Category Archives: Equality

LGBT VOTE FOR EQUALITY MATTERS

 

Dear Friends,

With Election Day around the corner, the LGBT Progress team has been working hard to produce research and policy analysis that matters as we look to 2013. This update highlights some of the work we think is most relevant.

Of course, the number one issue this year is the economy, and economic security is especially important for LGBT people. We have included an infographic (to see infographic visit LGBT Progress on Facebook) highlighting some of the harmful impacts of discrimination on LGBT employees and their families, but we’ve also shown how these antiquated policies compromise the efficiency and effectiveness of public and private workplaces. In the midst of a recovering economy, ending workplace discrimination against LGBT people is crucial for the economic security of all Americans.

This election cycle is a decisive year for marriage equality. With marriage on the ballot in four states this November, it is more important than ever for the public to understand that marriage equality laws are perfectly compatible with existing laws that guarantee religious freedom. Our research has shown that a majority of Americans believe gay couples should have the freedom to marry, and we hope to keep the momentum growing in favor of equality.

This November will also determine the future of the U.S. health care system. With LGBT people facing numerous barriers to health, from difficulty obtaining health insurance through their spouses to finding physicians who understand their unique health needs, we’re working to make sure that Obamacare is implemented in the states in a fully LGBT-inclusive way no matter who wins the election.

We believe in a country where employees are only judged by their job performance, where religious freedom is preserved and the freedom to marry is expanded, and where every American is given an equal opportunity to take care of themselves and their families, free of discrimination. Thank you for your commitment to building a just America through your interest in and support of the work we do.

Please consider making a donation today.

Best regards,
Jeff
@jeffkrehely

Advertisements

Votes Lost in Translation: Korean Confusion, Bengali Ballots Debated

By Voices of NY | Gotham Gazette, Korea Daily
Translated by Hye Mi

Voting can be a confusing process for native English speakers, but for those who don’t speak English, it’s even more daunting, as two immigrant groups pointed out after last week’s primaries.

Korean-Americans complained of confusing instructions and a crashed website that hindered their efforts to vote, and South Asians questioned the decision to provide translated ballots this November to Bengali-speakers but not Hindi-speakers.

Confusion about changed voting districts and a crashed website resulted in some Korean-American New Yorkers returning home from the polls last week without casting ballots, the Korea Daily reported. New Jersey Korean-Americans made similar complaints last month about their primary elections.

On the day of the primary election, the Korean language version of a webpage with poll locations and sample ballots was down from 11 to 4 p.m., the Korea Daily reported. An excerpt of the article is translated below:

It is assumed that an overload of Korean voters who didn’t get notice of the election tried to connect to the website all at the same time, causing the webpage to crash.

“It [was] caused because the commission didn’t promote the information of the primary election,” said Dongchan Kim, the director of Korean American Civic Empowerment. “Most Korean-American voters who called the hot line for inquiries asked about polling station locations. As a result of [the] investigation, it came out that they didn’t get the notice regarding vote information by mail from the commission.”

Image

St. Andrew Avellino School in Flushing (Photo: Young Woong Yang via Korea Daily)

Last week the Gotham Gazette reported efforts to provide Queens voters with translators and phone operators fluent in Bengali, Punjabi and Hindi. Under federal mandates, translators, phone operators and signs must be provided to help Indian American voters in South Asian communities such as Jackson Heights and Rosedale. But South Asian voters last week didn’t find ballots printed in any of their languages. They will have to wait until November to see a Bengali-language ballot.

The Gotham Gazette interviewed a halal vendor, Salam Nabi, who said he has never voted in a city election, and has “no idea how it works.”

Nabi, 21, said the addition of Bengali as a language on the ballot would make a big difference for him. “I would vote now,” he said, as he looked outside the window of his steamy halal cart.

Still, the Board of Elections’ decision to print ballots in Bengali — which is spoken in Bangladesh and part of India — instead of Hindi has raised some criticism.

… Gurpal Singh, the executive director of SEVA NY, a South Asian organization operating in Richmond Hill, Queens, said the BOE’s commissioners had been “very academic in their approach” by choosing Bengali, rather than taking into account the realities of the neighborhoods themselves.

“If you really want to serve South Asians in Queens, you should do both languages, Bengali and Hindi,” he said. He said the “BOE is only doing the bare minimum to comply with the federal law” and that “even before the meetings, it seemed like the BOE already picked Bengali.”

OUR AMERICAN FUTURE: A DISADVANTAGED MAJORITY?

This year’s presidential election is set to be the most important one for all those who plan to be part of America’s future because the candidate who wins this election will regulate what type of capitalism the United States will engage in. We are moving towards a model of capitalist economy driven by the interests of a rich few–a self-satisfied oligarchy that supplants the political and social capital of the masses.

