PACE, Forum for Equality endorse a Fairness Ordinance for Shreveport (Press Release)

This information comes from PACE (People Acting for Change and Equality):

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PACE, Forum for Equality endorse a Fairness Ordinance for Shreveport

Shreveport LA (3 December 2013) –PACE and Forum for Equality strongly support the bipartisan Fairness Ordinance that was introduced at the recent Shreveport City Council meeting.  This ordinance protects all Shreveport residents from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Since 2009, City of Shreveport public employees and contractors have had these protections in the workplace.  This ordinance will put Shreveport in agreement with over 188 cities throughout the nation, the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies, and the opinions of a majority of Americans in all 435 U.S. Congressional districts.

“The hardworking people of Shreveport should have the chance to earn a living and provide for themselves and their families.  Nobody should have to live in fear that they can be legally fired for reasons that have nothing to do with their job performance, that they can lose their home, be evicted from their apartment, or denied a mortgage simply because of who they are or who they love.  The Shreveport Fairness Ordinance gives our community that chance,” said Odessa Sykes of Forum for Equality.

Adrienne Critcher of PACE adds, “I want to congratulate the Shreveport City Council for its bipartisan support of this ordinance that would guarantee that our friends, neighbors, and family members will not have to worry about being fired from a job, denied service when shopping, or refused a place to live because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Not only is this ordinance the right thing to do but branding Shreveport as a city that is fair to everyone who wants to work hard and build a life here is good for business — that’s why the Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce and the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Shreveport-Bossier City both support this ordinance.  We cannot risk losing our best and brightest young people, who abhor discrimination, especially against their gay friends and family members, to very welcoming cities like Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and New Orleans.”

This bipartisan ordinance is especially timely, as the national Human Rights Campaign recently released its 2013 Municipal Equality Index (MEI) which rates 291 cities based on their laws and policies affecting the equal treatment of their LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender) citizens.  Twenty-five cities scored 100 (up from 11 the previous year) including Austin.  Dallas scored 85; both New Orleans and Fort Worth, 91.  Only 25% of the cities scored 35 or less; a mere 3.5% scored 10 or less.  Shreveport’s score was 16.  Local PACE and Forum for Equality members believe the Shreveport they know and love is better than that.  We encourage a unanimous vote of the City Council to make that clear.

In discussing the MEI, urban public policy expert Richard Florida says that knowledge-based workers use openness to diversity and in particular fair treatment of gay people as a proxy for whether a city will provide a welcoming and stimulating economic environment.  PACE and Forum for Equality have long been aware of the importance of Florida’s research, and since 2012 have been conducting a Be Fair Shreveport campaign to raise awareness of the relationship between fairness to the LGBT community and, what Florida calls, “enduring economic growth.”  As Florida states, “When a city is inclusive of LGBT people, it sends a signal that it is diverse and meritocratic, that it embraces differences of all kinds.”

You can learn about the research, tools, and information to build a stronger and more supportive workplace by visiting www.BeFairShreveport.org.

Adrienne Critcher
PACE Political Director
critcher@earthlink.net
318-393-6556 (cell); 318-869-3930 (home)

Odessa Sykes
Forum for Equality
North Louisiana Field Director
318-422-5430

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