“Investigate, Agitate, Legislate”
-National Consumer’s League founded in 1899
This is based on the philosophy that if people are aware of the social inequalities and injustices, they will work to create solutions. At PROMO, we are committed to this philosophy. It is the core of our mission. It is our promise to you, my #MOfam. Are you ready?
For the past few weeks, we have been in the Capitol getting acquainted with our new legislature. Attending the swearing in ceremony for the members of the House of Representatives, the Governor’s inauguration and ball, the State of the State address, and the State of the Judiciary. We’ve met with over 30 members of the Senate and House of Representatives on both sides of the aisle. We’ve made friends with legislative staff, security officers, and librarians. We are building important relationships with attorneys and lobbyists. We’ve testified against two bills that would add more barriers to our ability to prove discrimination in the workplace. All this, and session has just begun.
It is critical for PROMO to have a presence in the Capitol. In the short-term, we are already tracking nearly 15 bills affecting LGBT Missourians, and there are several weeks for more to be filed. In the long-term, building meaningful relationships with decision makers on both sides of the aisle is what PROMO is known for and is a foundational value of the organization.
As we continue to build and maintain these diverse relationships, our champions continue to work hard for us. The Senate Progressive Caucus met this past week, and they determined that LGBT issues are a top priority for them this session. Senator Jill Schupp (Champion and Justice Warrior) is sponsoring the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act (MONA) in the Senate this year. She worked with her colleagues in the Senate, and all eight Democrats in the Senate signed on as co-sponsors. When I spoke with Senate Minority Leader Gina Walsh this week to thank her for supporting MONA, she said to me, “You let me know when you need me.” Missouri, you have people who are working for you. Can you feel it?
Fairness and equality are being threatened here in our state, in our country, and across the world. At this critical time in our history, we need you to be engaged in the movement with us, but please recognize that this is not going to be easy. We are going to lose before we win. The struggle is going to be real and long, but we will make it through this together. Do not disengage. Stay present. Stay informed. Stay connected.
As citizens of the planet, we have a job to do. What is your role in the movement? Earlier this week, we asked you what you were willing to do for LGBT equality, and so many of you have raised your hands to help. If you haven’t already, fill out this survey and tell us how you will be involved in the coming days, weeks, and months.
Elizabeth Fuchs, Manager of Public Policy, started in the spring of 2016 with over 15 years of experience working in St. Louis’ LGBTQQIAA community. Born and raised in the beautiful city of St. Louis, Elizabeth obtained both her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from the University of Missouri St. Louis (UMSL) with a graduate certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. While a student, Elizabeth interned with then, SAGE Metro St. Louis now, SAGE of PROMO Fund, and upon graduation began employment at St. Louis Effort for AIDS (EFA). At EFA, Elizabeth worked closely with local organizations and state officials to examine how questions about gender are being asked at the state in relationship to the lack of HIV prevalence data for people who are living with HIV and identify as transgender. Her research is informing best practices for asking a two-part gender question, which she presented at the first Transgender Spectrum Conference in St. Louis and the 27th Annual HIV/AIDS and Social Work conference in New Orleans. Elizabeth’s is a passionate social justice practitioner, and proud to be in this role exploring the intersectionalities in life that effect our community members…all of us. She calls Soulard her home, Kristen Goodman her loving fiancé, and Frida and Saffron her for-legged children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.