Grand Divisions

Tennessee Equality Project seeks to advance and protect the civil rights of our State’s gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender persons and their families in each Grand Division.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Reactions to the Noose

Yolanda Putnam gives us a sample of some of the community reactions to the second noose found a Blue Cross Blue Shield building site in Chattanooga.

...the city’s Office of Multicultural Affairs is launching a marketing campaign to advertise its discrimination hot line. “This type of demonstration will not be tolerated,” said Multicultural Affairs board member Norma Hansen at the group’s monthly meeting Wednesday.

But the office is doing even more:

The group also is establishing a citywide policy for responding to hate crimes, and it has been conducting events such as the Sweet Diversity neighborhood meetings that celebrate ethnic differences. “If you plant hatred, those weeds will attempt to drown out the good seeds,” Ms. Hansen said. “We want to plant seeds of harmony and respect throughout the community.”

Blue Cross Blue Shield has also spoken out in a memo to employees:

“Blue Cross BlueShield of Tennessee will not stand for this behavior,” wrote President and CEO Vicky Gregg in an e-mail to employees this week. “BCBST has a proud history of diversity. We do not discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, age or faith.”

These responses are extremely positive. They indicate that hate crimes must be taken seriously by the entire community. It is also encouraging that government and a major corporation are taking the lead. Some might consider a couple of nooses a joke, but they should be construed as a threat of violence based on bias.

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