Since its founding, the United States has gradually restructured its guidelines for self-government, most noticeably regarding non-white and non-male citizens. The original constitution allocated all political rights to white men with the intent of exclusion. It took the nation’s bloodiest war, subsequent Reconstruction amendments, and steadfast efforts of both marginalized and privileged American people—despite relentless denigration and organized violence from conservative extremists—to achieve social and economic parity through the political system. In some respects, the future indicates a continuum of political progression for women and racial/ethnic minorities.

TO READ  FULL ARTICLE, PLEASE CLICK THIS LINK –>  Our American Future: A Disadvantaged Majority? | The Feminist Wire.

OBAMA SUPPORTS MARRIAGE EQUALITY

Washington, D.C. – May 9, 2012 – Today, President Obama affirmed his support of marriage equality, the loving and commitment of same-sex couples.  GRIOT Circle, the nation’s leading People of Color LGBT Aging organization, applauds the President for this historic endorsement of the freedom to marry.  “I continue to be proud of this president who remains strong and steadfast in his comment to Social Justice of lesbian and gay couples and their right to marry,” said Glen-Michael Francis, Executive Director of GRIOT Circle, Inc.  “We thank the president for his continued support and vision for greater equality and inclusion in America.”

The President’s record for advancing protections for the LGBT community remains unequaled.  But as he stated, his position on marriage equality had been changing and had not explicitly proclaimed his support of extending marriage to gay and lesbian couples until now.  Despite the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” ending the legal defense of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), endorsing the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA) and the Department of HHS new policy for inclusion, all during increasing pressure from the fight to a position of non-movement.

“This is a president who understands that to be the most powerful nation in the world, you need the full engagement of all your citizens,” added Francis.  “Congratulations and thank you Mr. President!  Our 1237 members, their family and friends appreciate your commitment and hard work.”

PROP 8 VICTORY!

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has just ruled that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional! We knew all along that Prop 8 was wrong, and this ruling affirms what millions of people all across the country already know — loving, committed same-sex couples and their families should be able to share in the celebration and obligations of marriage.

This is a huge victory in the battle for marriage equality, but this fight is far from over.

The federal government still refuses to recognize our families. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act remains the law of the land, and thousands of loving families are denied the protections, rights, and responsibilities that other married couples take for granted.

The Obama Administration has refused to defend DOMA. It’s time for Congress to repeal it.

Take Action now: Tell your senators to pass the Respect for Marriage Act and repeal DOMA.

Let’s use this historic ruling as a catalyst in our fight for equality, and demand that the federal government recognize our relationships.

Repeal DOMA now!

BLACK HISTORY MONTH AT GRIOT CIRCLE

TO ENLARGE THE CALENDAR, JUST CLICK ON THE IMAGE.

No one in NY or NJ should go hungry this holiday season

Do you know where you’ll be eating your Thanksgiving dinner? Chances are, there’s a senior in New York or New Jersey who doesn’t know if they’ll be eating dinner at all on Thanksgiving – or the days that follow.

There are nearly 9 million older Americans who wake up in the morning and don’t know if they’ll get enough to eat. You can change that.

This Thanksgiving, make twice the difference to help a senior in BROOKLYN who’s struggling to find their next meal. Every penny you give will go directly to hunger relief organizations in New York and New Jersey.

Make your tax-deductible donation by November 22 and your gift will be MATCHED – up to $100,000!

With your support, we can reach older Americans who won’t get the nutrients they need without a helping hand.

Through our targeted, community-based programs, AARP Foundation will use 100% of your donation to help with local food assistance programs. Senior hunger is a threat close to home and your gift today will make a difference for real people struggling just around the corner from you.

Right now, hungry seniors in New York and New Jersey need your help. Will you step up to lend them a hand? Every donation you give today will be matched by Met Life Foundation, dollar-for-dollar, up to $100,000!

Give older Americans facing hunger a reason to be hopeful this Thanksgiving by making your urgent tax-deductible donation to AARP Foundation.

Thank you for helping seniors facing hunger, and standing with us as we help seniors facing other challenges, such as housing, income and isolation.

Sincerely,
Jo Ann Jenkins
President, AARP Foundation

AGING IN AMERICA 2012 CONFERENCE

Aging in America, the 2012 annual conference of the American Society on Aging is the largest multidisciplinary aging conference in the country.  It is recognized as the leading platform for sharing knowledge, perspectives, best practices and replicable models that help participants enhance their skills and be more effective in their work with older adults.  There’s no better professional development opportunity for the people and organizations whose missions support quality of life and care for elders.

Who:  American Society on Aging
When:  March 28 – April 1, 2012
Where:  Washington, D.C.

For more details just click here–> www.asaging.org/aia12

GRIOT Supports QEJ Vigil for Elder Yvonne McNeal

On October 2nd, Yvonne McNeal, 57, a POC elder, community member and resident at the New Providence Women’s Shelter in midtown Manhattan was [allegedly]  murdered by NYPD outside of her shelter.  A regular at Queers for Economic Justice events and support groups, Yvonne was an elder and a kind, reserved member of our community.  She walked with a cane and marched with us at Pride this past June.  Yvonne was also a reliable source for other LGBT people at New Providence.  NYPD [allegedly] shot Yvonne five times.

