FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Brad Luna — 202/812.8140 (cell) or firstname.lastname@example.org
Activists Unfurl Banners in front of Statue of Liberty monument outside New York, New York Hotel and Casino; Drape Pedestrian Crosswalk over Las Vegas Boulevard with “Pass ENDA Now!” Banner
LAS VEGAS, NV – At 1pm (PDT) time in 106 degree (Fahrenheit) Las Vegas heat, GetEQUAL, a national direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, along with HERO, a local grassroots group of community organizers committed to fighting for the human and equal rights of all people, and local Nevada and other LGBT-equality activists, carried out a non-violent, civil disobedient protest calling for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- NV) to immediately schedule a vote on the decades old Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA). ENDA would provide federal, legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender workers from workplace harassment and being fired for simply being who they are. In 29 states, it is still legal to fire someone solely because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual. And in 38 states it is legal to fire someone solely for being transgender.
Today’s action was carried out across Las Vegas Boulevard, the main thoroughfare down the Las Vegas strip, in front of the Statue of Liberty monument outside of the New York, New York Hotel & Casino. The approximately 20 activists carried picket signs with slogans such as “I can still be fired for who I am” and unfurled a banner across Las Vegas Boulevard that read, “REID: NO ONE CAN DO MORE?” “No One Can Do More” has been the slogan Senate Majority Leader Reid is using on most all of his television commercials in his re-election campaign. Activists also unfurled a banner reading “REID: PASS ENDA NOW!” across the pedestrian crosswalk that leads from the MGM Grand to the New York, New York Hotel & Casino.
A total of eight activists participating in today’s rally were arrested.
“Our community has literally watched decades go by with campaign promise after campaign promise from Congressional leaders about the passage of ENDA,” said Robin McGehee, co-founder and co-director of GetEQUAL. “House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s own press aide told the community at the end of May, ‘The Senate has no plans for taking up ENDA. It would be very helpful for people to encourage the Senate to outline a plan for considering the bill.’ GetEQUAL’s members and supporters agreed, and we hope that Senator Reid agrees, as well.”
“The time to pass ENDA is now,” said Heather Cronk, managing director of GetEQUAL. “No more delays, no more excuses, and no more broken promises. People need these federal protections, especially the hundreds of thousands of LGBT workers living in dozens of states where it is still legal to fire someone solely for being lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.”
The front page of the local news in Las Vegas today are statistics about the jobless rate in Las Vegas – and Nevada, as a whole. Las Vegas’ jobless rate has soared to a record 14.5 percent and 14.2 for Nevada as a whole.
Cronk continued, “Today’s leading news in Nevada is the fact that newly-released unemployment numbers show 193,000 people in the state are looking for jobs. There is no doubt that many LGBT workers are included in that number, who have the added burden of discrimination to contend with when applying for a job. It’s not right, it’s not fair and it’s not the American way. LGBT workers, like all American workers, just want to earn a living, pay their bills, and provide for their families like everyone else.”
Last Wednesday, GetEQUAL launched a national email asking its members and supporters to vote on the target for their next set of actions relating to ENDA. In the email, GetEQUAL writes, “Our so-called ‘friends’ in Congress who are stumping for re-election, speaking at our Pride events and addressing our organizational galas have promised passage of ENDA month after month, and year after year. Why are we allowing our ‘friends’ to collect awards and accolades while breaking their promises? It may not be nice and it certainly won’t get us invited to any fancy Washington cocktail parties, but we aren’t going down without a fight! To us, the silence is deafening and we want you to help us do something about it.”
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) was one of the Democratic leaders on the survey where members and supporters were asked to vote on who they think should be the next target of GetEQUAL’s direct action. Under Majority Leader Reid’s name it noted, “Should it be Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who said that he will ‘fight hard for the votes to get it passed,’ but who has failed thus far to pressure the last few Senators for their votes?”
To read the entire email titled, “Fight Back Against the Broken Promises” and to take part in the survey, go to: http://getequal.org/?p=449.
GetEQUAL is a national, direct action lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization. Emphasizing direct action and people power, the mission of GetEQUAL is to empower the LGBT community and its allies to take action to demand full legal and social equality, and to hold accountable those who stand in the way. For more information on GetEQUAL, please visit: http://www.getequal.org. You can follow GetEQUAL on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/getequal, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/getequal, or on YouTube at http://www.youtube.com/getequal.