Human RIghts Campaign talks about Project One America
By Sherrie Evans
The largest LGBT civil rights group in the country is working on bringing equality to Alabama. The Human Rights Campaign will open offices in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas. That's where, the group says, people can be fired from their jobs or evicted from their homes because of their sexual orientation. The HRC says it will spend 8.5 million dollars on Project One America. It's now the largest coordinated campaign for LGBT equality in the history of the South. Project One America will work exclusively on LGBT equality in Alabama. Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin, spoke at Birmingham City Hall. He says the job is to change hearts and minds to change laws. Three states will have permanent campaigns. "The goal of this campaign in these three states, specifically Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi is to close the gap and bring full equality to every single person living in every single corner of the country." HRC Alabama has nine launch goals, from empowering LGBT people to come out to creating safer environments for young people and a more inclusive workplace. TC Caldwell is ready to see many changes. "More inclusive spaces, recognizing same sex relationships, better health care." HRC says in Alabama, nearly 63-percent of LGBT people are targeted by verbal abuse. About 20 percent report physical abuse. There's also discrimination in employment and housing. Griffin says, "There is no law to protect someone from being evicted from their home because of why they are in this state and that's wrong." Pastors spoke up about churches getting on board. Minister Felicia McKenzie says, "When our churches start and come together and show the inclusive love God has show to us, then will make a giant step forward." People at a community event at the Birmingham Museum of Art heard more about Project One America. A bessemer couple married in Washington DC believe it will help promote issues important to the LGBT community. Joe Openshaw says "These states are really falling behind the rest of the country and hopefully HRC's effort will help bring us up to speed with the country and pass some areas in the country." Griffin says, "What we've got to do is speed up the pace of progress." Local pastors encouraged churches to support the LGBT community. The HRC is getting ready to hire staff. An office will open in Montgomery.
ABC 33/40 in Birmingham, Alabama offers news, sports, and weather reporting for the surrounding communities including Tuscaloosa, Anniston, Cullman, Gadsden, Talladega, Sylacauga, Carbon Hill, Jasper, Hoover, Bessemer, Vestavia Hills, Alabaster, Trussville and Homewood.