actions, but rather they point to a shift in Department policy to target DACA recipients for enforcement actions.

Individuals with DACA contribute to the United States in powerful social and economic ways. They start businesses at twice the rate of the American public as a whole. They are economic consumers who purchase big-ticket items like their first homes and cars. Not only are they making the United States economically stronger, but they also work in large numbers in educational and health services, giving back to the country they love.8 Detaining these individuals not only runs counter to President Trump’s assurances, but these actions also make the economy weaker and waste valuable agency resources on individuals who present no danger to our community.

As Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, immigration enforcement falls under your purview and as a result, the decisions on immigration arrest, detention, and deportation lie with you. We respectfully ask that you immediately halt the deportations of Daniela Vargas, Daniel Ramirez, and any other Dreamers in your custody and release them back to their families and community.

Thank you very much for your time.


Deepak Bhargava, President, Center for Community Change
Angela Glover Blackwell, CEO, PolicyLink
Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP
Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
Rea Carey, Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force
Andrew Friedman, Co-Executive Director, Center for Popular Democracy
Lily Eskelsen García, President, National Education Association
Olivia Golden, Executive Director, Center for Law and Social Policy
Jonathan Greenblatt, CEO, Anti-Defamation League (ADL)
Chad Griffin, President, Human Rights Campaign
Mary Kay Henry, International President, Service Employees International Union Marielena Hincapié, Executive Director, National Immigration Law Center
Cristina Jimenez, Executive Director and Co-Founder, United We Dream
María Teresa Kumar, President and CEO, Voto Latino
Marc H. Morial, President and CEO, National Urban League
Janet Murguía, President and CEO, National Council of La Raza
Anthony D. Romero, Executive Director, American Civil Liberties Union
Neera Tanden, President and CEO, Center for American Progress
Randi Weingarten, President, American Federation of Teachers
John C. Yang, President and Executive Director, Asian Americans Advancing Justice-AAJC 




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Safe is Not Enough: A Resource for Educators

Post submitted by Kimmie Fink, Welcoming Schools Consultant

For caring teachers who want to support their LGBTQ students and families, there are many resources at their disposal. One book to add to your professional development reading list is Safe is Not Enough: Better Schools for LGBTQ Students, by Michael Sadowski. HRC is honored to have its Welcoming Schools program highlighted in Sadowski’s book.

Welcoming Schools comes into the picture in his chapter “Making It Elementary.” The Welcoming Schools approach is unique in its focus on elementary schools, which have historically been underserved when it comes to LGBTQ and gender topics. The chapter references Welcoming Schools lessons, art projects, glossaries, book lists, and other resources.

The importance of safe and inclusive schools cannot be underestimated. Even before the Trump Administration’s decision to withdraw the protective guidance for transgender students, LGBTQ youth have struggled due to the 2016 election.

HRC Foundation recently released the results of a groundbreaking post-election survey of more than 50,000 young people ages 13-18 revealing the deeply damaging fallout the November election has had on youth across the United States. Findings include:

  • Among young people who reported seeing bullying and harassment, 70 percent had witnessed incidents motivated by race or ethnicity, 63 percent had seen incidents motivated by sexual orientation, 59 percent had seen incidents motivated by immigration status, and 55 percent had witnessed incidents motivated by gender.
  • Over the past 30 days, about half of transgender youth reported feeling hopeless and worthless most or all of the time, and 70 percent said that these and similar feelings have increased in the past 30 days.

Schools should absolutely start with safety, but they can’t stop there. According to Sadowski, they must “move beyond the notion of ‘better’ schools for LGBTQ youth toward an ideal educational experience for these students.”

Now more than ever, LGBTQ youth need to know they have support.  You can become a better advocate by attending HRC’s Time to THRIVE conference, the nation’s premier convening for K-12 educators, professional counselors and other youth-serving professionals on LGBTQ youth safety, inclusion and well-being. The 2017 conference will be held April 28-30 in Washington, D.C., in partnership with the National Education Association and the American Counseling Association.  

HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and non-binary students.

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HRC Mississippi Attends Mississippi Department of Education Training

Post submitted by Harry Hawkins, Field Organizer HRC Mississippi

Last month, HRC Mississippi joined a “Respect” training with the Mississippi Department of Education as part of the American Psychological Association’s Safe and Supportive Schools program. The training aims to promote healthy choices and prevent health risks for LGBTQ youth, no matter who they are or whom they love.

Educators from across the state attended the training, learning best practices for serving their LGBTQ students and sharing resources to improve their cultural competency. Many of these educators came from very rural and conservative areas of the state and it was encouraging to meet and interact with educators who are interested in establishing safe spaces for their LGBTQ students.

The training gave us a chance to discuss the LGBTQ advocacy work that HRC Mississippi does throughout the state. It was also a chance for us to educate attendees on our Welcoming Schools program. HRC’s Welcoming Schools is the nation’s premier program dedicated to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools in embracing family diversity, creating LGBTQ-inclusive schools, preventing bias-based bullying, creating gender-expansive schools, and supporting transgender and gender non-conforming students.

HRC Mississippi was grateful to be a part of this wonderful training and looks forward to working with more educators to help support LGBTQ youth in the future.

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