Thursday, March 11, 2010
A message from Ejay Carter, our Transgender Rights Field Organizer:
Pride Agenda staff, volunteers and other advocacy organizations have been working together to rally the support needed to pass the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). GENDA would amend the state's human rights law to ban discrimination in housing, employment, credit and public accommodations. It also expands the state’s hate crimes law to explicitly include crimes against transgender people. GENDA has been passed by the Assembly, and the only remaining obstacle to the bill becoming law is the New York State Senate.
For many months now, we have been collecting letters from constituents in Senate districts across the state in support of GENDA. Our goal has been to collect hundreds of these letters and to deliver them at a crucial moment in the GENDA campaign. Our volunteers rose to the challenge and collected nearly 3,000 letters, and on March 2, dozens of activists from around the state gathered in Albany to deliver packets of them to all 62 Senators.
Transgender rights advocates (pictured at left) from the Capital Region, Buffalo and from our GENDA partner organization Housing Works worked together to deliver the letters and to create a buzz around the Capitol that day—the same day that the NYS Assembly passed GENDA for the third time. Most Senators received 15 or more letters; some received hundreds. Both Democratic Conference Leader John Sampson and GENDA lead sponsor Senator Duane received a full set of 3,000 so they could see the scope of the support for the bill from constituents statewide.
On March 9, we followed up our written messages with hundreds of phone calls on our Statewide GENDA Call-In Day. Dozens of state, national and local organizations spread the message about the Call-In Day to every corner of New York State. Activists and allies called their own Senator and lead sponsor Tom Duane to ask them to support GENDA and bring it to the Senate floor for a vote. Afterwards, advocates sent emails reporting their results to the Pride Agenda. Your feedback gave us vital information and will help us plan the next steps in the GENDA campaign.
Many thanks to the volunteers who helped make these important events happen. For more information about how to be involved with the Pride Agenda and the GENDA campaign to bring the bill to the floor for a vote NOW, call Ejay Carter and 518-472-3330 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.