Much has changed since I was last president of TEP. New times call for a more aggressive approach to protect and advance equal rights in our state. It's in that spirit that I share these thoughts with you.
Starting with Local Governments
We will be in touch with county and city leaders throughout Tennessee informing them of existing rights and protections held by our community and advising them to do more to extend protections to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people in their jurisdictions.
Additionally, we are currently at work on plans to advance non-discrimination ordinances for municipal employees in all three grand divisions of Tennessee. Most notably, we have some unfinished business in Memphis and our Shelby County Committee will lead the way.
September is Advancing Equality Month at the School Board across Tennessee
Outrageous mistreatment of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and allied students has occurred countless times in Tennessee public schools in the last twelve months-principals harassing students for wearing pro-GSA shirts, a principal telling gay students they are going to Hell, students bullied to the point that it is a contributing factor in them taking their own lives, and the list goes on.
We ask citizens across the state to appear at their local school board meetings in September to speak out for GSAs and inclusive non-discrimination policies during the open forum time on the agenda. Citizens in Cheatham County and Sumner County have led the way in this effort. We have provided links to their videos here. If you are interested in appearing before your school board, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you with talking points for your remarks. We have to open the conversation in school districts throughout our state and we can only do that with your help. We owe it to the students of Tennessee.
October 27 Day of Action for a Better Legislature
The 107th General Assembly of the State of Tennessee was the worst in decades. The attacks were demeaning and constant. We have to help good candidates win. October 27 is a Day of Action for a Better Legislature. We are recruiting volunteers for TEP PAC who will help good candidates in important races for 2 hours that day. We will meet in Oak Ridge, Knoxville, Cookeville, Nashville, Jackson, and Memphis to get our assignments, pair up, and get to work. Find out more here.
This plan's purpose is to yield more non-discrimination ordinances to protect our employment, better policies and structures to protect our youth, and better lawmakers to help us stop attack legislation. In our view this is a viable, possibility-laden plan for Tennessee.
It depends on you! Equality will not drop out of the sky or leak over from some other state. It's up to us to make it happen. There are volunteer opportunities for people in every part of Tennessee in this plan.
Rise up and advance equal rights in Tennessee!
Chairman of the Board and President