In response to this violence, QEJ is partnering with New Providence to hold a vigil and silent march in Yvonne’s honor outside of the shelter. The vigil will be on Friday, November 18 from 5 – 7 pm at New Providence Women’s Shelter, 225 East 45th Street.

You can lend support by: Attending on behalf of your organization or yourself.  Volunteering to prepare dinner for people attending the vigil by going to QEJ’s office on Nov. 18th at 2pm.  Just call 212.564.3608 or email carlos1@q4cj.org or jay@q4ej.org.

Thanks for your support especially in these times of violence.  QEJ is very shocked and saddened by this brutal act, we are not silenced–we will continue to organize around low-income, working class queer issues in New York, and will not be stopped by police brutality.  Your love is what inspires us; your support is what empowers us.

Amber Holibaugh, Interim Exec. Dir

Queers for Economic Justice

GRATITUDE TO SUPPORTERS OF FIRST NATIONAL POC LGBT CONVENING

Dear Convening Attendees and Supporters,

It is with heartfelt gratitude I express THANKS to everyone for your presence, for your participation both during and after, for the beginning of a national movement/network, however you choose to define it, that will address issues pertaining to POC LGBT aging.  The First National Convening on POC LGBT Aging was a phenomenal gathering, please applaud yourselves for a job well done!!

Glen-Michael Francis, Exec. Dir., GRIOT Circle.

To all the staff of GRIOT Circle…Bonnie Harrison, Anthony McPhatter, Victor Pond and Daniella Noel who went beyond the call of duty and put their brightest foot forward to create an outstanding Convening.

To Brian de Vries for always being informative and supportive, a man of truth and clarity.  To Kyaien O. Conner for your brilliance and impressive level of research that opened so many people’s eyes to the disparate needs of LGBT POC aging.  Your presentation was amazing!  Thank you.

Chezia Carraway, my Elder Mentor Sister Friend, lots of love!  Thanks!  And to Helena Bushong for being the voice of our Trans-elder community that is far too often invisible at these important gatherings.  You rock!

Aisha Young for continuing to be the leader that you are!  Laurens Van Sluytman for always being in GRIOT’s–and my–corner, a guy you can count on!  Much Love!  Jay Blackwell you know how I feel about you and your support!  Louis Colbert for your kind words, as you know, we got work to do!!!! 

Carmelita Tursi for always being so very understanding and supportive, and for being available and open to the new kids on the block! Talk soon!?   Hutson Inniss for coming in and doing the work necessary, thanks man!  Jewelle Gomez for being a great elder and movement leader.  Nancy Bereano, your mentorship and love is felt!   Brendalynn Goodall, my SISTA friend, for always having my back and just being a great supporter friend!

To Michelle Alcedo, my SFAM, for your continued energy and support!  Hope Barrett great seeing you as always, thanks for your words of encouragement.  Rev. Jaynce Jackson thanks for your words and for keeping everyone focused on why we were there.  To Sharon Day for bringing our native brothers’ and sisters’ voices to the table!  Don’t forget to say hi to Jackie for me!

Pauline Park thank you, it’s always good to have your voice in the room!  Tony Sarmiento what can I say, let’s make some noise, your brother in the struggle!  Mr. Bryan Epps from the moment I reached out to you, you were on board and have remained consistent in the process.  Thank you.  Let’s have lunch soon!

Mario Tapia we have got to do some more work together, let’s present our own initiative to the City Council and get it funded.  Call me!  Carmen Vazquez thanks.  That’s all I can say, thank you!!   Dion Wong  you brought a new clarity to the meaning of working in POC communities, I am humbled.

Dr. Rawha Haile, who was scheduled to be at the convening, was unable to attend because her father passed away.  I want to take this time to send out special thoughts of comfort, and a blessing to you and your family in celebration of your father’s amazing life!

Cheryl Reese thank you for being that voice in the room!  We got your information.  Imam Daayiee Abdullah thanks for lending your expertise to  this conversation!  Tracy Cooper you hit this one out the ballpark!  I knew you would!  To Edwin L. Walker, Senator Benjamin Cruz, the ASA/LAIN and all the participants I met … WE THANK YOU ALL.

GRIOT Circle is committed to working within and with the systems/committees to develop structure and support for the network.  We are also here to help with whatever else we can to move this project forward.  As I said during the closing plenary, it was not designed for GRIOT to be in charge of the network, that power is yours, it has to be organic and coming from the members, much like how we run GRIOT Circle.  We were the vehicle to bring us all together, now let us all build a network we can all be proud of.

With warm regards,

Glen-Michael Francis

Executive Director

GRIOT Circle, Inc.