By Kevin Patterson, April 2017 Issue.
We’re only a few months in to the new presidential administration and the LGBTQ community already has cause to be greatly concerned about issues involving safety and justice.
President Trump has made previous promises to not harm our community. However, we have witnessed a handful of decisions so far that directly harm our us, our brothers, our sisters, and our children, which points out his failure to honor his commitments.
For this reason, Equality Arizona (EQAZ) and Echo Magazine have teamed up to bring you a recurring column intended to alert you to local and national legislative updates that impact our community, share necessary resources and ways for you to get involved, while we continue our tireless work toward achieving equality in Arizona.
For our introductory column, we feel it’s important to help you understand who EQAZ is. As the leading statewide LGBTQ advocacy organization for the state of Arizona, our mission is to achieve and maintain equal, legal rights and protections for the LGBTQ community in Arizona. Our vision is to make Arizona a state where LGBTQ persons are valued as full and equal members of society, and whose sexual orientation, gender identity or expression are viewed with legal and moral neutrality, and sexual and gender diversity are seen as something to celebrate.
To carry out our vision, her are the top five things EQAZ is doing on your behalf:
1. We’re advocating for local and statewide policies, practices and legislation that impact and protect the full and equal rights for the LGBTQ community.
2. We’re electing candidates to local and statewide public office who will fight for the Equality Arizona purpose, mission and the community we represent.
3. We’re providing support for any issue, question or challenge our community members face at work, at home or out in our community, by connecting them to essential resources and protections.
4. We’re educating on the importance of true and equal rights for every Arizonan, working to build and participate in collaborations and coalitions with advocacy organizations that share the values of and align with the purpose and mission of EQAZ.
5. We’re hosting community forums where our community’s voices are heard, ideas are shared and opportunities for involvement are presented.
6. We’re sending biweekly legislative updates, in which we share updates from the Arizona Capitol and from Washington D.C. regarding LGBTQ statutes.
If you’re looking for ways to become more involved, or looking for information and resources to equip yourself for the currently political climate, here are three key avenues to do so:
1. Request to Speak at the Arizona Capitol.
Make sure you go down to the Capitol, 1700 W. Washington St., in Phoenix, and sign up for the “request to speak” system in the House of Representatives or Senate buildings, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Once you sign up in person, you’re able to show support for bills from home and/or request to speak in person at a committee hearing at the House or Senate.
2. Find Your Legislator.
From the Arizona Legislature website, azredistricting.org/districtlocator, you can enter your home address to locate your local legislators. From there, you’ll find his or her contact information for which you can direct your questions and concerns.
3. Become a Member of Equality Arizona.
Your membership to EQAZ, a 501(c)3, guarantees this nonprofit resources and sustainability to advance the important work of advocacy in this state. For more information, visit equalityarizona.org.
Thank you for taking the time to learn a little bit about the work we’re doing in Arizona. If there’s a specific issue you’d like to see covered in the future, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and include a reference to this column, “The Right Side of History,” in Echo Magazine.